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PLoS One DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0058633

Reconstructing Roma history from genome-wide data.

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsMoorjani, P, Patterson, N, Loh, P-R, Lipson, M, Kisfali, P, Melegh, BI, Bonin, M, Kádaši, L, Rieß, O, Berger, B, Reich, D, Melegh, B
JournalPLoS One
Date Published2013
KeywordsAsia, Ethnic Groups, Europe, Founder Effect, Gene Flow, Genome, Human, History, Medieval, Humans, Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide

The Roma people, living throughout Europe and West Asia, are a diverse population linked by the Romani language and culture. Previous linguistic and genetic studies have suggested that the Roma migrated into Europe from South Asia about 1,000-1,500 years ago. Genetic inferences about Roma history have mostly focused on the Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA. To explore what additional information can be learned from genome-wide data, we analyzed data from six Roma groups that we genotyped at hundreds of thousands of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We estimate that the Roma harbor about 80% West Eurasian ancestry-derived from a combination of European and South Asian sources-and that the date of admixture of South Asian and European ancestry was about 850 years before present. We provide evidence for Eastern Europe being a major source of European ancestry, and North-west India being a major source of the South Asian ancestry in the Roma. By computing allele sharing as a measure of linkage disequilibrium, we estimate that the migration of Roma out of the Indian subcontinent was accompanied by a severe founder event, which appears to have been followed by a major demographic expansion after the arrival in Europe.


Alternate JournalPLoS ONE
PubMed ID23516520
PubMed Central IDPMC3596272
Grant ListR01 GM100233 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States
GM100233 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States