Finns - Genetics

Genetics

Recently, the use of mitochondrial (female lineage) and Y-chromosomal (male lineage) DNA-markers in tracing back the history of human populations has been started. For the paternal and maternal genetic lineages of Finnish people and other peoples, see, e.g., the National Geographic Genographic Project and the Suomi DNA-projekti. In essence, the types of mtDNA markers of Finnish people do not differ from those of other European ethnicities. For example, Haplogroup U5 is estimated to be the oldest mtDNA haplogroup in Europe and is found in the whole of Europe at a low frequency, but seems to be found in significantly higher levels among Finns, Estonians and the Sami. Of modern nationalities, Finns are closest to Cro-Magnons in terms of anthropological measurements.

With regard to the Y-chromosome, the most common haplogroups of the Finns are N1c (58%), I (29%), R1a (7.5%) and R1b (3.5%). Haplogroup N1c, which is found only in a few countries in Europe (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Sweden and Russia), is a subgroup of the haplogroup N (Y-DNA) distributed across northern Eurasia and estimated in a recent study to be 10,000–20,000 years old and suggested to have entered Europe about 12,000–14,000 years ago from Asia.

According to an earlier study conducted by a team of scientists including L. L. Cavalli-Sforza:

Principal coordinate analysis shows that Lapps/Sami are almost exactly intermediate between people located geographically near the Ural mountains and speaking Uralic languages, and central and northern Europeans. Hungarians and Finns are definitely closer to Europeans. An analysis of genetic admixture between Uralic and European ancestors shows that Lapps/Sami are slightly more than 50% European, Hungarians are 87% European, and Finns are 90% European. There is basic agreement between these conclusions and historical data on Hungary. Less is known about Finns and very little about Lapps/Sami.

Recent autosomal (genomewide, 10,000 markers instead of few looked at Y-DNA and MtDNA) studies give distinct picture of Finnish genes. Finns show very little if any Mediterranean and African genes but on the other hand almost 10% of Finnish genes seem to be shared with some Siberian populations. Nevertheless more than 80% of Finnish genes are from a single ancient North-European population, while most Europeans are a mixture of 3 or more principal components.

Variation within Finns is, according to fixation index (FST) values, greater than anywhere else in Europe. Greatest intra-Finnish FST distance is about 60, greatest intra-Swedish FST distance about 25. FST distances between for example Germans, French and Hungarians is only 10, and between Estonians, Russians and Poles it is also 10. Thus Finns from different parts of the country are more remote from each other genetically than are many European peoples from each other. The closest genetic relatives for Finns are Estonians (FST to Helsinki 40 and to Kuusamo 90) and Swedes (FST to Helsinki 50 and to Kuusamo 100).

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