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Croat Med J. 2006 Aug;47(4):641-8.

Overview of genetic-epidemiological studies in ethnically and demographically diverse isolates of Dagestan, Northern Caucasus, Russia.

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  • 1Vavilov Institute of General Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russian Federation.



To assess genetic diversity and genetic distances among isolated populations from Dagestan.


A cross-population genetic epidemiology design was applied in ethnically and demographically diverse isolates from Dagestan, some with more than 200 and some with less than 100 generations of demographical history since their founding.


The analysis of genetic diversity showed that Dagestan ethnic populations are clearly close to European ethnic populations. The genetic data support the view of them as ancient, highly isolated populations 85%-97% the rate of the endogamy and inbreeding coefficient F=0.010-0.015. Many Dagestan populations have very high prevalence of certain complex diseases such as cardiovascular illnesses, cancer, schizophrenia, mental retardation, and progressive muscular dystrophy. Lifetime morbid risk for schizophrenia in the isolates varied from 0 to 5%. Among the relatives, the number of men with chronic schizophrenia was at least twice as high as women. The average age of onset of schizophrenia was 21.2 years for offspring of consanguineous marriages and 17.4 years for offspring of non-consanguineous marriages (P=0.033).


The results support the hypothesis that cross-population design provides unique opportunities for observing reliable ancestral haplotypes with disease predisposing loci, as well as population-specific linked loci.

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