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, 17 (1), 91-9

Differential Greek and Northern African Migrations to Sicily Are Supported by Genetic Evidence From the Y Chromosome

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Differential Greek and Northern African Migrations to Sicily Are Supported by Genetic Evidence From the Y Chromosome

Cornelia Di Gaetano et al. Eur J Hum Genet.

Abstract

The presence or absence of genetic heterogeneity in Sicily has long been debated. Through the analysis of the variation of Y-chromosome lineages, using the combination of haplogroups and short tandem repeats from several areas of Sicily, we show that traces of genetic flows occurred in the island, due to ancient Greek colonization and to northern African contributions, are still visible on the basis of the distribution of some lineages. The genetic contribution of Greek chromosomes to the Sicilian gene pool is estimated to be about 37% whereas the contribution of North African populations is estimated to be around 6%.In particular, the presence of a modal haplotype coming from the southern Balkan Peninsula and of its one-step derivates associated to E3b1a2-V13, supports a common genetic heritage between Sicilians and Greeks. The estimate of Time to Most Recent Common Ancestor is about 2380 years before present, which broadly agrees with the archaeological traces of the Greek classic era. The Eastern and Western part of Sicily appear to be significantly different by the chi(2)-analysis, although the extent of such differentiation is not very high according to an analysis of molecular variance. The presence of a high number of different haplogroups in the island makes its gene diversity to reach about 0.9. The general heterogeneous composition of haplogroups in our Sicilian data is similar to the patterns observed in other major islands of the Mediterranean, reflecting the complex histories of settlements in Sicily.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
(a) Geographical map showing the main colonies by Greeks (triangles) and Phoenicians (circles) in the Mediterranean (seventh to sixth centuries ). (b) Frequency distribution of the most representative haplotype 13-13-30-24-10-11-13 associated to the E3b1a2-V13 chromosomes in Sicily, in other populations taken from literature, , , and in samples from YHRD. The allelic combinations refer to the following order of loci: DYS19-DYS389I-DYS389II-DYS390-DYS391-DYS392-DYS393. (c) Frequency distribution of the haplotype 13-14-30-24-9-11-13 associated to the E3b1b-M81 chromosomes in Sicily (data from this study), in other populations taken from literature and in samples from YHRD.
Figure 2
Figure 2
(Top) The geographical map of the nine Sicilian samples is shown. Their latitude (N), longitude (E) and sample size are: (1) Trapani (TP) 38°07′, 12°07′, 33; (2) Mazara del Vallo (MZ) 37°65′, 12°58′, 18; (3) Santa Ninfa (SN) 37°77′, 12°88′, 31; (4) Alcamo (AL) 37°97′, 12°97′, 24; (5) Caccamo (CA) 37°93′, 13°07′, 16; (6) Sciacca (SC) 37°05′, 13°07′, 28; (7) Piazza Armerina (PZ) 37°38′, 14°37′, 28; (8) Troina (TR) 37°78′, 14°60′, 30; (9) Ragusa (RG) 36°93′, 14°75′, 28. The histogram plots the frequencies of the main haplogroups in the eastern and the western sides of the island.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Plot of the two first principal coordinates (Principal Component Analysis, PCA). PCA is performed on a database resulting from merging our present data (ESI and WSI) with data from Pericic et al and with data from Zalloua et al regarding Lebanon. Population codes: AEI=Aegean islands; ALB=Albanian; ALG=Algerian (Arab); AND=Andalusian; BAS=Basque (French and Spanish); BEL=Belgian; BOS=Bosnian; CAT=Catalan; CRO=Croatian; CYP=Cypriot; DUT=Dutch; ESI=eastern Sicilian; FRE=French; GRE=Greek; HER=Herzegovinian; HUN=Hungarian; I-APU=Italian (Apulia); I-CAL=Italian (Calabria); I-SAR=Italian (Sardinia); LEB=Lebanese; MAL=Malta; MOR=Moroccan (Arab); ROM=Romanian; SER=Serbian; SLO=Slovenian; SPA=Spanish; TUN=Tunisian; TUR=Turkish (Istanbul); WSI=western Sicilian.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Network of haplogroup E. The microsatellites DYS19, DYS389I, DYS390, DYS391 and DYS392 were used. Areas of circles are proportional to the number of chromosomes (the smallest circle corresponds to two chromosomes). Areas of sectors are proportional to haplotype frequencies. Sources: Greece and Albania (AP unpublished data); North Africa;, southern Italy; Middle East.,

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