Western Kazakhstan is populated by three clans totaling 2 million people. Since the clans are patrilineal, the Y-chromosome is the most informative genetic system for tracing their origin. We genotyped 40 Y-SNP and 17 Y-STR markers in 330 Western Kazakhs. High phylogenetic resolution within haplogroup C2a1a2-M48 was achieved by using additional SNPs. Three lines of evidence indicate that the Alimuly and Baiuly clans (but not the Zhetiru clan) have a common founder placed 700 ± 200 years back by the STR data and 500 ± 200 years back by the sequencing data. This supports traditional genealogy claims about the descent of these clans from Emir Alau, who lived 650 years ago and whose lineage might be carried by two-thirds of Western Kazakhs. There is accumulation of specific haplogroups in the subclans representing other lineages, confirming that the clan structure corresponds with the paternal genetic structure of the steppe population.
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We are grateful for the trust of the sample donors. This work was funded by the Ministry of Education and Science of Republic Kazakhstan (Grants No. AP05134955). EB was funded by the State assignments of Russian Ministry of Science and Higher Education for the Research Centre for Medical Genetics. OB was funded by the Russian Scientific Fund project 17-14-01345 (statistical analysis of the Central Asian influence). MZ and HL are supported by Scientific and Technology Committee of Shanghai Municipality (19410740700). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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Ethical approval and consent to participate were received from the Ethics Committee of the Research Centre for Medical Genetics (Moscow, Russia), National Center for Biotechnology and the National Laboratory Astana (Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan).
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Zhabagin, M., Sabitov, Z., Tazhigulova, I. et al. Medieval Super-Grandfather founder of Western Kazakh Clans from Haplogroup C2a1a2-M48. J Hum Genet (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s10038-021-00901-5