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Concept: Russia


To critically evaluate the clinical implications of the use of non-fasting rather than fasting lipid profiles and to provide guidance for the laboratory reporting of abnormal non-fasting or fasting lipid profiles.

Concepts: Chemistry, The Europeans, Russia, Profiles


The question of Jewish ancestry has been the subject of controversy for over two centuries and has yet to be resolved. The “Rhineland Hypothesis” depicts Eastern European Jews as a “population isolate” that emerged from a small group of German Jews who migrated eastward and expanded rapidly. Alternatively, the “Khazarian Hypothesis” suggests that Eastern European Jew descended from the Khazars, an amalgam of Turkic clans that settled the Caucasus in the early centuries CE and converted to Judaism in the 8(th) century. Mesopotamian and Greco-Roman Jews continuously reinforced the Judaized Empire until the 13(th) century. Following the collapse of their empire, the Judeo-Khazars fled to Eastern Europe. The rise of European Jewry is therefore explained by the contribution of the Judeo-Khazars. Thus far, however, the Khazar’s contribution has been estimated only empirically, as the absence of genome-wide data from Caucasus populations precluded testing the Khazarian Hypothesis. Recent sequencing of modern Caucasus populations prompted us to revisit the Khazarian Hypothesis and compare it with the Rhineland Hypothesis. We applied a wide range of population genetic analyses to compare these two hypotheses. Our findings support the Khazarian Hypothesis and portray the European Jewish genome as a mosaic of Caucasus, European, and Semitic ancestries, thereby consolidating previous contradictory reports of Jewish ancestry. We further describe major difference among Caucasus populations explained by early presence of Judeans in the Southern and Central Caucasus. Our results have important implications on the demographic forces that shaped the genetic diversity in the Caucasus and medical studies.

Concepts: Germany, Jews, Judaism, Russia, Soviet Union, Jewish ethnic divisions, Hebrew language, Ashkenazi Jews


Large meteors (or superbolides [Ceplecha Z, et al. (1999) Meteoroids 1998:37-54]), although rare in recorded history, give sobering testimony to civilization’s inherent vulnerability. A not-so-subtle reminder came on the morning of February 15, 2013, when a large meteoroid hurtled into the Earth’s atmosphere, forming a superbolide near the city of Chelyabinsnk, Russia, ∼1,500 km east of Moscow, Russia [Ivanova MA, et al. (2013) Abstracts of the 76th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society, 5366]. The object exploded in the stratosphere, and the ensuing shock wave blasted the city of Chelyabinsk, damaging structures and injuring hundreds. Details of trajectory are important for determining its specific source, the likelihood of future events, and potential mitigation measures. Earth-viewing environmental satellites can assist in these assessments. Here we examine satellite observations of the Chelyabinsk superbolide debris trail, collected within minutes of its entry. Estimates of trajectory are derived from differential views of the significantly parallax-displaced [e.g., Hasler AF (1981) Bull Am Meteor Soc 52:194-212] debris trail. The 282.7 ± 2.3° azimuth of trajectory, 18.5 ± 3.8° slope to the horizontal, and 17.7 ± 0.5 km/s velocity derived from these satellites agree well with parameters inferred from the wealth of surface-based photographs and amateur videos. More importantly, the results demonstrate the general ability of Earth-viewing satellites to provide valuable insight on trajectory reconstruction in the more likely scenario of sparse or nonexistent surface observations.

Concepts: Atmosphere, Russia, Meteorite, Comet, Meteoroid, Meteoroids, Near-Earth object


Ethnic Belarusians make up more than 80% of the nine and half million people inhabiting the Republic of Belarus. Belarusians together with Ukrainians and Russians represent the East Slavic linguistic group, largest both in numbers and territory, inhabiting East Europe alongside Baltic-, Finno-Permic- and Turkic-speaking people. Till date, only a limited number of low resolution genetic studies have been performed on this population. Therefore, with the phylogeographic analysis of 565 Y-chromosomes and 267 mitochondrial DNAs from six well covered geographic sub-regions of Belarus we strove to complement the existing genetic profile of eastern Europeans. Our results reveal that around 80% of the paternal Belarusian gene pool is composed of R1a, I2a and N1c Y-chromosome haplogroups - a profile which is very similar to the two other eastern European populations - Ukrainians and Russians. The maternal Belarusian gene pool encompasses a full range of West Eurasian haplogroups and agrees well with the genetic structure of central-east European populations. Our data attest that latitudinal gradients characterize the variation of the uniparentally transmitted gene pools of modern Belarusians. In particular, the Y-chromosome reflects movements of people in central-east Europe, starting probably as early as the beginning of the Holocene. Furthermore, the matrilineal legacy of Belarusians retains two rare mitochondrial DNA haplogroups, N1a3 and N3, whose phylogeographies were explored in detail after de novo sequencing of 20 and 13 complete mitogenomes, respectively, from all over Eurasia. Our phylogeographic analyses reveal that two mitochondrial DNA lineages, N3 and N1a3, both of Middle Eastern origin, might mark distinct events of matrilineal gene flow to Europe: during the mid-Holocene period and around the Pleistocene-Holocene transition, respectively.

Concepts: Europe, Eastern Europe, Ukraine, Russia, Soviet Union, Poland, Latvia, Belarus


Pharmaceutical trials are mainly initiated by sponsors and investigators in the United States, Western Europe and Japan. However, more and more patients are enrolled in Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia. The involvement of patients in new geographical settings raises questions about scientific and ethical integrity, especially when experience with those settings is lacking at the level of trial management. We therefore studied to what extent the geographical shift in patient enrolment is anticipated in the composition of trial management teams using the author nationalities on the primary outcome publication as an indicator of leadership.

Concepts: European Union, United States, Europe, Spain, Eastern Europe, Western culture, Russia, World War II


The Armenians are a culturally isolated population who historically inhabited a region in the Near East bounded by the Mediterranean and Black seas and the Caucasus, but remain under-represented in genetic studies and have a complex history including a major geographic displacement during World War I. Here, we analyse genome-wide variation in 173 Armenians and compare them with 78 other worldwide populations. We find that Armenians form a distinctive cluster linking the Near East, Europe, and the Caucasus. We show that Armenian diversity can be explained by several mixtures of Eurasian populations that occurred between ~3000 and ~2000 bce, a period characterized by major population migrations after the domestication of the horse, appearance of chariots, and the rise of advanced civilizations in the Near East. However, genetic signals of population mixture cease after ~1200 bce when Bronze Age civilizations in the Eastern Mediterranean world suddenly and violently collapsed. Armenians have since remained isolated and genetic structure within the population developed ~500 years ago when Armenia was divided between the Ottomans and the Safavid Empire in Iran. Finally, we show that Armenians have higher genetic affinity to Neolithic Europeans than other present-day Near Easterners, and that 29% of Armenian ancestry may originate from an ancestral population that is best represented by Neolithic Europeans.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 21 October 2015; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2015.206.

Concepts: Europe, Asia, Iran, Turkey, Russia, Armenia, Georgia, Ottoman Empire


We are witnessing the great era of genome exploration of the world, as genetic variation in people is being detailed across multiple varied world populations in an effort unprecedented since the first human genome sequence appeared in 2001. However, these efforts have yet to produce a comprehensive mapping of humankind, because important regions of modern human civilization remain unexplored. The Genome Russia Project promises to fill one of the largest gaps, the expansive regions across the Russian Federation, informing not just medical genomics of the territories, but also the migration settlements  of historic and pre-historic Eurasian peoples.

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Human genome, Human Genome Project, Genome, Africa, Human evolution, Russia


Evenks and Evens, Tungusic-speaking reindeer herders and hunter-gatherers, are spread over a wide area of northern Asia, whereas their linguistic relatives the Udegey, sedentary fishermen and hunter-gatherers, are settled to the south of the lower Amur River. The prehistory and relationships of these Tungusic peoples are as yet poorly investigated, especially with respect to their interactions with neighbouring populations. In this study, we analyse over 500 complete mtDNA genome sequences from nine different Evenk and even subgroups as well as their geographic neighbours from Siberia and their linguistic relatives the Udegey from the Amur-Ussuri region in order to investigate the prehistory of the Tungusic populations. These data are supplemented with analyses of Y-chromosomal haplogroups and STR haplotypes in the Evenks, Evens, and neighbouring Siberian populations. We demonstrate that whereas the North Tungusic Evenks and Evens show evidence of shared ancestry both in the maternal and in the paternal line, this signal has been attenuated by genetic drift and differential gene flow with neighbouring populations, with isolation by distance further shaping the maternal genepool of the Evens. The Udegey, in contrast, appear quite divergent from their linguistic relatives in the maternal line, with a mtDNA haplogroup composition characteristic of populations of the Amur-Ussuri region. Nevertheless, they show affinities with the Evenks, indicating that they might be the result of admixture between local Amur-Ussuri populations and Tungusic populations from the north.

Concepts: DNA, Population genetics, Asia, Russia, Reindeer, Siberia, Evenks, Ethnic groups in Russia


There is an extensive body of medical and scientific research literature on visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Crimean Peninsula and the southern part of The Russian Federation that is written in Russian, making it inaccessible to the majority of people who are interested in the leishmaniases in general and VL in particular. This review and summary in English of VL in what was Imperial Russia, which then became the Soviet Union and later a number of different independent states intends to give access to that majority. There are numerous publications in Russian on VL and, mostly, those published in books and the main scientific journals have been included here. The vast geographical area encompassed has been subdivided into four main parts: the southern Caucasus, covering Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia; Central Asia, covering Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan; the Crimean Peninsula and the northern Caucasus, which is part of The Russian Federation. Only rare cases of VL have been recorded in the northern Caucasus and Crimean Peninsula. In the other countries mentioned, human VL has been more intense but epidemics like those associated with L. donovani in India and East Africa have not occurred. For most of the countries, there are sections on the distribution, clinical aspects, the causative agent, the reservoirs and the vectors. Serological surveys and research into therapy are also covered. Recent studies on VL in Uzbekistan covered the application of serological, biochemical and molecular biological methods to diagnose human and canine VL, to identify the leishmanial parasites causing them in Uzbekistan and neighbouring Tajikistan and the epidemiology of VL in the Namangan Region of the Pap District, Eastern Uzbekistan. More recently, two studies were carried out in Georgia investigating the prevalence of human and canine VL, and the species composition of phlebotomine sand flies and their rates of infection with what was probably L. infantum in Tbilisi, eastern Georgia and Kutaisi, a new focus, in western Georgia. Though published in English, summaries of this information have been included where relevant to update the parts on VL in Uzbekistan and Georgia.

Concepts: Caucasus, Russia, Soviet Union, Georgia, Russian Empire, South Caucasus, Russian language, Uzbekistan


The European Federation of Societies for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (EFSUMB) competency assessment (COMPASS) for rheumatologists performing musculoskeletal ultrasound (MSUS) was developed and published 2 years ago. It consists of a 3 level competency system. The objective of this study was to evaluate how the EFSUMB COMPASS has been disseminated and implemented and to assess the potential obstacles encountered.

Concepts: Medicine, United States, Assessment, Switzerland, Implementation, The Europeans, Russia