Original Article

Population history of the Dniester-Carpathians: evidence from Alu markers

  • Journal of Human Genetics volume 52, pages 308316 (2007)
  • doi:10.1007/s10038-007-0113-x
  • Download Citation


The area between the Dniester and the eastern Carpathian mountain range is at a geographical crossroads between eastern Europe and the Balkans. Little is known about the genetics of the population of this region. We performed an analysis of 12 binary autosomal markers in samples from six Dniester-Carpathian populations: two Moldavian, one Romanian, one Ukrainian and two Gagauz populations. The results were compared with gene frequency data from culturally and linguistically related populations from Southeast Europe and Central Asia. Small genetic differences were found among southeastern European populations (in particular those of the Dniester-Carpathian region). The observed homogeneity suggests either a very recent common ancestry of all southeastern European populations or strong gene flow between them. Despite this low level of differentiation, tree reconstruction and principle component analyses allowed a distinction between Balkan-Carpathian (Macedonians, Romanians, Moldavians, Ukrainians and Gagauzes) and eastern Mediterranean (Turks, Greeks and Albanians) population groups. The genetic affinities among Dniester-Carpathian and southeastern European populations do not reflect their linguistic relationships. The results indicate that the ethnic and genetic differentiations occurred in these regions to a considerable extent independently of each other. In particular, Gagauzes, a Turkic-speaking population, show closer affinities to their geographical neighbors than to other Turkic populations.

  • Subscribe to Journal of Human Genetics for full access:



Additional access options:

Already a subscriber?  Log in  now or  Register  for online access.

Author information


  1. National Center of Reproductive Health and Medical Genetics, Burebista str. 82, 2062 Kishinev, Moldova

    • Alexander Varzari
  2. Biocentre, Ludwigs-Maximilian University Munich, Grosshaderner Strasse 2, 82152 Planegg-Martinsried, Germany

    • Alexander Varzari
    • , Wolfgang Stephan
    •  & Elisabeth Weiss
  3. Anthropological Research Centre “Francisc Rainer”, Romanian Academy, B-dul Eroii Sanitari 8, Sector 5, Bucharest, Romania

    • Florina Raicu
    •  & Cristiana Glavce
  4. National Scientific and Practical Centre for Preventive Medicine, Ministry of Health, Gheorghi Asachi 67, 2028 Kishinev, Moldova

    • Radu Cojocaru
  5. Medical Diagnostical Centre “Modus Vivendi”, Kishinev, Moldova, Burebista str. 80, 2062 Kishinev, Moldova

    • Yuri Roschin
  6. Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Academy of Sciences of Moldova, Banulescu-Bodoni str. 35, 2012 Kishinev, Moldova

    • Alexander Varzari
    •  & Valentin Dergachev
  7. Research Institute of Medical Genetics, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Nab. Ushayky 10, 634050 Tomsk, Russia

    • Vadim Stepanov
    •  & Maria Spiridonova
  8. Department of Anthropology, University of Ulm, Parkstrasse 11, 89073 Ulm, Germany

    • Horst D Schmidt


  1. Search for Alexander Varzari in:

  2. Search for Wolfgang Stephan in:

  3. Search for Vadim Stepanov in:

  4. Search for Florina Raicu in:

  5. Search for Radu Cojocaru in:

  6. Search for Yuri Roschin in:

  7. Search for Cristiana Glavce in:

  8. Search for Valentin Dergachev in:

  9. Search for Maria Spiridonova in:

  10. Search for Horst D Schmidt in:

  11. Search for Elisabeth Weiss in:

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alexander Varzari.