ISSN 1022-7954, Russian Journal of Genetics, 2009, Vol. 45, No. 7, pp. 870–874. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2009.
Original Russian Text © N.V. Volodko, N.P. Eltsov, E.B. Starikovskaya, R.I. Sukernik, 2009, published in Genetika, 2009, Vol. 45, No. 7, pp. 992–996.
Modern Yukaghirs are the descendants of ancient
Mongoloid populations, who by genetic and cultural
continuity are tied to prehistoric reindeer and elk hunt-
ers of Northern Eurasia . According to archaeologi-
cal data, direct ancestors of Yukaghirs (pro-Yukaghirs)
during many thousand years inhabited tundra zone and
northern forests from the Yenisei River to the upper
reaches of the Anadyr River [2, 3]. The ﬁrst historical
documents dating back to the mid-17th century showed
that Yukaghirs numbered about 5000 , and the whole
population was subdivided into 12 to 13 tribes (Fig. 1).
After annexation of the Yukaghir lands to the Russian
state, the population number reduced, primarily
because of devastating epidemics of smallpox and mea-
sles. By the early 20th century, Yukaghir ethnic stratum
was represented by only some territorial groups from
the interﬂuves of Yana and Lower Indigirka rivers,
Alazeya River, and lower and upper Kolyma River. The
total population number of Yukaghirs, including Yuk-
aghirs–Chuvans from Anadyr, was not more than 1000
Analysis of the Mitochondrial DNA Diversity
in Yukaghirs in the Evolutionary Context
N. V. Volodko, N. P. Eltsov, E. B. Starikovskaya, and R. I. Sukernik
Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, 630090 Russia;
Received September 2, 2009
—Based on the mtDNA ﬁrst hypervariable segment sequence variation data, statistical analysis of the
diversity in Yukaghirs in comparison with the other indigenous populations of Siberia, was carried out. The
level of the Yukaghir mtDNA gene diversity (
) constituted 0.920, which was only slightly different from the
corresponding estimate for the other Siberian populations. Integral estimates of the genetic structure of Siberian
) are presented. Phylogenetic analysis, performed using the neighbor-joining
method, showed that the Siberian populations clustered irrespectively to their language afﬁliation. Negative
values found in Yukaghirs pointed to the possible inﬂuence of adaptive selection.
East Siberian Sea
Traditional home territory of Yukaghir tribes in 17th century . Contemporary settlements, where expeditionary blood sam-
ples for the mtDNA analysis were collected are designated by black circles (additional information is presented in ).