U152 in Sardinia – Francalacci et al. (2013)

By Richard Rocca

The paper that contributed the ‘PF’ prefixed SNPs to the Geno 2.0 product has been published:

Low-Pass DNA Sequencing of 1200 Sardinians Reconstructs European Y-Chromosome Phylogeny
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/341/6145/565.abstract

While the study is focused primarily on founders for I2a1 and Otzi’s haplogoup G, there is some important information in the supplementary material for U152. Here is the information I was able to pull together:

The headline grabber here is the real dominance of Z192 in Sardinia where it makes up 58.6% of all U152 lineages. Z192 had been found in 1000 Genomes samples from Tuscany and Mexico but in only one commercial sample thus far:

Kit no. N8217 (FTDNA Kennedy Project), Michael Kennedy, b.c. 1817, Co. Kerry and d. 1862

At the opposite end of the spectrum we have L2 and Z36 which make up only small percentages of both U152 and Sardinian males overall. It is difficult to see either in the context of large migrations from the peninsula. Z56 is slightly more frequent than L2 and it’s Z144/Z145 subclade makes up the majority of Z56. Sardinian U152, where a single subclade is so dominant (Z192), contrasts with the completely diverse scenario in Tuscany, where no single subclade is found in dominant numbers over another. U152 frequency in Tuscany is also several times greater than in Sardinia based on 1000 Genomes data and that of the recent Boattini et al. study (see here:http://www.r1b.org/?page_id=242).

This much we know:

1. Sardinia is heavily concentrated with Bell Beaker material when compared to most of peninsular Italy.
2. Sardinia also has a heavy concentration of statue-menhirs. They are very similar to those found in Liguria and the Alps.
3. Archaic Sardinian was a non-IE language, and based on place names, has recently been linked to Basque. It is difficult to not see an I2a1-M26 connection here.
4. Sardinia has the lowest R1b frequency in Western Europe, but most of it is P312 instead of Z2103/Z2105.

So high level assumptions are as follows:

1. DF27 may have been brought by small amounts of Bell Beaker people from Southern France via Tuscany.
2. While the traditions of Bell Beaker caught on, it does not seem like their genetics nor their presumed-IE language did.
3. Z192 might be a founder affect carried over from a U152* male somewhere close to Sardinia/Tuscany during the Copper Age or even with Bell Beaker itself.
4. The absence of major continental U152 sub-lineages like L2 and Z36 points to their trickling in after Bell Beakers. I had mentioned previously that L2 might be related in Italy to the Early Bronze Age Polada Culture which has a heavy Central European influence. A small amount of Polada Culture material has been found in Sardinia.

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