Despite their modern-day diversity of language, lifestyle, and religion, Europe's widespread Romani population shares a common, if complex, past. It all began in northwestern India about 1,500 years ago, according to a study reported on December 6th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, that offers the first genome-wide perspective on Romani origins and demographic history.
The Romani represent the largest minority group in Europe, consisting of approximately 11 million people. That means the size of the Romani population rivals that of several European countries, including Greece, Portugal, and Belgium.
"We were interested in exploring the population history of European Romani because they constitute an important fraction of the European population, but their marginalized situation in many countries also seems to have affected their visibility in scientific studies," said David Comas of the Institut de Biologia Evolutiva at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Spain.
The Romani people lack written historical records on their origins and dispersal. To fill in the gaps in the new study, Comas and Manfred Kayser from Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands, together with their international European colleagues, gathered genome-wide data from 13 Romani groups collected across Europe to confirm an Indian origin for European Romani, consistent with earlier linguistic studies.
The genome-wide evidence specified the geographic origin toward the north or northwestern parts of India and provided a date of origin of about 1,500 years ago. While the Middle East and Caucasus regions are known to have had an important influence on Romani language, the researchers saw limited evidence for shared genetic ancestry between the European Romani and those who live in those regions of the world today. Once in Europe, Romani people began settling in various locations, likely spreading across Europe via the Balkan region about 900 years ago.
"From a genome-wide perspective, Romani people share a common and unique history that consists of two elements: the roots in northwestern India and the admixture with non-Romani Europeans accumulating with different magnitudes during the out-of-India migration across Europe," Kayser said. "Our study clearly illustrates that understanding the Romani's genetic legacy is necessary to complete the genetic characterization of Europeans as a whole, with implications for various fields, from human evolution to the health sciences."
Cell Press: http://www.cellpress.com
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
A wild male marmoset is filmed embracing and caring for his dying female partner.
A neuroscientist and a musician explain how they built the Brain Stethoscope, which is both brain scanner and musical instrument
Museum staff will ditch the bubble wrap in favor of custom-molded plaster cradles when shipping a Tyrannosaurus rex to Washington, D.C.
The direction you're moving can play tricks with your mind. That can mean trouble not only for travel but for human relations too
In Missing Microbes, Dr. Martin Blaser argues that the overuse of antibiotics, as well as now-common practices like C-sections, may be messing with gut microbes.
Scientists have figured out one reason women might be more vulnerable to Alzheimer's: A risk gene doubles women's chances of getting the disease but has minimal effect on men.
Harvestmen (also known as daddy long legs) aren’t spiders, and if you could (or wanted to) lean close enough, you’d be able to see one of the few physical features that distinguish them from their arachnid cousins. It’s in the eyes: Spiders usually have 6 or more, but the harvestman has only one set, tightly […]
Cuttlefish are far and away nature’s most adept camouflagers, capable of observing their surroundings and perfectly adjusting not only their color but also their skin texture in just 250 milliseconds. And it’s not just about blending in: They can also launch truly bizarre displays of rippling colors to either intimidate rivals or hypnotize prey. Oh, also. They’re color blind. Yeah … scientists aren’t quite sure how that’s possible quite yet.
Virtual records of fragile archaeological sites will preserve them for future generations when it's not possible to defend them from the elements
Holy Da Vinci Code! Chemical and epigraphic analyses suggest the "Gospel of Jesus's Wife" could be real.