Linguistic, geographic and genetic isolation: a collaborative study of Italian populations

Luca Sineo, Federica Crivellaro, Alessio Boattini, Francesca Brisighelli, Paolo Anagnostou, Zelda Alice Franceschi, Laura Corrias, Daria Sanna, Marco Capocasa, Valeria Bachis, Sara De Fanti, Valentina Dominici, Marilisa Carta, Stefania Sarno, Giuseppe Vona, Stefania Bertoncini, Luca Taglioli, Valentina Coia, Paolo Francalacci, Donata LuiselliCinzia Battaggia, Giuseppe Tagarelli, Sergio Tofanelli, Carla Maria Calò, Davide Pettener, Olga Rickards, Renato Robledo, Giovanni Destro Bisol, Laura Morelli, Emanuele Sanna, Giorgio Paoli, Gianfranco Biondi, Gianmarco Ferri, Ilaria Boschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Summary - The animal and plant biodiversity of the Italian territory is known to be one of therichest in the Mediterranean basin and Europe as a whole, but does the genetic diversity of extant humanpopulations show a comparable pattern? According to a number of studies, the genetic structure of Italianpopulations retains the signatures of complex peopling processes which took place from the Paleolithic tomodern era. Although the observed patterns highlight a remarkable degree of genetic heterogeneity, they donot, however, take into account an important source of variation. In fact, Italy is home to numerous ethnolinguisticminorities which have yet to be studied systematically. Due to their difference in geographicalorigin and demographic history, such groups not only signal the cultural and social diversity of our country,but they are also potential contributors to its bio-anthropological heterogeneity. To fill this gap, researchgroups from four Italian Universities (Bologna, Cagliari, Pisa and Roma Sapienza) started a collaborativestudy in 2007, which was funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research andreceived partial support by the Istituto Italiano di Antropologia. In this paper, we present an account ofthe results obtained in the course of this initiative. Four case-studies relative to linguistic minorities fromthe Eastern Alps, Sardinia, Apennines and Southern Italy are first described and discussed, focusing ontheir micro-evolutionary and anthropological implications. Thereafter, we present the results of a systematicanalysis of the relations between linguistic, geographic and genetic isolation. Integrating the data obtainedin the course of the long-term study with literature and unpublished results on Italian populations, weshow that a combination of linguistic and geographic factors is probably responsible for the presence of themost robust signatures of genetic isolation. Finally, we evaluate the magnitude of the diversity of Italianpopulations in the European context. The human genetic diversity of our country was found to be greaterthan observed throughout the continent at short (0-200 km) and intermediate (700-800km) distances, andaccounted for most of the highest values of genetic distances observed at all geographic ranges. Interestingly,an important contribution to this pattern comes from the “linguistic islands” (e.g. German speaking groupsof Sappada and Luserna from the Eastern Italian Alps), further proof of the importance of considering socialand cultural factors when studying human genetic variation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-36
Number of pages36
JournalJournal of Anthropological Sciences
Volume92
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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social isolation
linguistics
Alps
Italy
Ministry of Education
gipsy
cultural factors
biodiversity
speaking
animal
minority
history
Group

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology

Cite this

Sineo, L., Crivellaro, F., Boattini, A., Brisighelli, F., Anagnostou, P., Franceschi, Z. A., ... Boschi, I. (2014). Linguistic, geographic and genetic isolation: a collaborative study of Italian populations. Journal of Anthropological Sciences, 92, 1-36.

Linguistic, geographic and genetic isolation: a collaborative study of Italian populations. / Sineo, Luca; Crivellaro, Federica; Boattini, Alessio; Brisighelli, Francesca; Anagnostou, Paolo; Franceschi, Zelda Alice; Corrias, Laura; Sanna, Daria; Capocasa, Marco; Bachis, Valeria; De Fanti, Sara; Dominici, Valentina; Carta, Marilisa; Sarno, Stefania; Vona, Giuseppe; Bertoncini, Stefania; Taglioli, Luca; Coia, Valentina; Francalacci, Paolo; Luiselli, Donata; Battaggia, Cinzia; Tagarelli, Giuseppe; Tofanelli, Sergio; Calò, Carla Maria; Pettener, Davide; Rickards, Olga; Robledo, Renato; Bisol, Giovanni Destro; Morelli, Laura; Sanna, Emanuele; Paoli, Giorgio; Biondi, Gianfranco; Ferri, Gianmarco; Boschi, Ilaria.

In: Journal of Anthropological Sciences, Vol. 92, 2014, p. 1-36.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Sineo, L, Crivellaro, F, Boattini, A, Brisighelli, F, Anagnostou, P, Franceschi, ZA, Corrias, L, Sanna, D, Capocasa, M, Bachis, V, De Fanti, S, Dominici, V, Carta, M, Sarno, S, Vona, G, Bertoncini, S, Taglioli, L, Coia, V, Francalacci, P, Luiselli, D, Battaggia, C, Tagarelli, G, Tofanelli, S, Calò, CM, Pettener, D, Rickards, O, Robledo, R, Bisol, GD, Morelli, L, Sanna, E, Paoli, G, Biondi, G, Ferri, G & Boschi, I 2014, 'Linguistic, geographic and genetic isolation: a collaborative study of Italian populations', Journal of Anthropological Sciences, vol. 92, pp. 1-36.
Sineo L, Crivellaro F, Boattini A, Brisighelli F, Anagnostou P, Franceschi ZA et al. Linguistic, geographic and genetic isolation: a collaborative study of Italian populations. Journal of Anthropological Sciences. 2014;92:1-36.
Sineo, Luca ; Crivellaro, Federica ; Boattini, Alessio ; Brisighelli, Francesca ; Anagnostou, Paolo ; Franceschi, Zelda Alice ; Corrias, Laura ; Sanna, Daria ; Capocasa, Marco ; Bachis, Valeria ; De Fanti, Sara ; Dominici, Valentina ; Carta, Marilisa ; Sarno, Stefania ; Vona, Giuseppe ; Bertoncini, Stefania ; Taglioli, Luca ; Coia, Valentina ; Francalacci, Paolo ; Luiselli, Donata ; Battaggia, Cinzia ; Tagarelli, Giuseppe ; Tofanelli, Sergio ; Calò, Carla Maria ; Pettener, Davide ; Rickards, Olga ; Robledo, Renato ; Bisol, Giovanni Destro ; Morelli, Laura ; Sanna, Emanuele ; Paoli, Giorgio ; Biondi, Gianfranco ; Ferri, Gianmarco ; Boschi, Ilaria. / Linguistic, geographic and genetic isolation: a collaborative study of Italian populations. In: Journal of Anthropological Sciences. 2014 ; Vol. 92. pp. 1-36.
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abstract = "Summary - The animal and plant biodiversity of the Italian territory is known to be one of therichest in the Mediterranean basin and Europe as a whole, but does the genetic diversity of extant humanpopulations show a comparable pattern? According to a number of studies, the genetic structure of Italianpopulations retains the signatures of complex peopling processes which took place from the Paleolithic tomodern era. Although the observed patterns highlight a remarkable degree of genetic heterogeneity, they donot, however, take into account an important source of variation. In fact, Italy is home to numerous ethnolinguisticminorities which have yet to be studied systematically. Due to their difference in geographicalorigin and demographic history, such groups not only signal the cultural and social diversity of our country,but they are also potential contributors to its bio-anthropological heterogeneity. To fill this gap, researchgroups from four Italian Universities (Bologna, Cagliari, Pisa and Roma Sapienza) started a collaborativestudy in 2007, which was funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research andreceived partial support by the Istituto Italiano di Antropologia. In this paper, we present an account ofthe results obtained in the course of this initiative. Four case-studies relative to linguistic minorities fromthe Eastern Alps, Sardinia, Apennines and Southern Italy are first described and discussed, focusing ontheir micro-evolutionary and anthropological implications. Thereafter, we present the results of a systematicanalysis of the relations between linguistic, geographic and genetic isolation. Integrating the data obtainedin the course of the long-term study with literature and unpublished results on Italian populations, weshow that a combination of linguistic and geographic factors is probably responsible for the presence of themost robust signatures of genetic isolation. Finally, we evaluate the magnitude of the diversity of Italianpopulations in the European context. The human genetic diversity of our country was found to be greaterthan observed throughout the continent at short (0-200 km) and intermediate (700-800km) distances, andaccounted for most of the highest values of genetic distances observed at all geographic ranges. Interestingly,an important contribution to this pattern comes from the “linguistic islands” (e.g. German speaking groupsof Sappada and Luserna from the Eastern Italian Alps), further proof of the importance of considering socialand cultural factors when studying human genetic variation.",
author = "Luca Sineo and Federica Crivellaro and Alessio Boattini and Francesca Brisighelli and Paolo Anagnostou and Franceschi, {Zelda Alice} and Laura Corrias and Daria Sanna and Marco Capocasa and Valeria Bachis and {De Fanti}, Sara and Valentina Dominici and Marilisa Carta and Stefania Sarno and Giuseppe Vona and Stefania Bertoncini and Luca Taglioli and Valentina Coia and Paolo Francalacci and Donata Luiselli and Cinzia Battaggia and Giuseppe Tagarelli and Sergio Tofanelli and Cal{\`o}, {Carla Maria} and Davide Pettener and Olga Rickards and Renato Robledo and Bisol, {Giovanni Destro} and Laura Morelli and Emanuele Sanna and Giorgio Paoli and Gianfranco Biondi and Gianmarco Ferri and Ilaria Boschi",
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T1 - Linguistic, geographic and genetic isolation: a collaborative study of Italian populations

AU - Sineo, Luca

AU - Crivellaro, Federica

AU - Boattini, Alessio

AU - Brisighelli, Francesca

AU - Anagnostou, Paolo

AU - Franceschi, Zelda Alice

AU - Corrias, Laura

AU - Sanna, Daria

AU - Capocasa, Marco

AU - Bachis, Valeria

AU - De Fanti, Sara

AU - Dominici, Valentina

AU - Carta, Marilisa

AU - Sarno, Stefania

AU - Vona, Giuseppe

AU - Bertoncini, Stefania

AU - Taglioli, Luca

AU - Coia, Valentina

AU - Francalacci, Paolo

AU - Luiselli, Donata

AU - Battaggia, Cinzia

AU - Tagarelli, Giuseppe

AU - Tofanelli, Sergio

AU - Calò, Carla Maria

AU - Pettener, Davide

AU - Rickards, Olga

AU - Robledo, Renato

AU - Bisol, Giovanni Destro

AU - Morelli, Laura

AU - Sanna, Emanuele

AU - Paoli, Giorgio

AU - Biondi, Gianfranco

AU - Ferri, Gianmarco

AU - Boschi, Ilaria

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - Summary - The animal and plant biodiversity of the Italian territory is known to be one of therichest in the Mediterranean basin and Europe as a whole, but does the genetic diversity of extant humanpopulations show a comparable pattern? According to a number of studies, the genetic structure of Italianpopulations retains the signatures of complex peopling processes which took place from the Paleolithic tomodern era. Although the observed patterns highlight a remarkable degree of genetic heterogeneity, they donot, however, take into account an important source of variation. In fact, Italy is home to numerous ethnolinguisticminorities which have yet to be studied systematically. Due to their difference in geographicalorigin and demographic history, such groups not only signal the cultural and social diversity of our country,but they are also potential contributors to its bio-anthropological heterogeneity. To fill this gap, researchgroups from four Italian Universities (Bologna, Cagliari, Pisa and Roma Sapienza) started a collaborativestudy in 2007, which was funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research andreceived partial support by the Istituto Italiano di Antropologia. In this paper, we present an account ofthe results obtained in the course of this initiative. Four case-studies relative to linguistic minorities fromthe Eastern Alps, Sardinia, Apennines and Southern Italy are first described and discussed, focusing ontheir micro-evolutionary and anthropological implications. Thereafter, we present the results of a systematicanalysis of the relations between linguistic, geographic and genetic isolation. Integrating the data obtainedin the course of the long-term study with literature and unpublished results on Italian populations, weshow that a combination of linguistic and geographic factors is probably responsible for the presence of themost robust signatures of genetic isolation. Finally, we evaluate the magnitude of the diversity of Italianpopulations in the European context. The human genetic diversity of our country was found to be greaterthan observed throughout the continent at short (0-200 km) and intermediate (700-800km) distances, andaccounted for most of the highest values of genetic distances observed at all geographic ranges. Interestingly,an important contribution to this pattern comes from the “linguistic islands” (e.g. German speaking groupsof Sappada and Luserna from the Eastern Italian Alps), further proof of the importance of considering socialand cultural factors when studying human genetic variation.

AB - Summary - The animal and plant biodiversity of the Italian territory is known to be one of therichest in the Mediterranean basin and Europe as a whole, but does the genetic diversity of extant humanpopulations show a comparable pattern? According to a number of studies, the genetic structure of Italianpopulations retains the signatures of complex peopling processes which took place from the Paleolithic tomodern era. Although the observed patterns highlight a remarkable degree of genetic heterogeneity, they donot, however, take into account an important source of variation. In fact, Italy is home to numerous ethnolinguisticminorities which have yet to be studied systematically. Due to their difference in geographicalorigin and demographic history, such groups not only signal the cultural and social diversity of our country,but they are also potential contributors to its bio-anthropological heterogeneity. To fill this gap, researchgroups from four Italian Universities (Bologna, Cagliari, Pisa and Roma Sapienza) started a collaborativestudy in 2007, which was funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research andreceived partial support by the Istituto Italiano di Antropologia. In this paper, we present an account ofthe results obtained in the course of this initiative. Four case-studies relative to linguistic minorities fromthe Eastern Alps, Sardinia, Apennines and Southern Italy are first described and discussed, focusing ontheir micro-evolutionary and anthropological implications. Thereafter, we present the results of a systematicanalysis of the relations between linguistic, geographic and genetic isolation. Integrating the data obtainedin the course of the long-term study with literature and unpublished results on Italian populations, weshow that a combination of linguistic and geographic factors is probably responsible for the presence of themost robust signatures of genetic isolation. Finally, we evaluate the magnitude of the diversity of Italianpopulations in the European context. The human genetic diversity of our country was found to be greaterthan observed throughout the continent at short (0-200 km) and intermediate (700-800km) distances, andaccounted for most of the highest values of genetic distances observed at all geographic ranges. Interestingly,an important contribution to this pattern comes from the “linguistic islands” (e.g. German speaking groupsof Sappada and Luserna from the Eastern Italian Alps), further proof of the importance of considering socialand cultural factors when studying human genetic variation.

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JO - Journal of Anthropological Sciences

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