Y-chromosomal diversity suggests that Baltic males share common Finno-Ugric-speaking forefathers

Hum Hered. 2002;53(2):68-78. doi: 10.1159/000057985.


Objective: To elucidate the genetic relationships between Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian men by studying Y-chromosomal variation in these people.

Methods: The allelic status of five deep-rooted marker loci (YAP, Tat, M9, 92R7 and SRY-1532) was determined for 346 Baltic males. On the basis of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) haplotypes, Y chromosomes were divided into six haplogroups, and the Baltic haplogroup distribution compared with that in 7 European reference populations. Haplogroup frequencies, diversities and genetic distances (F(ST) values) were calculated. The relationships between populations were further illustrated using Mantel test, neighbor-joining tree and principal-component map.

Results: We found the Indo-European-speaking Latvians and Lithuanians to be genetically very similar to the Finno-Ugric-speaking Estonians. When compared to the reference populations, Baltic males were most closely related to the Finno-Ugric-speaking Mari, followed by their Finnish and Slavonic neighbors.

Conclusions: The genetic similarity existing between Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian men suggests that they originate from the same male founder population. Since the Baltic Y-chromosomal haplogroup distribution more closely resembles that of Finno-Ugric than Indo-European-speaking populations, we propose a hypothesis that Baltic males share a common Finno-Ugric ancestry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Estonia
  • Genetic Markers
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Male
  • Y Chromosome*


  • Genetic Markers