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Concept: Serbia


A total of 444 individuals representing three ethnic groups (Albanians, Turks and Romanies) in the Republic of Macedonia were sequenced in the mitochondrial control region. The mtDNA haplogroup composition differed between the three groups. Our results showed relatively high frequencies of haplogroup H12 in Albanians (8.8%) and less in Turks (3.3%), while haplogroups M5a1 and H7a1a were dominant in Romanies (13.7% and 10.3%, respectively) but rare in the former two. This highlights the importance of regional sampling for forensic mtDNA databasing purposes. These population data will be available on EMPOP under accession numbers EMP00644 (Albanians), EMP00645 (Romanies) and EMP00646 (Turks).

Concepts: DNA, Mitochondrion, Mitochondrial DNA, Serbia, Greece, Mitochondrial Eve, Kosovo, Republic of Macedonia


To asses if the level of intention to engage others in academic transgressions was comparable among medical students from five schools from neighboring Southern-European countries: Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia; and medical students from western EU studying at Split, Croatia.

Concepts: European Union, Europe, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbs, Serbia, NATO, Council of Europe, Croatia


Newly obtained ages, based on electron spin resonance combined with uranium series isotopic analysis, and infrared/post-infrared luminescence dating, provide a minimum age that lies between 397 and 525 ka for the hominin mandible BH-1 from Mala Balanica cave, Serbia. This confirms it as the easternmost hominin specimen in Europe dated to the Middle Pleistocene. Inferences drawn from the morphology of the mandible BH-1 place it outside currently observed variation of European Homo heidelbergensis. The lack of derived Neandertal traits in BH-1 and its contemporary specimens in Southeast Europe, such as Kocabaş, Vasogliano and Ceprano, coupled with Middle Pleistocene synapomorphies, suggests different evolutionary forces acting in the east of the continent where isolation did not play such an important role during glaciations.

Concepts: Human, Evolution, Europe, Serbia, Balkans, Human evolution, Bulgaria, Romania


The transition from hunting and gathering to farming involved profound cultural and technological changes. In Western and Central Europe, these changes occurred rapidly and synchronously after the arrival of early farmers of Anatolian origin [1-3], who largely replaced the local Mesolithic hunter-gatherers [1, 4-6]. Further east, in the Baltic region, the transition was gradual, with little or no genetic input from incoming farmers [7]. Here we use ancient DNA to investigate the relationship between hunter-gatherers and farmers in the Lower Danube basin, a geographically intermediate area that is characterized by a rapid Neolithic transition but also by the presence of archaeological evidence that points to cultural exchange, and thus possible admixture, between hunter-gatherers and farmers. We recovered four human paleogenomes (1.1× to 4.1× coverage) from Romania spanning a time transect between 8.8 thousand years ago (kya) and 5.4 kya and supplemented them with two Mesolithic genomes (1.7× and 5.3×) from Spain to provide further context on the genetic background of Mesolithic Europe. Our results show major Western hunter-gatherer (WHG) ancestry in a Romanian Eneolithic sample with a minor, but sizeable, contribution from Anatolian farmers, suggesting multiple admixture events between hunter-gatherers and farmers. Dietary stable-isotope analysis of this sample suggests a mixed terrestrial/aquatic diet. Our results provide support for complex interactions among hunter-gatherers and farmers in the Danube basin, demonstrating that in some regions, demic and cultural diffusion were not mutually exclusive, but merely the ends of a continuum for the process of Neolithization.

Concepts: Germany, Serbia, Neolithic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Danube, Moldova


The Romani, the largest European minority group with approximately 11 million people [1], constitute a mosaic of languages, religions, and lifestyles while sharing a distinct social heritage. Linguistic [2] and genetic [3-8] studies have located the Romani origins in the Indian subcontinent. However, a genome-wide perspective on Romani origins and population substructure, as well as a detailed reconstruction of their demographic history, has yet to be provided. Our analyses based on genome-wide data from 13 Romani groups collected across Europe suggest that the Romani diaspora constitutes a single initial founder population that originated in north/northwestern India ∼1.5 thousand years ago (kya). Our results further indicate that after a rapid migration with moderate gene flow from the Near or Middle East, the European spread of the Romani people was via the Balkans starting ∼0.9 kya. The strong population substructure and high levels of homozygosity we found in the European Romani are in line with genetic isolation as well as differential gene flow in time and space with non-Romani Europeans. Overall, our genome-wide study sheds new light on the origins and demographic history of European Romani.

Concepts: Europe, Serbia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Kosovo, Romani language, Roma


Concentrations of ten heavy elements (Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn), as well as the pH values, organic matter contents, and electrical conductivities were measured in the surface soil samples collected from 21 sites of urban areas in the city of Novi Sad, the second largest city in Serbia, its suburban settlement and the nearby villages. Range of the heavy element concentrations was from 0.16 mg/kg (for Hg) to 18,994 mg/kg (for Fe). Significantly higher Hg and Mn concentrations were observed in subgroups with rural and market garden samples in comparison to the subgroups with urban and grassland samples, respectively, while the contents of Pb found in the grasslands subgroup were significantly higher than in the subgroup with market garden soils. Only one sample of urban soil exceeded the maximum permissible value for Zn set by the relevant Serbian legislation. According to the Dutch soil quality standard, the Cd and Co concentrations in majority of the examined soils were higher than the target values for unpolluted soil. The content of Hg was above the target value in 52% of the samples, most of them belonging to the subgroup of market garden soils. The results for the Novi Sad city area were compared to the relevant data available for other cities in the Western Balkan Countries. Principal component analysis of data revealed seven outlying samples, while the rest of the analyzed samples were grouped together indicating similar heavy element patterns most probably due to mixed emission sources.

Concepts: City, Serbs, Serbia, Town, Vojvodina, Novi Sad, Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro


The Croatian part of the Danube River extends over 188 km and comprises 58 % of the country’s overall area used for commercial freshwater fishing. To date, the heavy metal contamination of fish in the Croatian part of the Danube has not been studied. The main purpose of this study was to determine heavy metal levels in muscle tissue of sampled fish species and to analyze the measured values according to feeding habits of particular groups. Lead ranged from 0.015 μg(-1) dry weight in planktivorous to 0.039 μg(-1) dry weight in herbivorous fish, cadmium from 0.013 μg(-1) dry weight in herbivorous to 0.018 μg(-1) dry weight in piscivorous fish, mercury from 0.191 μg(-1) dry weight in omnivorous to 0.441 μg(-1) dry weight in planktivorous fish and arsenic from 0.018 μg(-1) dry weight in planktivorous to 0.039 μg(-1) dry weight in omnivorous fish. Among the analyzed metals in muscle tissue of sampled fish, only mercury exceeded the maximal level (0.5 mg kg(-1)) permitted according to the national and EU regulations determining maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs, indicating a hazard for consumers of fish from the Danube River.

Concepts: River, Toxicology, Lead, Serbia, Heavy metal music, Heavy metal, Romania, Danube


This study focuses on the issues related to the waste management in river ports in general and, particularly, in ports on the river Danube’s flow through Serbia. The ports of Apatin, Bezdan, Backa Palanka, Novi Sad, Belgrade, Smederevo, Veliko Gradiste, Prahovo and Kladovo were analyzed. The input data (number of watercrafts, passengers and crew members) were obtained from harbor authorities for the period 2005-2009. The quantities of solid waste generated on both cruise and cargo ships are considered in this article. As there is no strategy for waste treatment in the ports in Serbia, these data are extremely valuable for further design of equipment for waste treatment and collection. Trends in data were analyzed and regression models were used to predict the waste quantities in each port in next 3 years. The obtained trends could be utilized as the basis for the calculation of the equipment capacities for waste selection, collection, storage and treatment. The results presented in this study establish the need for an organized management system for this type of waste, as well as suggest where the terminals for collection, storage and treatment of solid waste from ships should be located.

Concepts: Serbia, Waste, Danube, Syrmia, Vojvodina, Novi Sad, Belgrade, Ba ka


Pikeperch (Sander lucioperca), European catfish (Silurus glanis), common carp (Cyprinus carpio), and gobies (Neogobius gymnotrachelus, Neogobius melanostomus) were collected from the Danube River (Belgrade section), and samples of liver, muscle, or whole-body composites (in the case of gobies) were analyzed for As, Cu, Fe, Hg, Mn, and Zn with inductively coupled plasma optical spectrometry to find out if there was a correlation between accumulation of these elements in predatory and prey species, as well as in pairs of species with overlapping diets. Concentrations of all analyzed elements were either higher (Cu, Fe, Mn, Zn) in liver than in muscle, or equal (As, Hg), except for Hg in carp, which was higher in muscle. Mercury concentration in liver and muscle of predators (catfish, pikeperch) was significantly (<10(-4)) higher than in prey fishes (carp and gobies). The results indicate that Hg concentration was biomagnified through the food chain. Concentrations of As, Fe, and Hg in carp liver and gobies whole-body composite were similar, but carp had significantly (<10(-4)) higher values of Zn and Cu in liver. The regression analysis and trendline equations indicate that the concentrations of all tested elements, except for As in liver, and Mn and Fe in muscle, were similar in predatory fish (pikeperch and catfish), on one hand, and in prey fish (carp and gobies), on the other hand. Distinctly high Zn concentration in carp is very common in this species due to its physiology. Concentrations of Hg and Zn were higher than the maximum acceptable concentration due to the high pollution level in this section of the Danube River, accordingly posing a risk for the human consumption of these fish species.

Concepts: Fish, Predation, Serbia, Aquaculture, Danube, Wels catfish, Belgrade, Sava


Media reports of leukaemia and other cancers among European United Nations (UN) peacekeepers who served in the Balkans, and a scientific finding of excess Hodgkin lymphoma among Italian UN peacekeepers who served in Bosnia, suggested a link between cancer incidence and depleted uranium (DU) exposure. This spurred several studies on cancer risk among UN peacekeepers who served in the Balkans. Although these studies turned out to be negative, the debate about possible cancers and other health risks caused by DU exposure continues. The aim of the present study was to investigate cancer incidence and all-cause mortality in a cohort of 6076 (4.4% women) Norwegian military UN peacekeepers deployed to Kosovo between 1999 and 2011.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cancer, European Union, Serbia, NATO, Kosovo, Montenegro, Peacekeeping