Hum Hered. 2001;52(3):160-70. Related Articles, Links

Evidence for mtDNA admixture between the Finns and the Saami.

Meinila M, Finnila S, Majamaa K.

Department of Neurology, University of Oulu, PO Box 5000, FIN-90014 University of Oulu, Finland.

OBJECTIVES: The Finns, and to a more extreme extent the Saami, are genetic outliers in Europe. Despite the close geographical contact between these populations, no major contribution of Saami mtDNA haplotypes to the Finnish population has been detected. METHODS: To examine the extent of maternal gene flow from the Saami into Finnish populations, we determined the mtDNA variation in 403 persons living in four provinces in central and northern Finland. For all of these samples, we assessed the frequencies of mtDNA haplogroups and examined sequence variation in the hypervariable segment I (HVS-I). The resulting data were compared with published information for Saami populations. RESULTS: The frequencies of the mtDNA haplogroups differed between the populations of the four provinces, suggesting a distinction between northern and central Finland. Analysis of molecular variance suggested that the Saami deviated less from the population of northern Finland than from that of central Finland. Five HVS-I haplotypes, including that harboring the Saami motif and the Asian-specific haplogroup Z, were shared between the Finns and the Saami and allowed comparisons between the populations. Their frequency was highest in the Saami and decreased towards central Finland. CONCLUSIONS: The high frequency of certain mtDNA haplotypes considered to be Saami specific in the Finnish population suggests a genetic admixture, which appears to be more pronounced in northern Finland. Furthermore, the presence of haplogroup Z in the Finns and the Saami indicates that traces of Asian mtDNA genotypes have survived in the contemporary populations. Copyright 2001 S. Karger AG, Basel


Am J Hum Genet. 1996 Jun;58(6):1309-22. Related Articles, Links

The genetic relationship between the Finns and the Finnish Saami (Lapps): analysis of nuclear DNA and mtDNA.

Lahermo P, Sajantila A, Sistonen P, Lukka M, Aula P, Peltonen L, Savontaus ML.

Department of Medical Genetics, University of Turku, Finland.

The genetic relationships between two Finno-Ugric-speaking populations, the Finns and the Finnish Saami (Lapps), were studied by using PCR for six nuclear-DNA marker loci, mitochondrial restriction-site polymorphism, and sequence variation of a 360-bp segment of the mitochondrial control region. The allele frequencies of each of the nuclear-DNA marker loci and the frequencies of mtDNA restriction haplotypes were significantly different between the populations. The Saami showed exceptionally low variation in their mtDNA restriction sites. The 9-bp deletion common in East Asian populations was not observed, nor did the haplotype data fit into the haplogroup categorization of Torroni et al. The average number of nucleotide substitutions from the mtDNA haplotype data indicated that the Finnish Saami may be closer to the Finns than to the other reference populations, whereas nuclear DNA suggested that the Finns are more closely related to the European reference populations than to the Finnish Saami. The similarity of the Finns to the other Europeans was even more pronounced according to the sequence data. We were unable to distinguish between the Finns and either the Swiss or Sardinian reference populations, whereas the Finnish Saami clearly stood apart. The Finnish Saami are distinct from other Circumarctic populations, although two of the lineages found among the Saami showed closer relationship to the Circumarctic than to the European lineages. The sequence data indicated an exceptionally high divergence for the Saami mtDNA control lineages. The distribution of the pairwise nucleotide differences in the Saami suggested that this population has not experienced an expansion similar to what was indicated for the Finns and the reference populations.