A newly published University of Tartu doctoral thesis has concluded that Estonians and Finns, despite having similar languages, are genetically less related than Estonians are to Latvians, Lithuanians, Poles and northwestern Russians.
Nevertheless, Estonians are still the closest genetic relatives that the Finns have, reported Postimees.
In the study, Tõnu Esko and others compared the DNA sequences of 16 European ethnicities.
Of the DNA sets analyzed, those most distantly related to Estonians were the Italians, French, Spanish, and Finns in northern Kuusamo region.
"Estonians' greater genetic similarity to Latvians and Lithuanians than to Finns has been known from previous classical blood studies, but this study is the first to show our genetic relation in such depth,“ said Esko.
"Since the 13th century we have been ruled by the Germans, Swedes, Poles and Russians,“ said Esko. "In addition to that, the Estonian territory has historically been divided in Estonia and Livonia - the latter is today northern Latvia and southern Estonia. It natural for there to be mixing on the border of two nations.“