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Thread: Ancient DNA from Romania

  1. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomenable View Post
    I wonder how much of ancient Dacian ancestry do modern Romanians have.
    I think the Romanians are a mixture of pre-Slavic population (mostly Dacians, Geten, Celts, Scythian ...) and Slavic population and East Germanic tribes contributed to, good question how high the proportion of Dacians is?
    Alain Dad
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    H76 czech Republic W3a1d Yamnaya Culture, Samara /Pontic steppe
    Scytho-sarmatian.

  2. #102
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    Last time I looked, Cocos et al. 2017 (the article you reference) and the Hellenthal et al. 2014 study are the top Google search results for Romanian genetics. So I am not surprised you mention it.
    Neither study provides evidence from ancient DNA. They use modern DNA to make inferences about ancient population movements and distributions. The Hellenthal et al. article and accompanying website does this explicitly, the Cocos et al. article, does this almost, but not quite, explicitly. Meaning, the data it presents actually does not explicitly address the issue of past populations distribution and movements. Only the interpretative commentary in the text does.
    We have the unfair benefit of hindsight, but by now it is clear that, in order to make inferences about past populations, nothing takes the place of actual evidence from ancient DNA. And ancient uniparental markers are part of the picture, but they don’t substitute for autosomal analyses of ancient DNA.
    The Hellenthal et al. study shows at least one thing: no amount of statistical cleverness applied to modern DNA can replace the kind of evidence that is really needed. Romanians news sources like to reproduce the big orange balloon from Lithuania (Lithuania!) pointing toward Romania, which is supposed to show that Romania was massively colonized by Lithuanians. Meanwhile, they omit to look at the retrodiction Hellenthal et al. make about northwest Europe, which is that no population movement occurred at all. There is a good reason why these backward predictions are, for the most part, politely ignored in current papers. Studies based on ancient DNA are showing quite different patterns.
    The Cocos et al. paper references the Hellenthal study as supporting its conclusion. Its conclusion is that all parts of Romania except the western part are Slavic. The western part (they mean mostly Transylvania) is central European. Again, this is based on modern mtDNA. Cocos et al. expand on these points by briefly discussing a map of Romania showing the paths by which populations spread into Romania. They imply that the pattern should hold for autosomal DNA. Different parts of the paper seem to have been written by authors with different outlooks, but overall, the conclusion is the west has affinity with central Europe, the rest, with Slavic populations. How are we to square the conclusion in Cocos and al. with, for instance, the conclusion in Karachanak-Yankova et al. 2017, according to which Slavs are heterogeneous and show uniparental genetic diversity?

    We can glean an answer to these questions from the Cocos et al. study, looking not just at the main article, but also the supplemental information.
    We see two plots of genetic distances between populations based on mtDNA haplogroup frequencies (hypervariable regions) of modern populations. One figure is in in the paper, the other in the supplement. The one in the paper, Fig. 2, illustrates that Transylvania (western Romania) plots between Austria and Greece; the other traditional regions plot between Ukraine and Hungary (Dobrudja is not really a historical province of Romania.) As far as I can tell, Greece is not in central Europe, but Hungary is. When a larger complement of populations is examined, in Figure S1 in the supplement, Transylvania plots near Italy South and Scotland, while southern Romania (Wallachia) now plots close to Greece and Italy Centre. All of the latter form a cluster with Slovenia, Croatia, and Poland.
    Taking both figures and information mentioned above into consideration, the most reasonable conclusion is that we can’t infer a pattern. Part of the reason might be due to the way mtDNA got shuffled around (meaning through social patterns of exchange, whether across central Europe, eastern Europe, or southern Europe). The only way we will be able to figure out if there is a pattern or not is by sampling across regions and time.
    We will just have to work our way forward from ancient DNA to understand population dynamics in southeastern Europe, including Romania. The Cocos et al. study provides us with over 700 samples of modern mtDNA. That is good to have.
    I my opinion, a study that fails to demonstrate a pattern gives us worthwhile and important information. That’s how I see the real value of the Cocos et al. study.
    Last edited by Fungene; 09-22-2018 at 12:44 PM.

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     euasta (09-21-2018)

  4. #103
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    Anyway, this is not the case here, but I think that the composition of haplogroups of a large population can change radically even in the short time when interacting with a much smaller population, giving the impression that the much smaller population replaces the most numerous population, if we only analyze haplogroups.

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  6. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by euasta View Post
    Anyway, this is not the case here, but I think that the composition of haplogroups of a large population can change radically even in the short time when interacting with a much smaller population, giving the impression that the much smaller population replaces the most numerous population, if we only analyze haplogroups.
    Seems to me like the more isolated and the smaller a population is the more that population is prone to founder effects. If you look at the regions that historically had a greater diversity of migrations and bigger populations you see more diversity and more even distribution of haplogroups, like in the Balkans, Anatolia, Mesopotamia. Those regions had some of the oldest civilizations as well. China and India also have old civilizations and big populations but they're more isolated with geography and natural barriers.

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     euasta (09-30-2018)

  8. #105
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    Published today: Krzewinska et al. 2018. Ancient genomes suggest the eastern Pontic-Caspian steppe as the source of western Iron Age nomads.
    http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/10/eaat4457

    In case some were wondering where Srubnaya [Srubnaya, Andronovo (Alakulskaya)], Scythians, Cimmerians, and Sarmatians would plot with respect to modern Romanians in a PCA, below is Figure S3, from the Supplementary Materials.
    This is the PCA with modern populations. Cimmerians, Scythians, and Sarmatians are represented by triangles, while Srubnaya-Alakulskaya are represented by pentagons.
    I added a black dot for modern Romanians. According to other studies, the closest populations included in this PCA would be Bulgarians and Croatians. So the dot for Romanians is positioned between these two populations.
    I am also putting the information in this thread because a dozen or so of the Scythian and Cimmerian samples are from what is now the Transnistrian border zone with Moldova, so not too far from Romania.

    Last edited by Fungene; 10-04-2018 at 12:21 PM.

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  10. #106
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    It is interesting, that a group of Scythians falls actually over present Greeks and Albanians. There is another over present Central Europe, but most are in no man land between Europeans and Caucasus/Anatolia.

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     Fungene (10-04-2018)

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    Quote Originally Posted by eastara View Post
    It is interesting, that a group of Scythians falls actually over present Greeks and Albanians. There is another over present Central Europe, but most are in no man land between Europeans and Caucasus/Anatolia.
    Krzewinska et al. do identify a Central Cluster of three Scythians (scy301, scy304, scy311—p. 3/12 of the paper) all from Glinoe, Transnistrian border zone of Moldova. These three are from the 4th-2nd century BCE. (And they are part of the cluster that hovers above Greeks in the PCA.)

    According to the authors, this Central Cluster has genetic affinities to present-day Bulgarian, Greek, Croatian, and Turkish populations—and one might presume, also Romanians, if they had been included.

    Looking at the heat maps based on f3 statistics (the data is in Excel spreadsheets), the genetic affinities of these three Scythians from Glinoe appear to be all over Europe, and show up in some surprising places, like Basque country for scy304. Overall, their affinity for northern European populations appears to be stronger. Their affinity for southern Europeans is probably be due to their mixing with descendants of EEF populations.





    Last edited by Fungene; 10-04-2018 at 09:11 PM.

  13. #108
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    Interesting how the 301 and 311 have a red dot in Croatia and less red in Bulgaria while 304 shows opposite. Also it looks like the authors didn't include Bosnia, Serbia and Romania I guess because they fit in between Croatia and Bulgaria?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fungene View Post

    ...(And they are part of the cluster that hovers above Greeks in the PCA.)
    Correction: the post above mixed the Central Cluster and the Southern Europe Cluster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Username View Post
    Interesting how the 301 and 311 have a red dot in Croatia and less red in Bulgaria while 304 shows opposite. Also it looks like the authors didn't include Bosnia, Serbia and Romania I guess because they fit in between Croatia and Bulgaria?
    Here is an answer to your question. The populations that show up in the stats are just those in the dataset the authors used.
    To illustrate, here is a sampling of what the f3 stats for the 48 top populations that share drift with Scy304 look like, since you mentioned Scy304

    Scy304 (and some of the other Glinoe Scythians, although I have not looked at all of them) shares drift with most modern European populations. I would guess that Romanians would be somewhere in the list of 48 or so, but I don’t know this.
    Scy304 (and Glinoe Scythians) shares more drift with northern Europeans, but not exclusively so.

    Looking at Fig. 3 in the main article, almost all Scythian samples have what the authors labeled “Neolithic and Modern Near East” ancestry (what a strange category). The exception is what the authors think might be an outlier, Scy332.

    The Glinoe Scythians have more of this Neolithic etc. ancestry than the Srubnaya, which tells us something about what the local populations from which they were picking it up were like into the 2th century BCE. And that’s the main point for this thread.
    Last edited by Fungene; 10-07-2018 at 02:22 PM.

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