The Greeks in the West: genetic signatures of the Hellenic colonisation in southern Italy and Sicily.

Valentino Romano, Francesca Brisighelli, Paolo Anagnostou, George B.J. Busby, Caroline Hayward, Valentino Romano, Gillian B. Shepherd, Tatijana Zemunik, Antonino Facella, Deborah Bolnick, Igor Rudan, Tatijana Zemunik, Luca Taglioli, Sebastiano Tusa, Tatijana Zemunik, Donata Luiselli, Sergio Tofanelli, Cristian Capelli, Igor Rudan, Gianmarco FerriMark G. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Greek colonisation of South Italy and Sicily (Magna Graecia) was a defining event in European cultural history, although the demographic processes and genetic impacts involved have not been systematically investigated. Here, we combine high-resolution surveys of the variability at the uni-parentally inherited Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA in selected samples of putative source and recipient populations with forward-in-time simulations of alternative demographic models to detect signatures of that impact. Using a subset of haplotypes chosen to represent historical sources, we recover a clear signature of Greek ancestry in East Sicily compatible with the settlement from Euboea during the Archaic Period (eighth to fifth century BCE). We inferred moderate sex-bias in the numbers of individuals involved in the colonisation: a few thousand breeding men and a few hundred breeding women were the estimated number of migrants. Last, we demonstrate that studies aimed at quantifying Hellenic genetic flow by the proportion of specific lineages surviving in present-day populations may be misleading.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-436
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


Dive into the research topics of 'The Greeks in the West: genetic signatures of the Hellenic colonisation in southern Italy and Sicily.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this