by Brooks Hays
Washington (UPI) May 17, 2017
A genomic study has revealed a shared genetic heritage throughout the southern Mediterranean, extending geographic and national borders, from Italy to Cyprus.
While tracing the genetic ancestry of modern populations in Sicily and Southern Italy, researchers from the University of Bologna discovered high-density genomic markers linking people throughout the southern coastal regions of Europe,
"This shared Mediterranean ancestry possibly traces back to prehistoric times, as the result of multiple migration waves, with peaks during the Neolithic and the Bronze Age," lead researcher Stefania Sarno said in a news release.
Genomic studies of Europe have previously revealed the importance of an east-west migration from the Asian steppe. Researchers believe Bronze Age migrants from the grasslands between the Black and Caspian seas helped population much of Europe, introduced the antecedents of the Indo-European languages that came to define the continent.
Interestingly, the gene markers of the Asian steppe migration are largely absent from the people of the southern Mediterranean.
"These new genomic results from the Mediterranean open a new chapter for the study of the prehistoric movements behind the diffusion of the most represented language family in Europe," said researcher Chiara Barbieri. "The spread of these languages in the Southern regions, where Indo-European languages like Italian, Greek and Albanian are spoken nowadays, cannot be explained with the major contribution from the steppe alone."
Researchers set out to explain the origins of unique pockets of ethnic anomalies throughout the Mediterranean -- like historically non-Italian-speaking communities in Italy. But tracking the flow of new genetic material into the southern Mediterranean revealed broader connections.
"The study of linguistic and cultural isolates in Italy proved to be important to understand our history and our demography," said Alessio Boattini, geneticist and anthropologist from the University of Bologna. "The cases of the Albanian- and Greek-speaking communities of Southern Italy help to shed light into the formation of these cultural and linguistic identities."
The researchers shared their findings in the journal Scientific Reports.
"Overall, the study illustrates how both genetic and cultural viewpoints can inform our knowledge of the complex dynamics behind the formation of our Mediterranean heritage, especially in contexts of extensive -- both geographically and temporally -- admixture," said Davide Pettener, professor of anthropology at Bologna.
Washington (UPI) May 17, 2017
Maturing orangutan breastfeed for longer than any other mammal. New research suggests juvenile orangutan continue weaning for as many as eight or nine years. Scientists previously estimated orangutans breastfeed for seven years, but tracking nursing behavior in the wild is difficult. Biologists arrived at the new estimate - shared in the journal Science Advances - through a nov ... read more
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|