MtDNA and Y-chromosome Variation in Kurdish Groups
In order to investigate the origins and relationships of Kurdish-speaking groups, mtDNA HV1 sequences, eleven Y chromosome bi-allelic markers, and 9 Y-STR loci were analyzed among three Kurdish groups: Zazaki and Kurmanji speakers from Turkey, and Kurmanji speakers from Georgia. When compared with published data from other Kurdish groups and from European, Caucasian, and West and Central Asian groups, Kurdish groups are most similar genetically to other West Asian groups, and most distant from Central Asian groups, for both mtDNA and the Y-chromosome. However, Kurdish groups show a closer relationship with European groups than with Caucasian groups based on mtDNA, but the opposite based on the Y-chromosome, indicating some differences in their maternal and paternal histories. The genetic data indicate that the Georgian Kurdish group experienced a bottleneck effect during their migration to the Caucasus, and that they have not had detectable admixture with their geographic neighbours in Georgia. Our results also do not support the hypothesis of the origin of the Zazaki–speaking group being in northern Iran; genetically they are more similar to other Kurdish groups. Genetic analyses of recent events, such as the origins and migrations of Kurdish-speaking groups, can therefore lead to new insights into such migrations.
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