Keywords: Y-chromosome; haplogroup; proto-Bulgarians
Authors: S. Karachanak1, D. Nesheva1, V. Grugni2, N. Al-Zahery2, V. Battaglia,2, A. S. Galabov3, D. Toncheva1; 1Department of Medical Genetics, Medical Faculty, Medical University of Sofia, Sofia, Bulgaria, 2Department of Biology and Biotechnologies “Lazzaro Spallanzani”. University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy, 3The Stephan Angeloff Institute of Microbiology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria.
Abstract: Bulgaria is situated on the presumed trajectory of the pioneer colonization of Europe. Since then it has been subjected to a series of demographic events with disputable impact on the contemporary Bulgarian gene pool. One of the most controversial issues of the Bulgarian past is the origin of the proto-Bulgarians, which were previously considered as a sparse Turkic population.
In order to delve into Bulgarian patrilineal origins we have performed a survey of Y-chromosome haplogroups followed by meta-analysis of haplogroups C, N and Q distinctive for Altaic populations. The analysis was performed on a sample comprising 808 Bulgarian males using RFLP and DHPLC analysis. We have found that only 1.49 % of the contemporary gene pool belongs to haplogroups C, N and Q. Our results were used to upgrade and extend the distribution maps of these haplogroups and to compare their frequency in 240 Eurasian (sub-) populations with more than 20 000 samples.
The comparison reveals a statistically significant difference in the distribution of the studied haplogroups between Bulgarians and Altaic populations as well as between Bulgarians and Eastern Slavic populations. Based on the novel historical studies which point to a substantial contribution of the proto-Bulgarians to the modern Bulgarian gene pool the obtained results suggest that there is no common genetic ancestry between proto-Bulgarians and present day Altaic populations as they reject the hypothesis of the Turkic origin of proto-Bulgarians.