"Genetic portrait of the Volga Tatars: beyond the visible, or what is behind the DNA?" The so-called monograph is devoted to the research of features of the gene pool of the second-largest of the people of Russia - Tatars, is written by Associate Professor of the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology Olga Kravtsova, head of the laboratory for molecular genetic analysis.
Many people dream of leaving a footprint in science. KFU representatives have a great opportunity to do it taking part in the project for genotyping phenotypic traits (eye color, hair and skin) modern Tatars.
These studies represent a new trend in the laboratory activities focused on the study of the gene pool of modern and ancient populations of the Republic of Tatarstan and the Middle Volga.
We have asked Olga Kravtsova about the purpose of conducting research and its progress.
- When we started researching population genetics and association studies in medicine, Victor Vinter (head of Department of Biochemistry in the period from 1985 to 2005), said that there was no a gene that differentiates a Tatar from Russian. We study population characteristics of modern Volga Tatars to assess the diversity of the gene pool of certain markers and compare them with the global data. This work is a part of research of the ancient population of the Volga region. We are looking for common features and differences. Currently, mixed marriages are a common thing, however, in the 18-19 centuries only marriages between people of the same ethnic group were welcomed.
- It turns out that there are interracial differences in terms of genetics, but no inter-ethnic, is it right?
- There is such a thing as interracial variability and intrapopulational variability. Currently, we have clearly defined only interracial differences. If we talk about genetic markers, certain types of markers are available for yellow race and in blacks. Markers that have evolved through the Mongoloid and Caucasoid races originated from the African. Mixing is a constant process, so a Negroid component can be met in a typical Caucasian population.
- Your Laboratory conducts research in the field of forensic medicine. Please tell us more about it.
- Now we are developing a panel of markers that will determine color of hair, eyes and blood type. Of course, blood type can be easily determined, but we have a 'tailoring' method used for work with degraded samples, as almost all samples from physical evidence are degraded.
- Does it mean that according to the remains of an ancient man you will be able to "draw" his colorful portrait?
- Probably, it is right. But in this case we should conduct screening, population-based studies on modern DNA samples, and only then it will be possible to extrapolate these results to the ancient samples of human DNA.
- How long has KFU been conducting population-based studies?
- Approximately since 2000. In the early stages they had a slow progress, because there was no bank of DNA samples (its creation is a time-consuming task), study itself was carried out manually, there was lack of reagents. But now this process became easier.