Alexey Nikitin

Alexey Nikitin, Ph.D.

Human Genetics; Archeogenetics; Population Genetics; Life History Evolution; Molecular Evolution

Office: 253 Padnos
Phone: (616) 331-2505

Alexey's Homepage


Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH, USA, PhD in Biological Sciences, 1997.

Kiev State University, Kiev, Ukraine, MS in Biology (Honors), 1992.

Courses taught at GVSU:

BIO 105 Environmental Science
BIO 120 General Biology
BIO 328 Biomedical Ethics
BIO 355 Human Genetics
BIO 411 Genetics of Development and Cancer
BIO 580 Life History Evolution
BIO 580 Population Genetics
CMB 250 Biotechnology

Research Interests:

My primary research interest is genetic mechanisms that govern the adaptation of animal populations, including humans, to their environment, and the ways to trace and quantify that adaptation. My specific area of interest is Human Ecology, the study of reciprocal relationships between human beings and their environment and how this relationship led to changes in both the environment and in the human population, from an evolutionary and a social standpoint.

Our research team has recently completed a study involving the analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) polymorphisms of isolated human populations of the Carpathian Mountain region of Eastern Europe. The goal of this project was to establish whether those populations differ in the frequency of polymorphic patterns of mtDNA (mtDNA haplogroups) from those of populations from other parts of Europe and to examine various reasons for why and how any such difference may have come about.

Our current research project is devoted to the genetic analysis of the remains of pre-historic occupants of the Carpathian footsteps. The focus of our study is a Neolithic farming culture called Trypillia-Cucuteni, which existed on the territory of modern Ukraine, Moldova and Romania, in the VI-III millennium Before Present (BP). We have been working with a team of Ukrainian archeologists on the analysis of human artifacts from a ritual site of the Trypillian culture, to understand the origins of Trypillians and their genetic contribution to the genetic pool of modern European inhabitants. We have recently published two papers detailing our finds in a special collection of manuscripts devoted to ancient Ukrainian history.

Another team of students in my lab has been working on a mtDNA haplotyping project involving Michigan brown trout (Salmo trutta). The goal of the project is to identify mitochondrial genetic lineages of brown trout in Michigan waters and to relate them to specific trout strains from Michigan trout hatcheries. Another goal of this project is to analyze the haplotype-specific survival success of various genetic lineages of brown trout in Michigan lakes and streams to help improve brown trout fisheries management in the state of Michigan.

Recent Publications: 

1) Varzari A, Kharkov V, Nikitin AG, Raicu F, Simonova K, Stephan W, Weiss E, Stepanov V. (2013) Paleo-Balkan and Slavic contributions to the genetic pool of Moldavians: Insights from the Y chromosome. PLoS ONE 8(1): e53731. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053731. 
2) Nikitin AG, Newton JR, Potekhina ID. (2012) Mitochondrial haplogroup C in ancient mitochondrial DNA from Ukraine extends the presence of East Eurasian genetic lineages in Neolithic Central and Eastern Europe. Journal of Human Genetics doi:10.1038/jhg.2012.69.
3) Gibson AM, Morgan RM, MacDonald N, Nikitin AG. (2012) Possible effects of the presence of common household chemicals in the environment:  The growth of an aquatic bacterial species on high concentrations of caffeine. Journal of Biotech Research 4: 72-79.  
4) Ivanova SV, Nikitin AG. (2012) Population dynamics of the steppe cultures of the Eneolithic and Early Bronze Age from the point of view of archaeogenetics. Stratum Plus 2: 1-11.
5) Lillie M, Potekhina I, Budd C, Nikitin AG. (2012) Prehistoric populations of Ukraine: Migration at the later Mesolithic to Neolithic transition. In: J. Burger, E. Kaiser und W. Schier (Eds.), Population dynamics in Pre- and Early History. New Approaches by using Stable Isotopes and Genetics“. Berlin, pp. 79-94.
6) Nikitin AG. (2011) Bioarcheological analysis of Bronze Age human remains from the Podillya region of Ukraine. Interdisciplinaria Archaeologica 2(1): 31-36.
7) Nikitin AG. (2010) The origin of agriculture east of the Carpathians: Cultural diffusion or demic influence? Praehistorica XXIX: 247-254.
8) Nikitin AG, Sokhatsky MP, Kovaliukh MM, Videiko MY. (2010) Comprehensive site chronology and ancient mitochondrial DNA analysis from Verteba Cave -a Trypillian culture site of Eneolithic Ukraine. Interdisciplinaria Archaeologica 1(1-2): 9–18.
9) Stickney JA, Nikitin AG, Nikitin GA, Morgan RM. (2010) An efficient enrichment technique for isolation and quantification of indigenous diesel fuel-utilizing bacteria present in freshwater sediments. Journal of Biotech Research 2(1): 10-20.
10) Nikitin AG, Kochkin IT, June CM, Willis CM, McBain I, Videiko MY. (2009) Mitochondrial DNA sequence variation in Boyko, Hutsul and Lemko populations of Carpathian highlands. Human Biology 81(1): 43-58.
11) Johnson SS, Luttenton MR, Nikitin AG. (2009) Analysis of mitochondrial nucleotide polymorphism in the ND-1 locus in the North American brown trout (Salmo trutta). Journal of Great Lakes Research 35(1): 163-167.
12) Kochkin IT, Nikitin AG. (2009) The genetic trail of pre-historic migrations in ethnic Carpathian populations. The Carpathians: People, Ethnos, Civilization 1: 34-36.
13) Nikitin AG, Berdyshev GD. 2008. The genetic roots of Ukrainian People. Origin of Language and Culture: Ancient History of Mankind 3(2): 40-44.
14) Nikitin AG, Navitskas S, Gordon L-AN. (2008) Effect of varying doses of caffeine on lifespan of Drosophila melanogaster. Journals of Gerontology – Biological Sciences 63A(2): 149-150.
15) Tiano TJ, Willis CM, Noble AA, Luttenton MR., Nikitin AG. (2007) Genetic identification of hatchery stocks of brown trout (Salmo trutta) using mitochondrial DNA polymorphism. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 27: 965-970.
Kleibrink EL, Nikitin AG. (2007) Misdiagnosis of chronic pain: A bioethical problem. Michigan Academician 37: 47-54.
16) Nikitin AG, Videiko MY, Kochkin IT. (2006) The Carpathian trail of pre-historic agricultural expansion in Europe: A survey of the genetic evidence.  In: Trypillian Culture: Exploration, Findings, World Context. Kyiv, pp. 64-68.
17) Sokhatsky MP, Nikitin AG, Kovaliukh NN, Videiko MY. (2006) Pilot DNA studies using anthropological material of the Trypillian Culture from the Verteba Cave. In: Trypillian Culture: Exploration, Findings, World Context. Kyiv, pp. 83-88.
18) Nikitin AG, Stickney JW, Nikitin GA, Morgan RM (2006) The enrichment for diesel fuel-utilizing bacteria from freshwater lake sediments. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Environment, Athens Institute for Education and Research, Athens, Greece, August 3-5, 2006.
19) Willis CM, Nikitin AG. (2006) Study of the human mitochondrial DNA polymorphism. GVSU McNair Scholars Journal 10: 107-114.
20) Nasonkin I, Alikasifoglu A, Barrette T, Cheng M, Thomas PM, Nikitin AG (2002) Cloning, characterization and embryonic expression analysis of the Drosophila gene encoding insulin/relaxin-like peptide. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 295: 312-318.



Scientific & Professional Societies:

Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution
European Association of Archaeologists
The Genetics Society of America
The American Fisheries Society


Page last modified August 26, 2014