Publications by authors named "Eugenio Bortolini"

18 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Exploring directional and fluctuating asymmetry in the human palate during growth.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2021 May 11. Epub 2021 May 11.

Department of Cultural Heritage, University of Bologna, Ravenna, Italy.

Objectives: Palate morphology is constantly changing throughout an individual's lifespan, yet its asymmetry during growth is still little understood. In this research, we focus on the study of palate morphology by using 3D geometric morphometric approaches to observe changes at different stages of life, and to quantify the impact of directional and fluctuating asymmetry on different areas at different growth stages.

Materials And Methods: The sample consists of 183 individuals (1-72 years) from two identified human skeletal collections of 19th and early 20th Century Italian contexts. A 3D-template of 41 (semi)landmarks was applied on digital palate models to observe morphological variation during growth.

Results: Asymmetrical components of the morphological structure appears multidirectional on the entire palate surface in individuals <2 years old and become oriented (opposite bilateral direction) between 2 and 6 years of age. Specifically, directional asymmetry differentially impacts palate morphology at different stages of growth. Both the anterior and posterior palate are affected by mild alterations in the first year of life, while between 2 and 6 years asymmetry is segregated in the anterior area, and moderate asymmetry affects the entire palatal surface up to 12 years of age. Our results show that stability of the masticatory system seems to be reached around 13-35 years first by females and then males. From 36 years on both sexes show similar asymmetry on the anterior area. Regarding fluctuating asymmetry, inter-individual variability is mostly visible up to 12 years of age, after which only directional trends can be clearly observed at a group level.

Discussion: Morphological structure appears instable during the first year of life and acquires an opposite asymmetric bilateral direction between 2 and 6 years of age. This condition has been also documented in adults; when paired with vertical alteration, anterior/posterior asymmetry seems to characterize palate morphology, which is probably due to mechanical factors during the lifespan. Fluctuating asymmetry is predominant in the first period of life due to a plausible relationship with the strength of morphological instability of the masticatory system. Directional asymmetry, on the other hand, shows that the patterning of group-level morphological change might be explained as a functional response to differential inputs (physiological forces, nutritive and non-nutritive habits, para-masticatory activity as well as the development of speech) in different growth stages. This research has implications with respect to medical and evolutionary fields. In medicine, palate morphology should be considered when planning orthodontic and surgical procedures as it could affect the outcome. As far as an evolutionary perspective is concerned the dominance of directional asymmetries in the masticatory system could provide information on dietary and cultural habits as well as pathological conditions in our ancestors.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.24293DOI Listing
May 2021

Early Alpine occupation backdates westward human migration in Late Glacial Europe.

Curr Biol 2021 Apr 14. Epub 2021 Apr 14.

Institute of Genetics and Biophysics "Adriano Buzzati-Traverso," National Research Council of Italy, Via P.Castellino 111, 80131 Naples, Italy.

Before the end of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, ∼16.5 ka ago) set in motion major shifts in human culture and population structure, a consistent change in lithic technology, material culture, settlement pattern, and adaptive strategies is recorded in Southern Europe at ∼18-17 ka ago. In this time frame, the landscape of Northeastern Italy changed considerably, and the retreat of glaciers allowed hunter-gatherers to gradually recolonize the Alps. Change within this renewed cultural frame (i.e., during the Late Epigravettian phase) is currently associated with migrations favored by warmer climate linked to the Bølling-Allerød onset (14.7 ka ago), which replaced earlier genetic lineages with ancestry found in an individual who lived ∼14 ka ago at Riparo Villabruna, Italy, and shared among different contexts (Villabruna Cluster). Nevertheless, these dynamics and their chronology are still far from being disentangled due to fragmentary evidence for long-distance interactions across Europe. Here, we generate new genomic data from a human mandible uncovered at Riparo Tagliente (Veneto, Italy), which we directly dated to 16,980-16,510 cal BP (2σ). This individual, affected by focal osseous dysplasia, is genetically affine to the Villabruna Cluster. Our results therefore backdate by at least 3 ka the diffusion in Southern Europe of a genetic component linked to Balkan/Anatolian refugia, previously believed to have spread during the later Bølling/Allerød event. In light of the new genetic evidence, this population replacement chronologically coincides with the very emergence of major cultural transitions in Southern and Western Europe.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2021.03.078DOI Listing
April 2021

Genomic adaptations to cereal-based diets contribute to mitigate metabolic risk in some human populations of East Asian ancestry.

Evol Appl 2021 Feb 8;14(2):297-313. Epub 2020 Sep 8.

Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology & Centre for Genome Biology Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences University of Bologna Bologna Italy.

Adoption of diets based on some cereals, especially on rice, signified an iconic change in nutritional habits for many Asian populations and a relevant challenge for their capability to maintain glucose homeostasis. Indeed, rice shows the highest carbohydrates content and glycemic index among the domesticated cereals and its usual ingestion represents a potential risk factor for developing insulin resistance and related metabolic diseases. Nevertheless, type 2 diabetes and obesity epidemiological patterns differ among Asian populations that rely on rice as a staple food, with higher diabetes prevalence and increased levels of central adiposity observed in people of South Asian ancestry rather than in East Asians. This may be at least partly due to the fact that populations from East Asian regions where wild rice or other cereals such as millet have been already consumed before their cultivation and/or were early domesticated have relied on these nutritional resources for a period long enough to have possibly evolved biological adaptations that counteract their detrimental side effects. To test such a hypothesis, we compared adaptive evolution of these populations with that of control groups from regions where the adoption of cereal-based diets occurred many thousand years later and which were identified from a genome-wide dataset including 2,379 individuals from 124 East Asian and South Asian populations. This revealed selective sweeps and polygenic adaptive mechanisms affecting functional pathways involved in fatty acids metabolism, cholesterol/triglycerides biosynthesis from carbohydrates, regulation of glucose homeostasis, and production of retinoic acid in Chinese Han and Tujia ethnic groups, as well as in people of Korean and Japanese ancestry. Accordingly, long-standing rice- and/or millet-based diets have possibly contributed to trigger the evolution of such biological adaptations, which might represent one of the factors that play a role in mitigating the metabolic risk of these East Asian populations.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/eva.13090DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7896717PMC
February 2021

Early life of Neanderthals.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2020 11 2;117(46):28719-28726. Epub 2020 Nov 2.

Department of Cultural Heritage, University of Bologna, 48121 Ravenna, Italy;

The early onset of weaning in modern humans has been linked to the high nutritional demand of brain development that is intimately connected with infant physiology and growth rate. In Neanderthals, ontogenetic patterns in early life are still debated, with some studies suggesting an accelerated development and others indicating only subtle differences vs. modern humans. Here we report the onset of weaning and rates of enamel growth using an unprecedented sample set of three late (∼70 to 50 ka) Neanderthals and one Upper Paleolithic modern human from northeastern Italy via spatially resolved chemical/isotopic analyses and histomorphometry of deciduous teeth. Our results reveal that the modern human nursing strategy, with onset of weaning at 5 to 6 mo, was present among these Neanderthals. This evidence, combined with dental development akin to modern humans, highlights their similar metabolic constraints during early life and excludes late weaning as a factor contributing to Neanderthals' demise.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2011765117DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7682388PMC
November 2020

The fast-acting "pulse" of Heinrich Stadial 3 in a mid-latitude boreal ecosystem.

Sci Rep 2020 10 22;10(1):18031. Epub 2020 Oct 22.

Department of Cultural Heritage, University of Bologna, 48121, Ravenna, Italy.

A 3800 year-long radiocarbon-dated and highly-resolved palaeoecological record from Lake Fimon (N-Italy) served to investigate the effects of potential teleconnections between North Atlantic and mid-to-low latitudes at the transition from Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 3 to 2. Boreal ecosystems documented in the Fimon record reacted in a sensitive way to millennial and sub-millennial scale Northern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation patterns. The high median time-resolution of 58 years allows the identification of five abrupt event-boundaries (i.e., main forest expansion and decline excursions) synchronous with the sharp stadial/interstadial (GS/GI) transitions within dating uncertainties. During Heinrich Stadial 3 (HS 3) we reconstruct more open and dry conditions, compared to the other GS, with a dominant regional scale fire signal. Linkages between local fires and climate-driven fuel changes resulted in high-magnitude fire peaks close to GI/GS boundaries, even exacerbated by local peatland conditions. Finally, palaeoecological data from the HS 3 interval unveiled an internal variability suggesting a peak between 30,425 and 29,772 cal BP (2σ error) which matches more depleted δO values in alpine speleothems. We hypothesise that this signal, broadly resembling that of other mid-latitudes proxies, may be attributed to the southward shift of the Northern Hemisphere storm tracks and the associated delayed iceberg discharge events as documented during other HS.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-74905-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7581741PMC
October 2020

Exploring late Paleolithic and Mesolithic diet in the Eastern Alpine region of Italy through multiple proxies.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2021 02 11;174(2):232-253. Epub 2020 Sep 11.

DANTE Diet and Ancient Technology Laboratory, Department of Oral and Maxillo Facial Sciences Sapienza University, Rome, Italy.

Objectives: The analysis of prehistoric human dietary habits is key for understanding the effects of paleoenvironmental changes on the evolution of cultural and social human behaviors. In this study, we compare results from zooarchaeological, stable isotope and dental calculus analyses as well as lower second molar macrowear patterns to gain a broader understanding of the diet of three individuals who lived between the end of the Late Pleistocene and the Early Holocene (ca., 17-8 ky cal BP) in the Eastern Alpine region of Italy.

Materials And Methods: We analyze individuals buried at the sites of Riparo Tagliente (Verona), Riparo Villabruna, and Mondeval de Sora (Belluno). The three burials provide a unique dataset for diachronically exploring the influence of climatic changes on human subsistence strategies.

Results: Isotopic results indicate that all individuals likely relied on both terrestrial and freshwater animal proteins. Even though dental calculus analysis was, in part, hindered by the amount of mineral deposit available on the teeth, tooth macrowear study suggests that the dietary habits of the individuals included plant foods. Moreover, differences in macrowear patterns of lower second molars have been documented between Neanderthals and modern humans in the present sample, due to a prevalence of Buccal wear among the former as opposed to higher values of Lingual wear in modern human teeth.

Discussion: Isotopic analyses have emphasized the contribution of animal proteins in the diet of the three foragers from the Eastern Alpine region. The possible intake of carbohydrate-rich plant foods, suggested by the retrieval of plant remains in dental calculus, is supported by the signal of macrowear analysis. Moreover, the latter method indicates that the distribution of macrowear in lower second molars (M s) allows us to discriminate between Neanderthals and modern humans within the present reference sample. Overall, our results show these three prehistoric hunter-gatherers were well adapted to the environment in which they lived exploiting many natural resources.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.24128DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7918647PMC
February 2021

A late Neanderthal tooth from northeastern Italy.

J Hum Evol 2020 10 2;147:102867. Epub 2020 Sep 2.

Department of Cultural Heritage, University of Bologna, Via Degli Ariani 1, Ravenna, 48121, Italy; Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, Leipzig, 04103, Germany.

The site of Riparo Broion (Vicenza, northeastern Italy) preserves a stratigraphic sequence documenting the Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic transition, in particular the final Mousterian and the Uluzzian cultures. In 2018, a human tooth was retrieved from a late Mousterian level, representing the first human remain ever found from this rock shelter (Riparo Broion 1). Here, we provide the morphological description and taxonomic assessment of Riparo Broion 1 with the support of classic and virtual morphology, 2D and 3D analysis of the topography of enamel thickness, and DNA analysis. The tooth is an exfoliated right upper deciduous canine, and its general morphology and enamel thickness distribution support attribution to a Neanderthal child. Correspondingly, the mitochondrial DNA sequence from Riparo Broion 1 falls within the known genetic variation of Late Pleistocene Neanderthals, in accordance with newly obtained radiocarbon dates that point to approximately 48 ka cal BP as the most likely minimum age for this specimen. The present work describes novel and direct evidence of the late Neanderthal occupation in northern Italy that preceded the marked cultural and technological shift documented by the Uluzzian layers in the archaeological sequence at Riparo Broion. Here, we provide a new full morphological, morphometric, and taxonomic analysis of Riparo Broion 1, in addition to generating the wider reference sample of Neanderthal and modern human upper deciduous canines. This research contributes to increasing the sample of fossil remains from Italy, as well as the number of currently available upper deciduous canines, which are presently poorly documented in the scientific literature.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2020.102867DOI Listing
October 2020

Morphometric analysis of the hominin talus: Evolutionary and functional implications.

J Hum Evol 2020 05 31;142:102747. Epub 2020 Mar 31.

Department of Cultural Heritage, University of Bologna, Ravenna 48121, Italy; Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig 04103, Germany.

The adoption of bipedalism is a key benchmark in human evolution that has impacted talar morphology. Here, we investigate talar morphological variability in extinct and extant hominins using a 3D geometric morphometric approach. The evolutionary timing and appearance of modern human-like features and their contributions to bipedal locomotion were evaluated on the talus as a whole, each articular facet separately, and multiple combinations of facets. Distinctive suites of features are consistently present in all fossil hominins, despite the presence of substantial interspecific variation, suggesting a potential connection of these suites to bipedal gait. A modern human-like condition evolved in navicular and lateral malleolar facets early in the hominin lineage compared with other facets, which demonstrate more complex morphological variation within Homininae. Interestingly, navicular facet morphology of Australopithecus afarensis is derived in the direction of Homo, whereas more recent hominin species such as Australopithecus africanus and Australopithecus sediba retain more primitive states in this facet. Combining the navicular facet with the trochlea and the posterior calcaneal facet as a functional suite, however, distinguishes Australopithecus from Homo in that the medial longitudinal arch had not fully developed in the former. Our results suggest that a more everted foot and stiffer medial midtarsal region are adaptations that coincide with the emergence of bipedalism, whereas a high medial longitudinal arch emerges later in time, within Homo. This study provides novel insights into the emergence of talar morphological traits linked to bipedalism and its transition from a facultative to an obligate condition.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2020.102747DOI Listing
May 2020

Enamel peptides reveal the sex of the Late Antique 'Lovers of Modena'.

Sci Rep 2019 09 11;9(1):13130. Epub 2019 Sep 11.

Department of Cultural Heritage, University of Bologna, Via degli Ariani 1, 48121, Ravenna, Italy.

Recent work has disclosed the critical role played by enamel peptides in sex classification of old skeletal remains. In particular, protein AMELY (amelogenin isoform Y) is present in the enamel dental tissue of male individuals only, while AMELX (isoform X) can be found in both sexes. AMELY can be easily detected by LC-MS/MS in the ion extracted chromatograms of the SMIRPPY peptide (monoisotopic [M + 2 H] mass = 440.2233 m/z). In this paper, we exploited the dimorphic features of the amelogenin protein to determine the sex of the so-called 'Lovers of Modena', two Late Antique individuals whose skeletons were intentionally buried hand-in-hand. Upon discovery, mass media had immediately assumed they were a male-female couple, even if bad preservation of the bones did not allow an effective sex classification. We were able to extract proteins from the dental enamel of both individuals (~1600 years old) and to confidently classify them as males. Results were compared to 14 modern and archaeological control samples, confirming the reliability of the ion chromatogram method for sex determination. Although we currently have no information on the actual relationship between the 'Lovers of Modena' (affective? Kin-based?), the discovery of two adult males intentionally buried hand-in-hand may have profound implications for our understanding of funerary practices in Late Antique Italy.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-49562-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6739468PMC
September 2019

Quantifying the relationship between food sharing practices and socio-ecological variables in small-scale societies: A cross-cultural multi-methodological approach.

PLoS One 2019 29;14(5):e0216302. Epub 2019 May 29.

INSISOC, Área de Organización de Empresas, Departamento de Ingeniería Civil, Escuela Politécnica Superior, Universidad de Burgos, Burgos, Spain.

This article presents a cross-cultural study of the relationship among the subsistence strategies, the environmental setting and the food sharing practices of 22 modern small-scale societies located in America (n = 18) and Siberia (n = 4). Ecological, geographical and economic variables of these societies were extracted from specialized literature and the publicly available D-PLACE database. The approach proposed comprises a variety of quantitative methods, ranging from exploratory techniques aimed at capturing relationships of any type between variables, to network theory and supervised-learning predictive modelling. Results provided by all techniques consistently show that the differences observed in food sharing practices across the sampled populations cannot be explained just by the differential distribution of ecological, geographical and economic variables. Food sharing has to be interpreted as a more complex cultural phenomenon, whose variation over time and space cannot be ascribed only to local adaptation.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0216302PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6541262PMC
January 2020

Dissecting the Pre-Columbian Genomic Ancestry of Native Americans along the Andes-Amazonia Divide.

Mol Biol Evol 2019 06;36(6):1254-1269

Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology and Centre for Genome Biology, Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

Extensive European and African admixture coupled with loss of Amerindian lineages makes the reconstruction of pre-Columbian history of Native Americans based on present-day genomes extremely challenging. Still open questions remain about the dispersals that occurred throughout the continent after the initial peopling from the Beringia, especially concerning the number and dynamics of diffusions into South America. Indeed, if environmental and historical factors contributed to shape distinct gene pools in the Andes and Amazonia, the origins of this East-West genetic structure and the extension of further interactions between populations residing along this divide are still not well understood. To this end, we generated new high-resolution genome-wide data for 229 individuals representative of one Central and ten South Amerindian ethnic groups from Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. Low levels of European and African admixture in the sampled individuals allowed the application of fine-scale haplotype-based methods and demographic modeling approaches. These analyses revealed highly specific Native American genetic ancestries and great intragroup homogeneity, along with limited traces of gene flow mainly from the Andes into Peruvian Amazonians. Substantial amount of genetic drift differentially experienced by the considered populations underlined distinct patterns of recent inbreeding or prolonged isolation. Overall, our results support the hypothesis that all non-Andean South Americans are compatible with descending from a common lineage, while we found low support for common Mesoamerican ancestors of both Andeans and other South American groups. These findings suggest extensive back-migrations into Central America from non-Andean sources or conceal distinct peopling events into the Southern Continent.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msz066DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6526910PMC
June 2019

The physiological linkage between molar inclination and dental macrowear pattern.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2018 08 6;166(4):941-951. Epub 2018 Apr 6.

Department of Cultural Heritage, University of Bologna, Via degli Ariani 1, Ravenna 48121, Italy.

Objectives: Exact symmetry and perfect balance between opposite jaw halves, as well as between antagonistic teeth, is not frequently observed in natural masticatory systems. Research results show that asymmetry in our body, skull, and jaws is often related to genetic, epigenetic, environmental and individual ontogenetic factors. Our study aims to provide evidence for a significant link between masticatory asymmetry and occlusal contact between antagonist teeth by testing the hypothesis that tooth inclination is one of the mechanisms driving distribution of wear in masticatory phases in addition to dietary and cultural habits.

Materials And Methods: The present work investigates the relationship between dental macrowear patterns and tooth inclinations on a sample of complete maxillary and mandibular 3D models of dental arches from 19 young and adult Yuendumu Aboriginal individuals. The analysis was carried out on first molars (M1) from all quadrants. Occlusal Fingerprint Analysis was used for the quantification of macrowear patterns, and 2D cross-sectional geometric analysis was carried out to investigate asymmetry in dental arches.

Results: The asymmetry is highly variable on both arches, and it is associated with differences in the inclination of upper M1 crowns. Each molar has variable inclination (buccal/lingual) which influence tooth to tooth contact, producing greater or lesser variation in wear pattern. Interindividual variability of morphological variation of the occlusal relationship has to be considered in macrowear analysis.

Discussion: Our results suggest that overall asymmetry in the masticatory apparatus in modern humans affects occlusal contact areas between antagonist teeth influencing macrowear and chewing efficiency during ontogeny.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23476DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6120545PMC
August 2018

Unravelling biocultural population structure in 4th/3rd century BC Monterenzio Vecchio (Bologna, Italy) through a comparative analysis of strontium isotopes, non-metric dental evidence, and funerary practices.

PLoS One 2018 28;13(3):e0193796. Epub 2018 Mar 28.

Department of Cultural Heritage, University of Bologna, Via degli Ariani 1, Ravenna, Italy.

The 4th century BC marks the main entrance of Celtic populations in northern Italy. Their arrival has been suggested based on the presence of Celtic customs in Etruscan mortuary contexts, yet up to now few bioarchaeological data have been examined to support or reject the arrival of these newcomers. Here we use strontium isotopes, non-metric dental traits and funerary patterns to unravel the biocultural structure of the necropolis of Monterenzio Vecchio (Bologna, Italy). Subsamples of our total sample of 38 individuals were analyzed based on different criteria characterizing the following analyses: 1) strontium isotope analysis to investigate migratory patterns and provenance; 2) non-metric dental traits to establish biological relationships between Monterenzio Vecchio, 13 Italian Iron age necropolises and three continental and non-continental Celtic necropolises; 3) grave goods which were statistically explored to detect possible patterns of cultural variability. The strontium isotopes results indicate the presence of local and non-local individuals, with some revealing patterns of mobility. The dental morphology reveals an affinity between Monterenzio Vecchio and Iron Age Italian samples. However, when the Monterenzio Vecchio sample is separated by isotopic results into locals and non-locals, the latter share affinity with the sample of non-continental Celts from Yorkshire (UK). Moreover, systematic analyses demonstrate that ethnic background does not retain measurable impact on the distribution of funerary elements. Our results confirm the migration of Celtic populations in Monterenzio as archaeologically hypothesized on the basis of the grave goods, followed by a high degree of cultural admixture between exogenous and endogenous traits. This contribution shows that combining different methods offers a more comprehensive perspective for the exploration of biocultural processes in past and present populations.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0193796PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5874009PMC
June 2018

Inferring patterns of folktale diffusion using genomic data.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2017 08 7;114(34):9140-9145. Epub 2017 Aug 7.

Centre for the Coevolution of Biology and Culture, Department of Anthropology, Durham University, DH1 3LE Durham, United Kingdom

Observable patterns of cultural variation are consistently intertwined with demic movements, cultural diffusion, and adaptation to different ecological contexts [Cavalli-Sforza and Feldman (1981) ; Boyd and Richerson (1985) ]. The quantitative study of gene-culture coevolution has focused in particular on the mechanisms responsible for change in frequency and attributes of cultural traits, the spread of cultural information through demic and cultural diffusion, and detecting relationships between genetic and cultural lineages. Here, we make use of worldwide whole-genome sequences [Pagani et al. (2016) 538:238-242] to assess the impact of processes involving population movement and replacement on cultural diversity, focusing on the variability observed in folktale traditions ( = 596) [Uther (2004) ] in Eurasia. We find that a model of cultural diffusion predicted by isolation-by-distance alone is not sufficient to explain the observed patterns, especially at small spatial scales (up to [Formula: see text]4,000 km). We also provide an empirical approach to infer presence and impact of ethnolinguistic barriers preventing the unbiased transmission of both genetic and cultural information. After correcting for the effect of ethnolinguistic boundaries, we show that, of the alternative models that we propose, the one entailing cultural diffusion biased by linguistic differences is the most plausible. Additionally, we identify 15 tales that are more likely to be predominantly transmitted through population movement and replacement and locate putative focal areas for a set of tales that are spread worldwide.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1614395114DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5576778PMC
August 2017

Ancient and recent admixture layers in Sicily and Southern Italy trace multiple migration routes along the Mediterranean.

Sci Rep 2017 05 16;7(1):1984. Epub 2017 May 16.

Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology, Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

The Mediterranean shores stretching between Sicily, Southern Italy and the Southern Balkans witnessed a long series of migration processes and cultural exchanges. Accordingly, present-day population diversity is composed by multiple genetic layers, which make the deciphering of different ancestral and historical contributes particularly challenging. We address this issue by genotyping 511 samples from 23 populations of Sicily, Southern Italy, Greece and Albania with the Illumina GenoChip Array, also including new samples from Albanian- and Greek-speaking ethno-linguistic minorities of Southern Italy. Our results reveal a shared Mediterranean genetic continuity, extending from Sicily to Cyprus, where Southern Italian populations appear genetically closer to Greek-speaking islands than to continental Greece. Besides a predominant Neolithic background, we identify traces of Post-Neolithic Levantine- and Caucasus-related ancestries, compatible with maritime Bronze-Age migrations. We argue that these results may have important implications in the cultural history of Europe, such as in the diffusion of some Indo-European languages. Instead, recent historical expansions from North-Eastern Europe account for the observed differentiation of present-day continental Southern Balkan groups. Patterns of IBD-sharing directly reconnect Albanian-speaking Arbereshe with a recent Balkan-source origin, while Greek-speaking communities of Southern Italy cluster with their Italian-speaking neighbours suggesting a long-term history of presence in Southern Italy.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-01802-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5434004PMC
May 2017

Positive selection of lactase persistence among people of Southern Arabia.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2016 12 18;161(4):676-684. Epub 2016 Aug 18.

Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology and Centre for Genome Biology, Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Bologna, 40126, Italy.

Objective: Frequency patterns of the lactase persistence (LP)-associated -13,915 G allele and archaeological records pointing to substantial role played by southern regions in the peopling and domestication processes that involved the Arabian Peninsula suggest that Southern Arabia plausibly represented the center of diffusion of such adaptive variant. Nevertheless, a well-defined scenario for evolution of Arabian LP is still to be elucidated and the burgeoning archaeological picture of complex human migrations occurred through the peninsula is not matched by an equivalent high-resolution description of genetic variation underlying this adaptive trait. To fill this gap, we investigated diversity at a wide genomic interval surrounding the LCT gene in different Southern Arabian populations.

Methods: 40 SNPs were genotyped to characterize LCT profiles of 630 Omani and Yemeni individuals to perform population structure, linkage disequilibrium, population differentiation-based and haplotype-based analyses.

Results: Typical Arabian LP-related variation was found in Dhofaris and Yemenis, being characterized by private haplotypes carrying the -13,915 G allele, unusual differentiation with respect to northern groups and conserved homozygous haplotype-blocks, suggesting that the adaptive allele was likely introduced in the Arabian gene pool in southern populations and was then subjected to prolonged selective pressure.

Conclusion: By pointing to Yemen as one of the best candidate centers of diffusion of the Arabian-specific adaptive variant, obtained results indicate the spread of indigenous groups as the main process underlying dispersal of LP along the Arabian Peninsula, supporting a refugia model for Arabian demic movements occurred during the Terminal Pleistocene and Early Holocene.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23072DOI Listing
December 2016

Shared language, diverging genetic histories: high-resolution analysis of Y-chromosome variability in Calabrian and Sicilian Arbereshe.

Eur J Hum Genet 2016 Apr 1;24(4):600-6. Epub 2015 Jul 1.

Laboratorio di Antropologia Molecolare, Dipartimento di Scienze Biologiche, Geologiche e Ambientali, Università di Bologna, Bologna, Italia.

The relationship between genetic and linguistic diversification in human populations has been often explored to interpret some specific issues in human history. The Albanian-speaking minorities of Sicily and Southern Italy (Arbereshe) constitute an important portion of the ethnolinguistic variability of Italy. Their linguistic isolation from neighboring Italian populations and their documented migration history, make such minorities particularly effective for investigating the interplay between cultural, geographic and historical factors. Nevertheless, the extent of Arbereshe genetic relationships with the Balkan homeland and the Italian recipient populations has been only partially investigated. In the present study we address the genetic history of Arbereshe people by combining highly resolved analyses of Y-chromosome lineages and extensive computer simulations. A large set of slow- and fast-evolving molecular markers was typed in different Arbereshe communities from Sicily and Southern Italy (Calabria), as well as in both the putative Balkan source and Italian sink populations. Our results revealed that the considered Arbereshe groups, despite speaking closely related languages and sharing common cultural features, actually experienced diverging genetic histories. The estimated proportions of genetic admixture confirm the tight relationship of Calabrian Arbereshe with modern Albanian populations, in accordance with linguistic hypotheses. On the other hand, population stratification and/or an increased permeability of linguistic and geographic barriers may be hypothesized for Sicilian groups, to account for their partial similarity with Greek populations and their higher levels of local admixture. These processes ultimately resulted in the differential acquisition or preservation of specific paternal lineages by the present-day Arbereshe communities.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ejhg.2015.138DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4929864PMC
April 2016