A comparison of genomes of ancient Europeans and people living in contemporary countries has shown that a Siberian tribe is an ancestor of modern Europeans, said Olga Posukh, senior research fellow of the human molecular genetics laboratory of the Cytology and Genetics Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences' Siberian branch.
"A certain genetic component of the contemporary European population has turned out to be very similar with genetic features of a boy found in a burial site near Lake Baikal. The burial site is 24,000 years old," Posukh told reporters on Monday.
It was believed at first that hunters and foragers who settled in the Old World about 40,000 years ago and the so-called "early farmers" who moved to Europe from the Middle East 7,000 to 8,000 years ago were the ancestors of modern Europeans, she said.
The tribe, which lived in Siberia amongst other places and whose genes have been found in Europeans, are called Northern Eurasians and their contribution to the gene pool of modern Europeans does not exceed 20 percent, Posukh said.
"Northern Eurasians contributed [their genes] to practically every European group, at least to the existing ones, but their contribution was the smallest compared to those of "early farmers", hunters and foragers," she said.
An international consortium of scientists has tested nine genomes of ancient Europeans - a farmer who lived on the territory of contemporary Germany and eight hunters and foragers who lived on the territories of Luxembourg and Sweden 7,000-8,000 years ago. The data was compared to 2,345 genomes of modern people living in various parts of the planet, including Russia, America and Oceania. They also used genomes of ancient and modern people, which had been analyzed earlier.
Russian scientists from Novosibirsk, Moscow, Ufa and Yakutia were members of the international consortium.
In turn, Mikhail Voyevoda, head of the human molecular genetics laboratory of the Cytology and Genetics Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences' Siberian branch, said the Caucasian genetic trail had been detected in indigenous peoples of Siberia before but that was explained with migration.
The trail went as far as the Chukchi autonomous region, he said. "It is clear now that these are relic variants," he said.
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