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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Mar 1988; 85(5): 1722–1726.
PMCID: PMC279847

Genetic, geographic, and linguistic distances in Europe.

Abstract

Genetic and taxonomic distances were computed for 3466 samples of human populations in Europe based on 97 allele frequencies and 10 cranial variables. Since the actual samples employed differed among the genetic systems studied, the genetic distances were computed separately for each system, as were matrices of geographic distances and of linguistic distances based on membership in the same language family or phylum. Significant matrix correlations between genetics and geography were found for the majority of systems; somewhat less frequent are significant correlations between genetics and language. The effects of the two factors can be separated by means of partial matrix correlations. These show significant values for both genetics and geography, language kept constant, and genetics and language, geography kept constant, with a tendency for the former to be higher. These findings demonstrate that speakers of different language families in Europe differ genetically and that this difference remains even after geographic differentiation is allowed for. The greater effect of geography than of language may be due to the several factors that bring about spatial differentiation in human populations.

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Selected References

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