Human Genetics

, Volume 122, Issue 3–4, pp 327–336 | Cite as

Genetic variation in prehistoric Sardinia

  • David Caramelli
  • Cristiano Vernesi
  • Simona Sanna
  • Lourdes Sampietro
  • Martina Lari
  • Loredana Castrì
  • Giuseppe Vona
  • Rosalba Floris
  • Paolo Francalacci
  • Robert Tykot
  • Antonella Casoli
  • Jaume Bertranpetit
  • Carles Lalueza-Fox
  • Giorgio Bertorelle
  • Guido Barbujani
Original Investigation

Abstract

We sampled teeth from 53 ancient Sardinian (Nuragic) individuals who lived in the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age, between 3,430 and 2,700 years ago. After eliminating the samples that, in preliminary biochemical tests, did not show a high probability to yield reproducible results, we obtained 23 sequences of the mitochondrial DNA control region, which were associated to haplogroups by comparison with a dataset of modern sequences. The Nuragic samples show a remarkably low genetic diversity, comparable to that observed in ancient Iberians, but much lower than among the Etruscans. Most of these sequences have exact matches in two modern Sardinian populations, supporting a clear genealogical continuity from the Late Bronze Age up to current times. The Nuragic populations appear to be part of a large and geographically unstructured cluster of modern European populations, thus making it difficult to infer their evolutionary relationships. However, the low levels of genetic diversity, both within and among ancient samples, as opposed to the sharp differences among modern Sardinian samples, support the hypothesis of the expansion of a small group of maternally related individuals, and of comparatively recent differentiation of the Sardinian gene pools.

Supplementary material

439_2007_403_MOESM1_ESM.doc (83 kb)
Supplementary material (DOC 83 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Caramelli
    • 1
  • Cristiano Vernesi
    • 2
  • Simona Sanna
    • 1
  • Lourdes Sampietro
    • 3
  • Martina Lari
    • 1
  • Loredana Castrì
    • 4
  • Giuseppe Vona
    • 5
  • Rosalba Floris
    • 5
  • Paolo Francalacci
    • 6
  • Robert Tykot
    • 7
  • Antonella Casoli
    • 8
  • Jaume Bertranpetit
    • 3
  • Carles Lalueza-Fox
    • 9
  • Giorgio Bertorelle
    • 2
  • Guido Barbujani
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e Genetica, Laboratorio di AntropologiaUniversità di FirenzeFirenzeItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Biologia ed EvoluzioneFerraraItaly
  3. 3.Dept. Ciències de la Salut i de la Vida, Unitat de Biologia EvolutivaUniversitat Pompeu FabraBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Dipartimento di Biologia Evoluzionistica e SperimentaleUniversità di BolognaBolognaItaly
  5. 5.Dipartimento di Biologia SperimentaleUniversità di CagliariCagliariItaly
  6. 6.Dipartimento di Zoologia e Antropologia BiologicaUniversità di SassariSassariItaly
  7. 7.Department of AnthroopologyUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  8. 8.Dipartimento di Chimica generale ed Inorganica, Chimica Analitica e Chimica FisicaUniversità di ParmaParmaItaly
  9. 9.Unitat d’Antropologia, Dept. Biologia AnimalUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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