Genetics: "Iranians least similar to Europeans or other Near-Easterners"


Genetics: "Iranians least similar to Europeans or other Near-Easterners"
by Jahanshah Javid

An Iranian genetic expert made some remarks about my DNA test results. I think you may find it interesting too, in terms of learning about genetic geneology. Thank you Arash. I'm regaining my interest in this subject after initial disappointment in not seeing any Iranian connection. Here's what he had to say:

I am the administrator of the Iranian Y-DNA Project at Family Tree DNA.

Your first post does not reveal much about the tests you have taken so far. One of the users stated you belong to Y-DNA haplogroup Q. As far as I can gather, you must have also taken the full-genomic DNA test, made evident by the matches you have with Europe.

Your lack of Iranian matches is explained by the lack of Iranians. It's as simple as that. The majority of customers tend to be middle-class European Americans. I am not familiar with FTDNA's autosomal DNA services, but am a customer of 23andMe's, where there are currently well over 40 Iranians already registered and sharing genomes.

Y-DNA haplogroup Q is not necessarily Central Asian. Most of the haplogroup Q observed in Iran belongs to two distinct subclades: Q1a2*-M25 and Q1b-M378. Q1a2* appears to be distinctly Near-Eastern and has been observed in Turkey and Lebanon. Q1b was found in Pakistan, as well as in Ashkenazi Jews.

In contrast, Altaic speakers (Koreans, Hazaras and Dungans) were found to carry Q1a1-M20.

I stress skepticism in reading material on haplogroup Q from unlisted sources (such as Internet forums) as the lineage is erroneously listed as "Altaic/Turkic", particularly by revisionist Pan-Turanist Turks.

I am interested in learning more about your case and would appreciate details.

Should anyone wish to contact me concerning my work as administrator or enquire about testing, please contact me at dmxx [underscore] dna [at] hotmail [dot] [co] [dot] [uk].

I will examine your results once FTDNA has completed their maintannence (currently down).

Regarding the Ashkenazi matches; given their endogamous (i.e. tight-knit) family structure and preeminence in the United States, people of European ancestry (such as yourself) usually score well with them. This simply means you share some European ancestry with them, as opposed to Jewish.

I'd also like to add a rebuttal against Ali P.'s point concerning Iran's genetic landscape.

While Iran is a linguistically diverse nation, it is surprising to note that Iranians form a tighter genetic cluster with one another than Assyrians, Armenians or Turks do.

Together with a close Assyrian-Iranian associate of mine, we compared Iranians, Assyrians, Armenians and Anatolian Turks, five each of "pure" stock, against a static set of European, Asian and Near-Eastern samples based on 23andMe's Compare Genomes feature.

We discovered the Iranians did not overlap with the others, but they (Assyrians, Armenians, Turks) all did with each other. We also concluded Iranians were genetically the least similar to Europeans and other Near-Easterners, which is in line with history, as Persia was never conquered by the Roman (and later Byzantine) empire. Thus, gene flow from Europe to Iran was never consistent at any point in history.

The Iranians used for ths comparison were of the following backgrounds:

- Azeri-Iranian (north of Tabriz) and Persian (Tehran)
- Azeri-Iranian (unknown)
- Persian (Tehran, possible Azeri roots)
- Lori, Gilaki, Persian
- Khuzestani, Tehrani

Despite the diverse sample backgrounds, the Iranian intra-group closeness was greater than the Assyrian, Armenian or Turkish ones.

Furthermore, I'd like to add that autosomal genetic testing can confirm or deny oral traditions that may exist in an Iranian's family.

My motivation to research genetic genealogy came from a family tree my late grandfather produced, where he determined we were "Iranians from outside Iran" and came from further north in the Caucasus.

Not only do we carry a Y-Chromosome that is found more frequently in Ossetians, Georgian Kurds, Mazandaranis, Balochis, Uzbek Tajiks and Shugnani Tajiks, but I match North Caucasians (Adyghe and Circassians) far better than other Iranians. Clearly, my family's oral tradition was a tangible fact, not fable.

For this reason - An admittedly selfish one! - I encourage all Iranians who are interested to learn the truth about their deep roots to contact me if there's even a flicker of interest. 


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Dirty Angel


by Dirty Angel on

A genetic ROFLM!!!!

Not my fault; it's my genes.

"What's three times worse than war?" "Three wars?"


Thank you for your

by IranianDNAadmin on

Thank you for your post.

The current consensus concerning the Indo-European urheimat has remained the same for over a century. Ancient DNA is being recovered from across Eurasia, with Y-DNA haplogroup R1a1a-M17 making an appearance all over the steppe. It seems likely, therefore, that men bearing R1a1a-M17 were (at the very least) significant mediators of Indo-European languages, especially to the east. The reconstructed Proto-Indo-European lexicon does not support an Iranian homeland for Proto-Indo-European.

Furthermore, we have no direct evidence that para-haplogroup IJ originated on the Taurus-Zagros mountain belt. At present, the case is supported by haplogroup I2 and J's diversity around Anatolia being considerable. Y-DNA STR diversity is a much more reliable indicator of clade age than frequency, as the latter is subject to bottlenecks.

Haplogroup R predates Proto-Indo-European by thousands of years and its' para-haplogroups (R*-M207, R1*-M173 etc.) do not serve as indicators of "Indo-European antiquity" in Iran for this reason. In fact, R paragroups appear to be more common in West Iran and Turkey rather than the East.

Cavalli-Sforza is a giant in the world of population genetics and his preliminary analysis of autosomal DNA over a decade ago seems to be supported by recent data. 

I will take this opportunity to remind Iranians that Family Tree DNA currently has a Christmas sale for Y-DNA kits; prices can be slashed by as much as $69.00.

For more information, please contact either me or view this profile.


Nazis were great fans of Eugenics, trying to prove their racial

by Roozbeh_Gilani on

 Theories. Of course their  crazy racial obsessions, along with their dreams of a world ruled by the tall, blonde "Aryan" superman (of German type!) was shattered under the victorious Red Army tanks rolling into Berlin and adolph himself commiting suicide whilst hiding in his bunker.

Now, I am forever bemused why some of us Iranains of all people -I mean come on guys we've been invaded and conquered by almost  any victorious army  you can name in history, due to our geography sitting between India and Europe- are so obsessed with our racial background. I think we should all be proud of having such diverse genetic background. There is enough scientific data to prove that racial and genetic differences between human beings are so minute that any change in beheviour, intelligence, etc are very deterministic. In otherwords you are/ you can be what you decide to be within the boundaries set on you by the society and your will power, regardless of your genetic/racial make up. 

"Personal business must yield to collective interest."


Iranian Roots

by zadeh79 on

All the studies I've seen, suggest that Iranians are indigenous people, and the Iranian plateau may have given rise to the earliest Caucasoids.  Y-chromosome Haplogroups I and J, appears to have originated in the Zagros Mountain range and Westward, and eventually spread through Europe, the Middle-East, and the Caucauses.  Haplogroup G (a Caucasian haplogroup), appears to have it's origin in Iran as well, as G* can be found in traces, only on the Iranian plateau.  And finally, Eastern Iranians carry the rarest forms of Haplogroup R, R1* R1a*, which may suggest northwardly and Westward migrations of Indo-European populations, at the end of the neolithic.   But there are issues with inferring population histories from Haplogroup data alone.  (Secondary admixtures cannot be inferred and 'zones of origin', cannot be defined) However,  autosomal data used to construct phylogenetic trees from 42 global populations, produced by Cavalli-Sforza, suggest Iranians are really just outliers of the European peoples, pairing weakly with Greeks.  But that result, is a generality.  Most of the southern half of Iran is 'probably' more similar altogether to Afro-Asiatic neighbors, and of course there are ethnic minorites in Iran.  


Iranian DNA literature

by IranianDNAadmin on

"According to CARTA , most of Kerala hasn't been tested yet. There simply isn't enough data...."

Note that I said "South Indians from places like Kerala", implying the territory below the Deccan plateau in the subcontinent. 

Nonetheless, the "South Indians" in our project, of which there were eight, were from Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chennai. Two of them stated their ancestry was wholly South Indian and were of Tamil extraction that straddled several provinces. At least one of them belonged to the Brahmin caste.

I will also add that CARTA's involvement in genetic genealogy, population genetics and popular genomic testing has to be minimal at best. None of the scientific literature at my disposal refers to any of CARTA's work.
Whatever opinion they may express has no bearing on genetic genealogy.

Thank you also for sharing your views on family genealogy.


How strange

by YeahLikeWhatEver on

According to CARTA


, most of Kerala hasn't been tested yet. There simply isn't enough data....


And anyway, I find family geneology, in this context in particular, beyond dumb - ego-centric stupidity at best - except of course in cases of combatting specific  diseases etc....Other areas in studies of human biodiversity e.g. anthropogeny are actually interesting....


"Last night I drowned in a puddle. And the puddle thanked me"


Relatively speaking,

by IranianDNAadmin on

Relatively speaking, Iranians are genetically closer than practically everyone from Europe and South Asia than to Arabians.
The "true" Arabs (bedouin nomads whose ancestors were the cultural and linguistic benefactors of Arabic) match poorly with other groups as well. This is explained by their people going through long periods of isolation on the Arabian plateau, together with a patriarchal (male-dominated) clan structure. This accounts for both their poor matching strength with other Near-Easterners and the prevalence of Y-DNA J1c3 (formerly J1e).
Modern bedouins seem to carry some African DNA, particularly on the maternal side (African mtDNA). Given Arabia's history, where the Arab slave trade was thriving until a few centuries ago, common sense dictates Arabian men from this period took African female slaves as wives. The fact that African Y-DNA is either absent or not represented to the same degree rules out the possibility of this African autosomal DNA and mtDNA reaching bedouin Arabs through demic diffusion. It is clearly female-mediated.

These results lend favour to the argument of Iranians being a very distinct group in the Near-East. We are all aware of Iran's Indo-Iranian languages and rich culture, but the genetic component has not been reported until recently.

If I were to surmise Iran's genetic landscape in a short sentence, I would describe Iranians as "distant South Caucasians who share considerable genetic ties with other Indo-Iranian speakers".
Archaeology reveals the same picture. The first great demic expansion into Iran was by Neolithic farmers who entered from the Northwest and moved both southwest and northeast towards Khuzestan and Khorasan. Their language is not attested, but might have been related to Sumerian (language isolate). The people of Elam were most likely of the same Neolithic stock.

I would appreciate if this discussion remains genetics-oriented and specific to Iran.

Should anyone wish to contact me regarding my work, I am available at the following address;

dmxx [underscore] dna [at] hotmail [dot] [co] [dot] [uk]

Sargord Pirouz

Thanks for the reading list,

by Sargord Pirouz on

Thanks for the reading list, Arash. 

Your contribution has provided the best source of learning I've yet to come across here on IC. Looking forward to any future insights.

Niloufar Parsi

this makes no sense

by Niloufar Parsi on

i could swear that half the revolutionaries on this site have near-pure western genes!



by AMIR1973 on

No, not disappointed at all. Iranians are neither close relatives of Nordic Europeans (that's obvious enough) nor of our beloved Arab brethren. Aside from the human connection that links all peoples, Iranians are their own people and should be accepted as such. But, to the extent that there is an "identity crisis" among some Iranians, it seems that an exaggerated Arab-ophilia is one of the most wrongheaded ones (given Iran's history). It seems to have affected the Leader of our country and his associates:









Yes, Amir joon. I can read thank you.

I sense that you were disappointed by the observation though?


You mentioned once your mom is from India

by shirbacheh on

Am I right? Then this might explain the DNA test result :)


MOOSIRvaPIAZ, oh my gods is right :-(

by AMIR1973 on

Even more concerning were these observations: "You will note the huge disparity between Iranians, Turks etc. with Bedouin Arabs almost immediately" and "As you will note from the raw data, Iranians match better with practically every other test reference - Including South Indians from places like Kerala - Than with Arabians. This is a clear indication that the Zagros mountains severely buffered gene flow from the Mesopotamian lowlands to the Iranian plateau."  

It's okay Baradar MOOSIRvaPIAZ, Arab causes and above all "Palestine" can still dwell deep within our hearts, if not in our chromosomes. Regards. 


"you mean we are not close

by IranianDNAadmin on

"you mean we are not close to our blue eyed aryan brothers?"

You are correct. Iranians are not related to fiction.

Historical Aryans, and 18th Century-inspired Nazi ethnocentrist pseudoscience, are separate matters.


Iranian DNA literature

by IranianDNAadmin on

It is a pleasure; I hope my posts here have been informative and aroused everyone's curiosity.

There are a number of papers on Iranian genetics, but I recommend the following;

Regueiro et al. - Iranian Y-DNA from north and south (//
Very good broad introduction into Iranian Y-DNA. I suggest using Wikipedia alongside this to identify the common lineages found in Iran.

Behar et al. - Genome-wide structure of the Jews
Focused on the Jewish diaspora but reveals the autosomal position of Iranians. You will note the huge disparity between Iranians, Turks etc. with Bedouin Arabs almost immediately. Confirms most of the private work me and my Assyrian associate carried out.

Underhill et al. - Paper on Y-DNA R1a
Reveals Iran's Y-DNA R1a diversity and frequencies, which counters the claims of Iranians having R1a1a at "background Near-Eastern frequencies".


oh my gods


you mean we are not close to our blue eyed aryan brothers?

Sargord Pirouz

Arash, thanks you so much

by Sargord Pirouz on

Arash, thanks you so much for the prompt reply. This is all fascinating.

Could you recommend or provide a basic reading list of published works on this subject (Iran related)? 


JJ's results and Kurds

by IranianDNAadmin on


Please refer to this post (// I just published concerning JJ's Y-DNA.

JJ does not belong to the typical Q subclades found in the Near-East (Q1b for instance), nor does he bear the subclade(s) typically found in Altaic speakers.
Instead, he belongs to a paragroup (as evidenced by the asterisk in his haplogroup assignment), making his Y-DNA very rare indeed.

Much like carriers of haplogroup R, however, you are correct in stating his ancestor was in Central Asia at a specific point in time. Both Q and R men are all descended from a common ancestor, categorized by haplogroup P. Some Y-DNA P* can still be found in Central Asia, but it is exceedingly rare. I do not think JJ's paternal ancestor arrived at the plateau in historically attested times.

Regarding the Kurds...
1) Zazaki and Kurmanji Kurds from Turkey and Georgia vary staggeringly in terms of Y-DNA. As they are endogamous communities (inter-marry), certain lines have become more frequent as generations passed. An Assyrian genealogist associate mentioned the Kurmanjis of Georgia have an oral tradition of coming from India, which might be supported by some unusual Y-DNA frequencies they carried. As the paper is old and the SNP's are basal (i.e. not specific enough), none of the results are congruent with an Indo-Iranian connection that surpasses the Iranian norm. (Nasdize et al.)
2) The only Kurd on 23andMe was genetically more "Near-Eastern" than many of the Iranians and shared more DNA with Anatolian Turks than Iranians tend to do. Although conclusions taken from a single user are not absolute, this is in line with geography, given Kurdistan's position "deeper" in the Near-East and beyond the protective buffer of the Zagros mountains.
3) Another study on Kurds was carried out in Iraq (Nebel et al.). R1a1a-M17, the "diagnostic Indo-Iranian marker" (as termed by Dr. Spencer Wells in his preeminent paper on Central Asia), was found at 11.6%. This is actually lower than the Iranian nationwide average I calculated from several studies, where Iran tends to have at least twice as much R1a1a-M17 than typical Near-Easterners, which is a testament to their Indo-European language.

From a genetic perspective, nothing in their results at present implies they have a deeper connection with the Medians than other speakers of West Iranian languages.
The Kurdish language belongs to the Northwest branch of the Iranian language family. Balochi, Talysh, Tati and the Caspian dialects (Mazandarani and Gilaki) all belong to this diverse branch. The Parthian language (Pahlavanik), Median and Azari (precursor to Azeri Turkish in Azarbaijan) also belonged to it.

As the Median language is poorly attested, it is haphazardly for anyone to presume the Kurdish language descends directly from it. Based on the little information we have, the same can be said about Gilaki, Tati or Mazandarani with equal measure.

As there is no definitive genetic or linguistic argument to their claims, Kurdish nationalism which espouses a Median origin for their peoples is merely romanticist guesswork.

Sargord Pirouz

Thanks for sharing this

by Sargord Pirouz on

Thanks for sharing this JJ.

Enlightening overview, Arash. I learned a lot.

I believe it was I that mentioned JJ's Y-DNA Haplogroup Q. Upon commenting on this at another Iran related forum, I noticed I made a mistake on reporting JJ's results, but I can't remember if it was the Y-DNA side. Sorry. It should be reviewed again.

The reason I identified Central Asia as a source for this Haplogroup was geographic relevance. I defer to your more informed explanation.

Sounds like it would be a positive thing for more Iranians to take DNA tests.

I've an interest: how do the Kurds fit into this? Any good sampling from this population? Some of their more ardent nationalists have suggested they are descendants of Medes. Do DNA results offer any explanations?

Shazde Asdola Mirza

PS: just to summarize brother Arash's note:

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

... all the rest of you are Paki ;-)


Answering some comments

by IranianDNAadmin on

Thank you for airing my thoughts, JJ.

I have access to numerous pieces of scientific literature on the matter, but will post below the private work I carried out with my esteemed Assyrian-Iranian associate, which I had referenced earlier.

Near-Eastern DNA: Autosomal Analysis

To investigate the autosomal affinities of four principal Near-Eastern
groups (Anatolian Turks, Armenians, Assyrians and Iranians) with West
Eurasians using 23andMe's Compare Genomes feature.

- Five 23andMe customers belonging exclusively to each Near-Eastern group were chosen for analysis.
- Each participant was compared against 215 users belonging to 31 West
Eurasian groups, delineated by either geography or nationality.
- Nations were represented by four users where available, whilst regions with limited populations were made up by at least two.
- All of the 215 users belonged to a single ethnicity or had ancestry from the same exclusive region.
- The average values of each Near-Eastern participant were calculated
and were, in turn, combined into a meta-average that represented their
ethnic group.
- Tabulated results, together with a detailed map showing sample locations and sizes, are shown below.

- Armenians were the best-matching Near-Eastern ethnic group with Europe
overall. This may be a result of continued Roman influence on ancient
Armenia, as it was the easternmost outpost of Christianity against a
Zoroastrian Persia.
- Turkey's affinity with Europe was second-greatest, which may also
correlate with historical Roman and Greek influence. However, Asia Minor
was undoubtedly a staging ground for numerous population expansions
into Europe over thousands of years, with R1b-M269 potentially being a
diagnostic marker for the most successful and recent one.
- Affinities to the Caucasus are determined by geography, except between
Assyrians and Armenians, who appear to share an extra-geographical
genetic relationship. This is arguably due to continuous mixing between
the two populations, presumably since Christianity's advent in the
- Relationships with South and West Europe determined by geography,
implying the genetic relationship between the studied Near-Easterners
and these Europeans is a result of demic diffusion.
- Of particular interest is the connection between the Balkans and Iran.
Theories connecting Croatia with ancient Iranians have appeared on the
Internet in recent years. These theories are weak and based on scant
linguistic connections between Old Croatian and several Iranian
dialects. This investigation concludes that Croatians and other people
of the Balkans do not share any remarkable relationship with Iranians
and are genetically closer to Armenians, Anatolian Turks and Assyrians
in that order.
- Iranians were generally the lowest scoring group with Europe and the
Near-East, which indicates their recent genetic history is divergent and
separate from Assyrians, Armenians and Anatolian Turks.
- Iranians share an extra-geographical genetic relationship with
Pakistanis, Pakistani Jatts and Indians, who are the only other speakers
of Indo-Iranian languages analysed. This genetic connection accompanies
their shared Indo-Iranian heritage.

Attachment #1 (// 31 West Eurasian sample regions shown, with specific nationalities and sample sizes included on left

Attachment #2 (// Average affinity results for Iran, Armenia, Assyria and Turkey based on participant scores

Attachment #3 (// Plot showing the position of Iranians, Assyrians, Anatolian Turks and Armenians relative to each other

Attachment #2 partially answers a question I received from one of your users on my project;

"However, you did not say anything on any similarities between iranians and arabs
of ME. Do you have any information on that subject or any reference

As you will note from the raw data, Iranians match better with practically every other test reference - Including South Indians from places like Kerala - Than with Arabians. This is a clear indication that the Zagros mountains severely buffered gene flow from the Mesopotamian lowlands to the Iranian plateau.

Another question I received;

"I am also interested in dna make-up of those who claim to be "seyyed"
(descendants of the prophet) and if anything can be about them (for example, if
they truly share any dna with arabs)

In terms of overall ancestry, Seyyed Iranians do not appear much different than typical Iranians, although there is only one publicly Seyyed family in the genealogy world.
However, this family does carry a Y-Chromosome that is distinctly Arabian in character (J1c3, formerly J1e) which accompanies their documented Seyyed ancestry. Haplogroup J1c3 is the predominant line in Gulf Arabs, accounting for upto 70% of the male population.

Shazde Asdola Mirza

mine is arabic and

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

anyone can tell ... no DNA required ;-)


به عبارت دیگر


به عبارت دیگر،

معلوم نیست که از کدوم خراب شده ای  اومدیم و به کدوم گوری میرویم!

پس دوستان چلو کباب را دریابید که وقت غنیمت است!

Nader Vanaki

خیلج فارس

Nader Vanaki

این که کشورهایی که مدعی نام خلیج عربی هستند اگر یک پونز روی نقشه منطقه بزاری اصلا گم می شن و نقشه رو که نگاه می کنی از این سرش تا اون انتهاش ساحل ایرانه، من رو به این موضوع خیلی حساس کرده.  اون جزیره ها هم همیشه مال ایران بوده و خواهد بود، حالا اینها به یه پول و پله رسیدن دلشون خواست به اسمه دیگه ای ازش نام ببرن بزار خوش باشن، تا چند میلیارد سال دیگه این زمین ها تکون بخور نیست.

Jahanshah Javid

You're right

by Jahanshah Javid on

Nader, you're so right. It's like those who sang e khalij e fars o beh sineh mizanan. Akharesh chi?

Nader Vanaki

آقا اینها همه دکه و دکانه

Nader Vanaki

حالا فرض کنیم اجداد ما از شبه جزیره بالکان اومدن.  حالا در این عصر حاضر چه تآثیری روی زندگی ما داره؟ مگه میخواهیم ارث و میراث بگیریم یا موهامون رو رنگ بزنیم و اسممون هم عوض کنیم؟  بعدش هم لابد باید به تاریخ و فرهنگ بالکان ببالیم؟ همینقدر که ایرانی هستیم کفایت می کنه و علم ژنتیک فرضآ ما رو هم برسونه به یک غار در فلان قاره، برای ما نون شب نمی شه.