Objectives: Genetic drift and admixture are driving forces in human evolution, but their concerted impact to population evolution in historical times and at a micro-geographic scale is poorly assessed. In this study we test a demographic model encompassing both admixture and drift to the case of social-cultural isolates such as the so-called “Commons.”. Materials and methods: Commons are peculiar institutions of medieval origins whose key feature is the tight relationship between population and territory, mediated by the collective property of shared resources. Here, we analyze the Y-chromosomal genetic structure of four Commons (for a total of 366 samples) from the Central and Eastern Padana plain in Northern Italy. Results: Our results reveal that all these groups exhibit patterns of significant diversity reduction, peripheral/outlier position within the Italian/European genetic space and high frequency of Common-specific haplogroups. By explicitly testing different drift-admixture models, we show that a drift-only model is more probable for Central Padana Commons, while additional admixture (~20%) from external population around the same time of their foundation cannot be excluded for the Eastern ones. Discussion: Building on these results, we suggest central Middle Ages as the most probable age of foundation for three of the considered Commons, the remaining one pointing to late antiquity. We conclude that an admixture-drift model is particularly useful for interpreting the genetic structure and recent demographic history of small-scale populations in which social-cultural features play a significant role.

Y-chromosome variability and genetic history of Commons from Northern Italy

Boscolo Agostini R.
Co-primo
Formal Analysis
;
Ghirotto S.
Supervision
;
2021

Abstract

Objectives: Genetic drift and admixture are driving forces in human evolution, but their concerted impact to population evolution in historical times and at a micro-geographic scale is poorly assessed. In this study we test a demographic model encompassing both admixture and drift to the case of social-cultural isolates such as the so-called “Commons.”. Materials and methods: Commons are peculiar institutions of medieval origins whose key feature is the tight relationship between population and territory, mediated by the collective property of shared resources. Here, we analyze the Y-chromosomal genetic structure of four Commons (for a total of 366 samples) from the Central and Eastern Padana plain in Northern Italy. Results: Our results reveal that all these groups exhibit patterns of significant diversity reduction, peripheral/outlier position within the Italian/European genetic space and high frequency of Common-specific haplogroups. By explicitly testing different drift-admixture models, we show that a drift-only model is more probable for Central Padana Commons, while additional admixture (~20%) from external population around the same time of their foundation cannot be excluded for the Eastern ones. Discussion: Building on these results, we suggest central Middle Ages as the most probable age of foundation for three of the considered Commons, the remaining one pointing to late antiquity. We conclude that an admixture-drift model is particularly useful for interpreting the genetic structure and recent demographic history of small-scale populations in which social-cultural features play a significant role.
Sarno, S.; Boscolo Agostini, R.; De Fanti, S.; Ferri, G.; Ghirotto, S.; Modenini, G.; Pettener, D.; Boattini, A.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2480255
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