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Thread: Genetic history of Sicily : Greeks, Arabs, Normans and others

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    Post Genetic history of Sicily : Greeks, Arabs, Normans and others



    This article has just been published 10 days ago :
    Nature : Differential Greek and northern African migrations to Sicily are supported by genetic evidence from the Y chromosome

    The study shows great heterogeneity between the various regions of Sicily. The table of frequencies of the Y-DNA in each region is particularly interesting.

    In short, the author estimates that 37% of the male lineages in Sicily are of Greek origins (notably the haplogroups E3b1 and J2), and 6% of Arabic/North African origins (J1).

    At least 7%, but more probably over 10%, could be of Norman origins. The highest frequencies of the typically Nordic haplogroup I1 were observed around Caccamo, near Palermo, representing almost one third of the samples.

    The southern town of Ragusa had, unsurprisingly, the highest percentage of the Arabic haplogroup J1 (10%).

    A bit over 5% of the people tested in Mazara del Vallo, a town founded by the Phoenicians in south-west Sicily, belonged to haplogroup L. This haplogroup is found in India and the Arabic peninsula. It was not found anywhere in Sicily. It is probably brought by the Phoenicians. Mazara del Vallo is unlikely to have been settled by the Arabs as J1 was absent from the samples.

    Another surprising haplogroup found almost only in Mazara del Vallo (16.6% of the samples) is Q, which is normally found in Siberia or Central Asia.

    The highest presence of the "native" Western European R1b1c (Celtic or Italic) was observed in Trapani (45%) and in Santa Ninfa (35%), both at the western tip of the island. R1b1c was only between 10% and 15% in places like Troina, Caccamo, Piazza Armerina and Mazara del Vallo.

    Greek haplogroups were more frequent in the eastern part of the island.

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    Sicily is such a beautiful island! I recently visited there and I found the people, the food (loved the Sicilian wines) and the scenery to be wonderful- all of which has been influenced by their "DNA history." Some of my family is from there (from the NW of the island Mother's side-Palermo/ Monreale and Father's side-Castelbuono/ Ventimiglia line originally from Liguria and a branch in Sicily) and most Sicilians we met seemed to think Norman influence in us but my Y-DNA is J2a4b and my MtDNA is H. I happen to be fair-haired with green eyes, like my mother but I can tan well if I spend time in the sun -going for the California blond look! My father has brown hair/ eyes but his brother is blond/ blue- go figure....I think it shows that we really cannot get all of who we are from just our Y and MtDNA- after all, there are other people in our genetic line with different Y and MtDNA Haplotypes but gave us many other characteristics from their autosomal genes and X chromosome which we are currently not taking into consideration.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    ....

    At least 7%, but more probably over 10%, could be of Norman origins. The highest frequencies of the typically Nordic haplogroup I1 were observed around Caccamo, near Palermo, representing almost one third of the samples.

    ....

    Greetings,

    I am from Caccamo in northwestern Sicily, where my family has lived at least since the late 18th century. The modern town was founded by the Normans (though tradition has it that an earlier incarnation of the town was founded by the Carthaginians after their defeat at the hands of Alkibiades at nearby Himera). Based on this history, my educated guess is that I am a Norman descendant as I2b1 (a Germanic haplogroup) is frequent in NW Europe and the Normans mainly came from Denmark. The other possibility is the Lombards, who were brought in by the Normans to “Latinize” the island following the 11th century conquest. Though a small sample, it seems my town has the highest frequency of Haplogroup I in Sicily (see Di Gaetano 2008: [ can't post URL yet]).

    For general interest, my town is known for having the largest castle in Sicily: see sicilyontour.com/eng/images/castello_caccamo_1.jpg[add www and a period to the beginning of the link]

    Though I’ve only had the 12 marker test through the Genographic project and was assigned to M170, all evidence I’ve been able to find—including Ken Nordtvedt’s Founder’s Haplotype data and the I subclade predictor at [can't post url yet]—indicate I fall under M223—I2b1: (“Haplo-I Subclades and probabilities are as follows: I-P78-Cont3a =>68% I-M223-Root1 =>17% I-M223-Cont2c =>7% I-M223-Root3 =>5% I-M223-Cont2b =>3%”). I differ from the modal haplotype for P78-Cont 3a at markers 389ii (30 instead of 29) and at 393 (14 instead of 15).

    According to Mr. Nordtvedt, “P78+ would be a haplogroup of greater age, and centered in the Slovak region north of the Danube and south of the Carpathians, but spilling over beyond that core area.”

    Any thoughts how a northern European haplogroup ended up in Sicily?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catchabus View Post
    Any thoughts how a northern European haplogroup ended up in Sicily?
    I think that your hypothesis about the Normans and Lombards is plausible. Naturally we can't known with certainty at present.

    An alternative possibility is that I2b1 was already present all over Western Europe before the Indo-European migrations. But based on the current data I would rather suppose that I2a was indigenous to southern Italy and Spain rather than I2b (or I2b1 for that matter).

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    Thanks for the reply.

    Yes, a plausible explanation is about all we can expect with this topic. However, there was only one I2b1—M223 cited in the Di Gaetano paper (I would be two) and it’s only found in my town. If it was the Normans who brought this Haplogroup to Sicily then we would have expected to see a least a few more samples in the “Norman” areas of the island (e.g., Trapani or Piazza Armerina).

    Despite the lack of concrete answers, since I learned of my Haplogroup designation a couple years ago, more information has come to light and Hap. I, fortunately, is not as large has R1b (my maternal grandfather was M269), so I’ve been able to find more data. I was especially glad to come across the Di Gaetano paper.

    I also had my mtDNA analyzed by Genographic and I am in “Haplogroup H (Subclade H).” Unfortunately, for such a large group, I don’t know which of the subclades I fit under. I differ from the CRS at: 16265G, 16298C, 16301T.

    This is an older article, but it gives a broad overview of Sicilian mtDNA, and it also includes Caccamo. [I can't post a link so do a Google search for: Autosomal Microsatellite and mtDNA Genetic Analysis in Sicily (Italy)
    Select the link from this website:
    interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/118863870/PDFSTART]

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    The Normans were a minority ruling class in Sicily and, according to what some experts say, did not leave that much of a genetic imprint. I would be surprised if the 10% figure mentioned in the first post is confirmed as accurate. However, I'm certain there are some scattered Norman influences. Also, one must consider that throughout history many traders from Northern Europe as well as Northern Iberia travelled to Sicily and some may well have left their genetic mark (Celtic, Germanic, Nordic) on the island.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catchabus View Post
    Thanks for the reply.
    Yes, a plausible explanation is about all we can expect with this topic. However, there was only one I2b1—M223 cited in the Di Gaetano paper (I would be two) and it’s only found in my town. If it was the Normans who brought this Haplogroup to Sicily then we would have expected to see a least a few more samples in the “Norman” areas of the island (e.g., Trapani or Piazza Armerina).
    Di Gaetano's paper is only a slice of Sicilian society. If your town is the only one where I2b1 was found so far, it is possible that a cluster of I2b1 exist in nearby towns and villages that were not part of Di Gaetano's samples.

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    My friend did a test 4 years ago I think because his surname was Sareceno ! lol from Sicily and many of his northern italian friends call him sons of arabs. he was tested and result ? J1 ! Now he understands why his surname is SARACENO :) his cousin tested and got J2.. Phoenician or possible Arabs descent too from eastern mediteranean

    Then again its quite common from his southern Italian town where his grandfather was born

    DNA is so interesting. Many English ( 50% )shares the same genetic marker with germans and dutch since they came to Britain as Germanic Anglo Saxon

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    Quote Originally Posted by dnabuff View Post
    My friend did a test 4 years ago I think because his surname was Sareceno ! lol from Sicily and many of his northern italian friends call him sons of arabs. he was tested and result ? J1 ! Now he understands why his surname is SARACENO :) his cousin tested and got J2.. Phoenician or possible Arabs descent too from eastern mediteranean

    Then again its quite common from his southern Italian town where his grandfather was born

    DNA is so interesting. Many English ( 50% )shares the same genetic marker with germans and dutch since they came to Britain as Germanic Anglo Saxon
    ACtually, it's not true that J1 or J2 was carried by Arabs or Phoenicians.
    Arabs did not have any signifant impact in Sicily, since they were a ultra-minority.
    The Y-dna J in Sicily comes mostly from Greeks and from Neolithic migrations, as in the rest of Europe

    "Another Y-chromosome marker that may have been spread to Europe by Phoenicians and Arabs is the subclade of haplogroup J labeled J*(xJ2) or Eu10. It originated in the southern part of the Fertile Crescent and is very common in Arabia and Palestine (Neolithic J2 or Eu9 is from the northern Fertile Crescent). Its frequencies are 0.9% in Northern Italy, 7.1% in Central Italy and 5.3% in Southern Italy (for a total of between 0.5% and 3.6% admixture). It's important to note that while Phoenician and Arab colonists undoubtedly carried Eu10, its expansion is dated to ~9000-6400 YBP and generally attributed to Neolithic migrations (Nebel et al. 2001). Therefore, levels of recent admixture may be even lower."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilhelm View Post
    ACtually, it's not true that J1 or J2 was carried by Arabs or Phoenicians.
    Arabs did not have any signifant impact in Sicily, since they were a ultra-minority.
    The Y-dna J in Sicily comes mostly from Greeks and from Neolithic migrations, as in the rest of Europe
    You are right that a lot of Sicilian J2 is Greek, but Sicily has 6% of J1, i.e. much more than Greece. The Phoenicians had quite a few settlements in southern and western Sicily. The genetic legacy of the Phoenicians in Sicily, Sardinia or other places like Ibiza has been proved beyond reasonable doubt through the presence of haplogroup T and the Near-Eastern version of R1b (M18) exactly where the Phoenicians had colonies.

    For that reason a lot of J2 must also be Phoenician rather than Greek in these regions. In fact there is little point in arguing that the 10% of J2 in Sardinia are of Greek origin since the Greek never colonised Sardinia. So why should it be any different for the Phoenician half of Sicily ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    You are right that a lot of Sicilian J2 is Greek, but Sicily has 6% of J1, i.e. much more than Greece. The Phoenicians had quite a few settlements in southern and western Sicily. The genetic legacy of the Phoenicians in Sicily, Sardinia or other places like Ibiza has been proved beyond reasonable doubt through the presence of haplogroup T and the Near-Eastern version of R1b (M18) exactly where the Phoenicians had colonies.

    For that reason a lot of J2 must also be Phoenician rather than Greek in these regions. In fact there is little point in arguing that the 10% of J2 in Sardinia are of Greek origin since the Greek never colonised Sardinia. So why should it be any different for the Phoenician half of Sicily ?
    Because Sicily was largely Greek, and they spoke greek, Phoenicians were not as much as greeks.
    So J2 in Sicily is most likely to be of greek origin rather than phoenician.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilhelm View Post
    Because Sicily was largely Greek, and they spoke greek, Phoenicians were not as much as greeks.
    So J2 in Sicily is most likely to be of greek origin rather than phoenician.
    Yes, possibly. But did J2 actually originate in Greece?

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    About the Normandic influence in Sicily: most of Normans who arrived in Sicily
    were men from Normandy, who had Norman/Danish fathers and French mothers.
    So they were not pure Scandinavians. A good example was William the Conquerer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cambria Red View Post
    Yes, possibly. But did J2 actually originate in Greece?
    I've read that some subclades of the J2 are of Greek origin.
    So, we should look into more detail, and see the subclades of the J2 of sicilians, to know if it's greek or phoenician origin

    For example, the sub-haplogroup J2f1 is estimated to be of Greek origin. It is found only in all the former Greek colonies (greece, south France, Sicily, South Italy, west-Turkey, etc)
    Source : http://www.familytreedna.com/pdf/HaploJ.pdf

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilhelm View Post
    I've read that some subclades of the J2 are of Greek origin.
    So, we should look into more detail, and see the subclades of the J2 of sicilians, to know if it's greek or phoenician origin

    For example, the sub-haplogroup J2f1 is estimated to be of Greek origin. It is found only in all the former Greek colonies (greece, south France, Sicily, South Italy, west-Turkey, etc)
    Source : http://www.familytreedna.com/pdf/HaploJ.pdf
    The study linked on top of the page gives some of the subclades of J2 identified in Sicily, including the percentages for each region.

    The overall percentages are :

    - J2a4b (M67) = 3.81%
    - J2a4b1 (M92) = 1.27%

    - J2a4h1a (DYS445-6) = 4.66%

    - J2b = 0.85%
    - J2b2 (M241) = 4.66%

    - Other J2 or J2* = 10.59%


    The nomenclature has changed since both articles, so I have updated the subclade names based on the 2009 ISOGG tree.

    What is called J2f in the study by Di Giacomo (on FamilyTreeDNA) is now J2a4b. Based on Di Giacomo's study, it looks like J2a4b has a Greek (or Anatolian) connection, rather than a Middle Eastern one. But this is because they do not give results for Lebanon. According to this other study of haplogroup J, J2a4b (M67) makes up one fifth of all Lebanese J2, and is indeed the only major subclade in Lebanon. It is Georgia and Calabria that have the highest percentage of J2a4b (M67) and J2a4b1 (M92), totalling 15.5%. In comparison Greece has a total of 7.6% for both subclades. Sicily has 2.4% of each, which is very similar to Lebanon, with 2.5% of each.

    J2b is associated with the Neolithic spread of agriculture from Northern Greece and the Balkans. Interestingly it is most frequent in western Sicily, especially at the Western tip (Santa Ninfa) where E-V13, R1a and R1b are also very strong. E-V13 is always associated with J2b, so no surprise there. But the correlation with R1a and R1b could mean that J2b and E-V13 arrived together with those haplogroups, maybe directly from Central Europe or northern Italy.

    I couldn't find information about J2a4h1a. This leaves over 15% of J2 of uncertain origin based on Di Gaetano's study.

    If look at the subclades of J2 over the Mediterranean there are few discernible patterns. There is often more difference inside a same country than between regions. For instance, there is more difference between Crete and Macedonia than between Greece and Lebanon. This may simply be due to the fact that many subclades of J2 already existed before J2 spread from the Near East to Greece and Italy. Geographically isolated places like Crete developed their own subclades over time, but these represent only a tiny fraction of the overall J2. J2a4d (M319) is almost only found in Crete, but only makes up about 5% of the island's population.

    J2b is the only subclade that seems to have originated, or at least come to represent a sizeable portion of the population, in Greece, and spread from there to the rest of Europe.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 20-10-09 at 12:44.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Haganus View Post
    About the Normandic influence in Sicily: most of Normans who arrived in Sicily
    were men from Normandy, who had Norman/Danish fathers and French mothers.
    So they were not pure Scandinavians. A good example was William the Conquerer.
    Very true. Good qualification...

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    It’s unfortunate the Di Gaetano study linked to above did not also dig into Haplogroup I, which has a small footprint in Sicily of about 7.5%, but would reveal more about the Norman connection. As Maciamo points out, my hometown Caccamo has the highest frequency of I1, which is associated with modern Scandinavians, and the only example of M223 (my clade of I, now know as I2b1), which also is found in NW Europe at a high frequency.

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    The area of haplogroup I1-M253 is concentrated mainly in the north of Europe, in the Scandinavian countries. There are also local of I1 in England (15,4%), Sicily (up to 18,75%) and in the centre of European Russia (up to 17%). The presence of carriers of haplogroup I1-M253 at British Isles is associated with the expansion of the Vikings and the Normans, which was proved by historical and genealogical studies, though the ancient migrations are also possible. In Sicily, haplogroup I1-M253 strongly correlates with Norman invasions from the territory of modern France (Normandy, I1 – 11,9%) and the foundation of the Kingdom of Sicily (Sicilian Kingdom) in 1130.


    Source:
    Alexander Shtrunov, The origin of haplogroup I1-M253 in Eastern Europe
    The Russian Journal of Genetic Genealogy: Vol 1, №2, 2010
    ISSN: 1920-2989 © All rights reserved RJGG

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    Quote Originally Posted by Haganus View Post
    About the Normandic influence in Sicily: most of Normans who arrived in Sicily
    were men from Normandy, who had Norman/Danish fathers and French mothers.
    So they were not pure Scandinavians. A good example was William the Conquerer.
    Yep, but even with French mothers, Norman still remained pure Scandinavians by their paternal line (Y-chromosome). Or not?

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    Well, in the Dodecad Ancestry Project here are some of the Sicilian percentages compared to other europeans :

    Sicilians :

    - North European : 13.7 %
    - Near-Eastern : 15.9 %

    North Italians :
    - North European : 31 %
    - Near Eastern: 4.6 %

    Spaniards :
    - North European : 38.1 %
    - Near Eastern: 3 %

    Basques :
    - North European 39.9 %
    - Near-Eastern 0 %

    Greeks :
    - North European 21.1 %
    - Near-Eastern 11.1 %

    French :
    - North European : 50.2
    - Near-Eastern : 1.8 %

    https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?...CPGxtqQM#gid=0

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilhelm View Post
    Well, in the Dodecad Ancestry Project here are some of the Sicilian percentages compared to other europeans :

    Sicilians :
    - North European : 13.7 %
    - Near-Eastern : 15.9 %

    North Italians :
    - North European : 31 %
    - Near Eastern: 4.6 %

    Spaniards :
    - North European : 38.1 %
    - Near Eastern: 3 %

    Basques :
    - North European 39.9 %
    - Near-Eastern 0 %

    Greeks :
    - North European 21.1 %
    - Near-Eastern 11.1 %

    French :
    - North European : 50.2
    - Near-Eastern : 1.8 %

    https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?...CPGxtqQM#gid=0
    Was there anything on southern Italians?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Regulus View Post
    Was there anything on southern Italians?

    No, only Sicilians.

    In any case in Dodecad Ancestry Project sample size seems to be too small.

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    Quote Originally Posted by binx View Post
    No, only Sicilians.

    In any case in Dodecad Ancestry Project sample size seems to be too small.

    Ok thanks.

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    14, thus far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    The study linked on top of the page gives some of the subclades of J2 identified in Sicily, including the percentages for each region.

    The overall percentages are :

    - J2a4b (M67) = 3.81%
    - J2a4b1 (M92) = 1.27%

    - J2a4h1a (DYS445-6) = 4.66%

    - J2b = 0.85%
    - J2b2 (M241) = 4.66%

    - Other J2 or J2* = 10.59%


    The nomenclature has changed since both articles, so I have updated the subclade names based on the 2009 ISOGG tree.

    What is called J2f in the study by Di Giacomo (on FamilyTreeDNA) is now J2a4b. Based on Di Giacomo's study, it looks like J2a4b has a Greek (or Anatolian) connection, rather than a Middle Eastern one. But this is because they do not give results for Lebanon. According to this other study of haplogroup J, J2a4b (M67) makes up one fifth of all Lebanese J2, and is indeed the only major subclade in Lebanon. It is Georgia and Calabria that have the highest percentage of J2a4b (M67) and J2a4b1 (M92), totalling 15.5%. In comparison Greece has a total of 7.6% for both subclades. Sicily has 2.4% of each, which is very similar to Lebanon, with 2.5% of each.

    J2b is associated with the Neolithic spread of agriculture from Northern Greece and the Balkans. Interestingly it is most frequent in western Sicily, especially at the Western tip (Santa Ninfa) where E-V13, R1a and R1b are also very strong. E-V13 is always associated with J2b, so no surprise there. But the correlation with R1a and R1b could mean that J2b and E-V13 arrived together with those haplogroups, maybe directly from Central Europe or northern Italy.

    I couldn't find information about J2a4h1a. This leaves over 15% of J2 of uncertain origin based on Di Gaetano's study.

    If look at the subclades of J2 over the Mediterranean there are few discernible patterns. There is often more difference inside a same country than between regions. For instance, there is more difference between Crete and Macedonia than between Greece and Lebanon. This may simply be due to the fact that many subclades of J2 already existed before J2 spread from the Near East to Greece and Italy. Geographically isolated places like Crete developed their own subclades over time, but these represent only a tiny fraction of the overall J2. J2a4d (M319) is almost only found in Crete, but only makes up about 5% of the island's population.

    J2b is the only subclade that seems to have originated, or at least come to represent a sizeable portion of the population, in Greece, and spread from there to the rest of Europe.
    Maciamo it was mostly Peloponnesian Greeks who colonized Sicily and they have 15 % J2a and only 3 % J2b so you are absolutely wrong about J2b being the only J2 subclade that seems to represent a sizeable portion of the population. In fact the opposite seems to be true

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