Who were the Paleo-Eskimo Saqqaq?

Vladimir Gurianov, with the assistance of Steve Dimond

Analysis of complete Y-chromosome sequencing of Paleo-Eskimo of the Saqqaq culture were first published by Rasmussen et al., 2010. The authors identified the sample as belonging to Y-chromosome haplogroup Q1a-MEH2.

In 2014 the data was reanalyzed by the Y-chromosome Q haplogroup project at YFull data interpretation service and placed in the YFull experimental Y-chromosome tree. The Saqqaq data was found to belong to Q-F746 / NWT01.

Q-F746 / NWT01 is found among the indigenous population of northwestern Canada and Alaska. Dulik et. al., 2012, state in their paper Q-F746 is found in 45 to 60% of sampled Inupiat (Alaskan Eskimo) and Inuvailuit (Inuit of Northwest Canada).

New light has been shed on the origin of the Paleo-Eskimo Saqqaq with the release from the Estonian Biocenter data, which was published in the paper Karmin et al., 2015 (A recent bottleneck of Y chromosome diversity coincides with a global change in culture).

Complete sequencing Y-chromosome data from four samples from Koryak village of Evensk North Eastern District Magadan region (KrkG11, KrkG13, KrkG14, KrkG55). The four samples have 37 SNPs in common with the paleo-Eskimo sample. The resulting subclade has been assigned the label Q-YP1500 / YP11467-YP1503 in the YFull service experimental tree.

Thus, the structure of Q-F746 subclades is as follows:

Q-F746 / NWT01

……….Q-YP1500 / YP1467-YP1503 (Paleo-Eskimo and Koryak Saqqaq)


SNP ID Position, Build37 Ancestral Derived
YP1467 2649715 G A
YP1468 2696883 C T
YP1469 6740150 C T
YP1470 6758340 T C
YP1471 6839100 A T
YP1472 7339419 C T
YP1473 8622068 A G
YP1474 9476462 A C
YP1475 13212485 G A
YP1476 14180507 C G
YP1477 14272989 G A
YP1478 14419042 G A
YP1479 14982728 C T
YP1480 15226395 T A
YP1481 15324460 A G
YP1482 16189913 C T
YP1483 16235342 C T
YP1484 16428068 T A
YP1485 16497752 C T
YP1486 16580959 C G
YP1487 16611917 C T
YP1488 16999417 A G
YP1489 17388659 C T
YP1490 17625125 C T
YP1491 17819204 G A
YP1492 17946466 G T
YP1493 18109181 C A
YP1494 18408503 C T
YP1495 18565047 G A
YP1496 18986114 G T
YP1497 19294137 C G
YP1498 19439702 T C
YP1499 20817257 G A
YP1500 21203353 G A
YP1501 22167304 G T
YP1502 23247355 G A
YP1503 28536947 T A

The parallel branch Q-M120, common among the Chinese, Tibetan, Bhutanese, Koreans, Vietnamese, creates the possibility of a more detailed study of migration from Eurasia to North America across the Bering Strait and the relationship of Eurasian populations and Amerindian populations.

The ancient sampled Paleo-Eskimo of the Saqqaq culture of Greenland shares phylogeny with Koryak indigenous peoples of the Russian Far East, Alaska, Northern Canada and Greenland.

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