Results of genome analysis say Koreans of Three Kingdoms period resemble modern Koreans

연합뉴스 / 2022-06-22 18:17:05
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▲ This photo, provided by UNIST, shows the faces of 8 Gaya people restored using genome information. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


▲ This photo, provided by UNIST, shows the genetic mixing ratio graph of the Gaya genome which compares the genetic composition of Koreans from the Three Kingdoms period, prehistoric times, and modern Asians. The blue and red names of the X-axis are the genomes of eight gaya people. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


▲ This photo, provided by UNIST, shows the site of the excavation of the remains of the Gaya people used for analysis. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)



SEOUL, June 22 (Yonhap) -- As a result of genome analysis, it has been confirmed that the appearance of Koreans during the Three Kingdoms period was very similar to that of modern Koreans.

Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) announced on Wednesday that it has extracted DNA from the remains of the Gaya people and analyzed the genome of Koreans during the Three Kingdoms period for the first time.

UNIST Genome Center, National Museum of Korea, Gimhae National Museum, Seoul National University, Personal Genomics Institute, University of Vienna, Austria, and Clinomics participated in this study.

According to UNIST, ancient Koreans had at least two genetic information provision groups broadly and was revealed that they had high genetic continuity from the Three Kingdoms period to the present.

Particularly, as a result of montage prediction using genomic information, it was found that Koreans in the Three Kingdoms period were similar in appearance to modern Koreans.

The research team analyzed that this fact means that there has been no significant change in the nature of the Korean Peninsula for thousands of years.

The ancient skeletal remains used in the analysis belong to the tomb owners and martyrs of the Gaya region between AD 300 and 500 AD. These ancient skeletal remains came from the Daesung-dong tumuli, the iconic funerary complex of the Gaya confederacy, and from Yuha-ri shell mound; both archeological sites located in Gimhae, South Korea.

The DNA was extracted from 27 bone and tooth samples from a total of 22 ancient people, and the nucleic acid sequence was read and decoded with a genome interpreter.

Among them, high-quality genomic data of 8 patients were analyzed through various bioinformatics programs.

As a result of the analysis, 6 out of 8 people were genetically close to modern Koreans, Kofun Japanese and Koreans from the Neolithic era.

Although the genomes of the other two are of Korean descent when looked in a broad way, they were relatively closer to modern Japanese and ancient Japanese Jomons.

The research team explained that in the past, the diversity of the population group on the Korean Peninsula was greater than now, and that there was at least two groups providing genetic information when looked broadly.

In addition, by analyzing 160 genetic markers related to appearance, the Gaya in the Three Kingdoms period also showed the appearance characteristics of modern Koreans, and confirmed that the genetic continuity of Koreans from the Three Kingdoms period to the present is very large.

People of the Three Kingdoms period also had the gene for less body odor, and it was predicted that most of them had thick straight hair, brown eyes, and dark hair.

"This is a study that prepared big data by first analyzing the genomes of Koreans during the Three Kingdoms period when the identity of modern Koreans was presumed to be established,” said an official from the team. “It has allowed us to closely examine the origins of Koreans along with the process of unification.”

“There is a limit to the fact that the ancient Korean genomes that have been released so far are mainly distributed to the Southeast region,” said professor Park Jong-hwa of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at UNIST, who participated in the study. “We need to further analyze the ancient genomes of the period in order to express the overall picture of the migration and mixing of modern and ancient koreans.”

The results of this study were published in the international academic journal “Current Biology” as of Tuesday (local time).


(This article is translated from Korean to English by Haemin Kim.)




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