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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Genetic Diversity on the Comoros Islands show Seafaring Influence on Settlement

A recent Study in the European Journal of Human Genetics explores the rich and diverse history of the peoples of the Comoros islands. The Comoros islands are situated in the western Indian Ocean off the coast of Tanzania. Y chromosome and mitochondrial analysis showed a strong male genetic influence from South Asia and the Middle East, the latter attributed by authors to be as a result of settlement of Shirazi Persian Traders on the islands some 1000 years ago.

J2a, M410 was detected at a rate of 7% on the sample set of 381 Y Chromosomes. Interestingly, rare J* (xM172 xM267) was also found among samples from the Comoros.

The J1 and J2 data along with G2a and E1b1b data is attributed by authors to have come directly from a Middle Eastern origin and mostly from Shirazi Traders from the city of Shiraz in present day Iran.

By 1000 YBP, the Shirazi, traders with origins in the Persian city of Shiraz in present day Iran, had established themselves on the island of Kilwa. The Shirazi were responsible for the generalisation of Islam on the Swahili coast by 500 YBP. They had built mosques on Kilwa, Zanzibar and Anjouan by 800 YBP...A possible source of the Northern Y chromosomes is therefore the Shirazi traders from Southern Iran who established trading posts on the Comoros by 800 YBP.