Original Article

Journal of Human Genetics (2017) 62, 199–204; doi:10.1038/jhg.2016.107; published online 1 September 2016

Genetic diversity of two Neolithic populations provides evidence of farming expansions in North China

Ye Zhang1, Jiawei Li1, Yongbin Zhao1,2, Xiyan Wu1, Hongjie Li1,3, Lu Yao4, Hong Zhu3 and Hui Zhou1,3

  1. 1Laboratory of Ancient DNA, School of Life Science, Jilin University, Changchun, China
  2. 2Laboratory of Ancient DNA, College of Life Science, Jilin Normal University, Siping, China
  3. 3Laboratory of Anthropology, Research Center for Chinese Frontier Archaeology, Jilin University, Changchun, China
  4. 4Department of Anthropology, Committee on Evolutionary Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, USA

Correspondence: Dr H Zhou, Laboratory of Ancient DNA, School of Life Science, Jilin University, Qianjin Street No. 2699, Changchun, Jilin 130021, China. E-mail: zhouhui@jlu.edu.cn

Received 30 May 2016; Revised 23 July 2016; Accepted 26 July 2016
Advance online publication 1 September 2016



The West Liao River Valley and the Yellow River Valley are recognized Neolithic farming centers in North China. The population dynamics between these two centers have significantly contributed to the present-day genetic patterns and the agricultural advances of North China. To understand the Neolithic farming expansions between the West Liao River Valley and the Yellow River Valley, we analyzed mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and the Y chromosome of 48 individuals from two archeological sites, Jiangjialiang (>3000 BC) and Sanguan (~1500 BC). These two sites are situated between the two farming centers and experienced a subsistence shift from hunting to farming. We did not find a significant difference in the mtDNA, but their genetic variations in the Y chromosome were different. Individuals from the Jiangjialiang belonged to two Y haplogroups, N1 (not N1a or N1c) and N1c. The individuals from the Sanguan are Y haplogroup O3. Two stages of migration are supported. Populations from the West Liao River Valley spread south at about 3000 BC, and a second northward expansion from the Yellow River Valley occurred later (3000–1500 BC).