Genomic study of the Ket: a Paleo-Eskimo-related ethnic group with significant ancient North Eurasian ancestry

Genomic study of the Ket: a Paleo-Eskimo-related ethnic group with significant ancient North Eurasian ancestryPavel Flegontov, Piya Changmai, Anastassiya Zidkova, Maria D. Logacheva, Olga Flegontova, Mikhail S. Gelfand, Evgeny S. Gerasimov, Ekaterina V. Khrameeva, Olga P. Konovalova, Tatiana Neretina, Yuri V. Nikolsky, George Starostin, Vita V. Stepanova, Igor V. Travinsky, Martin Tříska, Petr Tříska, Tatiana V. Tatarinova
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/024554
The Kets, an ethnic group in the Yenisei River basin, Russia, are considered the last nomadic hunter-gatherers of Siberia, and Ket language has no transparent affiliation with any language family. We investigated connections between the Kets and Siberian and North American populations, with emphasis on the Mal’ta and Paleo-Eskimo ancient genomes, using original data from 46 unrelated samples of Kets and 42 samples of their neighboring ethnic groups (Uralic-speaking Nganasans, Enets, and Selkups). We genotyped over 130,000 autosomal SNPs, determined mitochondrial and Y-chromosomal haplogroups, and performed high-coverage genome sequencing of two Ket individuals. We established that the Kets belong to the cluster of Siberian populations related to Paleo-Eskimos. Unlike other members of this cluster (Nganasans, Ulchi, Yukaghirs, and Evens), Kets and closely related Selkups have a high degree of Mal’ta ancestry. Implications of these findings for the linguistic hypothesis uniting Ket and Na-Dene languages into a language macrofamily are discussed.

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