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Genetics and Iranian Studies

چندی پیش در مطلبی کوتاه درباره زبان‌شناسی تاریخی، با عنوان «آیا ایرانیان آریایی هستند؟»، به پژوهشهای ژنتیک اشاره کردم. در ادامه آن نوشته این دو کتاب را با توجه به این که هر دو به ایران هم میپردازند، اینجا معرفی می‌کنم.

پژوهش‌ در مورد ژنتیک، نژاد و دی‌ان‌ای باستانی ممکن است در ابتدا برای مطالعات ایرانشناسی و فعالیت ما در سایت BiblioIranica موضوعی فرعی به نظر برسد. اما نتایج این نوع مطالعات میتوانند نقش مهمی در درک بهتر ما از پرسش‌های پیچیده‌ای مانند مهاجرت، رابطه خانواده‌های زبانی و ملی گرایی ایرانی بازی کنند. دو کتاب زیر، این موضوعات را از دیدگاه‌های متفاوت مورد بحث قرار می‌دهند و هر دو در گوشه و کنار به ایران هم می‌پردازند.

Burton, Elise. 2020. Genetic crossroads. The Middle East and the science of human heredity. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

The Middle East plays a major role in the history of genetic science.Early in the twentieth century, technological breakthroughs in human genetics coincided with the birth of modern Middle Eastern nation-states, who proclaimed that the region’s ancient history—as a cradle of civilizations and crossroads of humankind—was preserved in the bonesand blood of their citizens. Using letters and publications from the 1920s to the present, Elise K. Burton follows the field expeditions and hospital surveys that scrutinized the bodies of tribal nomads and religious minorities.These studies, geneticists claim, not only detect the living descendants of biblical civilizations but also reveal the deeper past of human evolution.

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Reich, David. 2018. Who we are and how we got here: Ancient DNA and the new science of the human past. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

The past few years have seen a revolution in our ability to map whole genome DNA from ancient humans. With the ancient DNA revolution, combined with rapid genome mapping of present human populations, has come remarkable insights into our past.This important new data has clarified and added to our knowledge from archaeology and anthropology, helped resolve long-existing controversies, challenged long-held views, and thrown up some remarkable surprises.

The emerging picture is one of many waves of ancient human migrations, so that all populations existing today are mixes of ancient ones, as well as in many cases carrying a genetic component from Neanderthals, and, in some populations, Denisovans.David Reich, whose team has been at the forefront of these discoveries, explains what the genetics is telling us about ourselves and our complex and often surprising ancestry. Gone are old ideas of any kind of racial ‘purity’, or even deep and ancient divides between peoples.Instead, we are finding a rich variety of mixtures. Reich describes the cutting-edge findings from the past few years, and also considers the sensitivities involved in tracing ancestry, with science sometimes jostling with politics and tradition.He brings an important wider message: that we should celebrate our rich diversity, and recognize that every one of us is the result of a long history of migration and intermixing of ancient peoples, which we carry as ghosts in our DNA.

OUP Website