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Are Basques the quintessential Europeans?
Topic Started: Jun 1 2006, 08:17:29 AM (1,124 Views)
ren
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It seems that it's far from clear...
Quote:
 
The Iberian peninsula, at the Southwestern part of
Europe (Figure 1a), is considered to be the region with less
Neolithic impact, based on archaeological and genetic
evidence. Their Palaeolithic component, with the Basques
being the most outstanding representative, have been
pointed out by classical markers,7,11 mtDNA studies12 – 15
and Y-chromosome variation.10,16 – 18 Furthermore, Alonso
and Armour19 found that the Basques diverged from other
Europeans by retaining less diversity and having a greater
proportion of ancestral (Palaeolithic) autosomal alleles.
However, the presence in high frequency of a number of
rare haplotypes, both in mtDNA12,14 and Y-chromosome18
analysis, suggests that the action of genetic drift may have
accentuated their distinctiveness.
Owing to their characteristic
genetic variation, the Basques have often received
considerable attention in genetic studies of Western
Europe, in detriment of the genetic characterization of
the rest of Iberian populations. Outside a European
context, some studies have investigated the degree of
African gene flow in Iberian populations.20 – 23 Although
classical markers have failed to detect this influence,11
roughly 10% of Iberian mtDNA and Y-chromosome
haplotypes have been found to be of African origin.
13,15,24 – 29 Moreover, unlike the rest of Europe, the
presence of markers with probable North African origin,
the mtDNA U613,30 and the Y-chromosome E3b,26 points to
a specific Northwest African influence in Iberia.4,25 – 29

Reduced genetic structure of the Iberian peninsula
revealed by Y-chromosome analysis: implications for
population demography
http://hpgl.stanford.edu/publications/EJHG_2004_v12_p855.pdf

____________________________________________________________________

And here comes the shocker (quotes from Dienekes: http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2005/03/prehi...loser-to.html):
Temporal Mitochondrial DNA Variation in the Basque Country: Influence of Post-Neolithic Events
http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/bsc/...000006/art00006

Quote:
 
The first component, which accounts for 42.6% of the total variance, established a differentiation between the present-day populations of the Near East and those of Europe. Within Europe, the populations of the Mediterranean area (MdE, MdC and MdW) and those of Eastern Europe (NE and SE) are closer to those of the Near East. Regarding the prehistoric populations of the Basque Country, they are situated between the two groups (Europe and Near East), whereas the historical population of Aldaieta falls within the variability range of present-day European populations.


mtDNA J, not to be confused with the Y-chrom. J which is also "Neolithic" in Europe:
Quote:
 
Haplogroup J has been the main lineage of mtDNA related to the Neolithic expansion from the Near East around 10,000 years ago (Richards et al. 1996, 2000). A lower frequency of J has been displayed in the present-day Basque population (2.4%), whereas in all other regions of Europe its frequency ranges between 7% and 14%. However, in certain prehistoric populations from the Basque Country (SJAPL and Pico Ramos), and in the historical population of Aldaieta, the presence of this haplogroup is greater than in the rest of the European populations studied, displaying values of around 16%, although it is absent in the prehistoric population of Longar (Table 4). Nevertheless, haplogroup J is of no relevance in either of the first two components in the PC analysis performed in this paper (Fig. 4b and 5b).


Quote:
 
Bearing in mind this temporal variation in the frequency of haplogroup H in the Basque Country, it is not correct to state that the widespread situation in the Upper Palaeolithic involved the existence of high frequencies of haplogroup H, simply due to the fact that present-day Basques present this characteristic. Another example is the case of haplogroup J. Given that the present-day Basque population is an outlier regarding the Neolithic component, it has been proposed that this region experienced a smaller genetic impact from Neolithic farmers. But if we accept that lineage J is a marker of migrations of Neolithic populations from the Near East, then the Basque Country also experienced the impact of these peoples, as is shown by the high frequency of haplogroup J in certain ancient populations.


Quote:
 
As advised by Vernesi et al. (2004), this leads us to reconsider the supposition whereby the genetic patterns of present-day populations reflect the evolutionary processes experienced by their predecessors (Sokal et al. 1991; Richards et al. 2000, 2002, amongst others). Up until now it was thought that there was no evolutionary process subsequent to the Neolithic that altered the genetic composition of European populations (Barbujani & Bertorelle, 2001). However, our data on ancient DNA (as well as those of Vernesi et al. 2004) reveal a discontinuity between prehistoric and present-day populations, which leads us to reconsider the limitations involved in the reconstruction of evolutionary history on the basis of the genetic patterns of present-day populations.
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Maju
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sorgina
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Well a lot of decontextualized info:

Where is Aldaieta (I think it's near Pamplona but I'm not sure), which is its context? Is ist medieval? Is it on the peregrination route to Santiago? Is it near the Ebro or is it the "typical" quite isolated Basque settlement at the mountains?

Self-reply: found something: Aldaieta is an Araban (Alavan) site of the plains, not any isolated site, Mediterranean basin. It's early Medieval (just post-Roman). We know that the plains were exploited as Roman "villae" with slaves and all the Roman production system. It's difficult to say wether Aldaieta burial is represenative of anything.

Anyhow, that one skeleton at that necropolis yielded haplogroup V means? Isn't V a sublineage of HV? I always find it odd that V is not considered H... but anyhow.

Dienenkes (whose unfounded comments on homosexuality not long ago made me ignore his blog since then, btw) says that V may come from...

... Cantabria!!!

:D

What's the difference: 100 km west or east?

It's obvious that Canatabria and other regions (Dordogne for instance) were a lot more important in "Franco-Cantabric" prehistory. Modern Basque Country is just a remnant of that huge region that went from Asturias to Provence and from the Girona to Nantes. We know that, genetics-wise, Gascons, Cantabrians or Upper Aragonese are not actually different from Basques... just slightly more diluted if anything. There's no Basque specifity just Basque "purity", small or no admixture with "Eastern" inputs. A very rare case in all Europe.

...

Let's see other concepts:

1. Admixure with Neolithic Mediterraneans? It's highly likely in the southern and northeastern regions of the Ebro and Garonne. Yet the ammount of inputs was surely small. This may explain the J MtDNA thingy.

Again, Aldaieta is mentioned. I wish I kew more about what seems to be a medieval cementery. The relative high presence of Med blood (J MtDNA) should mean a high ammount of refugees/inmigrants from nearby Ebro valley, Mediterranean coasts or even Jews. Again, which is the context of this Aldaieta site? Time and geography, please.

2. European PC1. This PC dubbed "Neolithic" isprobably very Paleolithic or even climatic maybe. While PC4 ("Greek") and PC2 ("Lapp") are near lacking in Basque region and Iberia, PC1 ("Mesopotamian") doesn't follow any logic but S-N (SE-NW) gradation. It can't be solidly associated to Neolithic "migrations" because:

a- There were no such "migrations" - at least not in the ammount needed to cause that impact.

b- Their distribution does not follow the archaeological pattern of neolithic diffusion (Denmark was neolithized before Basque country or Britain, for instance).

Yet the Neolithic and Metallic Ages' demic movements may have enhanced a little teh natural distribution of this PC. But they can hardly have cause it. PC1 is therefore not Neolithic.

PC4 instead is. PC4, dubbed "Greek", does follow well the archaeological registry for Neolithic distribution, etc. Actually, European Neolitic (both main branches) does originate in Greece (Thessaly to be more precise) but the connection with Anatolia (not to mention Mespotamia!) is more obscure. PC4 is also lacking in the Basque area, what is coincident with logical expectations for a "Neolithic" marker.

Note: I suspect PC2 and PC3 meanings must also be reviewed at this light: less "Indo-Europeism" for PC3 and more for PC2. In this regard, PC1, PC3 and PC5, all relatively noticeable in the Basque country must be considered as Paleolithic stuff, and their wide E-W distribution (with the exception of PC5) must be related to Aurignacian and Gravettian migrations, if anything.

I'd also like to know the meaning behind those PCs. Their genes and why they were grouped that way. I suspect that some genes used may be associated to pygmentation, for instance, largely a climatically shaped distribution. I find also odd the lack of definition of areas like the British Islands and I wonder if this has to do with sampling locations or what?

3- Use of "historical" MtDNA samples: I know it's very interesting to drill a few teeth and get some data. But one should not jump to conclussions from that without sufficient meditation. They are after all not representative samples, just isolated ones. V (Euro-Paleolithic) and J (Mediterraneo-Neolithic) are in the range of the stuff that one could expect among Basques, earlier and today. Of course most will be H but there will be some that aren't. Even among Basques, isolation is a relative thing after all.

...

In brief, I see nothing in all that gathering of decontextualized quotes that seems to say the Basques are either outliers or whetever other thing. They (we) seem to be here since "always" (actually since 40 KY ago only) but that's also appliable to other Europeans. Basques are just interesting both genetically and linguistically to understand European native roots and help picking apart what is native and what is (was) actually outlier.
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Maju
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sorgina
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Look, Ren: if Basques were original of the Yangtze banks, I'd be very proud of that (and much more interested in China) if they were original from Ethiopia, I'd be most curious about that country and our relation. But the fact is another: and I am interested in the facts surrounding my people not in fantasies.

It seems I partly misread the meaning of the reference to Aldaieta. Now, I'd like to know which mithocondrial haplotypes show these suppossed ancient Basques: I can't read the article without paying and I don't buy via Internet/CC by custom.

So if you could copy+paste an excerpt or the more relevant paragraphs/graphs, I would probably be in condition of evaluating that paper and its significance or irrelevance. I don't even know which period or haplogroups they are refering when saying "the prehistoric populations of the Basque Country display clear differentiation in relation to all others". I really can't draw any conclussions from such a sentence.

What is "prehistoric": Iron Age or Old UP? Where did they get those samples from, what haplogroups do they represent?, what statistical significance has that study: is it representative enough of "prehistoric" populations or is just a couple of random samples lacking statistical significance?

You tell me: I can't read that, so I'm lacking the references to think clearly about it.

16% J? It tells me nothing: as far as I know, Mt-DNA is also more homogeneously variegated among all Europeans, Basques included. Basques may be 90% R1b and 10% I by Y chromosome but they are only about 50-60% H (or 60-70% H+V). The rest is an amalgamation of the other European haplogroups, much coincident with other neighbour and even relatively distant populations.

I am not so sure that Mt-DNA JT or U are "Neolithic". Much less after this study that I still have to read. We tend to make parallels of Ychr and MtDNA but they can actually show very different patterns due to two reasons:
1. Mutations leading to different haplogroups and sub-haplogroups would seldom be close in space-time but actually happened randomly.
2. The patterns of movility between males and females can be very different depending on culture and specific events. In long-lasting patrilocal cultures we should expect to see a more homogenous distribution (more local diversity but greater regional homogenitiy) of female lineages, while male ones would be much more concentrated in clusters. In matrifocal cultures, the pattern would tend to be the opposite. European genetics seems to approach better the patrifocal pattern, as far as I can tell (but this is just a sidenote).

In a relatively small population a 16% of J (only!!!) could ahve been reduced by input, randomness or whatever. What's the MtDNA J among Basques today? 10%? 5%? I don't know for sure but it exists and I would not expect it to be "Neolithic" at all (precisely for being present in such large figures among Basques).

Also, we must not forget that the figure of 16% can be produced by randomness in the sample. Small samples tend to allow for much greater errors. I don't know how large or representative these samples are.

Quote:
 
The quote from the study is pretty straight-forward,
1. ancient, prehistoric ("purer") people from the Basque country were even more like Near Easterners than Iberians now.
2. those people had more mtDNA J (considered Neolithic) than anyone other European group.

Thus, the claim that Basques are the purest Europeans is highly in doubt.


It is not. Because they still seem to be the purest Europeans, even if they may have not been that in the past. (Supposed your conclussions and those of Alzualde, Izagirre et al. are right - what I have not very clear).

Quote:
 
Let's not confuse things by going off topic. Address the study's conclusions in its effect on the "Basque purity" sentiment.


I can't read the article, so I can't adress it. You have an unfair advantage: it's like I'm discussing about light and color while being blind.

I can only adress your comments or quotes on it.



(Re: Dienenkes I can link to that article).
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Maju
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sorgina
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Btw, what do we know abou MtDNA J haplogroup? Wikipedia says:

Quote:
 
Haplogroup J is believed to have originated in Mesopotamia or Anatolia approximately 10,000 years before present, and to have moved north and west into Europe. It is found throughout Europe with particularly high concentrations around the eastern Baltic Sea, Russia, and the Caucasus.


10,000 years old is just too young for it to have been found among Paleolithic people either in Mesopotamia or the Basque Country or wherever. It is actually an extremely young haplogroup, if estimated ages are correct.

This implies that the haplogroup must have been expanded with Neolithic (Mediterranean types are found in southern Basque Country and La Rioja in this period - they still are there, btw) but that later it receded. This recession seems to have happened (if that study is 100% correct) after the 7th century CE, that is in the Middle or Modern Ages, basically in the last 12 centuries.

Yet in that period the only possible inputs are:
- "Frankish" inmigration related to the Road of Santiago (mostly Gascons and Occitans, very localized at urban centers)
- Some small Spanish inmigration to border areas too maybe

The outputs are also small:
- Capillar emigration to Spain and America
- Expulsion of Jews and Muslims after 1512

There's no real room for major demic changes in the Basque Country after the 7th century (Aldaieta) and before Industrialization and that one can be easily detected by family memory and civil registry.

I really make no sense of this.
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Maju
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sorgina
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I've finally found a relevant article regarding this issue:
Izagirre and De la Rúa, 1999.

That study (relatively famous in its time) sampled four Iron Age basque sites of Biscay, Araba and Navarre. Two from mountain area (Biscainne ones) and two from the Ebro river bank (where one could expect to find greater Mediterranean input, if anywhere).

The results are nevertheless rather homogeneous among them and with modern Basque proportions. The main contentious issue is that none of the samples yielded haplogroup V, which is now understood as closely related to H (HV or R0) but then was believed by some as specifically Basque (though it's globally strongest among a rather unrelated people: Lapps).

Nevertheless, the V haplogroup seems to be only very strong among Gipuzkoans (11-20%) and that territory nor any of the settlements that could be associated with the Gipuzkoan dialect or the proto-Gipuzkoan historical tribe of the Varduli was sampled in this study. Biscainnes for instance only have c. 3% of V, instead.

Regarding the proportions, these were:
- Pico Ramos (Mountain/Coast): 37% H, 17% K, 16% J, 12% U (39% including K), 17% T+X, 0% others.
- San Juan Ante Portam Latinam (Ebro valley): 37% H, 24% K, 16% J, 18% U (42% including K), 4% T+X, 0% others.
- Longar (Ebro valley): 41% H, 23% K, 14% U (37% including K), 15% T+X, 0% J and 7% others.

I have yet to "study" the paper in depth but my first impressions are:

- H, like today, is high and dominant. But maybe under-represented (I'm uncertain re. exact modern Basque MtDNA but I think that H is somehow more frequent).
- J (better JT) is rather high and I believe that proportion is simmilar to modern.
- U and K (UK) are clearly stronger in the Ebro valley, where one would expect more "Neolithic" Mediterranean input for that time. My intuition is that greater UK proportion may be a sign of Mediterranean input via the Ebro valley, which doesn't just have a Mediterranean climate but is also archaeologically related to that Neolithic input.
- V seems a Gipuzkoan marker inside the Basque context and, in this regard, is somehow logical that is not found in a study that doesn't include Gipuzkoan or "Vardulian" sites. The authors suggest a genetic drift but maybe it has another explanation. Some old biometric studies have suggested before a difference between Gipuzkoans and Biscainnes, being Gipuzkoans classed as "Dinaric" (???) and Biscainnes as "Dalic" instead. But these concepts are rather obscure to me. V could be partly (speculatively) a continental input of obscure origin... or maybe it's just genetic drift as the authors propose.

I lack of data for modern Basque MtDNA exact distribution but, for reference, the overall Iberian "cake" is something like this:
- H: c. 60%
- V: c. 5%
- J: c. 5%
- T: c. 5%
- U: c. 10%
- K: c. 3%
- Others: c. 10 %

This "cake" is not significatively different from other Western and Central European regions. In the overall European context H tends to decrease to the East and SE, V is quite rare except among Lapps/Saami, JT (particularly J) is somehow stronger in the Balcans and Britain, U grows towards the East (being also particularly intense among Lapps but in general among Eastern Europeans and Western Asians), K and X are quite rare (both strongest in Caucasus maybe).

So I'm not sure if JT can correctly be considered a "Neolithic" marker. If so, it's odd that it's so strong in Britain - though the Balcanic association does make sense with this idea.

As I say above, U (U+K) percentages seem to fit better with the "Neolithic input" idea, at least for the sampled locations of the study. Yet the possible random drift can't be disdained either.
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ren
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Maju,Jun 1 2006
08:37 PM
Well a lot of decontextualized info:

I find this a bit ironic, to say the least. :rolleyes:

Quote:
 
Where is Aldaieta
...
The issue is not Aldaieta but prehistoric genetic composition of Basque country compared to historical Aldaieta. By "attacking" Aldaieta, you've accomplished nothing.

What the study says about "purer Basques" autosomally,
Quote:
 
Regarding the prehistoric populations of the Basque Country, they are situated between the two groups (Europe and Near East), whereas the historical population of Aldaieta falls within the variability range of present-day European populations.


What the study says about "purer Basques" having the highest % of Neolithic mtDNA J,
Quote:
 
However, in certain prehistoric populations from the Basque Country (SJAPL and Pico Ramos), and in the historical population of Aldaieta, the presence of this haplogroup is greater than in the rest of the European populations studied, displaying values of around 16%


Quote:
 
Dienenkes (whose unfounded comments on homosexuality not long ago made me ignore his blog since then, btw) says that V may come from...

Attacking Dienekes for his views on homosexuality does not take away from the study, I don't think.

Quote:
 
There's no Basque specifity just Basque "purity", small or no admixture with "Eastern" inputs. A very rare case in all Europe.

This is your personal sentiments which you have not backed up with evidence. Is it helpful to your argument, from the perspective of 3rd parties, to be so sentimental?

Quote:
 
Let's see other concepts:
...
Is this from Cavalli-Sforza? I don't see how this has anything directly to do with the matter at hand. The quote from the study is pretty straight-forward,
1. ancient, prehistoric ("purer") people from the Basque country were even more like Near Easterners than Iberians now.
2. those people had more mtDNA J (considered Neolithic) than anyone other European group.

Thus, the claim that Basques are the purest Europeans is highly in doubt.

Let's not confuse things by going off topic. Address the study's conclusions in its effect on the "Basque purity" sentiment.

[n]

Serial coalescent simulations suggest a weak genealogical relationship between Etruscans and modern Tuscans
http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/103/21/8012

But the Basques have always been in Spain.




On Physical Anthropological Aspects of the Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition in the Iberian Peninsula
http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/CA/journa...v38p839.web.pdf
Edited by ren, Jun 11 2011, 03:48:39 AM.
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Maju
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sorgina
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ren
Jan 14 2007, 10:01 AM
Serial coalescent simulations suggest a weak genealogical relationship between Etruscans and modern Tuscans
http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/103/21/8012

But the Basques have always been in Spain.

If you read that study, they seem to think that the reason for such difference is at least partly that ancient Etruscan remains all belong to the aristocracy and there's no data on the mass of the people.

Also Tuscany and Vasconia had very different histories in Roman and post-Roman times. Etruscans initiated a rebellion that was quelled brutally and the region was partly recolonized, Basques remained quiet under most of Roman domination being allowed a great deal of self-rule, rebelling precisely when that self-rule was in danger (and being succesful) in the very late phase of the Roman Empire. In Medieval and Early Modern times the Basque provinces and kingdoms were almost always semi or totally independent, with little immigration, while Tuscany was a focus of culture and economy, attracting all kind of people.

They are two totally different realities. Anyhow, I believe that the "bias" caused by the sampling of Etruscan aristocracy (and not the masses) is what mostly creates this distortion.

Early Etruscan civilization (Vilanova culture) raised out of nothing c. 1300 BCE when the whole of Europe and the Mediterranean was very revolted (Urnfields, Sea Peoples...). Their culture (artistic expression, gender near-egality) links quite clearly to pre-IE Aegean and, before reading this study I was already sympathetic to the "Aegean hypothesis", postulated since Antiquity. Nevertheless it's clear that if the Etruscan aristocracy (elite) were of Aegean origin, the masses were probably local, at least partly. Such remains of the plain people have not been studied (because they don't exist or are unknown) and it's most likely that this fact distorts the significance of the study, something the authors admit to.

...

And the Basques have not been in "Spain"... the Basques have been and are in the Basque Country that stretches to both sides of the political border between Spain and France and did so in historical times extending to both sides of the Pyrenees between the Garonne and Ebro rivers in what is now the Basque Country, Gascony and other neighbouring regions, like Upper Aragon, La Rioja or parts of Castile and Cantabria.

....

Additionally (thought I had stated that but seems not), the authors use two populations as reference: Basques and Turks. The fact that also in this study (as so many others) Basque genetics are used as reference for Western European identity, is very meaningful on how geneticists (and other scholars) take now as granted that Basques are really representative of such substrate population, still dominant in the genetic landscape of Western Europe but "purest" among Basques (and some Celtic peoples, like Western Irish).
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black man
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Update as for the major Basque y hg:
Sole-Morata et al. 2017: "Analysis of the R1b-DF27 haplogroup shows that a large fraction of Iberian Y-chromosome lineages originated recently in situ"; https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-07710-x
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