- ETRUSCAN GENETICS
- After some early studies of blood groups, attempts are now being made to analyze the genetics of the Etruscans more directly. Initial analysis of ancient DNA suggests that the Etruscans (or at least the elite) did form a relatively close-knit biological population, shared some characteristics with the Turkish area of the eastern Mediterranean, and were not clearly ancestors of modern Tuscans. Studies of the modern genetics of central Italian populations are partly contradictory. A very recent study of modern mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) suggests that some modern populations, such as from the small Tuscan village of Murlo, do share a high frequency(17.5 percent) of Near Eastern mtDNA haplogroups, which the authors claim shows support for Near Eastern origins of the Etruscans. All these analyses must be taken as extremely tentative and will require the natural progress of scientific research to assess the replication of results and the establishment of clear and uncontested patterns that will undoubtedly reveal unexpected complexities. The biological makeup of the Etruscan populations should not be considered as the key issue in study of the origins of the Etruscans, since development of language, politics, and cultural practice may follow different patterns.
Historical Dictionary of the Etruscans. Simon K. F. Stoddart.