It had long been assumed that most of todays Tuscans were directly descended from the Etruscans who settled in the area in the eighth century BC. That was until Guido Barbujani, professor of biology at the University of Ferrara recently began research with an international team. The team tested the DNA of those Tuscans who have been identified by way of historical documentation as being from the longest established groups resident in Tuscany and compared the results with the DNA taken from the bones of Etruscans which have been found in various Etruscan burial grounds. The results are surprising, because, contrary to traditional beliefs, they show that on the whole modern Tuscans have no genealogical connection with the ancient Etruscans, although there is one isolated community in Tuscany which does have Etruscan genes, the village of Murlo near Siena.

Professor Barbujani explained that the failure to find a close connection between the two populations may be because his team was not testing the correct present residents, or the bones of the Etruscans which they have tested could have been altered by the man-handling they have had by scientists and archaeologists. One thing that has become clear from the research is that the Etruscans were a single homogeneous group and probably originated from Anatolia in Turkey.