Close Genetic Relationship Between Semitic-speaking and Indo-European-speaking Groups in Iran


Corresponding author: Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Deutscher Platz 6, 04103 Leipzig, Germany. E-mail:


As part of a continuing investigation of the extent to which the genetic and linguistic relationships of populations are correlated, we analyzed mtDNA HV1 sequences, eleven Y chromosome bi-allelic markers, and 9 Y-STR loci in two neighboring groups from the southwest of Iran who speak languages belonging to different families: Indo-European-speaking Bakhtiari, and Semitic-speaking Arabs. Both mtDNA and the Y chromosome, showed a close relatedness of these groups with each other and with neighboring geographic groups, irrespective of the language spoken. Moreover, Semitic-speaking North African groups are more distant genetically from Semitic-speaking groups from the Near East and Iran. Thus, geographical proximity better explains genetic relatedness between populations than does linguistic relatedness in this part of the world.