Preliminary results from the Estonian Gene Project have revealed that Latvians, Lithuanians, Poles, and some Russians are genetically much more similar to Estonians than to Finns, with whom Estonians share a similar language. Razib at Gene Expression is not surprised. "Gene flow has a way of equilibrating and eliminated variation across adjacent populations," he says, adding that language and cultural identity can be passed "asymmetrically through parents, and changing languages can be quite abrupt and discrete. In other words, though outsiders can change genes imperceptibility from generation to generation, they may have still little cultural impact."
The EGP is being led by the University of Tartu, and hopes to collect DNA from 100,000 people to create a database of health, genealogical, and genomic data in Estonia.