Are Roma People Descended from the Punjab Region of Pakistan: A Y-Chromosomal Perspective

Atif Adnan*, Allah Rakha, Hayder Lazim, Shahid Nazir, Wedad Saeed Al-Qahtani, Maha Abdullah Alwaili, Sibte Hadi, Chuan-Chao Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

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Abstract

Gypsies are a separate ethnic group living in Pakistan and some other countries as well. They are mostly known as ‘Roma’ and ‘untouchables’. They have different types of lifestyles as compared to other common people, as they always keep migrating from one place to another. They do not have proper houses; they live in tent houses and most probably work on daily wages to earn their living. Gypsies cannot be specified according to the place of residence and can only be classified according to their migration route. Previous historical and linguistic research showed the north Indian origin of Roma people. The present study collected 285 unrelated Roma individuals living in Punjab and typed with the Goldeneye Y20 system. Allelic frequencies ranged between 0.0035 and 0.5266, with haplotype diversity (HD) of 0.9999 and discrimination capacity (DC) of 0.8790. Gene diversity (GD) ranged from 0.6489 (DYS391) to 0.9764 (DYS391) (DY385ab). A total of 223 unique alleles were observed. Interestingly, the haplogroup R accounted for 40.56% and J for 22.06%. In MDS analysis, Pakistani Roma formed a close cluster with Roma from Constanta, Romania. The migration pattern of the Roma population from Pakistan, India and Europe was inferred using coalescence theory in the Migrate-n program. Overlapping Y-STR data were used to test different migration models. These migration models showed us the dominant gene flow from Pakistan to India and Europe to Pakistan. The results of our study showed that Y STRs provided substantially stronger discriminatory power in the Pakistani Roma population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e532
JournalGenes
Volume13
Issue number3
Early online date17 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • Gypsies
  • Y-chromosomal STRs
  • Pakistan
  • migration
  • Europe

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