Genetic structure and admixture between Bayash Roma from northwestern Croatia and general Croatian population: evidence from Bayesian clustering analysis
Novokmet, Natalija; Galov, Ana; Marjanović, Damir; Škaro, Vedrana; Projić, Petar; Lauc, Gordan; Primorac, Dragan; Rudan, Pavao
The European Roma represent a transnational mosaic of minority population groups with different migration histories and contrasting experiences in their interactions with majority populations across the European continent. Although historical genetic contributions of European lineages to the Roma pool were investigated before, the extent of contemporary genetic admixture between Bayash Roma and non-Romani majority population remains elusive. The aim of this study was to assess the genetic structure of the Bayash Roma population from northwestern Croatia and the general Croatian population and to investigate the extent of admixture between them. A set of genetic data from two original studies (100 Bayash Roma from northwestern Croatia and 195 individuals from the general Croatian population) was analyzed by Bayesian clustering implemented in STRUCTURE software. By re-analyzing published data we intended to focus for the first time on genetic differentiation and structure and in doing so we clearly pointed to the importance of considering social phenomena in understanding genetic structuring. Our results demonstrated that two population clusters best explain the genetic structure, which is consistent with social exclusion of Roma and the demographic history of Bayash Roma who have settled in NW Croatia only about 150 years ago and mostly applied rules of endogamy. The presence of admixture was revealed, while the percentage of non-Croatian individuals in general Croatian population was approximately twofold higher than the percentage of non-Romani individuals in Roma population corroborating the presence of ethnomimicry in Roma.