Coll Antropol. 2004;28 Suppl 2:321-43.

Holistic anthropological research of Hvar Islanders, Croatia--from parish registries to DNA studies in 33 years.

Rudan P, Janicijevic B, Jovanovic V, Milicic J, Narancic NS, Sujoldzic A, Szirovicza L, Skaric-Juric T, Lauc LB, Lauc T, Klaric IM, Pericic M, Rudan D, Rudan I.

Institute for Anthropological Research, Zagreb, Croatia.

The complexity of interactions between hereditary, environmental and cultural factors in determining human phenotypes is often underestimated in biomedical research. In this paper, we present 33 years of holistic anthropological research that was being conducted since 1971 in the island of Hvar, Croatia. During this period, detailed characterization of migrations, demography, isonymy, linguistic differences, anthropometric traits (head and body dimensions), physiological (cardio-respiratory) properties, quantitative and qualitative dermatoglyphic traits, radiogrammetric metacarpal bone dimensions and genetic traits (classical antigens, HLA diversity, DNA short tandem repeat -STR, mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome polymorphisms) was performed. The analysis of this large collection of data using both model-bound and model-free approaches showed that the complexity underlying human biological traits may be considerably greater than generally assumed, which has important implications for design of future studies into genetic determinants of complex traits.