Are Basques special?, Jaume Bertranpetit
Interviewee: Jaume Bertranpetit. Geneticist Jaume Bertranpetit talks about the correlation between genes and language shown in the Basque population. (DNAi Location: Applications > Human Origins > gene genealogy > Tracing Ancestries > The Basques)
So here the question is, are Basques special, and if so, why? And the idea is that Basques, as other populations in Europe, they are not unique, but as other populations in Europe, they present some characteristic difference, some differences to the mainline Europe. We could say that in Europe the amount of genetic variation is extremely small. There are no structure of the genetic variation, hardly structure in this sense, so it's very difficult to make differences between places, let's say what nowadays is France, Germany, Spain, and so, Italy \u2013 because it's nearly exactly the same. And, but there are some populations having interesting differences; one of them is Basques. In the north there are the Sami no doubt, the other are Sardinia, and in this sense these populations, until now, what, as we understand them, are populations that have been kept isolated for a long time, from the big movements that have erased possible traces of differences within Europe. So this has been an interesting issue, because Basques are not in an island as Sardinians, but they have preserved not only very very very old genes in the sense that they have not been erased by latecomers, but they have also preserve the language, and in this case it's a very nice case of correlation of genes and language, due to isolation.
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