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Am J Phys Anthropol. 2010 Jul;142(3):380-90. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.21235.

Human Y-chromosome short tandem repeats: a tale of acculturation and migrations as mechanisms for the diffusion of agriculture in the Balkan Peninsula.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, College of Medicine, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199, USA.


Southeastern Europe and, particularly, the Balkan Peninsula are especially useful when studying the mechanisms responsible for generating the current distribution of Paleolithic and Neolithic genetic signals observed throughout Europe. In this study, 404 individuals from Montenegro and 179 individuals from Serbia were typed for 17 Y-STR loci and compared across 9 Y-STR loci to geographically targeted previously published collections to ascertain the phylogenetic relationships of populations within the Balkan Peninsula and beyond. We aim to provide information on whether groups in the region represent an amalgamation of Paleolithic and Neolithic genetic substrata, or whether acculturation has played a critical role in the spread of agriculture. We have found genetic markers of Middle Eastern, south Asian and European descent in the area, however, admixture analyses indicate that over 80% of the Balkan gene pool is of European descent. Altogether, our data support the view that the diffusion of agriculture into the Balkan region was mostly a cultural phenomenon although some genetic infiltration from Africa, the Levant, the Caucasus, and the Near East has occurred.

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