My primary research interest is the study of the human past through the analysis of sequence variation in human DNA. I am interested in both adaptive and non-adaptive changes in genetic information. The adaptive changes reflect heritable adjustments of human population to their environments (i.e., reflect evolutionary changes in the genome). My long-term research goals are to develop reliable tools to trace and quantify that adaptation.
DNA also accumulates non-adaptive variation, useful in tracing the spread of organisms around the globe. Uniparental genetic markers, found on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosome, are particularly important to identify phylogeographic relationships among populations, assuming identity by descent (IBD). Our team has been using mtDNA markers to trace population affinities of human prehistoric inhabitants of east and southeast Europe, using archeogenetics, which involves the extraction and molecular genetic analysis of DNA from ancient human remains.
Current research projects in my lab are devoted to the genetic analysis of prehistoric human populations from the northern part of the Black Sea in southeast Europe (called the North Pontic Region or NPR). This area is of great interest since many linguists and archeologists trace the spread of modern European languages to human groups that inhabited the NPR at the end of the Neolithic through the Bronze Age periods of human prehistory. Our team has been investigating genetic lineages of NPR inhabitants from those archeological periods to uncover both local as well as continent-wide genetic affinities to examine various models of human cultural dispersals that accompanied the spread of Indo-European languages in Eurasia.
Although we work primarily with mtDNA, we have recently expanded our research methods to the analysis of the nuclear genome, using Next Generation Sequencing (NSG) technology to study human genetic variation at the whole-genome level.
Lillie, MC, Potekhina, ID, Nikitin, AG, Sokhatsky, M. P. (2015). First evidence for interpersonal violence in Ukraine’s Trypillian farming culture: Individual 3 from Verteba Cave, Bilche Zolote, Ukraine. In: K. Gerdau-Radoni, K. McSweeney (Eds.), Trends in Biological Anthropology 1. Oxbow Books: Oxford. (In press)
Nikitin, AG. (2014). The Genetic roots of Trypolians: Summarizing eight years of research. Stratum Plus, 2, 303-307.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nikitin AG. (2011) Bioarcheological analysis of Bronze Age human remains from the Podillya region of Ukraine. Interdisciplinaria Archaeologica 2(1): 31-36.
Nikitin AG. (2010) The origin of agriculture east of the Carpathians: Cultural diffusion or demic influence? Praehistorica XXIX: 247-254.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kochkin IT, Nikitin AG. (2009) The genetic trail of pre-historic migrations in ethnic Carpathian populations. The Carpathians: People, Ethnos, Civilization 1: 34-36.
Nikitin AG, Berdyshev GD. 2008. The genetic roots of Ukrainian People. Origin of Language and Culture: Ancient History of Mankind 3(2): 40-44.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Willis CM, Nikitin AG. (2006) Study of the human mitochondrial DNA polymorphism. GVSU McNair Scholars Journal 10: 107-114.
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.