
We study the constraints imposed by neutrino oscillation experiments on the minimal extensions of the Standard Model (SM) with nR gauge singlet fermions ('righthanded neutrinos'), that can account for neutrino masses. We consider the most general coupling to SM fields of the new fields, in particular those that break lepton number and we do not assume any a priori hierarchy in the mass parameters. We proceed to analyze these models starting from the lowest level of complexity, defined by the number of extra fermionic degrees of freedom. The simplest choice that has enough free parameters in principle (i.e. two mass differences and two angles) to explain the confirmed solar and atmospheric oscillations corresponds to nR=1. This minimal choice is shown to be excluded by data. The nexttominimal choice corresponds to nR=2. We perform a systematic study of the full parameter space in the limit of degenerate Majorana masses by requiring that at least two neutrino mass differences correspond to those established by solar and atmospheric oscillations. We identify several types of spectra that can fit longbaseline reactor and accelerator neutrino oscillation data, but fail in explaining solar and/or atmospheric data. The only two solutions that survive are the expected seesaw and quasiDirac regions, for which we set lower and upper bounds respectively on the Majorana mass scale. Solar data from neutral current measurements provide essential information to constrain the quasiDirac region. The possibility to accommodate the LSND/MiniBoone and reactor anomalies, and the implications for neutrinoless doublebeta decay and tritium beta decay are briefly discussed.
