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Thread: Are Hungarians and Finns Phenotypically and Genetically Germanic/European?

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    Question Are Hungarians and Finns Phenotypically and Genetically Germanic/European?

    Are Hungarians and Finns Mostly Germanic?

    There is "[a] substantial paternal genetic contribution of Asians to northern European populations such as the Finns." Am. J. Hum. Genet. 60:1174-1183, 1997


    The Origin of the Baltic-Finns from the Physical Anthropological Point of View

    Markku Niskanen

    University of Oulu, Finland

    The author provides a comprehensive analysis of the physical anthropology of the Finns and Saami, comparing them with other Scandinavian peoples and contrasting them genetically with the Mongoloid peoples of Asia, notwithstanding the affinities which link the Finnish language with the Uralic and to a lesser extent the Altaic languages. He concludes that both the Finns and the Saami are genetically Caucasoid or European, and that the Finns especially are closely akin to the other North European peoples of Scandinavia.

    Linguistic boundaries are often also genetic boundaries, as Barbujani and Sokal (1990) have demonstrated in the case of Europe, because most people do not marry across linguistic and other cultural boundaries.

    However, we should not automatically assume that the linguistically-related populations always have the same genetic origin or the linguistically distinct populations have separate origins because languages are inherited through cultural transmission.

    The old assumptions of the Baltic-Finns and other Uralic-speakers’ genetic affinities with the Asian populations are primarily based on the theory that the Uralic-speakers arrived from the east and, therefore, should be genetically distinct from the Indo-Europeans of Europe.

    The widespread assumption that all of the Uralic-speaking people are at least partially “Mongoloid” has its origin in Friedrich Blumenbach’s 200-year-old claim that two Saami (Lapp) skulls and one Finnish skull resembled one Mongol skull. The Mongoloid affinity of the Finno-Ugrians was accepted as scientific truth by those who had actually never seen the people in question because Blumenbach was a prominent scientist of his time and the linguists were looking for the Uralic homeland to be somewhere in the east (Kilpeläinen 1985, Kemiläinen 1985, 1993).

    Interpretations of findings of physical anthropologists and geneticists have been until nowadays strongly influenced by this assumption of eastern affinities of the Finno-Ugrians. For example, Karin Mark (1970) calculated what she calls “Mongolidheitsindex” (Mongoloid-index) from facial features to estimate the proportion of Mongoloid element of Finno-Ugric populations. Also, many prominent geneticists (for example, Guglielmino et al. 1990, Cavalli-Sforza et al. 1994, Piazza et al. 1995) assume that the original homeland of the Uralic people was northwestern Siberia; the ancestral Uralic people were Mongoloids; the Samoyeds are the purest representatives of this ancestral type; ancestors of the Baltic-Finns and the Saami arrived in the west along the Arctic coast and mixed genetically with the Europeans. These researchers (mainly Piazza et al. 1995) consider the Finns, whom they find genetically typical Europeans contrary to this assumption, as an example of a discrepancy between the language and the genes.

    These old assumptions are incorrect. In reality, all Finno-Ugrians of Europe (the Baltic-Finns, Saami, Volga-Finns, Permian-Finns, and Hungarians) are phenotypically and genetically typical Europeans.

    The Ob-Ugrians (Khanty and Mansi) of western Siberia, who are genetically poorly known are phenotypically European-Siberian Mongoloid intermediates.

    Only the Samoyeds are phenotypically and genetically predominantly Siberian Mongoloids.



    Genetic Relationships of Asians and Northern Europeans, Revealed by Y-Chromosomal DNA Analysis

    Am. J. Hum. Genet. 60:1174-1183, 1997


    Most Europeans speak Indo-European languages, but the Saami (also called "Lapps") in northern Scandinavia, the Finns, and the Estonians speak languages belonging to the quite different, Uralic (formerly called "Finno-Ugric") language group. This has led to the traditional view of their origin that they have come from a "Finno-Ugric homeland" in central Asia (Sajantila and Paabo 1995).

    Genetic analysis of classical markers (Cavalli-Sforza et al. 1994) and of mtDNA (Sajantila et al. 1995) confirms that the Saami are distinct from other European populations, but results for the Finns are less clear. Early studies provided evidence for some Asian admixture (Nevanlinna 1980), but more recent work has found that the Finns are indistinguishable from other European populations (Lahermo et al. 1996). It therefore has been suggested that the Finns are of European origin and originally spoke an Indo-European language but recently have adopted their present Uralic language (Sajantila and Paabo 1995).

    The new Y-chromosomal marker allows us to compare paternal lineages with the information provided by maternal lineages and language. It reveals that the European Uralic-speaking populations share with some central and northeastern Asians a Y-chromosome haplotype, providing genetic evidence for a substantial Asian paternal contribution to these northern European populations.

    Since the C-allele chromosomes probably have a single origin in Asia, the high frequency in the northern European populations might be explained formally by (1) differential migration of males from Asia to Europe; (2) differential gene flow, with either European autosomal and mtDNA sequences -but not Y-chromosomal DNA sequences-entering a population of Asian origin or Asian Y chromosomes entering a population of European origin; or (3) either genetic drift in small founder populations containing both European and Asian elements or subsequent bottlenecks.

    The presence of the highest European frequencies of the C allele in the Mari, Mordva, Estonians, Finns, and Saami, all Uralic speakers, suggests that the chromosomes have been carried westward by migrations of Uralic-speaking populations that extended as far as Finland. In this case, the Finns could have retained their original language and Y chromosomes but could have replaced most of their mtDNA and autosomal DNA by European sequences (Sajantila and Paabo 1995; Lahermo et al. 1996).

    There is thought to have been a bottleneck in the Finnish population 12,000-2,500 years ago (de la Chapelle 1993), but the relationship of this bottleneck to the postulated population-genetic changes is unclear. C-allele chromosomes are present at lower frequency in the Russians (15%)and are widespread: the three chromosomes analyzed come from the Ukraine, the Tambov region, and Turkmenistan and may represent admixture with neighboring Uralic speakers.

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