Autosomal DNA from 2,500-year old Etruscans

Dienekes points to a Biology of Genomes poster ("Assessment of Whole-Genome capture methodologies on single- and double-stranded ancient DNA libraries from Caribbean and European archaeological human remains") that includes a PCA with a few Etruscan samples (the poster text mentions two samples, but the PCA includes three).

If you imagine a line running from the American and British samples (CEU and GBR) through the Spanish (IBS) and Tuscan (TSI) samples, I expect Southern Italian samples would be out past Tuscans on this line and Middle Easterners would be beyond Southern Italians.

The Etruscan samples are shifted north and/or west relative to modern Tuscans (exactly the opposite of what we'd expect if Etruscans had predominantly Near Eastern origins). Since, in the absence of other gene flow, Italic, Celtic, and Germanic admixture in Tuscany would be expected to pull Tuscans north/west relative to Etruscans, it's clear Tuscany has been influenced by southern/eastern gene flow within the past 2,500 years (with potential sources including Roman slaves, medieval slaves, Jews, and southern Italians).

13 comments:

spagetiMeatball said...

But Etruscans didn't speak indo-european, whereas all of central europe was awash in indo-european speakers.

So what gives?

n/a said...

sm,

They'd probably already received some Indo-European admixture. The Basques also speak a non-Indo-European language, but appear to have substanial Indo-European admixture.

Prior to the Late Neolithic / Bronze Age, nearly everyone in Europe spoke non-Indo-European languages. Basque and Etruscan (and Iberian) are unique only in having survived late enough to be documented.

It's not impossible the Etruscan language could have been brought by a late migration from the Near East, but there's no need to suppose that it was.

Anonymous said...

The Etruscans seem to be pulled somewhat east of modern Tuscans but are latitude wise very similar to southern balkanites and mainland greeks.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9o3EYTdM8lQV1VNT2dzSUl0RDQ/edit

One of them appears to cluster with Iberians so them being broadly south-central european seems to be the case.

South Italians are indeed below as are other southern-south europeans (sicilians, greek islanders, maltese etc) which probably shows that the Etruscans would be mostly a mix of early and late neolithic with some indo-european mixed in.

Language =/= genetics.

Frank said...

Yes, these people seem like an eastern version of modern Tuscans, so central_greek/greek_thessaly/bulgarian/macedonia/kosovo in the above plot would be where they fall.

I remember hearing theories that it was only the small Etruscan ruling class was Etruscan is descent so some could be italics or former natives in the plot.

n/a said...

The axes in the Eurogenes plot and the PCA included in this post are not the same (the larger, roughly north-south factor is plotted on the vertical axis in the Eurogenes plot and the horizontal axis on this PCA; also, the inclusion of Sardinians and Basques, and heavily Negroid admixed groups like North Africans, in the Eurogenes plot means the plots are not directly comparable anyway). If you projected Greeks on this PCA, they would not fall to the right of Tuscans but above/left of them.

Disposing of directional labels, the Etruscan samples are shifted in a European direction relative to Tuscans, and Tuscans are shifted in a Near Eastern direction relative to Etruscans.

Anonymous said...

Yes, indeed, I was wrong. The location of the finnish cluster made me speak too soon. At any rate, this does seem to support that the Etruscans were a neolithic southern european population rather than an anatolian one and seem shifted westwards from Tuscans but just as south as them.

The lack of late neolithic component in them seems to be the dealbreaker and it's why it puts them closer to spaniards.

Anonymous said...

but just as south as spaniards*

Anonymous said...

What you meant to say was that the Etruscan samples are shifted in an Asian direction relative to modern Tuscans, just like the even more Asian-shifted American, British and Finnish samples (with definite sources of gene flow including Amerindian-like ANE and Uralic migrants).

But what you *really* meant to say was that nothing certain can be determined from this data because there are only three Etruscans in the sample and they all plot in different places. Though they could easily have been some kind of Yamnaya admixed Anatolians, and Tuscans are just more Neolithic like all other Italians (Sardinians would fall way out to the left on that plot).

It's certainly not at all "clear" that Tuscany has received southern/eastern gene flow within the past 2,500 years.

Anonymous said...

Further evidence that the Etruscans didn't come from Anatolia but they descended from the Villanovan culture that was a mix of Indo-Europeans and EEF. The Etruscan language derived from the EEF.

Anonymous said...

Modern Tuscans are more northern and western shifted than mainland Greeks.

Anonymous said...

The Etruscan samples are shifted north and/or west relative to modern Tuscans just because these Etruscan samples are a bit more Indo-European and less EEF admixed than the samples used for average modern Tuscans. There are surely many modern Tuscans that could plot with these Etruscan samples.

Anonymous said...

Eh??? Greeks above Tuscans??? eastern shifted it's sure, but certainly not above. As for these Etruscans is not clear at all that Tuscans "received" an eastern input after, one of them is very close and 3 is a too small number anyway to make a so great statement. It is not like they cluster with Swedish btw.

Anonymous said...

First of all 3 Etruscans are very few to state Tuscany has had an eastern influence or Jews or whatever, and i don't exclude some Tuscans can plot togheter those samples . It is not like they plot with Brits. 2nd, there have been Tuscans' likes results from a neolithic man found in Spain, so to state they are eastern shifted due to estern influences is just plain ludicrous.