The project reveals the ancient genetic characteristics of Turkey


The project reveals the ancient genetic characteristics of Turkey

The results of the Genetics Project in Turkey were published in Science Journal, one of the world’s most prestigious scientific journals, in the form of three related articles on August 25 and 26.


For the project, Turkish anthropologist and Associate Professor Songul Alpaslan-Rudenberg studied the finds unearthed during 15-year archaeological excavations at Ilepinar Hill in the Marmara Province of Bursa’s Orhangazi District.

Alpaslan-Rudenberg, who is part of the David Reich Laboratory science team in the Harvard Department of Genetics and has personally conducted studies in Turkey and some Balkan countries in terms of anthropology and genetics, served as co-chair of the Turkey section of the project jointly with Laboratory President David Reich.

Alpaslan-Roodenberg is one of the lead authors of the article published in Science, along with computer engineer and geneticist Losif Lazaridis of Harvard University. Two other important authors are Professor Ron Benhase, Head of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Vienna, and David Reich. In addition to the four authors, more than 200 anthropologists, museologists, and geneticists have contributed significantly to the article.

Noting that in the late 1980s, the director of the Dutch Archaeological Institute Jacob Rodenberg began archaeological excavations at Elipinar, Alpaslan-Rodenberg said: “Since the cultures of the Marmara region resemble those of the Balkans in the same period, one of Jacob’s goals was Roodenberg in this project, as The Ilıpınar mounds and several Neolithic mounds were excavated in the region from the late 1980s to the early 2000s, is to know if this culture moved to the Balkans and Central Europe from this region.In 2014, Harvard University’s Department of Genetics began a procedure An eight-year research into ancient DNA.”


Speaking about the research, Alpaslan Rodenberg said: “Whether the producers of these cultures, that is, these people, migrated to Europe from this region, can only be answered in the mid-2010s with the progress of ancient DNA research. Now thanks to the new generation of Ancient DNA sequencing methods, by analyzing very little DNA taken from ancient human bones, we can follow the migration routes of ancient societies, and obtain information about their physical appearance, such as hair, eyes, skin color and color, their relationship to each other, family relationships and kinship. We can find out the answers to many questions.”

“In 2015-2016, a group of scientists from the old Harvard DNA laboratory discovered a genetic link between people living in the Orhangazi Ilıpınar, Menteşe and Barcın Hills in the Marmara Region and early farmers in Central Europe, and the results were published in the journal Nature. Therefore, it is proved For the first time that not only the culture but also the people went to Europe from this region.In other words, if you pick random people from the streets in central Europe, for example in Germany, and you analyze their DNA, you will see that one in five people do not It still carries the genes of those early Anatolian farmers.”

Alpaslan-Rudenberg, who also mentioned that Jacob Rodenberg’s thesis was proven with the help of genetics today, said that she examined and analyzed the bones of the first farmers discovered during excavations in the Marmara region.


“We have worked in collaboration with ancient DNA laboratories in Harvard and Vienna since 2008, and I have personally participated in the scientific team of both laboratories. Small bone samples taken from some fossils in all geographical regions of Turkey have been analyzed since 2014, in the ancient DNA laboratories in Vienna and Harvard The study was conducted with the participation of more than 200 authors, mostly anthropologists and archaeologists from Turkey, its neighboring countries and the Balkan countries. About 35 museum professionals and academics from Turkey also took part.”

She stated that the ancient genetic profile of Anatolia from the Neolithic period to the Ottoman Empire was revealed in the study, and added: “The results of the analysis of this very important study reveal the presence of two migrations to Anatolia in the Neolithic period. In addition, this study, which examined the Also genetically in the roots of the Indo-European language family, indications are given that the origins of this language may be in the steppes and the Caucasus. ”


“An interesting discovery is that there was no steppe origin in Anatolia until the Bronze Age, which also raises the question of why Anatolia did not open up to migration from the north. Only new studies and analyzes can give a clear answer to these questions. Because there were Hittites in the era Bronze in Anatolia and these people spoke a language that entered the Indo-European language family.How did this happen?She said that new studies will reveal this.

Alpaslan-Rudenberg states that another discovery is that the Urartian civilization centered at Van in eastern Anatolia originated in the Levant and Anatolia. “Analysis of samples from the Van region proved that Urartians came from the previous communities in the region and originated from the Levant, while samples taken from the Urartian extensions in Armenia today showed that they are of local origin and from the steppes,” she said.

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