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, 95 (4), 767-776

Phylogeography, Genetic Diversity and Demographic History of the Iranian Kurdish Groups Based on mtDNA Sequences

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Phylogeography, Genetic Diversity and Demographic History of the Iranian Kurdish Groups Based on mtDNA Sequences

Fatah Zarei et al. J Genet.

Abstract

Throughout the history of modern humans, the current Kurdish-inhabited area has served as part of a tricontinental crossroad for major human migrations. Also, a significant body of archaeological evidence points to this area as the site of Neolithic transition. To investigate the phylogeography, origins and demographic history, mtDNA D-loop region of individuals representing four Kurdish groups from Iran were analysed. Our data indicated that most of the Kurds mtDNA lineages belong to branches of the haplogroups with the Western Eurasian origin; with small fractions of the Eastern Eurasian and sub-Saharan African lineages. The low level of mtDNA diversity observed in the Havrami group presented a bias towards isolation or increased drift due to small population size; while in the Kurmanji group it indicated a bias towards drift or mass migration events during the 5-18th century AD. The Mantel test showed strong isolation by distance, and AMOVA results for global and regional scales confirmed that the geography had acted as the main driving force in shaping the current pattern of mtDNA diversity, rather than linguistic similarity. The results of demographic analyses, in agreement with archaeological data, revealed a recent expansion of the Kurds (~9,500 years before present) related to the Neolithic transition from hunting and gathering, to farming and cattle breeding in the Near East. Further, the high frequencies of typical haplogroups for early farmers (H; 37.1%) and hunter-gatherers (U; 13.8%) in the Kurds may testify the earlier hunter-gatherers in the Kurdish-inhabited area that adopted and admixed the Kurds ancestors following the Neolithic transition.

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    Mehrjoo Z, Fattahi Z, Beheshtian M, Mohseni M, Poustchi H, Ardalani F, Jalalvand K, Arzhangi S, Mohammadi Z, Khoshbakht S, Najafi F, Nikuei P, Haddadi M, Zohrehvand E, Oladnabi M, Mohammadzadeh A, Jafari MH, Akhtarkhavari T, Gooshki ES, Haghdoost A, Najafipour R, Niestroj LM, Helwing B, Gossmann Y, Toliat MR, Malekzadeh R, Nürnberg P, Kahrizi K, Najmabadi H, Nothnagel M. Mehrjoo Z, et al. PLoS Genet. 2019 Sep 24;15(9):e1008385. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008385. eCollection 2019 Sep. PLoS Genet. 2019. PMID: 31550250 Free PMC article.

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