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: Gene clues to glaucoma risk

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

A nucleotide change could initiate fragile X syndrome

8 hours ago

Researchers reveal how the alteration of a single nucleotide—the basic building block of DNA—could initiate fragile X syndrome, the most common inherited form of intellectual disability. The study appears ...

Gene clues to glaucoma risk

Aug 31, 2014

Scientists on Sunday said they had identified six genetic variants linked to glaucoma, a discovery that should help earlier diagnosis and better treatment for this often-debilitating eye disease.

Mutation disables innate immune system

Aug 29, 2014

A Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich team has shown that defects in the JAGN1 gene inhibit the function of a specific type of white blood cells, and account for a rare congenital immune deficiency that ...

Study identifies genetic change in autism-related gene

Aug 28, 2014

A new study from Bradley Hospital has identified a genetic change in a recently identified autism-associated gene, which may provide further insight into the causes of autism. The study, now published online in the Journal of ...

NIH issues finalized policy on genomic data sharing

Aug 27, 2014

The National Institutes of Health has issued a final NIH Genomic Data Sharing (GDS) policy to promote data sharing as a way to speed the translation of data into knowledge, products and procedures that improve health while ...

User comments : 0