[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The prevalence of adult-type hypolactasia varies ethnically and geographically among populations. A C/T-13910 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) upstream of the lactase gene is known to be associated with lactase non-persistence in Europeans. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of lactase persistent and non-persistent genotypes in current Hungarian-speaking populations and in ancient bone samples of classical conquerors and commoners from the 10th-11th centuries from the Carpathian basin; 181 present-day Hungarian, 65 present-day Sekler, and 23 ancient samples were successfully genotyped for the C/T-13910 SNP by the dCAPS PCR-RFLP method. Additional mitochondrial DNA testing was also carried out. In ancient Hungarians, the T-13910 allele was present only in 11% of the population, and exclusively in commoners of European mitochondrial haplogroups who may have been of pre-Hungarian indigenous ancestry. This is despite animal domestication and dairy products having been introduced into the Carpathian basin early in the Neolithic Age. This anomaly may be explained by the Hungarian use of fermented milk products, their greater consumption of ruminant meat than milk, cultural differences, or by their having other lactase-regulating genetic polymorphisms than C/T-13910. The low prevalence of lactase persistence provides additional information on the Asian origin of Hungarians. Present-day Hungarians have been assimilated with the surrounding European populations, since they do not differ significantly from the neighboring populations in their possession of mtDNA and C/T-13910 variants.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology 06/2011; 145(2):262-9. DOI:10.1002/ajpa.21490 · 2.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Movements of human populations leave their traces in the genetic makeup of the areas affected; the same applies to the horses that move with their owners This study is concerned with the mitochondrial control region genotypes of 31 archaeological horse remains, excavated from pre-conquest Avar and post-conquest Hungarian burial sites in the Carpathian Basin dating from the sixth to the tenth century. To investigate relationships to other ancient and recent breeds, modern Hucul and Akhal Teke samples were also collected, and mtDNA control region (CR) sequences from 76 breeds representing 921 individual specimens were combined with our sequence data. Phylogenetic relationships among horse mtDNA CR haplotypes were estimated using both genetic distance and the non-dichotomous network method. Both methods indicated a separation between horses of the Avars and the Hungarians. Our results show that the ethnic changes induced by the Hungarian Conquest were accompanied by a corresponding change in the stables of the Carpathian Basin.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Hungarian population belongs linguistically to the Finno-Ugric branch of the Uralic family. The Tat C allele is an interesting marker in the Finno-Ugric context, distributed in all the Finno-Ugric-speaking populations, except for Hungarians. This question arises whether the ancestral Hungarians, who settled in the Carpathian Basin, harbored this polymorphism or not. 100 men from modern Hungary, 97 Szeklers (a Hungarian-speaking population from Transylvania), and 4 archaeologically Hungarian bone samples from the 10(th) century were studied for this polymorphism. Among the modern individuals, only one Szekler carries the Tat C allele, whereas out of the four skeletal remains, two possess the allele. The latter finding, even allowing for the low sample number, appears to indicate a Siberian lineage of the invading Hungarians, which later has largely disappeared. The two modern Hungarian-speaking populations, based on 22 Y-chromosomal binary markers, share similar components described for other Europeans, except for the presence of the haplogroup P*(xM173) in Szekler samples, which may reflect a Central Asian connection, and high frequency of haplogroup J in both Szeklers and Hungarians. MDS analysis based on haplogroup frequency values, confirms that modern Hungarian and Szekler populations are genetically closely related, and similar to populations from Central Europe and the Balkans.
Annals of Human Genetics 08/2008; 72(Pt 4):519-34. DOI:10.1111/j.1469-1809.2008.00440.x · 2.21 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Hungarian language belongs to the Finno-Ugric branch of the Uralic family, but Hungarian speakers have been living in Central Europe for more than 1000 years, surrounded by speakers of unrelated Indo-European languages. In order to study the continuity in maternal lineage between ancient and modern Hungarian populations, polymorphisms in the HVSI and protein coding regions of mitochondrial DNA sequences of 27 ancient samples (10th-11th centuries), 101 modern Hungarian, and 76 modern Hungarian-speaking Sekler samples from Transylvania were analyzed. The data were compared with sequences derived from 57 European and Asian populations, including Finno-Ugric populations, and statistical analyses were performed to investigate their genetic relationships. Only 2 of 27 ancient Hungarian samples are unambiguously Asian: the rest belong to one of the western Eurasian haplogroups, but some Asian affinities, and the genetic effect of populations who came into contact with ancient Hungarians during their migrations are seen. Strong differences appear when the ancient Hungarian samples are analyzed according to apparent social status, as judged by grave goods. Commoners show a predominance of mtDNA haplotypes and haplogroups (H, R, T), common in west Eurasia, while high-status individuals, presumably conquering Hungarians, show a more heterogeneous haplogroup distribution, with haplogroups (N1a, X) which are present at very low frequencies in modern worldwide populations and are absent in recent Hungarian and Sekler populations. Modern Hungarian-speaking populations seem to be specifically European. Our findings demonstrate that significant genetic differences exist between the ancient and recent Hungarian-speaking populations, and no genetic continuity is seen.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology 11/2007; 134(3):354-68. DOI:10.1002/ajpa.20677 · 2.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bos primigenius, the wild aurochs is believed to be the ancestor of European domestic cattle, Bos taurus. The geography and climate of the Great Hungarian Plain were well suited for these large grazing animals in the Late Neolithic. Till now, there are just a few aurochs mtDNA fragments available from two geographically restricted area, the British Isles and Italy. To increase our knowledge about the genetics of the European aurochsen livestock, and to investigate the phylogenetic position of a late Neolithic aurochs, excavated from the Carpathian Basin, mitochondrial DNA was extracted from a fragment of corpus mandibulae using ancient-DNA techniques and a portion of mitochondrial hypervariable region was amplified by PCR. The resulting sequence was aligned with GenBank sequences of 11 aurochsen. Our new sequence is identical with the sequence of two British aurochs. The 6000-year-old Hungarian aurochs shows a mtDNA sequence pattern, that occurs only among 6-12,000-year-old North European aurochsen, and it does not occur among modern, domesticated cattle.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Cumanians were originally Asian pastoral nomads who in the 13th century migrated to Hungary. We have examined mitochondrial DNA from members of the earliest Cumanian population in Hungary from two archeologically well-documented excavations and from 74 modern Hungarians from different rural locations in Hungary. Haplogroups were defined based on HVS I sequences and examinations of haplogroup-associated polymorphic sites of the protein coding region and of HVS II. To exclude contamination, some ancient DNA samples were cloned. A database was created from previously published mtDNA HVS I sequences (representing 2,615 individuals from different Asian and European populations) and 74 modem Hungarian sequences from the present study. This database was used to determine the relationships between the ancient Cumanians, modern Hungarians, and Eurasian populations and to estimate the genetic distances between these populations. We attempted to deduce the genetic trace of the migration of Cumanians. This study is the first ancient DNA characterization of an eastern pastoral nomad population that migrated into Europe. The results indicate that, while still possessing a Central Asian steppe culture, the Cumanians received a large admixture of maternal genes from more westerly populations before arriving in Hungary. A similar dilution of genetic, but not cultural, factors may have accompanied the settlement of other Asian nomads in Europe.
Human Biology 11/2005; 77(5):639-62. DOI:10.1353/hub.2006.0007 · 0.85 Impact Factor