In this study, the population history of the Baltic Sea region, known to be affected by a variety of migrations and genetic barriers, was analyzed using both mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosomal data. Over 1200 samples from Finland, Sweden, Karelia, Estonia, Setoland, Latvia and Lithuania were genotyped for 18 Y-chromosomal biallelic polymorphisms and 9 STRs, in addition to analyzing 17 coding region polymorphisms and the HVS1 region from the mtDNA. It was shown that the populations surrounding the Baltic Sea are genetically similar, which suggests that it has been an important route not only for cultural transmission but also for population migration. However, many of the migrations affecting the area from Central Europe, the Volga-Ural region and from Slavic populations have had a quantitatively different impact on the populations, and, furthermore, the effects of genetic drift have increased the differences between populations especially in the north. The possible explanations for the high frequencies of several haplogroups with an origin in the Iberian refugia (H1, U5b, I1a) are also discussed.
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