Current address: Departamento de Genética Humana, Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas, Madrid, Spain.
Paternal and maternal lineages in the Balkans show a homogeneous landscape over linguistic barriers, except for the isolated Aromuns
Article first published online: 31 MAY 2006
Annals of Human Genetics
Volume 70, Issue 4, pages 459–487, July 2006
How to Cite
Bosch, E., Calafell, F., González-Neira, A., Flaiz, C., Mateu, E., Scheil, H.-G., Huckenbeck, W., Efremovska, L., Mikerezi, I., Xirotiris, N., Grasa, C., Schmidt, H. and Comas, D. (2006), Paternal and maternal lineages in the Balkans show a homogeneous landscape over linguistic barriers, except for the isolated Aromuns. Annals of Human Genetics, 70: 459–487. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-1809.2005.00251.x
- Issue published online: 31 MAY 2006
- Article first published online: 31 MAY 2006
- Received: 22 July 2005 Accepted: 3 October 2005
- Balkan Peninsula;
- mitochondrial DNA;
- Y chromosome;
- genetic variation;
- population genetics
The Balkan Peninsula is a complex cultural mosaic comprising populations speaking languages from several branches of the Indo-European family and Altaic, as well as culturally-defined minorities such as the Aromuns who speak a Romance language. The current cultural and linguistic landscape is a palimpsest in which different peoples have contributed their cultures in a historical succession. We have sought to find any evidence of genetic stratification related to those cultural layers by typing both mtDNA and Y chromosomes, in Albanians, Romanians, Macedonians, Greeks, and five Aromun populations. We have paid special attention to the Aromuns, and sought to test genetically various hypotheses on their origins.
MtDNA and Y-chromosome haplogroup frequencies in the Balkans were found to be similar to those elsewhere in Europe. MtDNA sequences and Y-chromosome STR haplotypes revealed decreased variation in some Aromun populations. Variation within Aromun populations was the primary source of genetic differentiation. Y-chromosome haplotypes tended to be shared across Aromuns, but not across non-Aromun populations. These results point to a possible common origin of the Aromuns, with drift acting to differentiate the separate Aromun communities. The homogeneity of Balkan populations prevented testing for the origin of the Aromuns, although a significant Roman contribution can be ruled out.