Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 231–236 | Cite as

Mitochondrial DNA studies of the Pazyryk people (4th to 3rd centuries BC) from northwestern Mongolia

  • Aleksandr S. PilipenkoEmail author
  • Aida G. Romaschenko
  • Vyacheslav I. Molodin
  • Hermann Parzinger
  • Viktor F. Kobzev
Original Paper


The discovery and excavations in 2006 by joint Russian–German–Mongolian expeditions of the Pazyryk culture burial sites (4th to 3rd centuries BC, Early Iron Age, the Scythian period) in the Altai mountains of northwestern Mongolia near the Russia border provided new material for studying various aspects of these ancient peoples lives, including human, animal and plant remains. Ice accumulation in the graves preserved the human remains, allowing biological analysis of the samples. We conducted a genetic study based on mitochondrial DNA from remains of three Pazyryk culture representatives to investigate the possible genetic relationships of this Siberian Scythian group with populations of adjacent territories. These data support possible genetic contacts between populations of Altai and other Eurasia regions in the Early Iron Age, and are in good agreement with corresponding archaeological and anthropological data. However, a large-scale study of the Pazyryk population gene pool structure must be performed to further confirm these findings.


Ancient DNA Human mitochondrial DNA Central Asia Scythian Iron age Pazyryk culture 



Mitochondrial DNA


Hyper-variable region


Restriction fragments length polymorphism


Guanidinium thiocyanate




Polymerase chain reaction


Revised Cambridge Reference Sequence



The research was supported by grants from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (09-06-00357a) and Complex Interdisciplinary N 115 from Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The authors are grateful to I.Y. Slusarenko and K.W. Hoisner for providing the dendrochronological data.

Supplementary material

12520_2010_42_MOESM1_ESM.ppt (134 kb)
Supplementary Table 1 (PPT 104 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aleksandr S. Pilipenko
    • 1
    Email author
  • Aida G. Romaschenko
    • 1
  • Vyacheslav I. Molodin
    • 2
  • Hermann Parzinger
    • 3
  • Viktor F. Kobzev
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Cytology and GeneticsSiberian Branch, Russian Academy of SciencesNovosibirskRussia
  2. 2.Institute of Archaeology and EthnographySiberian Branch, Russian Academy of SciencesNovosibirskRussia
  3. 3.Prussian Cultural Heritage FoundationBerlinGermany

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