NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - An international project aimed at studying the genealogy of the people of Krygyzstan has added a new partner and intends to expand its scope to include other Central Asian nations, the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation said today.
The project, which began in October 2006 between SMGF and the International University of Krygyzstan, aims to study the genetic genealogies, migration, and demographic patterns of Kyrgyzstan's various populations. A new partner, the American University of Central Asia’s Department of Anthropology will now join the collaboration by contributing field work in various populations, SMGF said.
Krygyszstan is a land-locked Central Asian nation that borders China to the east and has a population of around 5 million. The country contains a wide variety of ethnic groups: approximately 65 percent of the population is comprised of indigenous Kyrgyz residents, more than 13 percent of residents have Uzbek ancestry, and 12.5 percent of residents are of Russian descent.
Kyrgyzstan’s demographic makeup “might contribute important clues to the unique Central Asian phenomenon of significant differentiation between geographically close populations combined with relative genetic homogeneity within some populations,” said SMGF’s executive director, Scott Woodward, in a statement.
Since the research got underway last year, SMGF said it has collected 364 DNA samples from three ethnic populations within the country, including the Kyrgyz, Dungan, and Uyghur peoples.
The partners aim to collect between 800 and 1,100 DNA samples in the country, and a total of as many as 5,000 samples in Central Asia, including those collected from further studies in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
Overall, the researchers will study genomic data in different groups based on demographic, socio-anthropological, and cultural characteristics. The researchers plan to document and preserve oral histories, connect families and individuals through genealogies, increase genetic data from Central Asia in SMGF’s public database, and to compare these results with other studies.