Y chromosomes of ancient Hunnu people and its implication on the phylogeny of East Asian linguistic families. LL. Kang1,2, TB. Jin1, F. Wu1,2, X. Ao2, SQ. Wen2, CC. Wang2, YZ. Huang2, XL. Li1,2, H. Li1,2 1) Key Laboratory of High Altitude Environment and Gene Related to Disease of Tibet Ministry of Education,School of Medicine, Tibet University for Nationalities, Xianyang, Shaanxi, China; 2) MOE Key Laboratory of Contemporary Anthropology, School of Life Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.
The Hunnu (Xiongnu) people, also called Huns in Europe, were the largest ethnic group to the north of Han Chinese until the 5th century. The ethno-linguistic affiliation of the Hunnu is controversial among Yeniseian, Altaic, Uralic, and Indo-European. Ancient DNA analyses on the remains of the Hunnu people had shown some clues to this problem. Y chromosome haplogroups of Hunnu remains included Q-M242, N-Tat, C-M130, and R1a1. Recently, we analyzed three samples of Hunnu from Barköl, Xinjiang, China, and determined Q-M3 haplogroup. Therefore, most Y chromosomes of the Hunnu samples examined by multiple studies are belonging to the Q haplogroup. Q-M3 is mostly found in Yeniseian and American Indian peoples, suggesting that Hunnu should be in the Yeniseian family. The Y chromosome diversity is well associated with linguistic families in East Asia. According to the similarity in the Y chromosome profiles, there are four pairs of congenetic families, i.e., Austronesian and Tai-Kadai, Mon-Khmer and Hmong-Mien, Sino-Tibetan and Uralic, Yeniseian and Palaesiberian. Between 4,000-2,000 years before present, Tai-Kadai, Hmong-Mien, Sino-Tibetan, and Yeniseian languages transformed into toned analytic languages, becoming quite different from the rest four. Since Hunnu was in the Yeniseian family, all these four toned families were distributed in the inland of China during the transformations. There must be some social or biological factors induced the transformations at that time, which is worth doing more linguistic and genetic researches.
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