The Uniparental Genetic Landscape of Modern Slavic Speaking Populations

The Uniparental Genetic Landscape of Modern Slavic Speaking Populations


Slavic speaking populations are the most numerous Indo-European ethnolinguistic group in Europe. They show great variety and fall into three groups: West, East and South Slavic populations. In order to contribute to the understanding of the correlation between linguistic and genetic affiliation of Slavic populations, we have analyzed for the first time their matrilineal and patrilineal relationships and we have also illustrated their position in the European uniparental genetic landscape. For the purpose, we have collected previously published data for the frequencies of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y-chromosome haplogroups in Slavic and other European populations and compared them by Principal Component Analysis (PCA). In the inter-Slavic population comparisons, West and East Slavs are in a closer position, whereas South Slavic populations are rather grouped on their own. In the European context, South Slavic populations are positioned more close to neighboring Balkan non-Slavic and North Italian populations, than to other Slavic populations. When considering the uniparental diversity of Slavic speaking populations, one should also take into account the prevalence of Y-chromosome haplogroup N among East Slavs (comprising almost half of the paternal gene pool in instances), which is almost absent among the other groups (not exceeding 2% – 3%). In conclusion, the data in the present study point that West-East and South Slavic speaking populations, behave as separate groups based on their uniparental genetic structure, which shows that they do not share substantial common genetic ancestry and that there is great genetic variety in the Slavic linguistic unity.


  • Karachanak-Yankova, S., Nesheva, D., Toncheva, D. and Galabov, A.S. (2017). The Uniparental Genetic Landscape of Modern Slavic Speaking Populations. Advances in Anthropology, 7(04), 318.

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Peoples: Indo-European ethnolinguistic and Slavic populations | Places: Europe | Topics: | DNA Type: mtDNA and Y-DNA

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