Turkish population structure and genetic ancestry reveal relatedness among Eurasian populations

Ann Hum Genet. 2012 Mar;76(2):128-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-1809.2011.00701.x.


Turkey has experienced major population movements. Population structure and genetic relatedness of samples from three regions of Turkey, using over 500,000 SNP genotypes, were compared together with Human Genome Diversity Panel (HGDP) data. To obtain a more representative sampling from Central Asia, Kyrgyz samples (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan) were genotyped and analysed. Principal component (PC) analysis reveals a significant overlap between Turks and Middle Easterners and a relationship with Europeans and South and Central Asians; however, the Turkish genetic structure is unique. FRAPPE, STRUCTURE, and phylogenetic analyses support the PC analysis depending upon the number of parental ancestry components chosen. For example, supervised STRUCTURE (K=3) illustrates a genetic ancestry for the Turks of 45% Middle Eastern (95% CI, 42-49), 40% European (95% CI, 36-44) and 15% Central Asian (95% CI, 13-16), whereas at K=4 the genetic ancestry of the Turks was 38% European (95% CI, 35-42), 35% Middle Eastern (95% CI, 33-38), 18% South Asian (95% CI, 16-19) and 9% Central Asian (95% CI, 7-11). PC analysis and FRAPPE/STRUCTURE results from three regions in Turkey (Aydin, Istanbul and Kayseri) were superimposed, without clear subpopulation structure, suggesting sample homogeneity. Thus, this study demonstrates admixture of Turkish people reflecting the population migration patterns.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Genetics, Population
  • Humans
  • Phylogeny
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Population Groups*
  • Turkey