Gene pool of the Russian nation may be investigated using people’s surnames instead of genetic markers. This is being performed by Russian researchers supported by the Russian Foundation for the Humanities (RFH) and the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR).
Researchers use people’s surnames as a special class of genetic markers, with the help of which one can judge of internal diversity of human populations and relative connections between them. In Russia, specialists of the Laboratory of Human Population Genetics (Medicogenetic Research Center, Russian Medical Academy of Sciences) are carrying out this research. Within the last three years, the researchers collected and analyzed enormous quantity of data and for the first time got the opportunity to compare rural population of major groups of the Russian nation across the entire pool of surnames. The researchers came to the conclusion that the Russian surnames suit for analysis not only of individual groups but of the whole nation.
So far, geneticists have analyzed surname distribution across five regions of Russia that were conventionally called Western, Eastern, Northern, Southern and Central regions. These researches by the Moscow scientists were carried out with the help of their colleagues from Belgorod State University, Northern State Medical University (Arkhangelsk), Smolensk Medical Academy and the Kuban State Medical Academy (Maikop). The researchers studied the lists of indigenous countrymen from the age of 18. Among almost a million people representing more than 800 populations, the researchers counted about 50 thousand different surnames. The three fourths of them are rare surnames, i.e., they belong to less than five adult inhabitants of the region. Such surnames were excluded from the analysis and only most frequent ones were investigated.
Sergey Komarov | alfa
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