View Full Version : mtDNA in Tuscany (Centre of the Etruscan Civilization)

Friday, February 13th, 2004, 05:28 PM
''Southern Tuscany represented the centre of the Etruscan civilization, whose origin was probably related to the Palaeolithic peopling of Europe (Francalacci et al. 1996).

The Etruscan language does not belong to the Indo-European family and so the impact, on this region, of Neolithic migrational waves (Cavalli-Sforza et al. 1993), probably involving people speaking Indo-European languages (Renfrew 1987; Barbujani et al. 1994, 1995b) remains unclear. It has been suggested, however, that the populations of Tuscany have remained in relative isolation from the surrounding Italians (Renfrew 1993), at least starting from the seventh century BC (the oldest historical dating of the Etruscan culture).

This hypothesis is supported by linguistic evidence (Devoto 1977) and, in part, by the analysis of gene frequencies (Piazza et al. 1988; Barbujani and Sokal 1991). The population dwelling in this region may have been stable for a long period of time and the Etruscan civilization may have developed in demographic and cultural continuity with the earliest, so-called Villanovan, culture (Pallottino 1984). In the absence of more detailed palaeodemographic information, DNA sequence analysis could provide insights into the genetic structure of this population and hence into its evolutionary history.

We have tried to address four basic evolutionary questions:

(1) Are the various localities in this study genetically different? (2) Is there any pattern in the distribution of haplotypes in the geographical region? (3) Is there any evidence of migrational processes determining the observed distribution of haplotypes? (4) Do the populations appear to be near equilibrium or far from it? ''

''The Etruscan’s mitochondrial gene pool may not differ significantly from the gene pools of other ancient European populations.''

Thursday, June 10th, 2004, 01:35 PM
Hum Biol. 1994 Oct;66(5):905-16.

Isolation factors and kinship by isonymy in a group of parishes in northern Tuscany (Italy): influence of within-parish similarity level on between-parish similarity pattern.

Franceschi MG, Paoli G.

Dipartimento di Scienze del Comportamento Animale e dell'Uomo, Universita di Pisa, Italy.

We investigate the influence of within-parish similarity level on between-parish similarity pattern in surname analysis through a study of the relative roles of various isolation factors accounting for the population structure within a municipality (21 parishes) in the hilly part of northern Tuscany. One surname per family was collected (N = 3052), and the pattern of kinship observed by isonymy was compared with the expected patterns based on demogeographic variables. The fit of the isolation by distance model is substantially improved with the inclusion of values at zero geographic distance (i = j). Differentiation in migration rate was clearly shown by the local kinship values, which are highly correlated with the demogeographic features of the parishes under study. Furthermore, the strong heterogeneity of the local kinship values seems to be the major factor responsible for the poor relation of the off-diagonal values of the kinship matrix to the expected isolation pattern. In fact, the kinship matrix weighted on the basis of the local kinship values points to a pattern of similarity among parishes congruent with the demogeographic structure of the population. On the whole, the results indicate that at the low hierarchical level of parishes the extreme localization of surnames is a disturbing factor in population structure analysis. A simple method to overcome this problem has been proposed.