Mysterious Transoxiana. Who has affected a gene pool of Kazakhs and why?

27 June, 2017, 11:32 4265
Mysterious Transoxiana. Who has affected a gene pool of Kazakhs and why?

The Kazakhstan geneticist Maksat Zhabagin together with the leading scientists from Russia and Uzbekistan have studied a gene pool of populations of the historic area of Central Asia – Transoxiana. The research of the scientist have shown that expansion of Mongols has left a powerful mark in a gene pool of Kazakhs, but it wasn't reflected in traditions, culture, language, and religion. To the contrary, expansion of Arabs has brought Islam to the region, however, hasn't left marks in a gene pool of Kazakhs. And what about tribal groups of kozha and sunak (clans of steppe clergy)? It is considered that they have descended from Arabs. You can read about it in the BNews.kz material with reference to the Committee of science of Kazakhstan MES website.

"If to consider other regions of the world, then in many of them a geographical factor, geographical distances play an important role in the formation of a gene pool of the people. We thought that, most likely, in this region in the same way geographical distances will form a gene pool of the people of Transoxiana. But it has appeared in a different way. It has turned out that, despite geography, economic activity, that is on whether the people are nomads or settled, … the structure of a gene pool depends," M. Zhabagin says.

Transoxiana is a historical region of Central Asia within the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya rivers. It covers territories of Uzbekistan, the western Tajikistan, the western Kyrgyzstan, northeast Turkmenistan and the southern Kazakhstan, along with the rivers and in foothills of which - Dungans Kazakhs, Karakalpaks, Kyrgyz, Turkmens, Uzbeks are densely-populated. The history of the region has several main milestones: development of ancient cultures of farmers and nomadic cattle farmers, the influence of the West Asian empires, emergence of Turkic-speaking tribes, then the expansion of Arabs, later - Mongols.

"In the history of the region, the nomadic cattle breeding and agriculture was in parallel formed many thousands years ago. It, probably, was the major factor in the formation of a gene pool and became a strong base which exerted further impact," M. Zhabagin explains.

"The gene pool of the people is influenced by the mixture. The nomadic people chose more from the nomadic people when they chose the families. The fact that we change some activity becoming more settled now, we live in the cities, it cardinally directly won't influence our gene pool. Though, of course, the influence of external factors affects. For example, mixed marriages, population shift of Kazakhstan, then further assimilation – it will influence," the geneticist says.

Traces of Mongols migrations 

The more private task of geneticists consisted in finding in Transoxiana's gene pool traces of two last expansion – Arabs and Mongols. Studying of haplotype has revealed an intensive stream of genes from Mongolia in Transoxiana that indicates powerful population shift. However it wasn't followed by cultural expansion (change of language or religion) as the majority of populations of Transoxiana speaks on Turkic, but not in the Mongolian languages, and belongs to other faith – Islam, but not the Buddhism. Among the revealed four haplotypes -founders in the studied populations have been found also known protomongolian haplotype: it is supposed that it has been inherited by Genghis Khan, his descendants and other relatives on the fatherly line. 

In search of the Arab ancestors 

In traditional Kazakh genealogy, it is considered that tribal groups kozha and sunak (clans of steppe clergy) descend from close relatives of the prophet Muhammad in the male line. Scientists have checked this assumption by genetic methods. But the general ancestor on the "fatherly" Y-chromosomes lines at these clans hasn't appeared. 

The main conclusion of the work: Transoxiana's gene pool, unlike the majority of regions of the world, is defined not by geographical distances and a landscape, but the features of economic and cultural activity: agriculture or cattle breeding.

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