Tuesday, 29 December 2009
From a report that could, if used correctly, help to unsettle Arab claims to dominate the countries of North Africa and, since Berber attachment to Islam is far weaker than that of Arabs (Berber ethnic identity undercutting, rather than, as in the case of the Arabs, reinforcing Islam), this could also weaken the hold of Islam on thse who recognize their Berber ancestry and decide to identify with it rather than with an Arab (Muslim) identity:Mitochondrial DNA heterogeneity in Tunisian BerbersBerbers live in groups scattered across NorthAfrica whose origins and genetic relationships with their neighbours are not well established. The first hypervariable segment of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region was sequenced in a total of 155 individuals from three Tunisian Berber groups and compared to other North Africans. The mtDNA lineages found belong to a common set of mtDNA haplogroups already described in NorthAfrica. Besides the autochthonous North African U6 haplogroup, a group of L3 lineages characterized by the transition at position 16041 seems to be restricted to North Africans, suggesting that an expansion of this group of lineages took place around 10500 years ago in NorthAfrica, and spread to neighbouring populations. Principal components and the coordinate analyses show that some Berber groups (the Tuareg, the Mozabite, and the Chenini-Douiret) are outliers within the NorthAfrican genetic landscape. This outlier position is consistent with an isolation process followed by genetic drift in haplotype frequencies, and with the high heterogeneity displayed by Berbers compared to Arab samples as shown in the AMOVA. Despite this Berber heterogeneity, no significant differences were found between Berber and Arab samples, suggesting that the Arabization was mainly a cultural process rather than a demographic replacement.
Posted on 12/29/2009 10:24 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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