Haplogroups E1b1b1b(M81 derived), E1b1b1a-β (M78 derived chromosomes showing the rare DYS439 allele 10) and a subset of J1 (M267 derived) were identified in the literature as being NWAfrica specific, together accounting for between 58 and 90% of males in populations from this area, but never above 13% in Europe.
Therefore, following this, European Y chromosomes within the three haplogroups identical to, or with one mutational difference from, NW African STR haplotypes were considered compatible with an MNA ancestry. In Iberia and peninsular Italy, they account for 90, 78 and 42% of the E1b1b1b, E1b1b1a-b and J1 chromosomes respectively.
It seems that E-M81 in Europe is indeed largely of recent North African origin, E-M78β is largely so, but J1 only partly so; perhaps the rest of it is due to other (pre)-historic movements of people from West Asia directly into Europe.
Estimates of the NW African types ranged from 0 to 18.6% (in Cantabria). For Sicily, the estimate was 7.5%, similar to the 6% reported recently. NW Apulia is second in Italy at 6.5% and E Campania third at 4.8%. The remaining Italian regions have lower than 2%, except Lucera (3.3%) and Central Tuscany (2.4%). W Calabria comes in at 0% as do some other Italian regions.
In Portugal, the total contribution is 7.1% and in Spain 7.7%. Higher than average is the aforementioned Cantabria and Galicia (6.8%).
It is noteworthy that in all the regions, E-M81 seems to be the main component of the NW African element, but the situation in Sicily is reversed: Sicily is highest in J1 and second-highest in E-M78β and not particularly high in E-M81.
European Journal of Human Genetics doi:10.1038/ejhg.2008.258
Moors and Saracens in Europe: estimating the medieval North African male legacy in southern Europe
Cristian Capelli et al.
To investigate the male genetic legacy of the Arab rule in southern Europe during medieval times, we focused on specific Northwest African haplogroups and identified evolutionary close STR-defined haplotypes in Iberia, Sicily and the Italian peninsula. Our results point to a higher recent Northwest African contribution in Iberia and Sicily in agreement with historical data. southern Italian regions known to have experienced long-term Arab presence also show an enrichment of Northwest African types. The forensic and genomic implications of these findings are discussed.