Of Alps and Men: On Social and Y-Chromosomal Markers from Tyrol, Austria
Niederstätter,H.; Berger,B.; Erhart,D.; Parson,W.
Alpine landscapes impede human dispersal and both migration and permanently habitable areas are largely restricted to mountain valleys. The complex topography results in complex patterns of human settlement characterized by communities with differing degrees of connection and size, even at the microgeographical scale. This is likely to leave its mark on the local genetic make-up, as successful movement of individuals between communities forms a basis of genetic diversity. On top of that, social factors, such as inheritance law fostering patrilocality or authoritarian restrictions in access to marriage and reproduction, can form barriers with low permeability to gene flow and will support non-random mating. In general, larger and/or more connected communities will be less susceptible to the interplay of these different factors, whereas small and isolated groups are at a higher risk of becoming subject to the effects of genetic drift and losing genetic diversity.