Migration rates and genetic structure of two Hungarian ethnic groups in Transylvania, Romania

Ann Hum Genet. 2007 Nov;71(Pt 6):791-803. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-1809.2007.00371.x. Epub 2007 May 28.


Transylvania's ethnic mosaic is composed of Romanians, German Saxons and Hungarians. The ethnic groups of the Hungarian minority that settled in Romania show differences in dialects, customs and religious affiliations. In this study entire mtDNA control region sequences from 360 individuals of Hungarian ethnicity from two populations (the Csángó and the Székely), settled in the historical region of Transylvania in Romania, were generated and analyzed following high quality sequencing standards. Phylogenetic analyses were used for haplogroup determination, quasi-median network analyses were applied for the visualization of character conflicts, and median joining reconstructions were used for depicting haplotype structures. Affiliation of haplotypes to major west Eurasian haplogroups was confirmed using coding region SNPs. Gene flow between the two populations was low and biased towards a higher migration rate from the Csángó to the Székely than vice versa. Phylogeographic analyses revealed effects of genetic isolation within the Csángó population, which is, in its genetic structure, clearly different from the Székely population. The pronounced genetic divergence between the two populations is in sharp contrast to the expectation of high genetic similarity due to the close geographic proximity of their native homelands. The population data will be incorporated in the EMPOP database (http://www.empop.org).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Ethnicity / genetics*
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetics, Population
  • Haplotypes
  • Humans
  • Hungary / ethnology
  • Male
  • Phylogeny
  • Romania


  • DNA, Mitochondrial