The isonymic method has been generally accepted in population genetic studies and surnames have been successfully used to investigate human populations as if they were genetic markers associated to the Y chromosome. In this study we analysed the microevolution dynamics of Postua, a mountain village of North Western Italy, by means of demographic methods. The uniqueness of this community is due to its past geographical and cultural isolation and to the high frequency of marriage between relatives. During the study period considered (1640–1989) the population underwent several fluctuations in size and other demographic parameters such as the endogamy, isonimy and consanguinity rates. Until the first half of the XIX century Postua appears to be a village characterised by a closed and isolated community, with high endogamy (80–90%) and isonimy (up to 34.4%). Only at the beginning of the XX century, when the population started to be subjected to significant immigration fluxes, data show a progressive reduction of the isolation. The population showed two demographic peaks, the first around the second half of the XVIII century (1639 inhabitants) and the second at the end of the XIX century (1464 inhabitants). The S/N ratio was low (0.2–0.3) and relatively constant until the beginning of the last century, and only in the last three decades of the XX century, when the population was subjected to immigration, Postua showed a significant increase in the S/N ratio values (to about 0.9). The surname frequency was constant until the 1850 when almost all surnames were the same as those already present in the XVII century. From the first half of the XIX century, the founder surnames decreased, whereas new surnames started to increase and became persistent in the population.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 17, 2010
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