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Gypsy DNA

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  • #61

    regarding the nomenclature, papers older than a couple of years may use various notations. There is no rule, so the only way is to browse the paper, check where they define the groups (ie they may say M69= ... ) and go from there. Some of the names for H can be found at:

    I don't recall any study on H in Europe (other than the cited ones on the gypsies). But the point is, for those small haplogroups (<2%, like H or my own L), scientific papers on Europe typically do _not_ test for them - so they won't show up even if they are somewhere!

    As for H1 vs H2, I think Sengupta shows that H1 has much higher frequencies than the smaller H2, so I guess H1 would be a good guess no matter what. A good source for STR for haplogroup H is a Sengupta paper on India. His STR data can be found at:
    (look for Bonnie Schrack towards the bottom), so may be one can compare these European H to those samples.



    • #62
      According to 29.8(%?) of Macedonian Romani are E3b1 M78. The study lists them as "Indo-Iranian."


      • #63
        I am so new to this that I'm not even sure what questions to ask. I just got the results of my mtDNA & I am U5a1a. I am confused as to how this fits in to my mother's family background. Her mother came to the US about 1906 from eastern Czechoslovakia & her father was from Germany. I was told when I was a teenager not to ask Grandma about her family because she did not want anyone to know that she was Tzigane. I assumed that Grandpa was not Roma but now I'm not so sure. All of my relatives are gone now so there is no one to ask. I'm finding family photos of both Grandma AND Grandpa's relatives in traditional Rom attire, such as women wearing the gold coin necklaces, etc. I've even found a photo of a group of my relatives marked "kris" on the back, which is the gypsy tribunal. All of my maternal side of the family were very dark skinned with dark hair & brown eyes. With my very limited research on U5a1a I'm getting a mental picture of more Scandinavian types. Am I really off base here? How does the U5a1a fit in with the Romany DNA? I did see a brief reference to U5 in an article on Romany DNA at but it was a very small percentage. Anyway, I'm still pretty confused about all of this and any info would be helpfull.


        • #64

          the source you cite on gypsy mtDNA is a very good starting point. You are right that U5 is typical European (although, as all mtdna groups, it is found also outside Europe).

          If you look at the data, the majority of mtdna of the gypsy groups seems indeed European. The most common haplogroup is H at 36%. The typical Indian mtdna is M, but only 25% are M.

          This indicates that the female background of the gypsies is mostly European. The males however have a larger fraction of Indian lineages. This suggests that Indian gypsy migrants, over time, took local wives. This is not uncommon, typically male lineages are more evident, because the men, who keep the cultural traditions, do marry outside of their groups. If you had a living relative on the gypsy paternal line, you may check whether he is of a typical Indian lineage like H.



          • #65
            Not sure if this artical has been posted before, but it has been a heated debate on another message board.

            I have tried and tried to find out what mitochondrial DNA Haplo Group this artical is speaking of, and so far no one seems to have an answer for me.

            Sarah Morley doesn't seem willing to reply to my emails, though I have tried!
            Without this artical discussing very specific Romani DNA, it raises many questions as to what it is exactly they have discovered to prove it is Romani connected in my mind.

            If this can be figured out, it will be darn interesting to know which
            mitochondrial DNA group to look for. But this is the first I had heard of this and I haven't a clue which mitochondrial DNA group Sarah Morley is refering to.


            By Sarah Morley 12/05/2006

            The recent discovery of Romani DNA in an Anglo Saxon skeleton has made experts re-think the nature of the city's early population. Picture courtesy Sophie Cabot. © HEART

            Experts from Norfolk Archaeology Unit based at Norwich Castle have discovered a rare form of mitochondrial DNA identified as Romani in a skeleton discovered during excavations in a large area of Norwich for the expansion of the castle mall.

            The DNA was found in an 11th century young adult male skeleton, and with the first recorded arrival of the Romani gene in this country put at 500 years later, historians may need to re-think the ethnic mix of the city's early population.

            Norfolk Archaeological Unit’s lead archaeologist on the dig was Brian Ayres. He told the 24 Hour Museum: “The bones were of a late Saxon Christian. We know this because it was found in a graveyard associated with the church.”

            Brian was on the scene when they discovered the DNA in the bones of the young Saxon male - out of the 59 skeletons sampled. Though the excavation was done around the early 90’s the results of the DNA testing has only recently been published to a specialist audience.

            DNA testing is a completely revolutionary way of testing and dating bones to find out their origins. Modern methods only recently discovered allow for lots of new links to be made, such as finding where an individual originated from through their genes.

            Extracting DNA from ancient bones is a complicated procedure involving removing the DNA from the tooth pulp as the hard tooth enamel preserves the gene. This form of mitochondrial DNA is passed down the female line and the identified gene is only found in the descendants of Romani. According to DNA records the first recorded Romani Gene found in England was in the 16th Century.

            Extensive archaeological excavations have unearthed both Roman and Anglo-Saxon finds in and around Norwich. © Norwich City Council

            The find is exciting because it paints a more diverse picture of ancient Norwich. Although Norwich has a rich history of cultural diversity, the discovery of first recorded Romani Gene in the country points to new levels of diversity.

            “This exciting find emphasises a more cosmopolitan Anglo-Scandinavian society,” explained Brian who went on to say not only does this find show Norwich as an early multi-ethnic society but it gives a wider indication of a more fluid world in the 11th Century, where humans were constantly moving from country to country.

            Romani people have a bloody history of persecution, murder and banishment in almost every country they entered. They were accused of witchcraft and almost every crime imaginable. They originated from the ancient warrior classes of North India and are closely linked to the culture of the Punjabi people, also of North India.

            The Romani people are known to have been in Byzantine Empire in the 10th century, so it is thought that the only way the Romani Gene could be found in this country so early is if the previous historical records are mistaken.

            Another possibility is that if the Anglo-Saxons were also in Byzantium in the 10th century, relations between the Anglo Saxons and the Romani people may have led to the spread of the Romani Gene to Norwich, England


            • #66
              Originally posted by Donald Locke
              I have tried and tried to find out what mitochondrial DNA Haplo Group this artical is speaking of, and so far no one seems to have an answer for me.
              I think the article is referring to this find:


              The motif is 16189A, 16223T, 16271C, 16278T

              It is typically associated with haplogroup X. The research paper focuses on the unusual 16189A tranversion, and incorrectly claims that it is specifically Romani.

              It is not. Two members of my project belong to X and have the 16189A transversion; they are of Polish and Lithuanian ancestry, respectively. The significant presence of this motif among Roma is almost certainly due to a founder effect--the very common pattern of traveling men who marry local women.


              • #67
                Thanks lgmayka

                Right after I posted that, I found an earlier post of yours on the
       site. Figures, as soon as I post something, I find that it has already been answered lol.

                The good news is, I am starting to get some Rom / Gypsy / Travelers interested in DNA testing.

                But there has been many very heated debates over this Rom DNA issue, mainly because so many are uneducated or poorly educated in the first place.

                But a few are finally seeing past their fears and seeing what I have been talking to them about. It will be darn interesting to see what comes of the Romnchel DNA project once folks start joining it.

                Trying to get them involved in DNA testing is proving to be very difficult, and the names I have been called over this Romani DNA issue is rather shocking.
                But some are interested and are asking questions, and that is a good thing.
                If some get tested soon, others may follow, but it will take a strong hearted person to join this project because some folks will give them a lot of lip over it.

                A Mr. Doe just emailed me and told me his test results, Y Haplo I1a, which clearly isn't Roma descent, but he hasn't mtDNA tested yet either.
                He hasn't joined the project yet.

                The key issue here is, no one knows who the direct descendants are of the original Rom England immigrants were. Since their migration, many married in to the way of life, others were such close friends they took on the way of life. So there are many who aren't actually Gypsy / Roma in the UK, but rather lived the life for what ever their reasons are.

                Few family's can even trace the paper trail past the 1800's in England which makes it that much more difficult to try to figure out who is who.

                And there is an ongoing debate over some being darker skinned while others are lighter skinned. I am staying out of that issue! lol.
                Regardless, if you aren't a British Gypsy / Traveler, in some of thier minds, you aren't related even if you have a solid paper trail linking your direct lineage back to a common ancestor.

                Time will tell if more will get involved, but the outlook so far isn't good.
                I anticipate a wide range of Haplo Groups to be found in the UK Rom / Gypsy peoples. But it will be that select few who could open some eyes if the right people get tested.



                • #68
                  More like a Norse, than a Saxon, Gypsy?

                  I must not be too flip about this, because the work on these skeletons is most impressively good firm genomic technique and science. However the historical conclusion write-up was terminologically loose, especially the press report.
                  The period of the remains around AD1050 is not "late Saxon" but 200 years into a strong Norse coloration of British culture and genomics. This skeleton could well have been a subject of King Canute or Knud of England, one of two Norse Kings ruling in London at that time.
                  Anyway, pilgrim travel to the Near East had been going on increasingly, and the First Crusade would call the next generation. So that rare MtDNA could well have been carried directly from the Near East. One mother, (wife, concubine or slave) was all it would take...


                  • #69
                    Italian Gypsies?

                    Originally posted by Stevo
                    Here is an interesting site with photos of modern gypsies in England.

                    At the bottom right you can click on a link to photos of gypsies in other parts of Europe.
                    Halpogroup H is not from The Indian continent directly is it? Indians are Haplogrp MtM and R and Y-C and stuff like that.
                    Mt H is primarily European I thought and found in Italy in one man I read about. So does that make the Gypsy Italian?


                    • #70
                      Originally posted by Jambalaia32
                      Halpogroup H is not from The Indian continent directly is it? Indians are Haplogrp MtM and R and Y-C and stuff like that.
                      yDNA H is one of several Y chromosome haplogroups common in India.