Famous German scientist Johannes Krause, professor of archeogenetics - a science that studies the history of mankind and life on Earth based on analysis of genetic material - DNA told DW in an interview about new discoveries in this area, including the fact that science does not know anything about the so-called "Russian genome", simply because it does not exist in nature. "NI" publishes the most interesting passages from this material.
About the American Indians
Prehistoric America was populated from the north-eastern part of today's Russia through the Bering Strait and Alaska. This has already been proven. Including thanks to the genome of the American Indians, which is a very specific combination of genes from East Asia, today's China, and northern Eurasia. There is no longer such a 50:50 combination in Eurasia itself, the population has died out, but the Indians have it.
The ancestors of the Indians of North and South America lived much earlier and on a much more vast territory of northeastern Russia, at least 3 thousand kilometers south of what was previously thought.
About nomadic cattle herders
Much in the history of primitive man occurred on the vast territory of Russia, because it occupies half of Eurasia. Thanks to the cold climate, Russia has much more favorable conditions for preserving bones with genetic material than, say, in India, Southern China or the Arabian Peninsula.
In addition, Russia has been an excellent archaeological science since Soviet times, and we here in Germany have long and very closely collaborated with specialists in various fields throughout Russia.
We learned a lot, for example, about the migration of the ancient inhabitants of the southern Russian steppes, representatives of the very successful Yamnaya culture. About 5,000 years ago, these mobile nomadic herders with their technologies - they had wheels and carts, it is known from the excavation of burial mounds - begin to move both east and west. They reach Altai, and there comes the Afanasyev culture, which is genetically almost identical to the Yamnaya culture.
At the same time, genes from today's Russian territory spread throughout Europe and mix with the genes of local residents, this movement has been very well studied over the past five years.
In different parts of Europe, people have a different proportion of these "steppe genes." In the eastern part of the Baltic, it is the highest, in the Mediterranean - the lowest, on the island of Sardinia, for example, they were not at all. After all, it was not direct migration that occurred today, as there was a process stretching for about 500 years, during which mixed populations arose everywhere.
Before the movement of the steppe nomads to the west, about 7,500 years ago, the territory of today's Russia through three streams, through the Caucasus, Central Asia and China, began to be settled by farmers and pastoralists from the south, which were then mixed with local hunters and gatherers. So, the DNA of representatives of the Maikop culture, which originated before the Yamnaya culture, is half composed of the genes of those who migrated from the northern part of today's Iran.
Their ancestors, in turn, came from the Middle East, from today's Syria and Iraq, where the oldest traces of farming and cattle breeding were found. And modern man came to the Arab region from Africa, it was she who was the starting point of the worldwide expansion of Homo sapiens.
I will say more: in all of us there are also 2 percent of Neanderthals, although this is completely different, an extinct species of man.
No typically Russian genome exists. Residents of Russia have almost all the genetic diversity found today outside of Africa. This is the same potpourri as in Europe. In the past 5000 years, Russia has been one of the most dynamic regions of the planet from a genetic point of view. Passing through its vast territory, the steppe belt connecting Eastern Europe with Asia was a kind of autobahn along which mobile groups very often traveled, be it Scythians, Huns, Avars, and Mongols. All this led to large-scale genetic exchange.
Significant genetic changes have occurred in the recent history of Russia. In the 20th century - in the 30s, 40s, 50s, and even then, in the 60s and up to the 90s - especially strong mobility was observed on its territory, if expressed politically neutral. All this greatly changed the local population. So in today's Russia there are no clear genetic boundaries; they do not exist on the world map at all. Everything is mixed up. No genetic differences between the inhabitants of Russia and other inhabitants of Eurasia have been recorded.