Demographic and Genetic Portraits of the Ulchi Population
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The demographic parameters and Y-chromosomal variation in the Ulchi population, an indigenous ethnic group of Khabarovsk krai, were studied. The demographic portrait was compiled using the data from the books of rural household accounting (7521 records, including 1562 on Ulchi). The structure of the gene pool was characterized for 45 SNP markers of the Y chromosome: 52 DNA samples were analyzed. The total number of Ulchi in the period between the censuses of 1926–2002 showed stable growth (723–2913 individuals) and slightly decreased by 2010 (2765 individuals). The study revealed an imbalance in the sex ratio (SR = 1 : 1.7) and the age structure close to the stationary type and providing a simple type of reproduction of the Ulchi. Analysis of the marital structure demonstrated a high rate of assimilation of the Ulchi by the Russian-speaking population dominant in all places of their compact settlement. Analysis for the SNP markers of the Y chromosomes (23 haplogroups were found) revealed a strong similarity of the Ulchi to the populations of the Amur River region and Okhotsk coast and a relative proximity to the Central Asian populations as given by haplogroup C. Genotyping of five new SNP markers within haplogroup C and 17 STR markers provided a correct phylogenetic analysis of haplogroup C in the Ulchi and neighboring peoples. It did not confirm the powerful gene drift in the Ulchi, which one might expect owing to their low effective size, likely because the Ulchi population was subdivided and thus managed to retain its diversity. However, this analysis revealed traces of intense interaction of the Ulchi with the peoples of the Far East and Central Asia over the past one to three thousand years. Therefore, the results of a recent study of the similarity of the ancient genomes of Primorye with the Ulchi indicate not the uniqueness of the Ulchi but the fact that this ancient gene pool was preserved in a vast milieu of populations of the Far East interlaced with gene flows both with each other and with populations of Central Asia.
Keywords:Ulchi population demography sex structure age structure gene pool genogeography indigenous peoples Far East Y chromosome SNP STR markers
We thank the Administration of the Ulchi Municipal District of Khabarovsk krai and the Ministry of Health of Khabarovsk krai for organizational support of the expedition survey of the Ulchi.
This study was carried out with the financial support of the Russian Science Foundation (project no. 17-14-01345) regarding genotyping of the main panel of SNP markers, genotyping of STR markers, and statistical data analysis. Genotyping of the additional panel of haplogroup C markers was carried out as part of the financing of the Laboratory of Historical Genetics of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. The cartographic analysis was carried out within the framework of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project 17-06-00472. Part of the research was carried out within the framework of the State Task of the Federal Agency for Scientific Organizations of Russia for the Research Centre for Medical Genetics and within the framework of the State Task of the Federal Agency for Scientific Organizations of Russia for the Institute of General Genetics of the Russian Academy of Sciences (topic AAAA-A16-116111610171-1).
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