June 16, 2011

Y-chromosomes and mtDNA from medieval Aragonese Pyrenees

I don't see the full article in the journal site yet.

Croat Med J. 2011 Jun 15;52(3):336-43.

Genetic analysis of 7 medieval skeletons from the Aragonese Pyrenees.

Nunez C, Sosa C, Baeta M, Geppert M, Turnbough M, Phillips N, Casalod Y, Bolea M, Roby R, Budowle B, Martínez-Jarreta B.

Abstract

Aim. To perform a genetic characterization of 7 skeletons from medieval age found in a burial site in the Aragonese Pyrenees. Methods. Allele frequencies of autosomal short tandem repeats (STR) loci were determined by 3 different STR systems. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y-chromosome haplogroups were determined by sequencing of the hypervariable segment 1 of mtDNA and typing of phylogenetic Y chromosome single nucleotide polymorphisms (Y-SNP) markers, respectively. Possible familial relationships were also investigated. Results. Complete or partial STR profiles were obtained in 3 of the 7 samples. Mitochondrial DNA haplogroup was determined in 6 samples, with 5 of them corresponding to the haplogroup H and 1 to the haplogroup U5a. Y-chromosome haplogroup was determined in 2 samples, corresponding to the haplogroup R. In one of them, the sub-branch R1b1b2 was determined. mtDNA sequences indicated that some of the individuals could be maternally related, while STR profiles indicated no direct family relationships. Conclusions. Despite the antiquity of the samples and great difficulty that genetic analyses entail, the combined use of autosomal STR markers, Y-chromosome informative SNPs, and mtDNA sequences allowed us to genotype a group of skeletons from the medieval age.

Link

15 comments:

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Fair to say that the results by the medieval period aren't inconsistent with what a sample of that size from today could produce?

Diarmid said...

A somewhat related article about Anglo-Saxons in Britain from Der Spiegel:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,768706,00.html

Onur said...

A somewhat related article about Anglo-Saxons in Britain from Der Spiegel:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,768706,00.html


That Der Spiegel article seems ideologically motivated: Germans (=Der Spiegel) lay claim to English people to take pride in English (including US) achievements. One more hint that that article is ideologically motivated is that they don't reveal the relevant studies and only present a one-sided interpretation of them.

Average Joe said...

Germans (=Der Spiegel) lay claim to English people to take pride in English (including US) achievements

Onur, I think that the Germans have enough scientific and technological achievements of their own to be proud of without feeling the need to lay claim to those of the English. Also if the English are not descended from the Angles, Saxons and Jutes then why do they speak a Germanic language?

Paul Ó Duḃṫaiġ said...

Joe,

In general I agree with you, but for example 95% of Irish people speak a Germanic language everyday (as oppose to circa 5% who speak Irish). Using your above logic you could argue the same for ancestry of Irishpeople. When in reality it's the affect of a language shift -- English only became majority language circa 1800 in Ireland.

-Paul

Onur said...

Joe, no one doubts that English have Germanic origin to an extent (not necessaily every English individual). The question is, how much English are descended from native Celtic Britons and how much from Germanic invaders. The more Germanic descended English are, the more Germans have right to lay claim to the achievements of English. And no, there is no limit in human tendency to look for reasons to be proud; humans are insatiable animals. Also, the achievments of the English speaking world are unmatched worldwide.

Onur said...

no one doubts that English have Germanic origin to an extent

However small that extent is.

Average Joe said...

Paul Ó Duḃṫaiġ:

But the Irish were conquered by the English and it took centuries for English to become the dominant language in Ireland as most Irish resisted the influence of the invaders. Also many Irish people only learned English so that they could emigrate to English-speaking countries such as England and the United States in order to get work. In addition, the English language in Ireland shows many Celtic influences. In addition, the Irish did not forget that they were Gaelic and start believing that they were descended from Germanic tribes. In England, on the other hand, the Celtic language was replaced by Germanic very quickly with few or any Celtic influences and the belief in a Germanic origin became dominant very quickly - as evidenced by the Beowulf story.

Onur said...

In England, on the other hand, the Celtic language was replaced by Germanic very quickly

Very quickly? I have serious doubts that we can know how long it took for Germanic languages to replace Celtic languages in what is now England due to the paucity of information and the general illiteracy (thus lack of writing) in the populace. In those times only a thin elite stratum was literate and the replacement of the Celtic and Romance elites by the Anglo-Saxon elites in what is now England (no one doubts the replacement in the elite stratum there) meant the end of literacy in Celtic languages there, but by no means the end of spoken Celtic languages there. As for Beowulf, it is known only because that it was put into writing (it isn't even clear whether it was originally oral or written) in the pre-Norman England, not because of a persistent oral tradition down to the modern period (whether there ever was an oral tradition of Beowulf is doubtful), and those who sponsored it were Anglo-Saxon elites themselves (who are naturally expected to be the ones most interested in Anglo-Saxon history and stories in those times) in any case.

Onur said...

As for Beowulf, it is known only because that it was put into writing (it isn't even clear whether it was originally oral or written) in the pre-Norman England, not because of a persistent oral tradition down to the modern period (whether there ever was an oral tradition of Beowulf is doubtful), and those who sponsored it were Anglo-Saxon elites themselves (who are naturally expected to be the ones most interested in Anglo-Saxon history and stories in those times) in any case.

So we cannot know what Germanic speaking populace in England thought about their own origins in those times.

Annie Mouse said...

IMO the autosomal analyses show that the English and Irish are the same people genetically, and close cousins of the Germans.

Early genetic studies indicated that the genetic impact of the AngloSaxons and Normans on England overall was almost negligible (although I dont know if these conclusions still stand). Although there are a few shires/counties with more AngloSaxon.

Basically if the Irish are a separate non Germanic ethnicity called the Celts, then so are the English.

Annie Mouse said...

The only "Friesan gene" I can find is from cows. What IS this man suggesting...

Average Joe said...

Annie:

I think it is a reference to this paper:

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/tcga/tcgapdf/Weale-MBE-02-AS.pdf

Onur said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Onur said...

I think it is a reference to this paper:

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/tcga/tcgapdf/Weale-MBE-02-AS.pdf


Very likely, as one of the authors of that paper (Mark Thomas) is mentioned in the Der Spiegel article Diarmid posted (he is the only geneticist mentioned in the Der Spiegel article).

As for that paper, it is from the year 2002 and it is not an autosomal study with thousands of genetic markers (today many studies examine hundreds of thousands of genetic markers) but a Y chromosomal study with only 18 markers. So, if there is a contradiction between the results and conclusions of that 2002 study and those of today's studies with very large number of markers, it is today's studies we must trust instead of that 2002 study.