Research Topic

Genetic History of Human Populations Along the Ancient Silk Road

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The Silk Road, a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass, was of great importance to the transport of peoples, goods, and ideas between the East and the West. Although its main use was for importing silk from China, traders moving in the opposite direction carried to ...

The Silk Road, a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass, was of great importance to the transport of peoples, goods, and ideas between the East and the West. Although its main use was for importing silk from China, traders moving in the opposite direction carried to Central China jewellery, glassware, and other exotic goods from the Mediterranean, jade from Khotan, and horses and furs from the nomads of the Steppe. The Silk Road brought together the achievements of the different peoples of Eurasia to advance the Old World as a whole.

Having different religious faith, cultures and life customs, a number of ethnic groups inhabit the Ancient Silk Road and presumably had experienced complicated history. The pattern of DNA variation among individuals can tell us about the genetic history of populations. In recent years, by relatively direct means of studying ancient samples such as bones, and/or indirect means of analysing the genomes of modern populations, the demographic history - migrations, expansions and colonization - have been successfully revealed in several previous human population genetic studies. However, until now, the origins of the populations along the Ancient Silk Road and relationships have not been examined in great detail.

This Research Topic welcomes Original Research, Brief Research Report, and Review papers on the modern and ancient genetic history of human populations along the Ancient Silk Road, by using genome-wide sequencing or microarray technologies, or various kinds of markers, such as mtDNA, Y chromosome, forensic STRs, SNPs, and InDels data.


Keywords: Silk Road, SNPs, mtDNA, Y chromosome, STRs, aDNA, sequencing, genotyping


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