Although south-Slavic populations have been studied to date from various aspects, the population of Serbia, occupying the central part of the Balkan Peninsula, is still genetically understudied at least at the level of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation. We analyzed polymorphisms of the first and the second mtDNA hypervariable segments (HVS-I and HVS-II) and informative coding-region markers in 139 Serbians to shed more light on their mtDNA variability, and used available data on other Slavic and neighboring non-Slavic populations to assess their interrelations in a broader European context. The contemporary Serbian mtDNA profile is consistent with the general European maternal landscape having a substantial proportion of shared haplotypes with eastern, central, and southern European populations. Serbian population was characterized as an important link between easternmost and westernmost south-Slavic populations due to the observed lack of genetic differentiation with all other south-Slavic populations and its geographical positioning within the Balkan Peninsula. An increased heterogeneity of south Slavs, most likely mirroring turbulent demographic events within the Balkan Peninsula over time (i.e., frequent admixture and differential introgression of various gene pools), and a marked geographical stratification of Slavs to south-, east-, and west-Slavic groups, were also found. A phylogeographic analyses of 20 completely sequenced Serbian mitochondrial genomes revealed not only the presence of mtDNA lineages predominantly found within the Slavic gene pool (U4a2a*, U4a2a1, U4a2c, U4a2g, HV10), supporting a common Slavic origin, but also lineages that may have originated within the southern Europe (H5*, H5e1, H5a1v) and the Balkan Peninsula in particular (H6a2b and L2a1k).
- Davidovic, S., Malyarchuk, B., Aleksic, J.M., Derenko, M., Topalovic, V., Litvinov, A., Stevanovic, M. and Kovacevic‐Grujicic, N. (2015). Mitochondrial DNA perspective of Serbian genetic diversity. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 156(3), 449-465.
Peoples: Serbians | Places: Balkan Peninsula | Topics: differential introgression | DNA Type: mtDNA