The whole exercise was, in a sense, a failure, since it neither disclosed a Basarab-specific lineage, nor resolved the historical question about the origin of the House of Basarab (Vlach or Cuman). But, it gave us some wonderful new data on Romania that is, of course, quite welcome.
This seems like a good candidate for a future ancient DNA study, assuming of course, that Vlad and his family are still in their final resting place, and there are brave enough researchers to disturb them (j/k).
On a more serious note, the authors correctly state that even if the Basarab house was originally Turkic, they could still have carried West Eurasian chromosomes, since incoming Turkic groups in Europe were not purely Mongoloid like their more remote ancestors. On the other hand, I note that most of the Basarab-surnamed individuals belonged to E-V13, I-P37.2, J-M241 all of which are almost certainly native Romanian. If one of them carries the original chromosome, then the odds are in favor of a Romanian origin, although nothing short of ancient DNA work can resolve the issue, assuming that's possible.
Table S1 contains the new Romanian data, and Table S2 data from surrounding populations (Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine).
PLoS ONE 7(7): e41803. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041803
Y-Chromosome Analysis in Individuals Bearing the Basarab Name of the First Dynasty of Wallachian Kings
Begoña Martinez-Cruz et al.
Vlad III The Impaler, also known as Dracula, descended from the dynasty of Basarab, the first rulers of independent Wallachia, in present Romania. Whether this dynasty is of Cuman (an admixed Turkic people that reached Wallachia from the East in the 11th century) or of local Romanian (Vlach) origin is debated among historians. Earlier studies have demonstrated the value of investigating the Y chromosome of men bearing a historical name, in order to identify their genetic origin. We sampled 29 Romanian men carrying the surname Basarab, in addition to four Romanian populations (from counties Dolj, N = 38; Mehedinti, N = 11; Cluj, N = 50; and Brasov, N = 50), and compared the data with the surrounding populations. We typed 131 SNPs and 19 STRs in the non-recombinant part of the Y-chromosome in all the individuals. We computed a PCA to situate the Basarab individuals in the context of Romania and its neighboring populations. Different Y-chromosome haplogroups were found within the individuals bearing the Basarab name. All haplogroups are common in Romania and other Central and Eastern European populations. In a PCA, the Basarab group clusters within other Romanian populations. We found several clusters of Basarab individuals having a common ancestor within the period of the last 600 years. The diversity of haplogroups found shows that not all individuals carrying the surname Basarab can be direct biological descendants of the Basarab dynasty. The absence of Eastern Asian lineages in the Basarab men can be interpreted as a lack of evidence for a Cuman origin of the Basarab dynasty, although it cannot be positively ruled out. It can be therefore concluded that the Basarab dynasty was successful in spreading its name beyond the spread of its genes.