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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Neolithic Patrilineal Signals on the Armenian Plateau

A recently released study on the Y-Chromosomes of Armenians from four distinct regions, the Ararat Valley, Gardman, Lake Van and Sasun shows a predominence of the J2-M172 haplogroup, combined with R1b, G2 and E1b1c1. The paper indicates settlement and population expansion dating back to the neolithic. This study , undertaken by Herrera, Underhill, Regueiro and others, recorded frequencies, calculated variance and compared these figures with neighbouring populations in an attempt to understand the migrations of the most frequent haplogroups observed within a neolithic context.

Frequencies of J2-M172 were very high, at 30% in the Gardman Region of present day Azerbaijan and 29% in the Lake Van region of eastern Turkey. J2a-M410(xM67) was the most frequent haplogroup subclade observed. A single P279 haplotype (J2a3), an extremely rare sublcade of J2 was also observed. Haplotype diversity, often used to determine the age of a particular haplogroup, was highest in neighbouring Palestine, followed by Crete, Syria, Greece and Lebanon. These figures, the authors suggest, could be indicative of an arrival of J2 chromosomes to the Armenian Plateau from the Levant possibly coinciding with the expansion of Agriculture.

The data observed in the Armenian Plateau, while carrying frequencies of Haplogroup J2 common in other areas of the Middle East, showed a much higher level of R1b, a correlation not observed in neighbouring populations like Iran, Iraq and the Levant. The authors suggest both R1b and J2, combined with other haplogroups E1b1b1-M35 and G2a are all indicative of Neolithic expansions and migrations. Yet R1b stands out from this group as it shows a very different frequency and spread from J, E and G haplogroups, which are much more frequent in the Fertile Crescent.

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