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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Autosomal DNA from Iraq

Even today, Iraq is a blind spot in terms of genetic studies despite its old and rich history. In order to partly fill this gap I want to present autosomal DNA data from Iraqi individuals using Dodecad K12b.

2 Assyrians
2 Mandaeans
10 Jews
1 Arab from South Iraq
2 Arabs from Baghdad
1 Yezidi Kurd
2 Kurmanji Kurd
9 Sorani Kurds
3 Feyli Kurds

The three most obvious observations: 
1. The South Iraqi is an outlier in the data set suggesting very recent migration into Iraq. The South Iraqi individual clusters with Bedouins. More than 10% of his ancestry is African.
2. Kurds have more of the Northern European component (5-8%), however, the Arab Baghdadi2 and Assyrian2 also shows some of it (~2%) suggesting some admixture with Kurds or other Iranians.
3. The South Asian component can be found in Arabs (2.9%±1.5%) and Kurds (3.1%±1.5%) but is rare in other Iraqi minorities.

Note: Blogger Mfa from helped me setting up the interactive chart below.

Edit 03/03/2014:

The K12b values of Saudis and Bedouins (from Dodecad K12b):


  1. Thank you very much. This is perfect timing because right now I am making K12b distribution maps(with pie charts, writing, and paper) of Europe, near east, north Africa, parts of south Asia, and maybe other areas. Could you please set this up in a spreadsheet so I could see the exact percentages?

  2. You do realise though that these results aren't accurate because these people weren't in the K12b run. Right?

    Calculator effect.

  3. The apparent African affinity element in the area of Arabia (incl. Persian Gulf, Palestine) is not necessarily African but may well (and probably is in part) an artifact of a minor but important OoA populations which seem to have survived in that part of the World and later absorbed by the main back-wave from Asia.

    This is apparent in mtDNA but I also believe to have detected such an archaic component in ADMIXTURE runs, which revealed a low frequency (~12%) among Saudi Arabians and some but not other (Delta) Egyptians. This component has intercontinental levels of Fst distance to both Eurasia and Africa. See: (the component is labeled "Arab2", please pay careful attention to its extreme Fst distances, telling of very ancient divergence).

    A similarly ancient but different component was spotted among Moroccans, notably Southern ones (→ and I relate it to Aterian period legacy (similar dates to the OoA).

    Therefore it does not need to be recent African admixture and it probably isn't at least in part what you see in the South Iraqi individual, so they are probably not "immigrants" but rather keepers of some very ancient aboriginal ancestry.

    1. I don't want to exclude this possibility but you should keep in mind that Bedouins are not a homogenous group, they are very heterogeneous with some basically African individuals.

  4. I had a look at the K12b population portraits released by Dienekes:

    In addition to the Caucasus, Southwest_Asian, Gedrosia, and Atlantic_Med components, the following were observable in the 10 Iraqi Jews on an individual level.

    GSM536708 - South_Asian
    GSM536709 - East_African
    GSM536711 - North_European, Southeast_Asian, Northwest_African
    GSM536712 - South_Asian, Northwest_African
    GSM536713 - South_Asian, Northwest_African
    GSM536714 - South_Asian, Northwest_African
    GSM536715 - Northwest_African
    GSM536716 - North_European, Northwest_African
    GSM536717 - South_Asian, Northwest_African
    GSM536718 - Southeast_Asian, Northwest_African

    Note the South_Asian component appears in half of them in small amounts, Northwest_African is absent in 2 individuals, and three components do not make an appearance at all: Sub_Saharan, East_Asian, and Siberian.

  5. The South Iraqi is an outlier, yes. But yet his results are very different from that of Saudis or other Arabian peninsula people. I would say he appears like a mix between a Saudi and Kurd, Iranian or Baghdadi.

    1. Saudis and Bedouins are a very diverse groups. Within these groups you can find individuals that show similar K12b proportions like the South Iraqi.

    2. True but they seem to be diverse in the opposite direction. Means I don't see any Saudi individual with that amount of Caucasus-Gedrosia as the South Iraqi individual. Also if there are Saudis who have similar Caucasus Gedrosia (which I don't doubt) It is allot more likely that they are recent Northern West Asian admixed individuals.

  6. I would have assumed more Northern European, I'm surprised at the higher South Asian admixture.