Genetic Diversity of Siberia

In these projects, we are investigating the genetic origins and affinities of indigenous populations of eastern Siberia, and their potential role in the peopling of the Americas.

An Ethnographic Map of 17th Century Northeastern Siberia

Map located in the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy Natural History Museum. Photo credit: T.G. Schurr


Photo credit: T.G. Schurr

Altai-Sayan Region

Photo credit: T.G. Schurr


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Amur River Region

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Old Believers

Vasily Surikov’s Boyarynya Morozova (1887), depicting the defiant Fedosia Morozova during her arrest. Her two raised fingers refer to the dispute about the proper way to make the sign of the cross.


Torroni A, Sukernik RI, Schurr TG, Starikovskaya YB, Cabell MF, Crawford MH, Comuzzie AG, Wallace DC. 1993. mtDNA variation of aboriginal Siberians reveals distinct genetic affinities with Native Americans. Am J Hum Genet 53(3): 591-608.

Sukernik RI, Schurr TG, Starikovskaya EB, Wallace DC. 1996. Mitochondrial DNA variation in native Siberians, with special reference to the evolutionary history of Americans Indians. Studies on restriction polymorphism. Genetika [Russ J Genet] 32(3): 432-439 (in Russian).

Lell JT, Brown MD, Schurr TG, Sukernik RI, Starikovskaya EB, Torroni A, Wallace DC. 1997. Y-chromosome polymorphisms in Native American and Siberian populations: Identification of founding Native American Y-chromosome haplotypes. Hum Genet 100(5-6): 536-543.

Starikovskaya YB, Sukernik RI, Schurr TG, Wallace DC. 1998. Mitochondrial DNA diversity in Chukchi and Siberian Eskimos: Implications for the genetic prehistory of ancient Beringia. Am J Hum Genet 63(5): 1473-1491.

Schurr TG, Sukernik RI, Starikovskaya EB, Wallace DC. 1999. Mitochondrial DNA diversity in Koryaks and Itel’men: Population replacement in the Okhotsk Sea-Bering Sea region during the Neolithic. Am J Phys Anthropol 108(1): 1-40.

Lell JT, Sukernik RI, Starikovskaya YB, Jin L, Su B, Schurr TG, Underhill P, Wallace DC. 2002. The dual origins and Siberian affinities of Native American Y-chromosomes. Am J Hum Genet 70(1): 192-206.

Schurr TG, Wallace DC. 2003 Genetic prehistory of Paleoasiatic-speaking peoples of northeastern Siberia and their links to Native American populations. In: Kendall L, Krupnik I, editors. Constructing Cultures Then and Now: Celebrating Franz Boas and the Jesup North Pacific Expedition. Baltimore: Smithsonian Institution Press, pp. 239-258.

Schurr TG. 2005. Genetic diversity in Siberians and Native Americans suggests an early migration to the New World. In: Madsen DB, editor. Entering America: Northeast Asia and Beringia Before the Last Glacial Maximum. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, pp. 187-238.

Rubinstein S, Dulik MC, Gokcumen O, Zhadanov SI, Osipova LP, Mehta N, Cocca MF, Gubina M, Posukh O, Schurr TG. 2008. Russian Old Believers: Genetic consequences of their persecution and exile, as shown by mitochondrial DNA evidence. Hum Biol 80(3): 203-238.

Dulik MC, Zhadanov SI, Osipova LP, Askapuli A, Gau L, Gokcumen O, Rubinstein S, Schurr TG. 2012. Mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome variation provides evidence for a recent common ancestry between Native Americans and indigenous Altaians. Am J Hum Genet 90(2): 229-246.

Schurr TG. 2015. Tracing human movements from Siberia to the Americas: New insights from genetic studies. In: Frachetti MB, Spengler RN, III, editors. Mobility and Ancient Society in Asia and the Americas. Basel: Springer, pp. 23-47.

Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology
University of Pennsylvania
421 University Museum
3260 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6398, USA
Tel: 215-573-2656