Ancient DNA shows Sami and Finns share identical Siberian genes

The researchers were able to extract from DNA old human samples dating from 1,500 to 3,500 years ago (three points). Gene flow in the now Finnish region came from two different directions. Credit: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History

The first DNA study of the ancient inhabitants of Finland has been published. His findings indicate that an abundance of genes has reached Finland up to Siberia.

Genetic material from Siberia was found in the inhabitants of the Kola peninsula about 4,000 years ago before spreading to Finland. The study also corroborates the hypothesis that genetically similar people to Sami lived much more in southern Finland than today, even during the iron age.

The genetic samples compared in this study were taken from human bones found at a 3,500-year-old burial site in the Kola Peninsula and at a 1,500-year-old lake burial site in Levänluhta, in the United States. Southern Ostrobothnia, Finland. All samples contained identical Siberian genes.

The Siberian origin remains perceptible

Old DNA has also been compared to modern populations. Siberian origins are still visible in the Sami, Finns and other populations of the Finno-Ugric family.

"However, he has been involved in the European genome." Of all the European populations, modern Sámi are the most obvious representatives of the Siberian genome.This is the privilege of the modern people with the greatest Siberian genetic component. to Nganasans living in northern Siberia, "said Päivi Onkamo, head of the SUGRIGE project at the universities of Helsinki and Turku.

The results make it possible to hypothesize that the habits of life, languages ​​and culture of ancient Siberians and communities living in Finland during the Bronze and Iron Age could be in active contact with each other. the others, regardless of the distance between them. Part of the population may have traveled a lot, traded and moved from one colony to another depending on seasonal changes.

Artistic impression of a former Bolshoi fisherman Oleni Ostrov. Credit: Kerttu Majander

The dead on the Levänluhta site are most similar to the Sami

The project successfully mapped the entire genome from the bones of eleven individuals. In the Kola peninsula, the bones of six individuals were collected at a 3,500-year-old burial site, while the remains of two individuals were found at another site dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. In the case of bones found at the Levänluhta site in Southern Ostrobothnia, the entire genome was mapped for three individuals.

Levänluhta is one of the oldest burial sites in Finland with preserved human bones. The deceased were buried in a lake located there, which is why the bones were so well preserved.

The study indicates that the inhabitants of the region were closer to the Sami today than to the Finns.

"A population genetically similar to the Sami has already inhabited Finland further south than what could be inferred from the colonies of modern Sami populations," says Kerttu Majander, researcher at the University of Helsinki and at the University of Helsinki. Max Planck Institute Human History in Germany.

"According to another recently published study, the influence of Sami on the names of the Levänluhta region has been observed," adds Anna Wessman, professor at the University of Helsinki, head of the Levänluhta project.

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More information:
Thiseas C. Lamnidis et al. The ancient Fennoscandian genomes reveal the origin and spread of Siberian ancestry in Europe, Nature Communications (2018). DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-018-07483-5

Journal reference:
Nature Communications

Provided by:
University of Helsinki

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