Xinjiang discovery provides intriguing DNA link (2)

17:45, April 30, 2010      

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People of the lineage can be found now in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Siberia, but rarely in East Asia, Li said.

The mitochondrial DNA of five males and the nine other mummies (four females and five mummies whose gender is unknown) indicated they were related to an ancient lineage that can now be found mostly in modern Siberia, East Asia and Central Asia, Li said.

Their maternal lineage could be traced to Asian populations most likely lived in south Siberia, she said.

Two other females' DNA indicated their maternal ancestors had come from Western Europe.

"Our finding show the European and Siberian tribes began socializing with each other, even intermarrying, almost 4,000 years ago," Zhou said.

But scholars said the Europeans and Siberians might have met and intermarried outside the basin before their immigration into the basin.

"The civilization of the Tarim Basin, according to archaeological findings, arose very late. The 4,000-year-old mummies we found in Xiaohe are believed to be among the earliest inhabitants in the basin. But the Xiaohe people's DNA lineages are over 10,000 years old," Li said.

DNA with both European and Asian markings was also found in south Siberia. People of European origin had spread eastward into that region during the Bronze Age, she said.

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