Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Eur J Hum Genet. 2016 Mar;24(3):429-36. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2015.124. Epub 2015 Jul 15.

The Greeks in the West: genetic signatures of the Hellenic colonisation in southern Italy and Sicily.

Author information

1
Dipartimento di Biologia, Università di Pisa, Pisa, Italy.
2
Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
3
Sezione di Medicina Legale-Istituto di Sanità Pubblica, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Roma, Italia.
4
Dipartimento di Biologia Ambientale, Università "La Sapienza", Roma, Italy.
5
Istituto Italiano di Antropologia, Roma, Italy.
6
Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, Oxford, UK.
7
Dipartimento ad Attività Integrata di Laboratori, Anatomia Patologica, Medicina Legale, U.O. Struttura Complessa di Medicina Legale, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.
8
Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, London, UK.
9
Centre for Population Health Sciences, The University of Edinburgh Medical School, Scotland, UK.
10
Department of Medical Biology, University of Split, School of Medicine, Split, Croatia.
11
MRC Human Genetics Unit, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (IGMM), University of Edinburgh, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, UK.
12
Dipartimento di Fisica e Chimica, Università di Palermo, Palermo, Italy.
13
Laboratorio di Genetica Molecolare, I.R.C.C.S. Associazione Oasi Maria SS., Troina, Italy.
14
Laboratorio di Antropologia Molecolare, Dipartimento di Scienze Biologiche, Geologiche e Ambientali, Università di Bologna, Bologna, Italy.
15
A.D. Trendall Research Centre for Ancient Mediterranean Studies, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
16
Sopraintendenza del mare, Palermo, Italy.
17
Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Calabria, Reggio Calabria, Italy.

Abstract

Greek colonisation of South Italy and Sicily (Magna Graecia) was a defining event in European cultural history, although the demographic processes and genetic impacts involved have not been systematically investigated. Here, we combine high-resolution surveys of the variability at the uni-parentally inherited Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA in selected samples of putative source and recipient populations with forward-in-time simulations of alternative demographic models to detect signatures of that impact. Using a subset of haplotypes chosen to represent historical sources, we recover a clear signature of Greek ancestry in East Sicily compatible with the settlement from Euboea during the Archaic Period (eighth to fifth century BCE). We inferred moderate sex-bias in the numbers of individuals involved in the colonisation: a few thousand breeding men and a few hundred breeding women were the estimated number of migrants. Last, we demonstrate that studies aimed at quantifying Hellenic genetic flow by the proportion of specific lineages surviving in present-day populations may be misleading.

PMID:
26173964
PMCID:
PMC4757772
[Available on 2017-03-01]
DOI:
10.1038/ejhg.2015.124
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center