No such thing as ethnic groups, genetically speaking

Aug 31, 2009

Central Asian ethnic groups are more defined by societal rules than ancestry. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Genetics found that overall there are more genetic differences within ethnic groups than between them, indicating that separate 'ethnic groups' exist in the mind more than the blood.

Evelyne Heyer, from the Musée de l'Homme in Paris, France, led an international team of researchers who studied mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome data from several populations of two major language ethnic groups of Central Asia, the Turkic and Indo-Iranian groups. She said, "Our results indicate that, for at least two of the Turkic groups in Central Asia, ethnicity is a constructed social system maintaining genetic boundaries with other groups, rather than being the outcome of common genetic ancestry".

The boundaries used by individuals to distinguish themselves from members of other ethnic groups are generally cultural, linguistic, economic, religious and political. Heyer and her colleagues confirm the absence of common in a specific ethnic group; there were on average more differences between members of the same ethnic group than there were between groups. Speaking about these findings, Heyer said, "Analysis of genetic data, such as in this study, is an important tool for investigating ethnological issues"

More information: Genetic diversity and the emergence of in Central Asia; Evelyne Heyer, Patricia Balaresque, Mark A Jobling, Lluis Quintana-Murci, Raphaelle Chaix, Laure Segurel, Almaz Aldashev and Tanya Hegay; BMC Genetics (in press), http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcgenet/

Source: BioMed Central (news : web)

Explore further: A link between DNA transcription and disease-causing expansions

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tracing African-American Ancestry Difficult

Oct 12, 2006

Mitochondrial DNA may not hold the key to unlocking the ancestry of African Americans, according to a study by a University of South Carolina researcher published in this week’s issue of the journal BMC Biology.

Recommended for you

Science of romantic relationships includes gene factor

Nov 23, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—Adolescents worry about passing tests, winning games, lost phones, fractured bones—and whether or not they will ever really fall in love. Three Chinese researchers have focused on that ...

Stress reaction may be in your dad's DNA, study finds

Nov 21, 2014

Stress in this generation could mean resilience in the next, a new study suggests. Male mice subjected to unpredictable stressors produced offspring that showed more flexible coping strategies when under ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.