The origins of the Roma people of Europe and West Asia are better understood each day.
Niraj Rai et al., The Phylogeography of Y-Chromosome Haplogroup H1a1a-M82 Reveals the Likely Indian Origin of the European Romani Populations. PLoS ONE 2012. Open access → LINK [doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048477]
AbstractLinguistic and genetic studies on Roma populations inhabited in Europe
have unequivocally traced these populations to the Indian subcontinent.
However, the exact parental population group and time of the
out-of-India dispersal have remained disputed. In the absence of
archaeological records and with only scanty historical documentation of
the Roma, comparative linguistic studies were the first to identify
their Indian origin. Recently, molecular studies on the basis of
disease-causing mutations and haploid DNA markers (i.e. mtDNA and
Y-chromosome) supported the linguistic view. The presence of
Indian-specific Y-chromosome haplogroup H1a1a-M82 and mtDNA haplogroups
M5a1, M18 and M35b among Roma has corroborated that their South Asian
origins and later admixture with Near Eastern and European populations.
However, previous studies have left unanswered questions about the exact
parental population groups in South Asia. Here we present a detailed
phylogeographical study of Y-chromosomal haplogroup H1a1a-M82 in a data
set of more than 10,000 global samples to discern a more precise
ancestral source of European Romani populations. The phylogeographical
patterns and diversity estimates indicate an early origin of this
haplogroup in the Indian subcontinent and its further expansion to other
regions. Tellingly, the short tandem repeat (STR) based network of
H1a1a-M82 lineages displayed the closest connection of Romani haplotypes
with the traditional scheduled caste and scheduled tribe population
groups of northwestern India.
|Figure 1. The most parsimonious route of
prehistoric expansion of Y-chromosomal haplogroup H1a1a-M82 and the
recent out-of -India migration of European Roma ancestors.
|Figure 2. Phylogenetic network relating Y-STR haplotypes within haplogroup H1a1a -M82.|
I don’t feel I can say much more. Just, as usual, to insist in taking the proposed age estimates with caution.