The amount of genetic data (sequences, gene frequencies, and isonymy) available for the Province of Ferrara, Italy, makes this area one of the world’s best known. In an effort to infer the underlying demographic processes, we studied the province’s population structure by comparing geological, palaeoclimatic, archeological, historical, and linguistic data. This multilevel approach allowed us to date some characteristics of the population structure from prehistoric times to the Roman and Middle Ages, and to detect overlapping biological, cultural, and geographic boundaries. To detect linguistic boundaries within this area we turned pronunciation differences into phonetic notation. We then computed pairwise distances by using methods for multiple genetic sequence analysis, in order to obtain a distance matrix of the overall pronunciation variability. This approach enabled us to test the association among linguistic, geographical, and genetic distance matrices using the same statistical tests. Results indicate that demographic phenomena can be traced in an area as small as the Province of Ferrara and that, on a microregional scale, recent events may have influenced important aspects of the overall genetic variation.
Manni, Franz and Barrai, Italo
"Genetic Structures and Linguistic Boundaries in Italy:
A Microregional Approach,"
3, Article 1.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol73/iss3/1