News from IBE - UPF
"Ibiza is different." That is what the hundreds of standard-bearers of the "hippie" movement who visited the Pitiusan Island during the 60s thought, fascinated by its climate and its unexplored nature. What they did not imagine was that the utmost unique feature of the island was in its inhabitants. Now a study led by Francesc Calafell, principal investigator of the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE) - a mixed center of the UPF and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) reveals that the genes of Ibiza natives are really different. Yes indeed, the island is unique.
The piece of work, published in the European Journal of Human Genetics with the collaboration of researchers from the American University of Lebanon and the University of Otago, reveals that current Ibizans come from the Catalan invaders who repopulated the island from the 13th century.
"The famine that followed the Franco-Ottoman attack in 1536 along with the epidemic of bubonic plague that struck Ibizan people in 1652 was a major demographic crisis for the island; this would explain the current absence of ancient genetic traits in the islanders, as well as their differentiation, since the current population descends from a small number of survivors of these calamities, "says Simone Biagini, PhD student in Francesc Calafell's group and first author of the study.
Simone Andrea Biagini, Neus Solé-Morata, Elizabeth Matisoo-Smith, Pierre Zalloua, David Comas & Francesc Calafell. People from Ibiza: an unexpected isolate in the Western Mediterranean; European Journal of Human Genetics