Estonian geneticists discover genetic link between India and Europe

Estonian geneticists discovered that Europeans and Indians share more than previously thought -- a common gene shows we have the same ancestors.

Marian Männi
Marian Männi Eesti Ekspress, Estonia
Source: Eesti Ekspress
Estonian geneticists discover genetic link between India and Europe - NewsMavens
Microscope. Pexels

Why this story matters:

In an interview for Eesti Ekspress, one of the Estonian geneticists behind the discovery, Toomas Kivisild, explains that amongst Northern-Europeans, the so-called "milk gene" is quite common. This gene allows children to digest milk until adulthood. The team of scientists discovered that this gene was developed quite recently.

Drinking milk is also prevalent in Northern India. Surprisingly, the genome of Indians and Europeans is quite different, but this "milk gene" appears in exactly the same form, meaning Indians and Europeans have a common ancestor in fairly recent history. The finding disproves the popular myth that only people of European descent are able to digest milk -- a belief that has come to light recently after media reported on a milk chugging trend in white supremacists groups.

Details from the story:

  • The discovery of Toomas Kivisild and his colleague was chosen amongst the top ten science breakthroughs by the magazine Science.
  • He graduated with a Ph.D. from University of Tartu in 2000 and is currently a lecturer at Cambridge University, Division of Biological Anthropology.
  • At the moment he is researching the influence of plague by comparing people's bones before and after the plague.

Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
Is something happening in your country that Newsmavens should cover?
Zuzanna Ziomecka
Zuzanna Ziomecka EDITOR IN CHIEF
Lea Berriault-Jauvin
Lea Berriault Managing Editor
Jessica Sirotin
Jessica Sirotin EDITOR
Ada Petriczko
Ada Petriczko EDITOR
Gazeta Wyborcza, Agora SA Czerska 8/10 00-732, Warsaw Poland
The e-mail addresses provided above are not intended for recruitment purposes. Messages concerning recruitment will be deleted immediately. Your personal data provided as part of your correspondence with Zuzanna,Lea, Jessica and Ada will be processed for the purpose of resolving the issue you contacted us about. The data provided in your email is controlled by Agora S.A. with its registered office in Warsaw Czerska 8/10 Street (00-732). You can find more information about the processing and protection of your personal data at