Data provided by the social sciences and genetic research suggest that the 8-10 million Roma who live in Europe today are best described as a conglomerate of genetically isolated founder populations. The relationship between the traditional social structure observed by the Roma, where the Group is the primary unit, and the boundaries, demographic history and biological relatedness of the diverse founder populations is complex and still to be addressed in genetic studies. Recent research has identified a number of novel, or previously known but rare conditions, caused by private founder mutations, The available incomplete epidemiological data suggest a non-random distribution of disease-causing mutations among Romani groups. Although far from systematic, the published information indicates that Medical genetics has an important role to play in improving the health of this under-privileged and forgotten people of Europe. To be most productive, future studies of the epidemiology of single gene disorders should take social organisation and cultural anthropology into consideration, thus allowing the targeting of public health programmes and contributing to the understanding of population structure and demographic history of the Roma.
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - 2001|