Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 24, Issue 13, pp 3253–3267 | Cite as

Are cultural values linked to genetics in Europe?

  • Zoltán KelemenEmail author
  • Réka K. Kelemen
Original Paper


Our study aims at a broader understanding of interconnections between socio-cultural and biological diversity in the human populations of Europe based on two major datasets. The European subset of Population Reference Sample (Nelson et al. in Am J Hum Genet 83:347–358, 2008) serves as our source of biological observations while the social and cultural implications of our study stem from the World Values Survey ( database. Inglehart and Welzel drew the cultural map of the world that showed that in spite of their geographical proximity, there is a striking divergence among the value-sets of European countries compared to other regions of the world (Inglehart and Welzel in Perspect Polit 8:551–567, 2010). A recent large-scale genetic study of 3000 individuals from 36 European countries revealed that despite having lower genomic diversity than other regions, Europe’s geographic map is reflected in its genetic composition with an astounding precision (Novembre et al. in Nature 456:98–101, 2008). Here we report a synthesis of the above approaches employing a statistical method, principal component analysis, to identify which cultural values position countries similarly to the genetic and geographical map of Europe, and which reflect other influences. We find an astonishing distinction between the performance of private and public sphere values, as the latter are less robust to short-term changes in environmental influences, such as political systems. Therefore our interdisciplinary study serves to bridge research of cultural and biological diversities of human populations in Europe and start a discussion on the role of genetics, geography and history in the formation of cultural values.


Cultural values Genetics Geography Europe World values survey 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of International StudiesCorvinus University of BudapestBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Graduate Program of Genome Science and TechnologyUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

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