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Genetics of the people of Turkey

Reader comment on item: Cyprus on the World Stage
in response to reader comment: Turkish identity is a mixture of Turkic migrants and indigenous converts.

Submitted by Steven A. Adelman (United States), Oct 25, 2011 at 14:14

In 2005, I estimated the Y-chromosome heritage of Turkic speakers on modern Anatolians at 11%.

In the same year, I estimated the Mongoloid admixture in Anatolian Turks at 6.2% on the basis of Y-chromosome and mtDNA. This is not inconsistent with the previous percentage, as the Turks, when they arrived in Anatolia were almost certainly of mixed Caucasoid-Mongoloid heritage.

Surprisingly, the maternal contribution from East Eurasia seems higher than the paternal one, on the basis of uniparental markers. But, that is not so surprising if one considers that the Turks who arrived to Anatolia were to a degree descended from Turkicized groups of Iranian steppe nomads bearing Caucasoid patrilineages. Already we have ancient DNA evidence of groups in Central Asia with Caucasoid patrlineages (R1a1) and mixed Caucasoid-Mongoloid mtDNA.

In 2007, some Turkish researchers estimated, using Alu polymorphisms, the Central Asian admixture in Turks at 13%, quite close to my own estimate, and, given the observation that there is more Mongoloid mtDNA than Mongoloid Y-chromosomes in modern Anatolians, the slight difference of 2% is probably taken care of.

Jon Oz,

Here are the estimates of Central Asian ancestry among Turks. One is from an American group, which says 11%, and the other from a Turkish group which says 13%. This is nothing to brag about since all non-Africans have a 4% Neanderthal make up.

Other geneticists have different estimates. But they all agree that Turks are mainly of Anatolian descent.


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