Shanghai Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Key Laboratory of Animal Parasitology, Ministry of Agriculture of China, Shanghai 200241, China. Electronic address: [Email]
Despite the unique geographic, ethnic, social and cultural features of Kohistan in Pakistan, the origin and descent of Kohistanis remain still obscure. In an effort to address questions concerning the genetic structure, origin and genetic affinities of Kohistanis, we herein applied an ethnogenetic approach consisting on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis and dental morphology analysis. We sequenced HVS1 of mtDNA, observed 14 haplotypes and assigned a total of 9 haplogroups belonging to macrolineages M (17%) and N (83%). Genetic diversity estimates in Kohistanis (Hd = 0.910 ± 0.014; Pi = 0.019 ± 0.001; θw = 0.019 ± 0.006) were similar to that of previous studies in other Pakistani populations. Overall, the analyses of dental morphology and mtDNA profile of Kohistanis resulted in similar findings. All the analyses indicate that Kohistanis share affinities to populations from Europe, Near East, Central Asia and South Asia. The Kohistani HVS1 haplotype 2 shares 100% identity to HVS1 haplotypes across the Europe. These results in light of recent insights into ancient genomics lead us to conclude that ancestry from Eurasian Steppe genetically linked Kohistanis to all these populations in the Bronze Age. This is consistent with linguistic evidence and also with the Indo-Aryan migration model for the peopling of South Asia.