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Genetics and the History of the Basque People

  1. Santos Alonso

Published Online: 14 MAR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0020803



How to Cite

Alonso, S. 2008. Genetics and the History of the Basque People. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. University of the Basque Country, Bizkaia, Spain

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 MAR 2008

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (15 MAR 2013)


The linguistic peculiarity of the Basques raised the expectation that a similar situation could be found at the biological level. Recent debate has focused mainly on two points: the genetic heterogeneity of the Basque population and whether Basques are the best representative population of Palaeolithic Europe. Several lines of evidence indicate that at least some Basque DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) lineages (alleles) have evolved in situ, probably since pre-Neolithic times. In this regard, we must bear in mind that the term ‘Basque’ is a present-day cultural concept and we should be cautious in projecting current cultural affiliations into the past.


  • Basques;
  • genetics;
  • evolution;
  • anthropology;
  • origins