Archives for posts with tag: southern europeans

t (thanks, t!) points me to this article (this story seems to be making the rounds this a.m.):

“All Europeans are related if you go back just 1,000 years, scientists say”

“A genetic survey concludes that all Europeans living today are related to the same set of ancestors who lived 1,000 years ago….

“The researchers were surprised to find that even individuals living as far apart as Britain and Turkey shared a chunk of genetic material 20 percent of the time. To explain that degree of genetic commonality, the researchers say those pairs of individuals would have to have a huge number of common genealogical ancestors 1,000 years ago — a number that takes in everyone who was alive in Europe back then….”

the results of the survey being discussed here have just been published on plos biology: The Geography of Recent Genetic Ancestry across Europe.

before i go on to discuss the bits i’m interested in (the identity by descent, or ibd, rates that they found), i just want to quote something from the plos article related to this business that all europeans share the same set of ancestors that lived 1,000 years ago. yes, we do, but keep in mind that:

“[S]omeone in Spain may be related to an ancestor in the Iberian peninsula through perhaps 1,000 different routes back through the pedigree, but to an ancestor in the Baltic region by only 10 different routes, so that the probability that this Spanish individual inherited genetic material from the Iberian ancestor is roughly 100 times higher. This allows the amount of genetic material shared by pairs of extant individuals to vary even if the set of ancestors is constant.”

in other words, some europeans are more related to one another than to others. but we all knew that already.


this is the same (really awesome!) study done by ralph and coop that i posted about last year here and here. (oh, and here, too.) some of the data were available online back then after the researchers had given a presentation somewhere or other [pdf].

i’m interested in ibd data since they, like runs of homozygosity (roh), can give us some clues about how inbred or outbred populations are. it’s not a clear-cut interpretation, though, because both ibd and roh can be affected by other population genetic processes like bottlenecks and migration and simply population size (and probably other things, too, about which i am blissfully ignorant), so one has to make some educated inferences and guesses.

unfortunately, the authors don’t seem to have included in the plos publication the following illustration from their earlier presentation (unless it’s buried in the supplemental data — i didn’t see it there, but there’s a LOT of supplemental data files). that’s a shame, because it’s one of the most interesting:

coop et al - mean within-country ibd rates

the map shows the mean ibd rates for each of the european populations studied (the mean length of the blocks was >1 cM). individuals in the populations with higher mean ibd rates (bigger circles) share more identical stretches of their dna with their fellow countrymen than those in populations with low mean ibd rates. lots of outbreeding can lower the amount and lengths of ibd blocks in a population. as i posted previously, i think you can see the historic (since the early medieval period) outbreeding patterns of western europeans in the low mean ibd rates in western europe. this pattern is even clearer when you add the hajnal line to the map (the hajnal line being a good indicator of the geographical limits of the roman catholic church’s/secular authorities’ push to, amongst other things, ban cousin marriage in the medieval period).

now, here from the plos paper is a table indicating “mean number of IBD blocks shared by a pair of individuals from that population (‘self’), and mean IBD rate averaged across all other populations (‘other’)”:

ralph and coop - mean number of ibd blocks

i put the mean ibd “self” (i.e. within a population) numbers on a map and added the hajnal line. (note that the “mean length of these blocks was 2.5 cM, the median was 2.1 cM, and the 25th and 75th quantiles are 1.5 cM and 2.9 cM, respectively”.) [click on map for LARGER view.]:

europe map - ralph & coop ibd rates + hajnal line

ralph and coop suggest that the rates are so high in eastern europe, and particularly the balkans, because of the fairly recent slavic migration into the area and the fact that the slavs settled in relatively uninhabited areas. they further suggest that the germanic migrations into western europe are not so apparent in the ibd rates since these were already heavily populated areas and maybe even that the germanics were an heterogeneous group to start off with. those are really good theories (especially the one about the slavs), and i think that — yeah — we are probably seeing signals of those migrations in these data. however, once again, i think you can also see the long-term historic inbreeding/outbreeding (greater cousin marriage vs. little cousin marriage) mating patterns of european populations reflected in the ibd rates. (see “mating patterns in europe series” below ↓ in left-hand column for more details on all the mating patterns which i mention in the next few paragraphs.)

my “core europeans” — the english, the french, the belgians, the dutch, the germans, the north italians (not so much the ones in the alps, though), and to some extent the swiss and scandinavians — have the longest history of outbreeding (i.e. avoiding cousin marriage) in europe beginning in the early medieval period — and they have the lowest ibd rates. the rates are a bit higher for scandinavia since they converted to christianity later and, thus, didn’t adopt the cousin marriage bans until later. same with the irish and the scots (in fact, i think that highland scotland should be indicated as being outside the hajnal line, but that’s a discussion for another day). that the netherlands has a higher ibd rate than neighboring belgium and germany also makes sense if you know about the (probable) late adoption of the cousin marriage bans by those living in the marshes like the ditmarsians.

the ibd rates are higher east of the hajnal line and that, too, makes sense if you know that the eastern orthodox church was both later at instituting and less consistent in enforcing cousin marriage bans. the very high rates in albania and kosovo are probably related to the fact that these populations include a majority of muslims and that muslims typically have no bans on marrying cousins (while the albanians, and likely the kosovans [or whatever you want to call them!], have probably avoided paternal cousin marriage, maternal cousin marriage seems to have been an option, possibly even preferred).

the very low rate in italy is puzzling and, as i have said elsewhere, may have to do with the fact that, as the authors suggest, italy has experienced so many influxes of different populations. alternatively, it may have to do with a sampling bias (i.e. where did the italian samples come from? the more outbred north, or the more inbred south?).

the authors also broke down the ibd rates by several european regions of their own devising: “These five groupings are defined as: Europe ‘E,’ lying to the east of Germany and Austria; Europe ‘N,’ lying to the north of Germany and Poland; Europe ‘W,’ to the west of Germany and Austria (inclusive); the Iberian and Italian peninsulas ‘I’; and Turkey/Cyprus ‘TC.’” here is their table:

ralph and coop - mean number of ibd blocks by region

i made a map — and added the hajnal line (of course!):

europe map - ralph & coop regional ibd rates + hajnal line

again, there’s the east-west divide that i’ve pointed out before and which, i think, corresponds to the edge of the hajnal line. there also seems to be a north-south divide, which is apparent on both sides of the east-west (fuzzy) border, and which may have to do with long-standing lower population densities in northern europe. (that does make sense if you think about it — smaller populations inevitably experience closer matings or greater “inbreeding.”)

mating patterns matter! particularly long-term mating patterns. i think so anyway.

previously: ibd and historic mating patterns in europe and ibd rates for europe and the hajnal line and ibd rates and kindreds in germanic populations and russians, eastern europeans, runs of homozygosity (roh), and inbreeding and western europeans, runs of homozygosity (roh), and outbreeding and runs of homozygosity and inbreeding (and outbreeding) and runs of homozygosity again

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northern italian regions or southern italian regions? what do you think?

stolen from zero hedge:

italy - north-south tax divide - zero hedge

italy - north-south tax divide - zero hedge 02

hmmmm. now where have i seen this north-south divide in italy before? oh yeah!:

- Mapping the 2009 Pisa Results for Spain and Italy – @a reluctant apostate
- Chalk and cheese – @those who can see (come back to us m.g.! =( )
- inbreeding in italy
- democracy in italy
- more nepotism in southern than in northern italy…
- news from italy

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…in ACADEMIA! heh.

in all likelihood, anyway:

“Measuring Nepotism through Shared Last Names: The Case of Italian Academia”

“In Italy, nepotism is perceived as a cancer that has metastasized, invading many segments of society, including academia. The figure of the ‘barone’ (baron), the all-powerful senior professor who can, with a stroke of the pen, make or destroy careers, has permeated popular culture and is frequently represented in novels and movies. Nepotistic practices are especially damaging in a situation in which there are very few new positions (e.g. in Italy, for several years, all academic hires were put on hold). Despite legislative efforts aimed at eradicating nepotism, the general perception is that the practice is alive and well. The more blatant cases have gained the attention of the public, but the magnitude of the problem is unknown, as all the evidence is anecdotal….

“Recently, Durante et al. performed the first large-scale survey of co-occurrence of last names among Italian academics, and compared it with detailed geographical data on last name frequency. Their analysis showed that the degree of homonymity in academia is much higher than expected at random, especially in some disciplines and institutions. Moreover, they showed that a high degree of homonymity negatively correlates with several indices of academic performance. Although sharing last names does not necessarily imply family affiliation, it can be used as a proxy for nepotistic relations. If anything, the number of cases is going to be largely underestimated, as in Italy women maintain their maiden names, and children take their father’s last name. Thus, using last names one can detect nepotism associated with father-child and inter-sibling relations, but not mother-child cases and those involving spouses. Considering that in the sporadic documented cases the majority of hires involves spouses, and that women constitute about a third of the professors, one can conclude that such an analysis can detect roughly half of the cases of nepotism within the immediate family, not to mention lovers, domestic partners, pupils and more distant relatives….”


previously: inbreeding in italy and all i want for christmas

see also: chalk and cheese @those who can see.

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“The End of Italy”

“Why should we be surprised Italy is falling apart? With dozens of languages and a hastily made union, it was barely a real country to begin with….

“It took four centuries for the seven kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England to finally become one in the 10th, yet nearly all the territories of the seven states that made up 19th-century Italy were molded together in less than two years, between the summer of 1859 and the spring of 1861. The pope was stripped of most of his dominions, the Bourbon dynasty was exiled from Naples, the dukes of central Italy lost their thrones, and the kings of Piedmont became monarchs of Italy. At the time, the speed of Italian unification was regarded as a kind of miracle, a magnificent example of a patriotic people uniting and rising up to eject foreign oppressors and home-bred tyrants.

“However, the patriotic movement that achieved Italian unification was numerically small — consisting largely of young middle-class men from the north — and would have had no chance of success without foreign help. A French army expelled the Austrians from Lombardy in 1859; a Prussian victory enabled the new Italian state to acquire Venice in 1866.

“In the rest of Italy, the Risorgimento (or Resurgence) wars were not so much struggles of unity and liberation as a succession of civil wars. Giuseppe Garibaldi, who had made his name as a soldier in South America, fought heroically with his red-shirted volunteers in Sicily and Naples in 1860, but their campaigns were in essence a conquest by northern Italians of southern Italians, followed by the imposition of northern laws on the southern state known as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Yet the southern city of Naples did not feel liberated — only 80 citizens of Italy’s largest city volunteered to fight for Garibaldi — and its people soon became embittered that the city had exchanged its role as the 600-year-old capital of an independent kingdom for the status of a provincial center. Today, its status remains reduced, and southern GDP is barely half what it is in the regions of the north….

“When you ask citizens of, for example, Pisa how they identify themselves, they are likely to answer first as Pisans, then as Tuscans, and only after as Italians or Europeans. As many Italians cheerfully admit, their sense of belonging to the same nation becomes apparent only during the World Cup, when the Azzurri, the members of the national soccer team, are playing well….”

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i said over here that the fact that the greeks are as corrupt and nepotistic as they are prolly has something to do with their endogamous mating practices — i.e. it seems that for quite some time, rural greeks have been marrying individuals locally — from their own villages, often preferentially their third-cousins.

now, i know what you’re gonna say: “but hbd chick — traditionally, MOST people everywhere prolly married people locally!”

eh — not really. not northwestern europeans — and especially not the english. first of all, north europeans quit marrying their cousins quite early on in the medieval period. and on top of that, because of the structure of feudal society (so this doesn’t apply to areas of europe that weren’t feudal), many north europeans didn’t stay down on the farm. instead, they went off and became servants elsewhere. and they often married other servants that they met … who were from elsewhere.

here from mitterauer’s “Why Europe?: The Medieval Origins of Its Special Path” on the situation in northern europe during the middle ages (when he says europe, he means northern europe, esp. the lands of the carolingian empire) [pgs. 93-95]:

“The loosening of lineage ties created some leeway for striking up new social relationships beyond the family circle. Ties to people other than one’s kin played an important part in European social history and made a major contribution to Europe’s social dynamics. The weakening of lineage ties also meant a diminution in the way kin and family related socially. We can characterize the two aspects of this process as a trend toward individualization and toward singularization.

“This trend had a particularly strong effect upon a certain phase of the life cycle: young adulthood. The European marriage pattern [i.e. late marriage a la the hajnal line] extended the phase of one’s youth for a relatively long time, if we view it from a cross-cultural perspective. The pattern itself was determined by looser lineage ties: marrying late could only exist where there was no pressure to continue the patriline. Many people left home when they were young, primarily to work as a servant in another household. That, too, presupposed a relaxing of lineage ties. Working as a life-cycle servant in one of the many paths possible — as a hand or a maid on a farm, as an apprentice or journeyman in a trade, as a nobleman’s page — seems to have been a defining experience for European youth. To work as a servant implied mobility, especially true in regional terms, but also in part in the sense of a change of social milieu. All this transformed the world young people lived in. Not only males were affected; girls too changed their surroundings by serving in another household. As a rule, the movement of servants from place to place wouldn’t end with a return to the parents’ home. The great mobility of young people — qualified by the institution of the life-cycle servant — was therefore an important precondition for European migration and colonization…. Finally, working as a servant implied a particularly radical form of separation from the home. The biological parents were often not the definitive socializing authority for the child from a very early age. The model of separating from one’s parents acquired more significance in the history of European youth for young people leaving their family home to become life-cycle servants; it also became a common goal, especially for young males. The extended young adult phase of life in the time covered by the European marriage pattern, along with the increase in extrafamilial contacts during this time, seem to have been preconditions for making this phase of life in Europe a crucial phase of individualization.

“The comparatively high age at marriage for men but mainly for women finds a counterpart in ways of looking for a spouse. There is little self-determination in this regard in cultures where marriage follows close upon sexual maturation. In Europe, the search for a spouse is a critical component of youth culture, which seems to be especially well developed there — probably because it is a characteristic of horizontal societies [i.e. as opposed to vertical societies where the lineage is important and maybe even, for example, ancestor worship occurs]. Although the choice of a marriage partner was surely substantially codetermined by family interests and concerns in older European societies, we must not overlook the fact that, given the relatively large age gap between generations, the bride’s or bridegroom’s parents would no longer be alive in a high percentage of marriages. In addition, being employed as a servant took many young people far away from home. We can generally assume that a particularly high degree of self-determination in choosing a partner was to be found in the lower levels of society, where the age at marriage was especially high. The principle of marriage by consent, endorsed by the Christian Church, enhanced the trend to increased self-determination that was linked to marriage later in life. The Western Church’s concept in the High Middle Ages of marriage as a sacrament was based on the view that each partner offers the sacrament to the other. The idea of consent is an essential, fundamental principle of the conjugal family, where the relationship between the couple is central, not ties of descent. What rested on the principle of consent — seen in the long term — was the ideal of marrying for love, but the obverse did as well: the particular vulnerability of a type of relationship based on personal inclination and the freedom to decide for onself.”

this is quite different from greece in the 1970s where marriages were still arranged!

meanwhile, in england specifically [from alan macfarlane]:

“There is little evidence that this central feature of Hajnal’s European marriage pattern [i.e. late marriage] was absent in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and some evidence that it was present. It is certainly the case that women did not marry in their early or mid-teens as in many tribal and peasant societies. Likewise, it is clear that from at least the fourteenth century there was a selective marriage pattern, with large numbers of women, particularly servants, never marrying. Nor is there any evidence of a dramatic shift in the rules, positive or negative, about whom one should or should not marry. No substantial evidence has yet been produced to show that there was ever a set of strong positive rules, based on kinship, as to whom one must or should marry. The negative rules were reduced at the Reformation, and have stayed unaltered since then except for the late nineteenth century allowing of marriage to deceased wife’s sister. The only strong rule throughout the period was that the young couple should be independent from both sets of parents after marriage, setting up a separate, neolocal, residence. This led to those simple, nuclear, househoulds which have been a feature of northwestern Europe and particularly England from at least the fifteenth century….

Throughout the period, for the vast majority of the population (the top few hundred families are often an exception) marriage was ultimately a private contract between individuals. The parents had some say, but ultimately a marriage could occur without their consent or even knowledge. On the other hand, marriage could not occur without the consent of the partners. These were very old rules, from before 1300, and lasting through to the present. They emphasised that the central feature of marriage was the conjugal relationship, the depth of feeling and shared interests of the couple. Marriage was not a bridge artifically constructed as a form of alliance with another group, in which the partners and children became the planks upon which political relations were built. It was a partnership between two independent adults who formed a new and separate unit, cemented by friendship, sex and a carefully defined sharing of resouces.”

this is really, really different from the mating patterns in greece — and italy, too, for that matter. the greeks don’t marry too close — the orthodox church mostly bars them from marrying first- and second-cousins — but, at least up until very recently, they married primarily within their village, often preferentially third-cousins. marrying within the village is still endogamous marriage in greece since most people in rural greece didn’t move around a lot and, so, villages were (are) just really extended families. and in italy — southern italy, especially — there have been very high numbers of close marriages (first-cousin marriages) during the last couple of centuries.

in contrast to this, mating patterns in northern europe have been very exogamous for a loooooong time. no cousin-marriage since the early medieval period (at some points as far out as sixth cousins) AND now we see also since the medieval period — since before 1300 in england — large numbers of people not even marrying locally.

is it any wonder that northern europeans, in particular the english, are strongly individualistic and have wacko ideals like universalism and everyone is created equal? northern europeans have very weak genetic ties to their families compared to many other peoples in the world — we are in actuality individuals (from a genetic p.o.v.) more than other peoples — and it shows in our attitudes and social structures and norms.

edit: boilerplate and boilerplate 2.0

previously: more on inbreeding in germanic tribes and ελλάδα and il risorgimento and italian inbreeding? and “hard-won democracy”

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