The Berber and the Berbers

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In Northern Africa, two main blocks of languages are spoken: the vernacular Arabic varieties and the Berber languages. Our objective is to correlate linguistic characters to genetic data. The precise language affiliation of the samples is controlled. Relationships with Arabic speakers are examined. Four informative genetic markers have been studied: two are autosomal (Gm allotypes and Alu sequences) and the other two are of maternal (mitochondrial DNA) and paternal (Y chromosome) lineages. Four populations were studied (514 samples): three are from Morocco (Asni, Bouhria and Figuig oasis) and the fourth from Egypt (the Siwa oasis). The results were compared with previously published analyses. The genetic differentiation between North-Western and North-Eastern African Berbers (Siwan) seems to be correlated with linguistic studies.


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