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  • Etruscans (?)

    I have looked at a new paper Mitochondrial DNA variation of modern Tuscans supports the near eastern origin of the Etruscans, by Achilli et al.

    Quite suggestive (though in the end it's hard to jump to conclusions). Anyway, they analyze the mtdna of three (small) towns in Southern Tuscany, in the area inhabited by the Etruscans (300+ observations). They find that in one of these three towns, Murlo, 17% of the lineages are typical Near Eastern and not Europeans (HV, R0a, U7,U3). Moreover, 5% of the haplotypes (in the whole S Tuscan sample) have matches in the levant, but not in Europe. These results are taken as a signal showing the levantine (?) origin of the Etruscans.

    I am not sure how much can we extrapolate from one town. There could be many explanations. And then, there seems to be no signal on the Y chromosome (they don't talk about it, but say that the Roman conquest was male mediated. I don't have Y data on S Tuscany). In general, though, it is interesting to note the haplogroup diversity of the region. There are for instance 3 (out of 300) L sequences, and a few N1.

    Note that again there seem to be no relation with the sequences found in the ancient sample - actually this paper seems to suggest that the results there were due to degradation of mtdna etc etc.

    cacio

  • #2
    There's also a recent paper Tuscan on mtDNA claiming that modern Tuscans probably aren't descended from Etruscans. Does the paper you read address this one?

    http://news-service.stanford.edu/new...in-051706.html

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    • #3
      augustin25:

      I think the paper you cite is based on the samples from ancient bones, ie they use various hypotheses on demographics to study the relation btw ancient bones and modern tuscans, and they find little relation. I guess this was the consensus so far, and it is probably the inspiration for this new paper.

      The paper I mentioned does not compare to the ancient bones, but it compares current Tuscans with Near Eastern people. It doesn't really discuss the discrepancy with ancient bones, other than saying that perhaps the ancient sample results were wrong. (I am also not sure how the modern Tuscan sample in the two papers relate, the similarity in mtdna with the near east was found especially in one little town).

      cacio

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      • #4
        I'll have to track down both papers. Maybe this is my bias as an archaeologist, but I'm more likely to trust the ancient DNA study than one based solely on modern populations. I have no qualms accepting the idea that a certain percentage of mtDNA in Tuscany has a Levantine origin, but to specifically link it to the Etruscans sounds problematic.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by cacio
          I have looked at a new paper Mitochondrial DNA variation of modern Tuscans supports the near eastern origin of the Etruscans, by Achilli et al.

          Quite suggestive (though in the end it's hard to jump to conclusions). Anyway, they analyze the mtdna of three (small) towns in Southern Tuscany, in the area inhabited by the Etruscans (300+ observations). They find that in one of these three towns, Murlo, 17% of the lineages are typical Near Eastern and not Europeans (HV, R0a, U7,U3). Moreover, 5% of the haplotypes (in the whole S Tuscan sample) have matches in the levant, but not in Europe. These results are taken as a signal showing the levantine (?) origin of the Etruscans.

          I am not sure how much can we extrapolate from one town. There could be many explanations. And then, there seems to be no signal on the Y chromosome (they don't talk about it, but say that the Roman conquest was male mediated. I don't have Y data on S Tuscany). In general, though, it is interesting to note the haplogroup diversity of the region. There are for instance 3 (out of 300) L sequences, and a few N1.

          Note that again there seem to be no relation with the sequences found in the ancient sample - actually this paper seems to suggest that the results there were due to degradation of mtdna etc etc.

          cacio

          Didn't they get some Y-DNA results from Etruscan remains before? I thought I read that somewhere before.



          Y-DNA: J2a*

          Comment


          • #6
            augustin25:

            I agree with you and also think they stretched their data too much. They look at one town and they find several Near Eastern sequences (note: near eastern in general, not specifically Anatolian, which is what Herodotus was talking about). First, it is not clear how general this result is, is it just true of one town? Second, there's no reason to believe this has anything to do with the Etruscans. There could have been movements from the east at any time. Besides, there were big oriental influences from the East around that period. But of course this doesn't mean that the Etruscans were from the East - may be some greeks or Anatolians migrated and were incorporated into the Etruscan society. (As an archeologist, you may be interested in the fact that the paper also mentions the island of Lemnos, where the Etruscan-sounding stele was found. But the mtdna from the island doesn't seem related to the modern tuscan sample).

            Regarding the ancient Etruscan mtdna study, they simply dismiss it by saying that it is very strange that 70% of those ancient sequences have no match anywhere, neither in Europe nor in the East. Which they take as evidence of some flaw in the extraction. (Incidentally, the paper you cite simply takes the ancient sequences described in a previous paper by Vernesi and Caramelli, and tries to come up with many demographic scenarios to describe what could have happened, but cannot reconcile the lack of those ancient sequences in modern Europe, other than by a near total replacement of the population).

            J Man:
            I don't know of any study of the Y chromosome of the Etruscans (and, btw, I cannot think of any study of the Y chromosome of modern inhabitants of the area either). The only study of an ancient Y chromosome I can think of is that of the Egyin gol valley in Mongolia.

            cacio

            Comment


            • #7
              This must be the Etruscan genetics month - I noticed on dinenekes's blog a new paper about Tuscan cows (the Chianina breed?). First, a paper found that the town of Murlo has anatolian mtdna (human, that is). Then this other paper apparently claims that Tuscan cows have Near Eastern DNA, not European, which is taken as a sign that the Etruscans were Anatolians.

              So those Anatolians not only brought their women along, but also their cows. In fact, we have a proverb in Italy: donne e buoi dei paesi tuoi (women and cows of your town. I didn't read the paper, but they must have cited this proverb too).

              Now all that's missing is a paper about Anatolian Y-chromosomes in Southern Tuscany.

              cacio

              Comment


              • #8
                Great, another paper I need to track down and read. I want to see exactly what they mean by no convergence between Anatolian cattle and that in other parts of Italy. DNA from both ancient and modern cattle in Europe (including modern samples from Italy, not sure about ancient) has shown that European cattle originated in the Near East and are related to both modern and ancient cattle from Anatolia. Not sure if I explained myself very clearly, need more coffee
                Last edited by augustin25; 16 February 2007, 11:37 AM.

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                • #9
                  The Etruscan mtdna paper relies on the small, 2,000 inhabitants village of Murlo. While looking for other stuff (HLA genes) I found the abstract of a 1996 paper on the distribution of those genes in - you guess -Murlo.

                  http://www.ingentaconnect.com/conten...00001/art84963

                  I don't have access to the paper, but it doesn't seem to suggest that the HLA from Murlo are Anatolian. But may be back then they didn't check (though the abstract clearly says that they looked at Murlo because they wanted ancestral Etruscans).

                  Anyway, it seems this village is having quite a share of attention, despite the fact that the rest of Tuscany doesn't seem to match.

                  cacio

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cacio
                    I don't have access to the paper, but it doesn't seem to suggest that the HLA from Murlo are Anatolian. But may be back then they didn't check (though the abstract clearly says that they looked at Murlo because they wanted ancestral Etruscans).
                    I also don't have this paper, but I'll try to track down a copy.

                    In the meantime, here is a paper that looked at HLA from Corsica. Figure 2 includes a NJ tree that incudes a Tuscan sample. I can't say whether this is the same sample as the Murlo paper, but the Tuscans appear to cluster more closely with the Greek Cypriots than with other populations (e.g German, Sardinian).

                    http://www.edb.ups-tlse.fr/equipe2/f...is/EJI_287.pdf

                    This is an uncorrected proof.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      vince:

                      thanks for the paper, interesting, also because it tries to talk a little bit about origins. For the little I have seen, there seem to be hundreds of papers on the HLA distribution, many more than for mtdna and Y, but they usually don't say much about genealogy, origin etc. The reason I presume is that HLAs have an important medical function (in transplants), so the question that these papers are trying to answer is: which type of HLA's would a patient from this region need to find? How would those compare to those of a donor from another region? They're not trying to answer anthropological questions per se.

                      A collection of databases can be found at:
                      http://www.allelefrequencies.net/

                      but there's none explicitly on Tuscany (though there is a general "Italy" one).

                      cacio

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Etruscans

                        Primitive Italian People - Ibero-Finnic Tribes.

                        EtruscansÂ…

                        A team of geneticists from different universities in Italy and Spain undertook the first genetic studies of the ancient Etruscans, based on mitochondrial DNA from 80 bone samples taken from tombs dating from the seventh century to the third century BC in Etruria. This study finds that they were more related to each other than to the general population of modern Italy. Recent studies suggested a Near East origin (U5a1a) and Iberian origin (R1b1c6).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Not finding R1b1c6 in recent papers in relation to Etruscans

                          Originally posted by johnraciti
                          Primitive Italian People - Ibero-Finnic Tribes.

                          EtruscansÂ…

                          A team of geneticists from different universities in Italy and Spain undertook the first genetic studies of the ancient Etruscans, based on mitochondrial DNA from 80 bone samples taken from tombs dating from the seventh century to the third century BC in Etruria. This study finds that they were more related to each other than to the general population of modern Italy. Recent studies suggested a Near East origin (U5a1a) and Iberian origin (R1b1c6).
                          What recent studies have suggested a Near East origin and Iberian (R1b1c6 specific) origin?? I cannot seem to locate any study that is less than 3 years old addressing R1b1c6 itself.

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