Combined data from two large mtDNA studies provides an estimate of non-Caucasoid maternal ancestry in Italians. The first study sampled 411 Italians from all over the country and found five South Asian M and East Asian D sequences (1.2%) and eight sub-Saharan African L sequences (1.9%). The second study sampled 465 Sicilians and detected ten M sequences (2.2%) and three L sequences (0.65%). This makes a total of 3% non-white maternal admixture (1.3% Asian and 1.7% African), which is very low and typical for European populations, since Pliss et al. 2005, e.g., observed 1.8% Asian admixture in Poles and 1.2% African admixture in Germans.
Plaza et al. (2003) Joining the Pillars of Hercules: mtDNA Sequences Show Multidirectional Gene Flow in the Western Mediterranean. Ann Hum Genet; 67:312
Similar data from the Y-chromosome reveals Italians' even lower non-Caucasoid paternal admixture. Both studies obtained samples from all over the mainland and islands. No Asian DNA was detected anywhere, but a single sub-Saharan African E(xE3b) sequence was found in the first study's sample of 416 (0.2%), and six were observed in the second study's sample of 746 (0.8%). The total is therefore a minuscule 0.6%, which decreases to 0.4% if only Southern Italians are considered and 0% if only Sicilians are considered. Again, these are normal levels of admixture for European populations (e.g. Austrians were found to have 0.8% E(xE3b) by Brion et al. 2004).
Semino et al. (2004) Origin, Diffusion, and Differentiation of Y-Chromosome Haplogroups E and J: Inferences on the Neolithization of Europe and Later Migratory Events in the Mediterranean Area. Am J Hum Genet; 74:1023-1034
Two subclades of North African Y-chromosome haplogroup E3b (labeled E-M81 and E-M78β) have been given an estimated age of ~5000 years, making them useful in detecting historical admixture from Berbers. These markers exist at combined frequencies of 1.5% in Northern Italians, 2.2% in Central Italians, 0% in Southern Italians, 1.4% in Sardinians and 1.4% in Sicilians. Additionally, North African mtDNA haplogroup U6 occurs at a rate of 0.6% in Sicilians and is absent everywhere else in Italy (Plaza et al. 2003). This suggests that gene flow from Carthaginian and Moorish colonists was minimal.
Cruciani et al. (2004) Phylogeographic Analysis of Haplogroup E3b (E-M215) Y Chromosomes Reveals Multiple Migratory Events Within and Out of Africa. Am J Hum Genet; 74:1014-1022