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Genetic affinities among the historical provinces of Romania and Central Europe as revealed by an mtDNA analysis
- Cocoş, Relu, Schipor, Sorina, Hervella, Montserrat, Cianga, Petru, Popescu, Roxana, Bănescu, Claudia, Constantinescu, Mihai, Martinescu, Alina, Raicu, Florina
- BMC genetics 2017 v.18 no.1 pp. 20
- gene flow, genetic similarity, landscapes, mitochondrial DNA, multidimensional scaling, principal component analysis, topology, Balkans, Central European region, East Asia, Moldova, Romania
- BACKGROUND: As a major crossroads between Asia and Europe, Romania has experienced continuous migration and invasion episodes. The precise routes may have been shaped by the topology of the territory and had diverse impacts on the genetic structure of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in historical Romanian provinces. We studied 714 Romanians from all historical provinces, Wallachia, Dobrudja, Moldavia, and Transylvania, by analyzing the mtDNA control region and coding markers to encompass the complete landscape of mtDNA haplogroups. RESULTS: We observed a homogenous distribution of the majority of haplogroups among the Romanian provinces and a clear association with the European populations. A principal component analysis and multidimensional scaling analysis supported the genetic similarity of the Wallachia, Moldavia, and Dobrudja groups with the Balkans, while the Transylvania population was closely related to Central European groups. These findings could be explained by the topology of the Romanian territory, where the Carpathian Arch played an important role in migration patterns. Signals of Asian maternal lineages were observed in all Romanian historical provinces, indicating gene flow along the migration routes through East Asia and Europe. CONCLUSIONS: Our current findings based on the mtDNA analysis of populations in historical provinces of Romania suggest similarity between populations in Transylvania and Central Europe, supported both by the observed clines in haplogroup frequencies for several European and Asian maternal lineages and MDS analyses.