Where there is to be went the People of Finland.
x & gt; What core genes tell us about the origin of the Finns?
x & gt; Finnish genetic roots in the light of the mitochondrial genotype.
x & gt; SAAMA AND FINNY – Are they related?
x & gt; “Pathological legacy” of the Finns.
Marja-Liisa Savontaus (Marja-Liisa Savontaus) is an assistant professor of human genetics at the University of Turku. Currently, she conducts research in the field of genetic ties between the Finno-Ugric peoples and directs joint research with the Academy of Finland. The views expressed in the article are solely the responsibility of the author.
For decades, linguists, archaeologists and anthropologists have sought to explain the origin of the Finns. The Finnish language belongs to the Finno-Ugric family, and the linguistic relationship with the Finno-Ugric peoples is undeniable. However, linguistic proximity does not necessarily mean genetic proximity, and the discoveries of archaeologists do not show nationality.
Many still consider the “Great Bend of the Volga” the ancestral home of the Finns; for several millennia our ancestors wandered from this area to where Finland is now. Data from previous linguistic and archaeological studies confirm this view. Recently, however, studies of the Finnish genes and comparison with the genotypes of other population groups have gradually changed our concepts of the origin of the Finns.
What core genes tell us about the origin of the Finns?
In the 1970s and 1980s, Professor Harri Nevanlinna and his colleagues did valuable work with the Finnish genotype, studying the range and distribution of various blood traits in our population. It was found that Finns share the same features as other European nations, although there are also some features that are almost completely absent elsewhere in Europe. In general, Finns, as it turned out, are very homogeneous genetically. Comparison of the Finnish features with features of the Baltic peoples showed that Finns and Estonians have two thirds of the total genes, Finns and Latvians – 25-50%. On the basis of these studies of nuclei, it was concluded that 25-50% of Finnish genes are of Baltic origin, about 25% of Siberian genes and 25-50% of German genes.
In determining the genetic connections between the peoples of Europe, polymorphism of the core genes was used. Based on the group characteristics of the blood of 26 European peoples, a genealogical tree was built. The tree includes the Finns and the Saami (Laplandians) as a separate group. On the tree, you can distinguish two branches. One includes most of the studied peoples, and the genetic differences between them are relatively small. The other group includes seven populations, including the Saami and the Finns. The frequency of the core genes in these seven populations, including Finns, differs from most European peoples. In particular, this applies to the Saami, who differ from other peoples on the European genetic map.
Finnish genetic roots in the light of the mitochondrial genotype.
The statement that half of our genes are inherited from our mothers and half from our fathers is not entirely true. A small part of our genes are located in the mitochondria, the organoids of the cytoplasm, responsible for the energy conversion in our cells. The genotype of the mitochondria, that is, their DNA, is inherited completely from our mothers. A few molecules of mitochondrial DNA in the semen, obviously, are destroyed after fertilization.
In recent years, the study of mitochondrial genotypes has become increasingly popular in attempts to explain the genetic links between population groups. Maternal inheritance, high frequency of mutations and smallness of the mitochondrial genotype make it easier to compare the changes occurring in it in populations of different origins. The degree of kinship or genetic connection can in this case be assessed on the basis of computer models.
Polymorphism of the mitochondrial genotype of various European peoples was used as a basis for studying the Finnish pedigree. Based on the results of the study, it can be concluded that the mitochondrial DNA of Finns is very close to that of other European peoples, both Finno-Ugric and Indo-European. A study of mitochondrial DNA confirms the assumption of the western, Indo-European genotype of the Finns. This view is in some contradiction with the conclusions drawn from the study of the core genes. According to these studies, Finns are significantly different from most other Europeans. However, the contradiction can only be external, and is more likely to reflect the difference in time horizons for the study of mitochondrial DNA and nuclear DNA. Obviously, the polymorphism of mitochondrial DNA is much older than that of the core genes. The prospect of time for the study of mitochondrial DNA probably includes tens of thousands of years compared to several thousand years to compare the frequencies of nucleic gene formation. Thus, the description of the relationships between populations based on the study of the frequency and range of the core genes is in chronological order with the results of the linguists.
SAAMA AND FINNY – Are they related?
The relationship between the Finns and the Saami occupied researchers in many areas for decades. While the Finnish and Saami languages are undoubtedly derived from Proto-Finnish, our linguistic connections are not necessarily a sign of genetic kinship.
Early genetic studies of the relationship of the Finns and the Saami compared the polymorphism of the core genes found in these populations. In the 1990s, efforts to determine the degree of kinship focused on variations in their mitochondrial DNA. In these studies, samples from the Finnish Saami from the Inari area, the Lopari of the Kola Peninsula and the Saami of Sweden and Norway were used. The material for comparison included samples from other Finno-Ugric peoples, as well as from other European populations. Based on the differences found in mitochondrial DNA, it can be concluded that the Saami differ significantly from all other population groups studied. The same results were obtained by comparing the distribution and polymorphism of the core genes in different European populations. The Saami genotype, apparently, is different from other European peoples.
A combination of three mutations was found in more than a third of the Saami samples. This “Saami motif” was observed only in one Finnish sample and in five Karelian samples. In addition, it was not found in any of the other populations – Indo-European, Basque, African or Japanese. Consequently, this combination seems to be confined to the Sami and is a sign of the common origin of the Saami Inari, the Lopari of the Kola Peninsula and the Saami of Sweden and Norway. The Saami therefore differ genetically from other Finno-Ugric and Indo-European peoples, although they speak the Finno-Ugric language. As a result, they are not yet localized on the language and genetic maps of Europe, and cooperation among researchers in various fields is still necessary.
“Pathological legacy” Finns.
Approximately thirty congenital and often quite serious diseases transmitted by recessive genes are found in the Finnish population. These diseases are extremely rare and do not occur anywhere else in the world. However, there are also several congenital diseases that are not found in our community at all, but are relatively frequent in other peoples. Thus, our genotype does not make us more prone to disease than other population groups, But differentiates us from others. The reason for our “pathological legacy” is more the result of the unique history of settling Finland than the “deviant” genetic roots. The original “settlers” were very few, and our geographical position, like our culture, language and faith, limited the number of immigrants. Isolation caused by low population density, characterized the Finnish population. Until the first decades of this century, spouses were usually chosen from their own or neighboring villages. This phenomenon inevitably leads to the development of more distant relationships, of which the people involved in them could themselves and not know. As a consequence, certain genes were accidentally concentrated in certain areas. In the case of pathological genes, this phenomenon led to the birth of children afflicted with diseases. However, due to the same random process, other genes, on the contrary, are extremely rare in our population, and the corresponding diseases are almost completely absent.
Recent genetic studies show that Finns, like other Finno-Ugric peoples, are genetically close to Indo-European populations. A characteristic feature of our genetic makeup is the homogeneity of our genotype, which is the reason for the super-inheritance of more than 30 rare congenital diseases, in other words – the Finnish “pathological legacy.” On the other hand, the Saami genotype is different from Finnish. The Saami are probably the descendants of an ancient population whose origins are not yet established.
Where there is to be went the People of Finland.