All-Russian seminar “Issues of historical genetics in Russia: topical problems and tasks”

On March 15, 2024 for the first time in Kazan the All-Russian seminar “Issues of historical genetics in Russia: topical problems and tasks”, dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the Institute of Archaeology named after A.Kh. Khalikov TAS, was held at the Tatarstan Academy of Sciences. The event was organized by the Institute of Archaeology TAS and Helicon Company.

The seminar was attended by more than 50 specialists: scientists from Bochkov Research Centre of Medical Genetics (Moscow), Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University (Moscow), Voyno-Yasenetsky Krasnoyarsk State Medical University (Krasnoyarsk), “Archaeological Research of Siberia” (Krasnoyarsk), research fellows and postgraduate students of Khalikov Institute of Archaeology TAS and Marjani Institute of History TAS.

The seminar discussed the results of next-generation sequencing (NGS), as well as the application of sample preparation and decontamination techniques, and approaches to data analysis using bioinformatics methods. Representatives of Helicon Company representatives introduced participants to the possibilities of using modern methods of molecular biology in relation to different sources of paleo-DNA in different states of preservation and degree of contamination. The current level of development of paleogenetics and data analysis technologies opens up prospects for building a phylogenetic tree to analyze kinship, to study individual traits of interest in people from common (family) burials. In parallel, the prospects of studying not only human DNA, but also the microbiome of burials are opening up, which gives an additional incitement to the development of paleopathological research and the study of the history of diseases.

The experience of Siberian scientists cooperating with the laboratories of Harvard and Toulouse in the study of races, ethnic groups and routes of settling the South and Central Asia, Southern Siberia is interesting – confirmation of hypotheses not only by craniological and odontological studies, but also by means of genetic data inspires researchers with special enthusiasm.

Representatives of Bochkov Research Centre of Medical Genetics made a speech how the reconstruction of the genetic history of the population of Central Russia for more than a thousand years allowed to help in the interpretation of modern DNA data in studies of population genetics of modern peoples of Russia (in particular, the peoples of the Volga region and Tatars). This topic aroused lively interest and fruitful discussion.

Thus, the All-Russian seminar “Issues of historical genetics in Russia: topical problems and tasks” declared itself as a platform for potential collaboration and development of a unified approach to research.