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Journal Articles Communications Biology Year : 2020

The genetic legacy of legendary and historical Siberian chieftains

Michel Petit
Aisen Solovyev
  • Function : Author
Georgii Romanov
  • Function : Author
Nikolay Barashkov
  • Function : Author
Sardana Fedorova
  • Function : Author


Seventeen years of archaeological and anthropological expeditions in North-Eastern Siberia (in the Sakha Republic, Yakutia) have permitted the genetic analysis of 150 ancient (15th-19th century) and 510 modern individuals. Almost all males were successfully analysed (Y-STR) and this allowed us to identify paternal lineages and their geographical expansion through time. This genetic data was confronted with mythological, historical and material evidence to establish the sequence of events that built the modern Yakut genetic diversity. We show that the ancient Yakuts recovered from this large collection of graves are not representative of an ancient population. Uncommonly, we were also able to demonstrate that the funerary preference observed here involved three specific male lineages, especially in the 18th century. Moreover, this dominance was likely caused by the Russian conquest of Siberia which allowed some male clans to rise to new levels of power. Finally, we give indications that some mythical and historical figures might have been the actors of those genetic changes. These results help us reconsider the genetic dynamics of colonization in some regions, question the distinction between fact and myth in national histories and provide a rare insight into a funerary ensemble by revealing the biased process of its composition.

Dates and versions

hal-03227922 , version 1 (17-05-2021)



Vincent Zvénigorosky, Sylvie Duchesne, Liubomira Romanova, Patrice Gérard, Christiane Petit, et al.. The genetic legacy of legendary and historical Siberian chieftains. Communications Biology, 2020, 3, pp.581. ⟨10.1038/s42003-020-01307-3⟩. ⟨hal-03227922⟩
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