The paper reprinted here is one of many of Sokal's innovative approaches to population genetics, adroitly integrating anthropological data and hypotheses and genetic data in a rigorous and statistically precise manner. The focus of the paper is the use of ethnohistorical data to test the hypotheses of the influence of historical population movements over the past 4,000 years on the genetic structure of contemporary human populations across Europe. Sokal et al. used ethnohistorical data to construct a distance measure based on the likely relative ancestral contribution of different ethnic groups, which were defined in terms of language family membership. They found a significant correlation with genetic distance that was derived from a large sample of classical genetic markers. Further, they showed that this correlation remained even after controlling for geographic distance, thus showing that the expected relationship was not a byproduct of spatial autocorrelation. In addition, they found that the strength of the correlations increased over time, particularly during the past 400 years.
Relethford, John H.
"Commentary on Sokal et al.'s "Historical Population Movements in Europe Influence Genetic Relationships in Modern Samples" (1996),"
5, Article 11.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol84/iss5/11