The mapping of the human genome that has been completed in recent decades has fostered many subsequent research projects, including comparisons of individual genomes with others or with genomic patterns of tribes from modern or earlier times derived from examination of human cells. These exciting advancements in the science of biology have the potential to help shape more elements of our self-awareness. Since our genetic origins determine the majority of our actions over the course of our life, knowledge of our individual genome can provide explanations for most of our characteristics, from our physical makeup to our mental impulses. A necessary condition for reliable diagnoses, however, is the comparison of the individual gene profile with confirmed racial archetypes. The results of these comparisons, those obtained after assured scientific validation of all phases of the research and comparison process, can help explain many of the inner impulses in our adult life.
The most difficult phase in the evolution of the process described above is the selection of the standards against which each individual genome is compared. In our region, Mani, whose population composition has been little modified during the four centuries of Ottoman rule and to a small extent during the first century and a half of the modern Greek state, it is possible to draw largely safe conclusions about our individual genetic constitution after comparison with genomes of our ancestors from those centuries, as derived from scientific research of the remains of bodily material and used as standards for comparisons. In this way, it will be possible to identify the Maniot idiosyncracy which, in the current period, some people consider honourable and others renounce, despite the existence of clear evidence of their Maniot origin.
If we also wish to know whether and to what extent our genome is linked to the important migrations and settlements in Mani during the ten centuries (5th-15th) or how it is linked to the relocations of groups by the Crusaders of Western Europe in the 13th century, we can proceed by comparing our genome with the gene patterns of these tribes.
The self-awareness that emerges from these findings can provide a further impetus for joint action in the name of recently verified common biological origins. This self-knowledge will strengthen the common way of thinking of a large part of our compatriots which was formed as a result of the struggles of our ancestors for the preservation of the freedom and autonomy of the region during the many centuries of Ottoman rule.
It was mentioned earlier that there is also a significant portion of individuals who, although their personal data proves their Maniot ancestry, they deny it for various reasons. These deniers are the descendants of two different groups of Maniots who left our area for two reasons:
a) after the 1821 revolution, Ottomans got expelled and some Maniot warriors settled permanently the areas that they used to occupy. In these areas they earned income from estates that were much more prosperous than those they previously had in Mani. However, since the legalisation of their relocation was difficult and arbitrary, they had good reasons for concealing their origin. This tendency was passed on to the generations that followed until today.
b) after deadly family conflicts, in order to avoid reprisals, some Maniots left their ancestral homes and moved to areas, either remote rural or populous urban areas, where it was difficult to track them down. Strong evidence of the Maniot origin of the first group is the preservation in many cases of the surnames ending in -έας and -άκος (established mainly during the years of the revolutionary period 1821-1827) and of the second group the preservation of the surname “Mανιάτης” established after relocation to their new residences. However, as many decades have passed since their relocation, the original causes of ancestry concealment no longer exist, and the recognition of their ancestry could contribute to the strengthening of the population potential of Maniot origin, helping to promote the development goals of our region, which is also their ancestral land.
The above-mentioned procedures for checking individual genomes could lead to the verification of origin, but also to the interpretation of many of the specific characteristics of non-identified origin. Comparing the similarities of individual traits with important Maniot characteristics that have been generally recognised on the basis of historical patterns, such as the appeal to free action and individual autonomy, might also lead to the formation of Maniot consciousness.