Review of Croatian genetic heritage as revealed by mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosomal lineages.

Institute for Anthropological Research, Amruseva 8, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia.
Croatian Medical Journal (Impact Factor: 1.37). 09/2005; 46(4):502-13.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The aim of this review is to summarize the existing data collected in high-resolution phylogenetic studies of mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome variation in mainland and insular Croatian populations. Mitochondrial DNA polymorphisms were explored in 721 individuals by sequencing mtDNA HVS-1 region and screening a selection of 24 restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs), diagnostic for main Eurasian mtDNA haplogroups. Whereas Y chromosome variation was analyzed in 451 men by using 19 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)/indel and 8 short tandem repeat (STR) loci. The phylogeography of mtDNA and Y chromosome variants of Croatians can be adequately explained within typical European maternal and paternal genetic landscape, with the exception of mtDNA haplogroup F and Y-chromosomal haplogroup P* which indicate a connection to Asian populations. Similar to other European and Near Eastern populations, the most frequent mtDNA haplogroups in Croatians were H (41.1%), U5 (10.3%), and J (9.7%). The most frequent Y chromosomal haplogroups in Croatians, I-P37 (41.7%) and R1a-SRY1532 (25%), as well as the observed structuring of Y chromosomal variance reveal a clearly evident Slavic component in the paternal gene pool of contemporary Croatian men. Even though each population and groups of populations are well characterized by maternal and paternal haplogroup distribution, it is important to keep in mind that linking phylogeography of various haplogroups with known historic and prehistoric scenarios should be cautiously performed.

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