Scientists at KFU work on researching the genome of the biggest ethnic minority of Russia.
The research is important for both historians and – even more – for microbiologists and medical doctors who want to find genetic markers of susceptibility to various diseases.
This project is a joint effort of historians, ethnographers, geneticists, and biologists. The work is supported by State Counsellor of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiev.
Olga Kravtsova, Head of the Genome Analysis Lab of KFU, shares some details, 'Today it’s easier to establish racial differences than populational. Some genetic markers are typical for Mongoloid people, some – for Negroid. Of course, the intermingling leads to some of those traits appearing within, let’s say, Caucasian population areas'.
Still, though, there are distinctions for different ethnicities, Tatars not being an exclusion.
Volga Tatars went through a long process of ethnogenesis in an area populated by dozens of different ethnicities, so some genetic samples were taken from nearest neighbors, such as Mishars, Kryashens, Astrakhan Tatars, Siberian Tatars, Crimean Tatars, Russians of Ryazan oblast, Mordvins, Bashkirs, Russians of the Republic of Tatarstan.
About 1 500 samples have been collected by now, 30 of them are fully sequenced, another 1 500 samples are supposed to be taken in the nearest future.
The results of this research should be beneficial for pharmacogenomic therapy.