Genetic variation in prehistoric Sardinia

Genetic variation in prehistoric Sardinia

 We sampled teeth from 53 ancient Sardinian (Nuragic) individuals who lived in the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age, between 3,430 and 2,700 years ago. After eliminating the samples that, in preliminary biochemical tests, did not show a high probability to yield reproducible results, we obtained 23 sequences of the mitochondrial DNA control region, which were associated to haplogroups by comparison with a dataset of modern sequences. The Nuragic samples show a remarkably low genetic diversity, comparable to that observed in ancient Iberians, but much lower than among the Etruscans. Most of these sequences have exact matches in two modern Sardinian populations, supporting a clear genealogical continuity from the Late Bronze Age up to current times. The Nuragic populationsappear to be part of a large and geographically unstructuredcluster of modern European populations, thus making it difficult to infer their evolutionary relationships. However, the low levels of genetic diversity, both within and among ancient samples, as opposed to the sharp divergences among modern Sardinian samples, support the hypothesis of the expansion of a small group of maternally related individuals, and of comparatively recent differentiation of the Sardinian gene pools.

I’m still looking for the pdf link for this. The haplotypes involved appear to be H, J, T, V and U. According to the cached text, “Nuragic Sardinians cluster with the majority of the European populations.” Unsurprisingly. 

3 responses to “Genetic variation in prehistoric Sardinia

  1. Thanks for posting this, Mathilda:
    Boy are some Afrocentric “friends” of mine gonna be annoyed with this!

  2. …are some Afrocentric “friends” of mine gonna be annoyed with this!

    Nuraghi are modified tholos structures, much like the ones built some time before in La Mancha, SE Spain, known as motillas, with a fortification role. Tholoi are known in that period only in Iberia and Greece, AFAIK (the Iberian are older, though they may have an ultimate Cipriot/West Asian origin) and I know of no African tholoi at all. It would seem that the Nuragic culture arose in the context of East/West Mediterranean contacts (and maybe conflicts) and should be either native Sardinian and/or of SW European origin (they don’t look like of Greek origin either).

  3. John-Giovanni Corda

    Please contact me for further insight and info about Saregna as I am from Luogodoro region and 100% Sard–willing to help in your studies-
    there is much more no one has documented and some of this info I see is inaccurate.

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