Historical Overview of the Human Population-Genetic Studies in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Small Country, Great Diversity

Lejla Lasić

Abstract


Modern Bosnia and Herzegovina is a multinational and multi-religious country, situated in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula in South-eastern Europe. According to recent archaeological findings, Bosnia and Herzegovina has been occupied by modern humans since the Palaeolithic period. The structure of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s human populations is very complex and specific, due to which it is interesting for various population-genetic surveys. The population of Bosnia and Herzegovina has been the focus of bio-anthropological and population genetics studies since the 19th century. The first known bio-anthropological analyses of Bosnia-Herzegovina population were primarily based on the observation of some phenotypic traits. Later examinations included cytogenetic and DNA based molecular markers. The results of all studies which have been done up to date showed no accented genetic difference among the populations (based on geographical regions) with quite high diversity within them. Human population of Bosnia and Herzegovina is closely related to other populations in the Balkans. However, there are still many interesting features hidden within the existing diversity of local human populations that are still waiting to be discovered and described.


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