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. 2018 Oct 18;13(10):e0205920.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0205920. eCollection 2018.

Mitogenomic Data Indicate Admixture Components of Central-Inner Asian and Srubnaya Origin in the Conquering Hungarians

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Mitogenomic Data Indicate Admixture Components of Central-Inner Asian and Srubnaya Origin in the Conquering Hungarians

Endre Neparáczki et al. PLoS One. .
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It has been widely accepted that the Finno-Ugric Hungarian language, originated from proto Uralic people, was brought into the Carpathian Basin by the conquering Hungarians. From the middle of the 19th century this view prevailed against the deep-rooted Hungarian Hun tradition, maintained in folk memory as well as in Hungarian and foreign written medieval sources, which claimed that Hungarians were kinsfolk of the Huns. In order to shed light on the genetic origin of the Conquerors we sequenced 102 mitogenomes from early Conqueror cemeteries and compared them to sequences of all available databases. We applied novel population genetic algorithms, named Shared Haplogroup Distance and MITOMIX, to reveal past admixture of maternal lineages. Our results show that the Conquerors assembled from various nomadic groups of the Eurasian steppe. Population genetic results indicate that they had closest connection to the Onogur-Bulgar ancestors of Volga Tatars. Phylogenetic results reveal that more than one third of the Conqueror maternal lineages were derived from Central-Inner Asia and their most probable ultimate sources were the Asian Scythians and Asian Huns, giving support to the Hungarian Hun tradition. The rest of the lineages most likely originated from the Bronze Age Potapovka-Poltavka-Srubnaya cultures of the Pontic-Caspian steppe. Available data imply that the Conquerors did not have a major contribution to the gene pool of the Carpathian Basin.

Conflict of interest statement

Dr. Bihari and Dr. Nagy had consulting positions at SeqOmics Biotechnology Ltd. at the time the study was conceived. SeqOmics Biotechnology Ltd. was not directly involved in the design and execution of the experiments or in the writing of the manuscript. This affiliation does not alter our adherence to PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.


Fig 1
Fig 1. Location of the Hungarian Conqueror cemeteries.
Red dots indicate cemeteries reported in this study, blue dots indicate cemeteries from which HVR sequences were reported in [11,12]. Numbers indicate the following sites: 1. Karos-Eperjesszög, 2. Kenézlő-Fazekaszug-II, 3. Harta-Freifelt, 4. Magyarhomoróg, 5. Orosháza-Görbicstanya, 6. Szabadkígyós-Pálliget, 7. Sárrétudvari-Hízóföld, 8. Szegvár-Oromdűlő, 9. Balatonújlak-Erdődűlő, 10. Levice-Géňa, 11. Kiskundorozsma-Hosszúhát, 12. Baks-Iskola, 13. Szeged-Öthalom, 14. M43 no. 25 site Makó-Igási járandó, 15. Szentes-Derekegyháza, 16. Nyíregyháza-Oross Megapark, 17. Kiszombor, 18. Izsák-Balázspuszta, 19. Aldebrő-Mocsáros, 20. Besenyőtelek-Szőrhát, 21. Eger-Szépasszonyvölgy, 22. Fadd-Jegeshegy, 23. Mözs-Szárazdomb, 24. Örménykút, 25. Zalavár-Kápolna, 26. Lébény-Kaszás. Map was created with the maps package of R [24].
Fig 2
Fig 2. Skulls and sculpting craniofacial reconstructions of Hungarian Conqueror individuals.
A: Karos2/52 mature aged leader with Europid anthropological features. B: Karos2/60 senile aged man with Europo-Mongoloid features. C: Karos2/47 adult woman with Europo-Mongoloid features.
Fig 3
Fig 3. Phylogeographic origin of the 102 Conqueror maternal lineages.
Data are summarized from S1 Fig. Origin of modern individuals with closest matches to Conqueror sequences are listed next to the indicated regions, ordered according to the frequency of appearances.
Fig 4
Fig 4. The most feasible origin and migration route of different components of the Hungarian Conquerors based on this study.
Red heat map displays the geographic distribution of closest East Eurasian sequence matches to individual Conqueror samples. Stars denote geolocations of East Eurasian ethnic groups listed on S1 Fig (summarized on S1A Table), map was drawn from their frequency of occurence. Heat map designate the area from which the East Eurasian lineages most likely originated, well corresponding to the range of the ancient Xiongnu Empire outlined by dashed line. Areas where Asian and European Scythian remains were found are labeled green. Asian Scythians around Tuva correspond to the most probable sources of Eurasian lineages. Pink label shows the presumptive range of the Srubnaya culture, from where European lineages were most likely derived. Bluish line frames the Eurasian steppe zone, within which all presumptive ancestors of the Conquerors were found. The map was created using QGIS 2.18.4[51].
Fig 5
Fig 5. MDS plot from linearized Slatkin Fst values of S4A Table.
Only populations from Table 1 were depicted, which showed close Fst and SHD distance values to the Conquerors. Abbreviations of population names are given in S3B Table.
Fig 6
Fig 6. Comparison of major Hg distributions from modern and ancient Hungarian populations.
Asian main Hg-s are designated with brackets. Major Hg distribution of Conqueror samples from this study are very similar to that of other 91 Conquerors taken from previous studies [11,12]. Modern Hungarians have very small Asian components pointing at small contribution from the Conquerors. Of the 289 modern Hungarian mitogenomes 272 are newly deposited [29].

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Grant support

This work was supported by grants from the National Research, Development and Innovation Office (K-124350 to TT), Bolyai Research Scholarship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (to IN), and the Avicennna Middle East Research Institute (GF/JSZF, Award Number: 814/9/2015 to IR). The Bolyai Research Scholarship provided support in the form of salaries for one of the authors (IN). The specific roles of this author are articulated in the ‘author contributions’ section. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.