Sunday, November 18, 2012

Scythian warriors show genetic blending between Europeans and Asians

Evidence of the potential genetic blending between Europeans and Asians has been discovered by a team of researchers led by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) within the remains of Scythian warriors living over 2,000 years ago in the Altai region of Mongolia.

Tracing the lineage routes

The Scythians were already documented as the first large Eurasian culture, but were believed to be the product of migration from Europe. The researchers now suggest that the genetic blending is actually a result of the expansion of Scythian culture over the mountains.

Studies on ancient mitochondrial DNA of this region suggest that the Altai Mountains played the role of a geographical barrier between West and East Eurasian lineages until the beginning of the Iron Age.
After the 7th century BC, coinciding with Scythian expansion across the Eurasian steppes, a gradual influx of East Eurasian sequences in Western steppes is detected. However, the underlying events behind the genetic admixture in Altai during the Iron Age are still unresolved: 1) whether it was a result of migratory events (eastward firstly, westward secondly), or 2) whether it was a result of a local demographic expansion in a ‘contact zone’ between European and East Asian people.

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