Dienekes has a pointer to a new paper on Gypsy genetics which surveys Y lineage variation among three Roma groups from Serbia in the context of Europe-wide Gypsy genetic variance, as well as their potential host (European) and source (Indian) populations. Since I recently posted on the topic, and Dienekes didn’t post some of the figures, I thought I’d do so. In particular here’s the MDS of the Gypsy groups in the international context:
Since they’re Kosovo Roma, and they seem to be a subclade of a lineage at high frequency among Albanians, it stands to reason that at some point in history a group of Albanian men, or a Albanian man, was culturally assimilated into a Roma identity. From the earlier charts I posted using variation on autosomal loci, instead of just a uniparental lineage, that shouldn’t be too surprising. The interesting point, as Dienekes noted, is that despite the genetic variation the Roma are surprisingly similar culturally across Europe. In particular it is striking that they tend to continue speaking an Indo-Aryan language. It’s not like this is unprecedented though. Some commenters have already observed striking analogies between Gypsies and Jews genetically and culturally, or at least in terms of the ethnogenesis of both groups as genetic and cultural compounds on the European scene. The analogy is tight enough that you have papers such as Multiple Origins of Ashkenazi Levites: Y Chromosome Evidence for Both Near Eastern and European Ancestries, which I believe will be recapitulated for the Gypsies broadly, and even the particular subset who are termed Roma.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons