Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

The definitive guide to Polish genetics (first draft)

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The definitive guide to Polish genetics (first draft)

    Part I

    Recent years have seen the publication of a plethora of genetic reports dealing with the Polish population. As a result we now have a fair idea about the Poles' genetic structure and position in Europe. In many ways these studies have challenged traditional anthropological and historical research on Poland, which often claimed the Poles to be strongly mixed with a variety of ethnic groups that have migrated to the region over the centuries.

    In a nutshell, the Poles appear to be typical northern Europeans genetically. They generally cluster with the other Indo-European speakers of the region, and show differenecs from Finno-Ugrian and southern European populations. Foreign influences on the Polish genetic pool, both from different parts of Europe, as well as from outside of Europe, appear to have been minor.

    Let's first take a look at the sex biased genetic data...

    In terms of Y-chromosome haplogroups the Poles are quite "Slavic". In other words, they are similar in this respect to the their ethnic kin in the east, the Russians and Ukranians. The most common haplogroup in all three nations is R1a - the dominant haplorgoup in eastern Europe. However, the Russians and Ukranians generally carry more of haplogroup N, which is seen most often in Finnic and Altaic populations. This suggests that the eastern Slavs absorbed Finno-Ugrian elements as they expanded east from their region of ethnogenesis.

    Western European influence on the Poles via Y-chromosome haplogroups has not been great. Haplogroup R1b, most often seen in Celtic and Germanic populations, is found at levels of 7-17% in Poland. The typically Germanic I1a is even rarer, occuring at less than 6% in Poland as a whole.

    In appears that the German, Dutch, Scottish, French and Italian migrants of the middle ages left a much lesser mark on Poland's population than previously thought. Invasions of Poland by Germans and Swedes also appear to have been rather minor influences on the present Poles' paternal makeup.

    And it seems that migrants and invasions from the east have been even less successful in this respect. Typically East Asian and Siberian haplogroups, such as C and Q respectively, are extremely rare in Poland. The Finno-Ugric N, which is thought to have an East Asian origin, and was probably also carried by invading Asian nomads, is commonly found at 3-4% in Poland. However, most of this haplorgoup in Poland is probably due to Lithuanian admixture, and not direct Asian influence. N is found in about 40% of the population in Lithuania, which was joined with Poland for centuries as part of the Polish-Lithuanian Kingdom.

    Typically Near Eastern haplogroups such as J and G are also uncommon in Poland. Western and southern European populations, as well as the Ukranians and southwest Russians, carry more of these Middle Eastern markers than Poles. This argues against any significant Jewish, Armenian and Turkish influence on the present Polish population, despite these groups' well documented presence in Polish history.

    http://img145.imageshack.us/img145/8114/mapbp0.jpg

    More detailed haplotype Y-chromosome data support the findings of the broader haplogroup surveys, but also throw up a couple of surprises. Poles show some similarities to Germans, but more so to Russians. They also tend to share haplotypes with Lithuanians and Latvians, which might be a sign of the common Balto-Slavic origin of these groups. Yet in the end, the Poles also show a remarkable homogenity and distinctiveness.

    Population samples from Germany and Russia also showed similarities to Polish populations, with relatively small RST-values on pairwise comparisons (0.0176-0.097). It is noteworthy that all but one of the comparisons between the six Polish populations and the Russians revealed statistically non-significant differences (0.05 0.001). These genetic similarities are most probably a result of the common Slavic origin. On the other hand, small genetic distances between all of the Polish-German population pairs were statistically significant (P<0.0001), which might reflect the different background of Slavic-speaking and German-speaking populations.
    From "Homogeneity and distinctiveness of Polish paternal lineages revealed by Y chromosome microsatellite haplotype analysis".

    Haplotype data is also more useful than haplogroups when focusing more closely on the paternal admixture from Asia. For example, although R1a is common in Poland, it's also common among Tatars. So in this instance it would be difficult to tell whether or not the Tatars contributed to the Polish gene pool. However, according to the YHRD database, haplotypes typically seen in Turko-Mongol groups of Central Asia are rare in Poland, even if they represent typically European haplogroups such as R1a and R1b. They make up less than 1% of the combined Polish sample.

    Moving onto the other 50% of sex biased DNA, the maternal mtDNA...

    Differences in mtDNA within Europe are not major. In northern Europe populations speaking Slavic, Germanic and Baltic carry the same basic haplogroups in very similar frequencies. Poles do show some similarities to Russians in this respect that would suggest a common Slavic origin. However, they also share rare mtDNA markers with Germanic speakers.

    Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region sequences were determined in Poles (n = 436) and Russians (n = 201). Despite the high mtDNA diversity, both populations are characterized by similar pattern of mtDNA haplogroup distribution, which is also typical for many European populations studied. The analysis of mtDNA haplotype distribution has shown that both Slavonic populations share them mainly with Germans and Finns. The following numbers of the rare shared haplotypes and subclusters were found between populations analyzed: 10% between Poles and Germans, 7.4% between Poles and Russians, and 4.5% between Russians and Germans. A novel subcluster U4-310, defined by mutation at nucleotide position 310 in HVS II, was found predominantly in common between Poles and Russians (at frequency of 2%). Given the relatively high frequency and diversity of this marker among Poles and its low frequency in the neighbouring German and Finnish populations, we suggest a central European origin of U4-310, following by subsequent dispersal of this mtDNA subgroup in eastern European populations during the Slavonic migrations in early Middle Ages.
    From "Mitochondrial DNA analysis in Poles and Russians"

    Our results indicate that AvaII morph and haplogorup composition of the Polish population is similar to oher European populations and has a distribution typical for this part of the world. However, statistically significant differenes in haplogroup composition were found between the Polish population and Italian and Finnish populations.
    From "Comparison between the Polish population and European populations on the basis of mitochondrial morphs and haplogroups".

    http://img45.imageshack.us/img45/675...aeuropext3.jpg

    At the same time, Poles carry about 1.8% of the East Asian haplogroup M. It's somewhat of a mystery how this foreign maternal admixture found its way into the Polish gene pool, considering that the Turko-Mongol invaders of the middle ages were largely male.

    Since the Baltic populations to the north carry less than 1% of these Asian haplogroups, and European Russians about 1.5%, it is more likely that they found their way to Poland from the south. Czechs are known to carry 3% of East Asian mtDNA, probably as a result of admixture from the Huns, Avars and Magyars. Therefore, the most likely scenario is that women with Turko-Mongol admixture moved to Poland from such regions as Moravia, Slovakia and Hungary, rather than directly from Asia.

    Sub-Saharan African specififc mtDNA haplogroups are much more unusual in Poland, and appear more commonly in such western European countries as Germany and Norway.
    Last edited by MrHappy; 12 February 2007, 09:20 PM.

  • #2
    Part II

    And now onto Autosomal (non-sex biased) tests...recognised as the best way to test population structure.

    More recent studies looking at thousands of genome wide Autosomal markers have firmly put the Poles in the same cluster with northern Europan populations such as the Irish, English, Germans and Swedes. This perhaps suggests that these populations share ancient links which are not apparent when comparing the fast mutating Y-chromosome markers discussed above.

    Please note that in the first digram Poles are shown along with other Eastern Europeans in pink (EEURA). In the second. they are shown seperately in green. In both diagrams they cluster strongly with the "Northern" samples.

    http://img176.imageshack.us/img176/1...lusterstz7.jpg

    From "European Population Substructure: Clustering of Northern and Southern Populations"

    Interesting to note...

    Regardless of the European country of origin, each of those participants with four grandparents of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage showed this predominant “southern” cluster membership.
    This could be more proof that Poles and Jews rarely mixed during their many years of co-existance.

    Another Autosomal study came up with similar conclusions...

    Within the two broad Northern (Polish, Irish, English, Germans and some Italians) and Southeastern (Greeks, Armenians, Jews and some Italians) clusters further reliable structure is less obvious as individuals from different population samples are often interspersed with each other.
    From "Measuring European Population Stratification using Microarray Genotype Data"

    Diagrams from the same report show the Poles sampled to be most similar to the West Irish and East English individuals, rather than to Germans, who seem to have somehwhat more Mediterranean/Middle eastern infleunce. But Finns are the only northern Europeans who really stand out here, clearly showing more similarity to the Altaic group than the others.

    In line with their non-Indo-European Uralic language and previous Y-chromosome work,25 the Finns show evidence of an increased affinity to the Central Asian populations when placed in an inter-continental context.
    http://img368.imageshack.us/img368/3...geneticmu0.jpg

    http://img368.imageshack.us/img368/2...eticstrhg7.jpg


    More studies are on the way apparently, so I will be adding to this report...

    Comment


    • #3
      MrHappy:

      very interesting data. For curiosity, is there a table for the frequencies of the main mtdna haplogroups in Poland?

      Also, regarding mtdna-haplogroup M, this would include both East Asian things like A or C (ie mongols etc), and Indian M5 or the like, which is common among the gypsies. So some of it may be gypsy.

      cacio

      Comment


      • #4
        Yes, some of the M in Poland is probably from Gypsies, although I'm not sure whether it was found in this particular study.

        I'll post a table soon...

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for posting such an in-depth article. I'm concerned that your citations are light and would like to see them in full as your time allows. I've seen several of the same papers but am not sure specifically which ones you've seen. There has been a need for more Polish information to those of us like me who have been scanning the literature for more information to assist in interpretation of YDNA test results.

          Robert
          R1a1

          Comment


          • #6
            I think you make too large a distinction between 'native' and 'foreign', and you tend to explain away unusual haplogroups as 'foreign' admixture. Such cases are far more likely to result from shared history.

            For example, the yDNA N in Poland is far more likely the natural result of the fact that the Baltic-Finnics, who populated the Baltic Coast before the Slavs and Balts arrived, may have occupied a fairly large territory that included not only the present-day Baltic republics but also parts of Poland and even northeastern Germany.

            And the mtDNA M in Poland is unlikely to be the result of Moravian immigrants, and more likely the result of the fact that in the first millennium, modern state boundaries were nonexistent and ethnic groups like the Avars and Huns went, or fled, wherever they could in the region when their nations fell from power.

            Also, your essay insensitively glosses over the fact that throughout much of Polish history, various other ethnic groups held a prominent place in the country's life and in its population statistics. This remained true until the genocides and ethnic cleansings of the 1930s and 1940s, which resulted in a artificial, unhistorical homogeneity in the modern Polish population. It is obviously too late to undo any of that now, but we can at least be sensitive to the issue. We certainly must not pretend that such other ethnic groups were never present or never made an impact.

            Comment


            • #7
              I do not mean to be overly critical of your essay. It is a useful summary, and interesting interpretive synthesis, of the published research on Polish genetic content. However...

              I also hope and assume that your use of the term 'definitive' is humor rather than pomposity. Needless to say, even a prestigious worldwide team of researchers could not claim to write a 'definitive' guide to Polish genetics, simply because we are still primarily in the data collection stage.
              Last edited by lgmayka; 15 February 2007, 06:22 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by lgmayka
                And the mtDNA M in Poland is unlikely to be the result of Moravian immigrants, and more likely the result of the fact that in the first millennium, modern state boundaries were nonexistent and ethnic groups like the Avars and Huns went, or fled, wherever they could in the region when their nations fell from power.
                I can't see women fleeing after the collapse of the Hun/Avar Empire. I can see them being taken as prisoners, and then mated with, probably south of present day Poland. The men would more likely to be killed. These genes would then drift north.

                That's what history has shown us. It's actually the women who pass on more of their genes. This is why there's usually more diversity in mtDNA than Y-STRs.

                Also, your essay insensitively glosses over the fact that throughout much of Polish history, various other ethnic groups held a prominent place in the country's life and in its population statistics. This remained true until the genocides and ethnic cleansings of the 1930s and 1940s, which resulted in a artificial, unhistorical homogeneity in the modern Polish population. It is obviously too late to undo any of that now, but we can at least be sensitive to the issue. We certainly must not pretend that such other ethnic groups were never present or never made an impact.
                I'm just writing about Polish population genetics. I didn't have the space, nor the time, to go into details about the cultural and historic impact of migrants on Poland. My essay was not about that and I didn't imply that it was.

                It's not a matter of being senstitive or not. I just don't see any evidence of admixture, whether it's German or Jewish. No point pretending that there is, or changing the subject of the essay.

                The lack of Jewish admixture in Poland is quite startling, considering the millions of Jews who lived in Poland. Yet the Polish Jews firmly cluster with southern Europeans, while Poles with the northerners.

                As for the Finnic influence on the southern Baltic shore, again, there's no evidence of that at this point. The only place Tat-C (N) reaches 10% is right near the Lithuanian border, and that's no co-incidence. In nearby Bialystok the level of Tat-C drops right down. In Eastern Germany Tat-C is even rarer. But more extensive genome wide SNP studies will clarifiy that issue I'm sure.
                Last edited by MrHappy; 15 February 2007, 06:22 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  And yes, the "definitive" is just Polish humour.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MrHappy
                    It's not a matter of being senstitive or not. I just don't see any evidence of admixture, whether it's German or Jewish. No point pretending that there is, or changing the subject of the essay.
                    You're not getting the point. So-called 'foreigners' were part of Poland for hundreds of years; they are not 'foreign' or 'admixture' except with respect to the population remaining after the genocides and cleansings associated with World War II.

                    It is true that the various ethnic groups in Poland were generally endogamous, and so one can reasonably speak of a Polish ethnic group over the centuries, namely those whose first language was some dialect of Polish or a closely related language such as Kashubian. But again, this must be phrased with diplomacy so as not to imply that some citizens of Poland 'belong' and others don't.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Also, much of the R1b and I1a in Poland appears to be indigenous, not an import from Western Europe.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by lgmayka
                        Also, much of the R1b and I1a in Poland appears to be indigenous, not an import from Western Europe.

                        Ahh, I should add that to my second draft.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by lgmayka
                          You're not getting the point. So-called 'foreigners' were part of Poland for hundreds of years; they are not 'foreign' or 'admixture' except with respect to the population remaining after the genocides and cleansings associated with World War II.

                          It is true that the various ethnic groups in Poland were generally endogamous, and so one can reasonably speak of a Polish ethnic group over the centuries, namely those whose first language was some dialect of Polish or a closely related language such as Kashubian. But again, this must be phrased with diplomacy so as not to imply that some citizens of Poland 'belong' and others don't.
                          Well, now we're getting into political corectness and semantics.

                          Basically to me anything outside the ethnic Polish group equates to foreign genetic admixture. If anyone is confused by that I am happy to clarify it.

                          I am, after all, dealing with genetic groups and clusters, not cultural or political acceptance.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MrHappy
                            Well, now we're getting into political corectness and semantics.
                            No, it is merely correctness.

                            Basically to me anything outside the ethnic Polish group equates to foreign genetic admixture.
                            It is correct to call any influx from outside the historical ethnic Polish group a genetic admixture, but not to use the adjective 'foreign'. 'foreign' is a political term, applicable to non-citizens, and highly objectionable when applied merely to someone whose first language differs from yours.

                            I am, after all, dealing with genetic groups and clusters, not cultural or political acceptance.
                            False. You are referring to various population studies of modern-day Poles which generally did not deliberately exclude people of other ethnicities (i.e., first languages other than Polish). You are relying on the fact that the genocides, ethnic cleansings, and foreign domination associated with World War II artificially induced a kind of 'ethnic purity' into Poland which had not been there in at least the preceding 600 years. You should have stated this precondition more clearly.

                            In general, you also seem to miss the primary reason for people to investigate genetic ancestry. In Polish terms, it is not the R1a men who scour research papers for clues as to their origin--they consider it quite obvious that R1a was the predominant haplogroup of the ancient Slavs, and so R1a is essentially the 'default' haplogroup of Poles. It is precisely the members of other haplogroups who see a need to 'explain' their origin, and who are therefore generally most interested in genetic ancestry. Your essay could easily be interpreted as disparaging all the other elements, from various sources, that have come to compose the Polish ethnic group, and beyond that the historical Polish Republic.


                            But again, I do not mean to be overly critical of your contribution to the forum. I myself have been sensitized to issues like this precisely because, as the administrator of the Polish Project, I deal every day with the basic question I mentioned in the previous paragraph: When and how did this man's ancestor, in this haplogroup, come to be part of Poland? R1a men rarely ask this question, because they don't need to. Others do.
                            Last edited by lgmayka; 15 February 2007, 10:51 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Sorry to butt in on this discussion, but I saw a form of logic on a Lemko site recently that helped me get my head straight about national groups, haplogroups, ethnicities, etc. It said that there are about 4,000 ethnic groups in this world and about 200 countries. Using Immanual Kant's "what if everyone did what I want to do" philosophy, we'd have a pretty cut-up messy, gerrymandering world. Most countries and communities, by logic alone, must be "catch alls." The important thing is the way a nation's power brokers treat those "people groups" whithin its borders.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X