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Eur J Hum Genet. 2007 Mar;15(3):288-93. Epub 2007 Jan 24.

Africans in Yorkshire? The deepest-rooting clade of the Y phylogeny within an English genealogy.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK.

Abstract

The presence of Africans in Britain has been recorded since Roman times, but has left no apparent genetic trace among modern inhabitants. Y chromosomes belonging to the deepest-rooting clade of the Y phylogeny, haplogroup (hg) A, are regarded as African-specific, and no examples have been reported from Britain or elsewhere in Western Europe. We describe the presence of an hgA1 chromosome in an indigenous British male; comparison with African examples suggests a Western African origin. Seven out of 18 men carrying the same rare east-Yorkshire surname as the original male also carry hgA1 chromosomes, and documentary research resolves them into two genealogies with most-recent-common-ancestors living in Yorkshire in the late 18th century. Analysis using 77 Y-short tandem repeats (STRs) is consistent with coalescence a few generations earlier. Our findings represent the first genetic evidence of Africans among 'indigenous' British, and emphasize the complexity of human migration history as well as the pitfalls of assigning geographical origin from Y-chromosomal haplotypes.

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PMID:
17245408
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2590664
Free PMC Article
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