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View Full Version : African female heritage in Malta : 15.9% mtDna L



E_M81_I3A
03-15-2017, 06:30 PM
According to a recent study "The Genetic Heritage of the Maltese Islands: A MATRILINEAL PERSPECTIVE" published in 2016 :

https://www.academia.edu/28022956/The_Genetic_Heritage_of_the_Maltese_Islands_A_MATR ILINEAL_PERSPECTIVE

African mtDna L haplogroups were found at a high rate of 15.9 % (21/132) in Malta. The most common L haplogroup is L2a1c6 (17/132) which emerged between 600 and 2,900 years ago.

As per the authors, this is probably not linked to Islamic period :

"In an analysis of all the persons in the populations having mutations identifying them as haplogroup L, which is geographically associated with Africa, the Maltese population did not share haplotypes with any North African populations, as had been expected due to the geographical proximity. In a study on Haplogroup L lineages Cerezo et al. estimated that the L2a1c6 haplogroup, the most common L haplogroup in Malta, emerged between 600 and 2,900 years ago. Whilst the spread of this haplogroup, which in modern Europe can also be found in Spain and Portugal might have occured at any time dating from the Carthaginian period to the Middle Ages, it would seem improbable for these set of mutations to have arrived in Malta during the Arab period, without them leaving any trace in Sicily, Tunisia or Libya. The high percentage of the population with this haplotype in Malta when compared to Spain and Portugal indicates that a genetic bottleneck occurred"

Apart Portugal (see table below) where mtDna L were found at 22% in Alcacer do Sal (and > 10% in South Portugal), this is the highest mtDna L frequency ever reported in Europe.

http://img15.hostingpics.net/pics/244543PortugalAfricanMtDna.jpg (http://www.hostingpics.net/viewer.php?id=244543PortugalAfricanMtDna.jpg)
Source:wikipedia

Morges
03-15-2017, 09:34 PM
This confirm that Maltese are not just transplanted Sicilians (it is also visible on autosomal basis for the higher North African admixture in the Maltese group) because we do not have this high percentage of mtDNA L. To better say Maltese are mostly Sicilians colonizers (in muslim times) with some other influences, probably is due to pre-Roman antiquity that we were mostly Greek+local tribes (and two Punic settlements) while Malta was mostly Punic with minor Greek and probably some pre-Punic population who was probably some sort of tribe related to Sicani, Siculi or Elimi.

fished
03-15-2017, 10:49 PM
I'm skeptical that these lineages really predate the Islamic period considering that there's little to no continuity between the ancient Maltese and modern Maltese. The island was all but depopulated after the Aghlabid invasion until being repopulated by Muslim settlers, mostly from Sicily, in the mid-11th century. Despite claims (with little or no evidence) of an expulsion of the Muslim population following the island being retaken by Christians, it's clear based on surname continuity (most Maltese surnames of Semitic origin were first attested among 11th century Muslim peasants in Sicily) that the modern Maltese descend from both these Muslim settlers and from later Christian immigrants, who were also mostly from Sicily and elsewhere in Italy.

That being said, there's certainly a possibility that these lineages postdate the Islamic period. African and other slaves were being brought to Malta as late as 1797, and I know of some Maltese people who can actually trace their genealogy to a manumesso (freedman). This would certainly be in line with the fact that astronomically high rates of L elsewhere in Europe, i.e. Alcácer do Sal and Madeira, are owed to the trans-Atlantic slave trade within the past 500 years rather than to any ancient event.

RCO
03-16-2017, 01:34 AM
Portugal was a warlike slaver Empire, Portugal created the idea and was the first modern European seaborne Empire and nowadays places like Alcácer do Sal are not different from some of the Paris banlieues or London districts like Brixton, that's modernity. The first ethnic Portuguese were people from the Northern Minho and the moving Portuguese frontiers incorporated several different peoples with different origins and different nations since the Medieval wars and most of those populations were integrated.

fished
03-16-2017, 01:50 AM
Portugal was a warlike slaver Empire, Portugal created the idea and was the first modern European seaborne Empire and nowadays places like Alcácer do Sal are not different from some of the Paris banlieues or London districts like Brixton, that's modernity. The first ethnic Portuguese were people from the Northern Minho and the moving Portuguese frontiers incorporated several different peoples with different origins and different nations since the Medieval wars and most of those populations were integrated.

If you're intimating that the high rates of L found in Alcácer do Sal are due to immigrants from Africa being sampled in that study, I can assure you that this is not the case. The results are those of white ethnic Portuguese. Not sure why you're talking about Brixton or banlieues.

I'm not sure you understood my statement.

RCO
03-16-2017, 03:02 AM
African contribution in Portugal can be very old, not only in Ancient and Medieval times but the "modern" Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade since the 15th century was relevant in several regions. We can find "white ethnic Portuguese" descendents of African slave L mtDNA haplogroup after centuries of trade, just like in several other places in Europe. A good pioneer article from 2014 can be found here: Genetic Evidence of African Slavery at the Beginning of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Rui Martiniano and Portuguese geneticists with Ron Pinhasi.
http://www.nature.com/articles/srep05994

vettor
03-16-2017, 04:58 AM
Portugal was a warlike slaver Empire, .

who was not a slaver state !

fished
03-16-2017, 06:09 AM
African contribution in Portugal can be very old, not only in Ancient and Medieval times but the "modern" Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade since the 15th century was relevant in several regions. We can find "white ethnic Portuguese" descendents of African slave L mtDNA haplogroup after centuries of trade, just like in several other places in Europe.

This is essentially the same thing that I said. Your point of contention seems to be that you're arguing that this is a common phenomenon in Europe's formerly colonialist states, when in fact recent African gene flow has only had a noteworthy (although still minor) impact on autosomal or mitochondrial DNA in Portugal. White English people from London or Liverpool don't score significant amounts of African mtDNA, despite those cities' importance in trade with Britain's colonies (including the slave trade). African genes being slowly absorbed into the indigenous population over the course of centuries doesn't have much in common with immigrants coming to Paris or London in the 20th or 21st centuries but still remaining a clearly separate ethnic group.

Morges
03-16-2017, 09:23 AM
I'm skeptical that these lineages really predate the Islamic period considering that there's little to no continuity between the ancient Maltese and modern Maltese. The island was all but depopulated after the Aghlabid invasion until being repopulated by Muslim settlers, mostly from Sicily, in the mid-11th century. Despite claims (with little or no evidence) of an expulsion of the Muslim population following the island being retaken by Christians, it's clear based on surname continuity (most Maltese surnames of Semitic origin were first attested among 11th century Muslim peasants in Sicily) that the modern Maltese descend from both these Muslim settlers and from later Christian immigrants, who were also mostly from Sicily and elsewhere in Italy.

That being said, there's certainly a possibility that these lineages postdate the Islamic period. African and other slaves were being brought to Malta as late as 1797, and I know of some Maltese people who can actually trace their genealogy to a manumesso (freedman). This would certainly be in line with the fact that astronomically high rates of L elsewhere in Europe, i.e. Alcácer do Sal and Madeira, are owed to the trans-Atlantic slave trade within the past 500 years rather than to any ancient event.

Maltese have two kind of surnames: latin surnames (mostly sicilian) like Vella, Spiteri, Bonnici etc, and semitic/arabic like Said, Zammit, Fenech.
If it's true what you say, maltese should be a good proxy of what it was part of Sicily genetically in the short muslim period and before the expulsion of the muslims and the repopulation of part of the island. And this explain why Maltese have more north african admixture.

RCO
03-16-2017, 11:17 AM
Another "classic" article - The History of African Gene Flow into Southern Europeans, Levantines, and Jews, Nick Patterson, David Reich and other known geneticists. I would say most of the L mtDNA found in Southern Europe and in Europe is related to African movements in the last 1000 years and even in Britain, Central Europe we can find some "relatively recent African" haplogroups just like Y-DNA A and the L mtDNAs. After 3-4 generations the phenotype can change completely but the haplogroup remains. We can easily found non-European persons in conventional genealogy and detect non-European haplogroups when the persons are socially classified as "white ethnic", so it's a normal phenomenon.

C J Wyatt III
03-16-2017, 01:45 PM
I wonder if any wealthy males taken captive by the Barbary Pirates brought back a wife and/or child if they were ransomed.

Jack

fished
03-16-2017, 08:13 PM
Another "classic" article - The History of African Gene Flow into Southern Europeans, Levantines, and Jews, Nick Patterson, David Reich and other known geneticists. I would say most of the L mtDNA found in Southern Europe and in Europe is related to African movements in the last 1000 years and even in Britain, Central Europe we can find some "relatively recent African" haplogroups just like Y-DNA A and the L mtDNAs.

I agree that most African DNA in Europe, even in Iberia, is not very recent. That said, in places like Alcácer do Sal this gene flow can be explicitly tied to the recent slave trade based on the historical record. You seem to be failing to understand that 0.01% of British men having y-DNA A is very different from 10%+ of people from South Portugal having a direct matrilineal African ancestor.

RCO
03-17-2017, 12:53 AM
Yes, of course. The proportion of L mtDNA in Europe or in America is strongly associated with the historical presence of Africans in a given region. After some centuries some of the originally African L mtDNA will merge in the general population as a proportion more or less related to the % of Africans settled in that regions.

E_M81_I3A
03-17-2017, 06:48 AM
... African genes being slowly absorbed into the indigenous population over the course of centuries doesn't have much in common with immigrants coming to Paris or London in the 20th or 21st centuries but still remaining a clearly separate ethnic group.

"still remaining a clearly separate ethnic group."... If this is probably true for London and UK, this is not for Paris and France where according to a recent study by INSEE in 2017, almost half of 2nd generation immigrants from a non european country also have a non immigrant parent (50% for Sub-saharans, 44% for North Africans and 39% for Asians). Some people argued that probably some of these individuals were not really "mixed" because the study should take into account grand parents as well and not only parents.

But according to another study in 2012 from same INSEE that took into account 3 generations (parent and grand parents), among the 27% of of all newborns in France betwen 2006 and 2008 who had at least one parent or one grand parent from a non European country, almost half had also a native parent or grand parent (12% had at least one native parent or grand parent and 15% had four non european grand parents). For comparison 3.5 per cent of all births in England and Wales in 2005 were mixed race babies.

So yes, in France, African (and Asian) genes are being quickly absorbed into the indigenous population.

fished
03-17-2017, 08:53 PM
"still remaining a clearly separate ethnic group."... If this is probably true for London and UK, this is not for Paris and France where according to a recent study by INSEE in 2017, almost half of 2nd generation immigrants from a non european country also have a non immigrant parent (50% for Sub-saharans, 44% for North Africans and 39% for Asians). Some people argued that probably some of these individuals were not really "mixed" because the study should take into account grand parents as well and not only parents.

But according to another study in 2012 from same INSEE that took into account 3 generations (parent and grand parents), among the 27% of of all newborns in France betwen 2006 and 2008 who had at least one parent or one grand parent from a non European country, almost half had also a native parent or grand parent (12% had at least one native parent or grand parent and 15% had four non european grand parents). For comparison 3.5 per cent of all births in England and Wales in 2005 were mixed race babies.

So yes, in France, African (and Asian) genes are being quickly absorbed into the indigenous population.


I'm well aware of that, but a French person with an African parent or grandparent is still a member of an identifiable minority group. Their foreign ancestry is very recent, and they're probably not going to identify as "white French". Maybe a couple centuries from now their descendants will have been completely absorbed, but for now, yes, they're still a distinct group, even if they're mixed.

The point I was trying to make is that these Portuguese have African admixture but are not a member of any minority group, they are part of the mainstream population and are unlikely to be able to claim any recent foreign ancestors.

In fact, though, I kind of doubt that France in, say, 2100 is going to be like Portugal in terms of African admixture for the following reason: if a Cameroonian and a white Frenchman have a kid and that kid has a kid with a white Frenchman and their kid has a kid with a white Frenchman, then yeah, in enough generations you're gonna end up with a "white, ethnic French" population that's absorbed a bit of African ancestry. But in urban France, I think a more likely scenario is something like: a Cameroonian and a white Frenchman have a kid, and that kid has a kid with an Algerian, and that kid has a kid with someone who is half French and half Vietnamese, and so on. So instead of a "white French" population that's just a bit more mixed, you'll probably just end up with a general French population that's shades of beige.

And that's clearly what will be the case, based on the statistics you quote. If nearly 30% of babies born in France are part African or Asian, then it stands to reason that perhaps 60%, if not more, of those babies' babies are gonna be part African or Asian. Combine that with the fact that already a lot of "white French" people are part non-French European (i.e., Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Jewish, etc.) and by the time those babies' babies are getting old, people who can claim to be "100% ethnic French" will undoubtedly be a small minority.

Some far-right types would no doubt balk at the idea (although at this point it's basically demographically unavoidable) but I find that a fascinating situation, because France will have essentially become the first European country to transform into an "immigrant country" in the American style.

kingjohn
03-17-2017, 10:17 PM
mtdna L could be older also in malta :)
lets not forget the L1B in bell beaker iberia
and L2A in bronze age tres montes deep in north spain
regards
adam

p.s

i see that not all the L is from same type so some could be from bronze age to iron age area .

xiniraj
09-14-2018, 03:15 PM
mtdna L could be older also in malta :)
lets not forget the L1B in bell beaker iberia
and L2A in bronze age tres montes deep in north spain
regards
adam

p.s

i see that not all the L is from same type so some could be from bronze age to iron age area .

Kingjohn, your comment is very interesting. How strong is the bronze age evidence (I have little understanding in this science). I find in personal research that there exists an ancient cultural hidden/submerged heritage that was strong 7kyrs ago, remnants of which still survive. not via reintroduction, but continuous.

Geborgenheit
09-14-2018, 05:08 PM
The massive presence of L in Malta does not make sense to me... maybe these are "recent" migrations ?

I have been to the island and I know that there was a land bridge to Sicily during the last ice age and no connection at all to Africa.

pmokeefe
10-01-2019, 03:39 PM
The massive presence of L in Malta does not make sense to me... maybe these are "recent" migrations ?

I have been to the island and I know that there was a land bridge to Sicily during the last ice age and no connection at all to Africa.

Not sure how authoritative or up-to-date this is, but this web page (http://www.shadowservices.com/nature/Maltese/Geomorph/geograp.htm) says Malta was connected to Sicily off and on, most recently 23,000 - 10,000 years ago. It also says Malta was
connected to Sicily, Tunisia, Libya and Sardinia, but that was c.150,000 years ago.