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Am J Hum Genet. Sep 1999; 65(3): 829–846.
PMCID: PMC1377990

Combined use of biallelic and microsatellite Y-chromosome polymorphisms to infer affinities among African populations.

Abstract

To define Y-chromosome haplotypes, we studied seven biallelic polymorphic sites. We combined data with those from four dinucleotide-repeat polymorphisms, to establish Y-chromosome compound superhaplotypes. Eight biallelic haplotypes that matched the dendrogram proposed by other investigators were identified in 762 Y chromosomes from 25 African populations. For each biallelic site, coalescence time of lineages carrying the derived allele was estimated and compared with previous estimates. The "ancestral" haplotype (haplotype 1A) was observed among Ethiopians, "Khoisan" (!Kung and Khwe), and populations from northern Cameroon. Microsatellite distributions within this haplotype showed that the Khoisan haplotypes 1A are widely divergent from those of the other two groups. Populations from northern Africa and northern Cameroon share a haplotype (i.e., 1C), which is not observed in other African populations but represents a major Eurasian cluster. Haplotypes 1C of northern Cameroon are clearly distinct from those of Europe, whereas haplotypes 1C of northern African are well intermingled with those of the other two groups. Apportionment of diversity for the Y-chromosomal biallelic haplotypes was calculated after populations were clustered into different configurations. Despite some correspondence between language affiliation and genetic similarity, geographic proximity seems to be a better predictor of genetic affinity.

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