"Greek" E3b1 contribution to Pathans of Pakistan actually Macedonian
OK, I've scanned the article itself and I must say that it is very interesting and also frustrating. Interesting because it once again confirms the Balkan origin of E3b1 (alpha), but fails to
identify the ethnicity of the ancestors correctly!! Time and again, the article refers to the progenitors of the Pathan population in Pakistan as "Greek." It becomes clear in context that the authors
are referring to Macedonians as Greeks. This identification is in itself controversial and may not be
Please see this 2001 medical study on the genetic makeup of Macedonians and Greeks entitled, HLA genes in Macedonians and the sub-Saharan origin of the Greeks," by A. Arnaiz-Villena et al.
Here are the relevant conclusions of the above-cited article:
"The following conclusions have been reached: 1) Macedonians belong to the "older" Mediterranean substratum, like Iberians (including Basques), North Africans, Italians, French, Cretans, Jews, Lebanese, Turks (Anatolians), Armenians and Iranians,
2) Macedonians are not related with geographically close Greeks, who do not belong to the "older" Mediterranenan substratum,
3) Greeks are found to have a substantial relatedness to sub-Saharan (Ethiopian) people, which separate them from other Mediterranean groups."
In the current article on the Pathans, an assumption is made, alluded to within the title itself, that Alexander the Great was Greek. What the authors say that is helpful to understanding ancient population movements is that the Pathan population of Pakistan has a tradition of descent from members of Alexander the Great's army, which appears to be borne out also by
the genetic evidence for a strong presence of E3b1 (alpha presumed) - M78 among the Pathan male population. The authors also identify M78 as originating in the Balkans.
They then proceed to muddy the waters badly by claiming that the the following haplotype is "Greek":
Anyone who has worked with E3b1 for any length of time will recognize these immediately as the ordinary modal STR values for the E3b1 subclade (probably E3b1a2, although this still awaits the commercial availability of V13 for proof.)
The authors entered this "Greek"haplotype at YHRD and stated in their article that 53 individuals in a worldwide population sample of 7897 haplotypes were found that matched it. To quote:
"The contour map [of the distribution of this haplotype] shows a major concentration around Macedonia and Greece, with a low scattering in other European countries, Tunisia, West Africa and the Pathans. This gives a strong indication of a European, possibly Greek, origin of these Pathan Y chromosomes." Thus in this statement, they again conflate Macedonian and Greek ancestry. (See above-linked abstract to the article, "HLA genes in Macedonians and the sub-Saharan origin of the Greeks.").
I decided to follow suit and enter the same data at YHRD. I entered the above haplotype and came up with a list of the populations with matches to this profile. What struck me immediately was the almost complete ABSENCE of this haplotype in Greece itself!!!! The only exception was found in Thrace, Greece, where 4 out of 41 samples showed this profile. Every other profile
was found outside of Greece itself, including 14/149 in Macedonia, 4/43 in Krusevo, Macedonia (among the Aromun population there,) 8/453 in Stuttgart, Germany, 5/35 in Sarajevo, 3/52 in Skopje, Macedonia, 2/30 in Tirana, Albania, etc.
The following regions in Greece had NO presence for this profile in YHRD (sample size in parenthesis):
Central Greece (14)
Crete, Greece (8)
Epirus, Greece (14)
Macedonia, Greece (28) !!!!!!
Peloponnes, Greece (18)
Thessaly, Greece (15)
198 samples above, plus 37 out of 41 samples in Thrace, for a total of 235 samples found in Greece had NO appearance of this haplotype whatsoever. The E3b1 modal appeared in just 4 out of 235 samples within the borders of Greece itself and those in a region that was originally part of Thracia. How can anyone say credibly that this group is representative of a displaced Greek population? At the very least it is Macedonian and considering the known composition of Alexander's army, may have been Thracian instead.
The problem, obviously, is with the misidentification of Alexander as a Greek rather than a Macedonian by these researchers. If they had stated that the Pathan population of Pakistan had been descended from Macedonians who accompanied Alexander, I believe that they would have hit the mark.
One other paragraph is worth noting:
"This haplotype was not observed in any other E3b1-derived Pakistani Y chromosome but was highly specific for the Balkans -- the highest frequency being in Macedonia."
I was speechless. The right conclusion but the wrong description.
Steven Bird, DMA