Khazars are a semi-nomadic ethnic group that lived in the second part of the 1 st millennium, occupying a large area north of Caucasus between Black and
Caspian seas. At the end of the 10 th century their state was destroyed and the Khazar Khanate disappeared as suddenly as it rose, without leaving any legacy
except their own funerary mounds. At all times there were pretty much theories and guesses about the Khazars origin and their descendants but it was impossible to make solid conclusions about them. The aim of this project is to find the answers on the questions of Khazars origin and genetic legacy by
analysing ancient DNA (aDNA) extracted from remains of three Khazar representatives.
In course of the project, aDNA sequencing data was processed according to its specific library preparation and degraded nature of aDNA. Reads were
mapped to the HG38 reference genome. It was found that bacterial contamination was more than 75% (typical to aDNA), and by detecting significant amount of C-T transitions on the read ends it was shown that studied DNA is indeed of ancient origin. Using the GATK package we performed the SNP-calling procedure on obtained data and with Admixture tool figured out that the Khazars are a mix of North East Asians, Northern European, Mediterranean and South West Asian populations, as it is expected of a well-mixed group of semi-nomadic people.
As continuation of the work we are collecting different ancient and modern genomes to compare obtained data to them and finally draw a conclusion about the Khazars origin and their descendants in the modern world. Slides