MtDNA and Y chromosome polymorphisms in Hungary: inferences from the palaeolithic, neolithic and Uralic influences on the modern Hungarian gene pool

Abstract

Magyars imposed their language on Hungarians but seem not to have affected their genetic structure. To better investigate this point, we analysed some mtDNA and Y chromosome polymorphisms in a sample of the Hungarian Palóc who, for historical reasons, could have retained genetic traces of Magyars more than other groups. In addition, we examined a mixed sample from Budapest. About 100 individuals were tested for the markers defining all the European and Asian mtDNA haplogroups and about 50 individuals for some Y chromosome markers, namely the 12f2 and 49a,f/TaqI RFLPs, the YAP insertion, the microsatellites YCAIIa, YCAIIb, DYS19 and the Asian 50f2/C deletion. In the mtDNA analysis only two subjects belonged to the Asian B and M haplogroups. The Y chromosome analyses showed: that the Palóc differed from the Budapest sample by the absence of YAP+ allele and by the DYS19 allele distribution; that the proto-European 49a,f Ht 15 and the neolithic 12f2–8Kb were rather uncommon in both groups; that there is a high prevalence of the 49a,f Ht 11 and the YCAII a5–b1; and that the Asian 50f2/C deletion is absent. These results suggest that the influence of Magyars on the Hungarian gene pool has been very low through both females and males and the Hungarian language could be an example of cultural dominance. Alternative explanations are discussed. An expansion centred on YAP; 49a,f Ht 11 is revealed by the median network based on compound haplotypes. 49a,f Ht 11 could represent either a paleolithic marker of eastern Europe which underwent expansion after the last glacial period, or a marker of the more recent spread of the Yamnaia culture from southern Ukraine.

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Correspondence to A Silvana Santachiara-Benerecetti.

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Keywords

  • Hungary
  • Palóc
  • mtDNA variations
  • Y chromosome polymorphisms

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