May 13, 2011

Biological ancestries, kinship connections, and projected identities in four central Anatolian settlements: insights from culturally contextualized genetic anthropology

American Anthropologist
Omer GokcumenTheodore G Schurr


Previous population genetics studies in Turkey failed to delineate recent historical and social factors that shaped Anatolian cultural and genetic diversity at the local level. To address this shortcoming, we conducted focused ethnohistorical fieldwork and screened biological samples collected from the Yuksekyer region for mitochondrial, Y chromosome, and autosomal markers and then analyzed the data within an ethnohistorical context. Our results revealed that, at the village level, paternal genetic diversity is structured among settlements, whereas maternal genetic diversity is distributed more homogenously, reflecting the strong patrilineal cultural traditions that transcend larger ethnic and religious structures. Local ancestries and origin myths, rather than ethnic or religious affiliations, delineate the social boundaries and projected identities among the villages. Therefore, we conclude that broad, ethnicity-based sampling is inadequate to capture the genetic signatures of recent social and historical dynamics, which have had a profound influence on contemporary genetic and cultural regional diversity.

  • References24
  • Citations5


  • References24
  • Citations5


Mentioned in this Paper

Y Chromosome
DNA, Mitochondrial
Chromosomes, Human
Historical Events, 19th Century
Family Relationship
Science of Genetics

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