There is a really first rate article that has just appeared on line this week concerning a very detailed analysis of the old Duchy of Brabant, which straddles the Belgian/Netherlands border, entitled:
"Micro-geographic distribution of Y-chromosomal variation in the central-western European region Brabant," by Maarten H.D. Larmuseau, et al., appearing in FSI: Genetics ahead of publication. The abstract is available at:
This study examines five small regions within the Brabant; Vlaams, Mechelen, Kempen, Antwerpen, and Noord-Brabant. The last falls within the borders of the Netherlands and is north of the Rhine river. All Y haplotypes were taken from men whose families had lived in the region in question since the 18th century and could trace their heritage with primary genealogical documentation. This was done to eliminate more recent effects from the multiple migrations that have occurred in the region since the Industrial Revolution. The sample is large with 477 males participating, representing 423 different surnames (!). The following 37 STR loci were compared: 391, 389-1, 439, 389-ii, 438, 437, 19, 392, 393, 390, 385, 426, 393, 390, 460, GATA H4.1, 447, 448, 459, 576, 464, YCAII, 456, 458, 607, 455, 570, 724, 454, 388, 442. The data set is archived at YHRD, but unfortunately, the new (37) loci are not yet uploaded. The set corresponds to a data set uploaded some time ago under the accession numbers YA003651, YA003652 and YA003653, which are old minimal haplotypes of 7 loci. They are entered with the SNPs in that set, however, which is nice!
There is a remarkable gradient in several haplogroups between the lands north of the Rhine and those south, which appears to be associated directly with the Romance/Germanic language boundary found in western Europe. Quoting:
"Based on the a priori defined regions in Brabant, a strong downward trend in the frequency of haplogroup R was observed from North to South. The difference in the frequency of R haplogroups was circa 10% between the most northern and southern part, mainly due to the downward frequency of R1b1b2a1 (R-U106)... Population differentiation based on Y-chr variation was observed across a transect of approximately 150 km. The genetic differentiation was statistically significant between the Dutch and the combined Belgian areas within Brabant based on the frequencies of the subhaplogroups, rather than on the haplotypes within the main subhaplogroups... There is a clear downward trend of the frequency of haplogroup R with a difference of 10% across the most northern and southern part of Brabant. The main reason for this observation was the downward trend in R1b1b2a1 (R-U106) which is the subhaplogroup with the highest average frequency in the Brabant. Therefore it is likely that the differentiation observed in this study, which is mainly based on R-U106, is indeed related to the suggested barrier of Rosser et al., 2000... because of the strong heterogeneous distribution of the paternally inherited surnames in Belgium related to the different language communities, it was likely that the suggested barrier was associated with the Romance-Germanic language border within Western Europe (Barrai, et al. 2004)."
I examined the breakdown of E-M35 subclades detailed in Table 1:
Noord-Brabant Antwerpen Kempe Mechelen Vlaams Total
E-V12 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1.59% 0.00% 0.21%
E-V13 1.54% 4.17% 1.30% 3.17% 5.19% 3.14%
E-V22 0.77% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.74% 0.42%
E-M34 0.77% 2.78% 0.00% 2.60% 4.76% 0.84%
E-M123* 0.77% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.21%
Total E-M35 3.85% 6.94% 1.30% 4.76% 6.67% 4.82%
Looking at Noord-Brabant compared to the rest of the (Belgian part of the) Brabant, there is a definite drop off in haplotype frequency as one moves across the Rhine. An even more remarkable hole in distribution is produced in Kempen (Campine). With that exception, all of the other regions south of the Rhine are higher in the presence of E-M35 haplotypes.