The population history of the Croatian linguistic minority of Molise (southern Italy): a maternal view

Eur J Hum Genet. 2005 Aug;13(8):902-12. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejhg.5201439.


This study examines the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) diversity of the Croatian-speaking minority of Molise and evaluates its potential genetic relatedness to the neighbouring Italian groups and the Croatian parental population. Intermatch, genetic distance, and admixture analyses highlighted the genetic similarity between the Croatians of Molise and the neighbouring Italian populations and demonstrated that the Croatian-Italian ethnic minority presents features lying between Croatians and Italians. This finding was confirmed by a phylogeographic approach, which revealed both the prevalence of Croatian and the penetrance of Italian maternal lineages in the Croatian community of Molise. These results suggest that there was no reproductive isolation between the two geographically proximate, yet culturally distinct populations living in Italy. The gene flow between the Croatian-Italians and the surrounding Italian populations indicate, therefore, that ethnic consciousness has not created reproductive barriers and that the Croatian-speaking minority of Molise does not represent a reproductively isolated entity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Croatia / ethnology
  • DNA, Mitochondrial*
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genetics, Population
  • Haplotypes
  • Humans
  • Italy / ethnology
  • Linguistics
  • Male
  • Minority Groups*
  • Models, Genetic


  • DNA, Mitochondrial