Genetic studies on Russians

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Genetic studies show that modern Russians are closest to Belarusians, Balts and Ukrainians.[1] Some ethnographers, like Zelenin, affirm that Russians overall are more similar to Belarusians and to Ukrainians than southern Russians are to northern Russians. Russians in northern European Russia share moderate genetic similarities with Balts, West Uralic people and Baltic Finns,[1][2] who lived in modern north-central European Russia and were partly assimilated by the Slavs as the Slavs migrated northeastwards.


Russians show the y-DNA R1a with frequencies ranging from 33.4% in North Russia to 49% in rest of Russia.[1][3][4] R-M17 (and sometimes alternatively defined as R-M198), is particularly common in a large region extending from South Asia and Southern Siberia to Central Europe and Scandinavia.(Underhill 2009) [5][6] The percentages of Y-chromosome markers vary in ethnic Russian populations by latitude and region.

The top four Y-DNA haplogroups among the sample of 1228 Russians are:[1]

Eight Y chromosome haplogroup subclades, of West Eurasian origin, presented an average frequency greater than 1%, including R1a, N3, I1b, R1b, I1a, J2, N2, and E3b. All together, they account for >95% of the total Russian Y chromosomal pool. Of the 1228 samples, 11/1228 (0.9%) were classified up to the root level of haplogroups F and K. Only 9/1228 samples (0.7%) fell into haplogroups C, Q, and R2 which are specific to East and South Asian populations.[1]


The mitochondrial gene pool of Russians are represented by mtDNA types belonging to typical West Eurasian groups. East Eurasian admixture was shown to be minimal and existed in low frequencies in the form of Haplogroup M.[7][8] The same studies indicate West Eurasian haplogroups present at a frequency of 97.8% and 98.5% among a sample of 325 and 201 Russians respectively.[7][8]

A recent study, while precising that "the genetic distances from the Russians to the European language groups indicate that the gene pool of present-day Russians bears the influence of Slavic, Baltic, Finno-Ugric and, to a lesser extent, Germanic groups, as well as Iranian and Turkic groups", uphold the traditionally held genetic differentiation between Northern and Southern Russians, with the decisive ethnic element being the Finno-Ugric one, more important in the north, the southern population having substantial - generally unacknowledged in historical debates about Russian ethnogenesis - Germanic influence.[9]

Autosomal DNA[edit]

Autosomally, Russians are similar to populations in Eastern Europe.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Two sources of the Russian patrilineal heritage in their Eurasian context". American Journal of Human Genetics. 82 (1): 236–50. January 2008. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2007.09.019. PMC 2253976. PMID 18179905.
  2. ^ "Новости :: Ученые завершили масштабное исследование генофонда русского народа (Фотороботы)". Retrieved 2012-07-22.
  3. ^ Rosser et al. (2000)
  4. ^ Tambets et al. (2004).
  5. ^ Semino et al. (2000), "The Genetic Legacy of Paleolithic Homo sapiens sapiens in Extant Europeans: A Y Chromosome Perspective"
  6. ^ Luca, F.; Giacomo, F. Di; Benincasa, T.; et al. (2007). "Y-Chromosomal Variation in the Czech Republic". American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 132 (1): 132–139. doi:10.1002/ajpa.20500. PMID 17078035.
  7. ^ a b "Mitochondrial DNA variability in Poles and Russians" (PDF). Annals of Human Genetics. 66 (4): 261–283. April 2002. doi:10.1017/S0003480002001161. PMID 12418968.
  8. ^ a b "Differentiation of Mitochondrial DNA and Y Chromosomes in Russian Populations" (PDF). Human Biology. 76 (6): 877–900. December 2004. doi:10.1353/hub.2005.0021. PMID 15974299.
  9. ^ "Russian ethnic history inferred from mitochondrial DNA diversity". American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 147 (3): 341–351. March 2012. doi:10.1002/ajpa.21649. PMID 22183855.
  10. ^ Khrunin, Andrey V. (March 7, 2013). "A Genome-Wide Analysis of Populations from European Russia Reveals a New Pole of Genetic Diversity in Northern Europe". PLOS One.