Y-Chromosomal Diversity Suggests that Baltic Males Share Common Finno-Ugric-Speaking ForefathersLaitinen V.a,b · Lahermo P.c · Sistonen P.d · Savontaus M.-L.a,b
aDepartment of Medical Genetics, Biomedical Institute, University of Turku, Turku, bDepartment of Genetics, University of Turku, Turku, cFinnish Genome Center, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, and dFinnish Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service, Helsinki, Finland
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Objective: To elucidate the genetic relationships between Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian men by studying Y-chromosomal variation in these people. Methods: The allelic status of five deep-rooted marker loci (YAP, Tat, M9, 92R7 and SRY-1532) was determined for 346 Baltic males. On the basis of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) haplotypes, Y chromosomes were divided into six haplogroups, and the Baltic haplogroup distribution compared with that in 7 European reference populations. Haplogroup frequencies, diversities and genetic distances (FST values) were calculated. The relationships between populations were further illustrated using Mantel test, neighbor-joining tree and principal-component map. Results: We found the Indo-European-speaking Latvians and Lithuanians to be genetically very similar to the Finno-Ugric-speaking Estonians. When compared to the reference populations, Baltic males were most closely related to the Finno-Ugric-speaking Mari, followed by their Finnish and Slavonic neighbors. Conclusions: The genetic similarity existing between Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian men suggests that they originate from the same male founder population. Since the Baltic Y-chromosomal haplogroup distribution more closely resembles that of Finno-Ugric than Indo-European-speaking populations, we propose a hypothesis that Baltic males share a common Finno-Ugric ancestry.
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