1022-7954/03/3911- $25.00 © 2003
Russian Journal of Genetics, Vol. 39, No. 11, 2003, pp. 1334–1342. Translated from Genetika, Vol. 39, No. 11, 2003, pp. 1573–1581.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2003 by Asadova, Shneider, Shilnikova, Zhukova.
During the last decades genetic structure of the GIS
populations was intensely studied . However, many
groups, including the populations of Azerbaijan,
remain poorly investigated.
Iranian-speaking populations of Azerbaijan have
been examined in respect of their anthropology and
gene demography [2–10], while their genetic structure
is still unknown.
Iranian-speaking ethnic groups inhabiting the terri-
tory of Azerbaijan are comprised of Talyshs, Tats, and
Kurds. Talyshs represent an indigenous ethnic group of
the southeastern part of Azerbaijan. In addition to the
southeast of the Republic, Talyshs also populate South-
ern Azerbaijan. At present, Talyshs compactly reside in
the Lenkoran–Astarinsk zone of Azerbaijan. Their lan-
guage belongs to the northwestern branch of the Iranian
group of Indo-European linguistic family, but it con-
tains many local Caucasian elements. Tats also repre-
sent one of the Iranian-speaking populations of Azer-
baijan. They belong to the ancient populations of Tran-
scaucasia, and they live in more or less large compact
groups, which are distributed among the Azerbaijanis
mostly in Siazanskii, Divichinskii, Kubinskii, Konakh-
kendskii, Shemakhinskii, and Ismaillinskii raions, and
also in the Apsheron. Tats speak the language that
belongs to the Iranian branch of Indo-European linguis-
tic family and represents a dialect of modern Persian
language. In respect of their culture and the way of liv-
ing, Talyshs and Tats are close to Azerbaijanis [11, 12].
This study presents a part of the data on population
genetic examination of Talyshs and Tats ethnic groups
from Azerbaijan. It is expected that due to their relative
isolation, Talyshs and Tats have preserved their histori-
cal genetic structure.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Blood samples were obtained from the inhabitants of
the cities of Lenkoran, Astara, Lerik, and Baku (
including 49 males and 63 females) of the Iranian-lan-
guage ancestry. According to the questionnaire data,
the sample examined was comprised of 99 Talyshs
and 13 Tats.
To characterize population genetic structure, immu-
nological (blood groups AB0, MN, Rhesus-D, -C, -E, P,
Lewis, Kell-Chellano) and biochemical gene markers,
speciﬁcally, serum proteins (haptoglobin (HP), group
speciﬁc component (GC), the third component of the
complement (C'3), transferrin (TF), and the red cell
enzymes (6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase (6PGD),
glyoxalase-1 (GLO1), esterase D (ESD), acid phos-
phatase (ACP1), phosphoglucomutase-1 (PGM1)), were
The antigenic speciﬁcity of the blood groups was
typed using standard agglutination method .
The red cell and serum proteins and enzymes were
typed by electrophoresis in polyacrylamide and starch
gels with subsequent histochemical staining [14–18].
Statistical treatment of the data was carried out
using standard algorithms of population genetic analy-
sis [19, 20].
Statistical signiﬁcance of the differences in the gene
frequencies was estimated by use of Students’
Genetic distances between the groups were calcu-
lated according to Edwards and Cavalli-Sforza .
Genetic Structure of Iranian-Speaking Populations
from Azerbaijan Inferred from the Frequencies
of Immunological and Biochemical Gene Markers
P. Sh. Asadova, Yu. V. Shneider, I. N. Shilnikova, and O. V. Zhukova
Vavilov Institute of General Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 119991 Russia;
fax: (095)132-12-89; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Received December 30, 2002
—The data on the genetic studies of Iranian-speaking populations from Azerbaijan (Talyshs and Tats)
are presented. In these populations gene frequency distributions for the immunological (AB0, MN, Rhesus-D,
-C, -E, P, Lewis, and Kell-Chellano) and biochemical (HP, GC, C'3, TF, 6PGD, GLO1, ESD, ACP1, and PGM1)
gene markers were determined. Comparison of the genetic structure of the populations examined with the other
Iranian-speaking populations (Persians and Kurds from Iran, Ossetins, and Tajiks) and Azerbaijanis showed
that Iranian-speaking populations from Azerbaijan were more close to Azerbaijanis, than to Iranian-speaking
populations inhabiting other world regions.