May 02, 2005

More on Y-chromosomes in Bosnia Herzegovina

The recent paper on Bosnia Herzegovina gives some new insights into the origins of the populations residing there, as well as their relationships to other populations of the region. According to the authors:

In the PC analysis (Figure 3), the first PC shows that the three populations are genetically extremely close to each other, and closely related to other populations of the Balkans. However, the second PC tends to separate the Croat group not only from both Serbs and Bosniacs, but also from the Croats of Croatia.
Here are some of my observations:
  • Haplogroups C and Q are lacking in Bosnia Herzegovina, indicating that the region was not affected by Central Asian descended groups arriving either from eastern Europe or Asia Minor. We can infer the absence of Q from the absence of P*(xR) in these samples; note that P*(xR) was found in mainland Croatians and two islands believed to have received it either from the Avars or the Ottomans.
  • Serbs have a frequency of about 7.5% K*(xP) which is lacking in Croats and is found in a frequency of 1.2% in Bosniacs (aka Muslims). It is not clear what this represents.
  • J-M267 is found in 2.4% of Bosniacs and is lacking in Serbs and Croats, indicating perhaps that this was brought by Muslims.
  • E3b dominates over the other "Neolithic" haplogroups G and J. This probably reinforces the association of J with more "coastal" migrations observed before, and this probably applies to G as well, which is found in higher frequencies in Greece and Italy than in these Balkan populations.
  • R1a1 is found at frequencies less than 15.3%, and this is much lower than the 34% observed in the Croatian mainland and closer to the 10% frequency observed in Greece.
  • Haplogroup I-M170 is found at frequencies comparable to those of the Croatian mainland, except in the Croatians of Bosnia where it is much higher, perhaps due to drift. These frequencies differentiate these populations from the Greeks and Albanians where I-M170 is lower.
It is quite interesting that haplogroup R1a1 seems to decrease in frequency from north to south, just as it was shown to decrease in frequency from east to west in Anatolia. Analysis of the phylogeography of R1a1 is still needed to resolve when, and from which sources, this widespread haplogroup reached the area. Post-Last Glacial Maximum expansions, the signature of the Kurgan culture, Slavic migrations, and invasions from Iranic and Turkic tribes of Central Asia could conceivably account for its presence.

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