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Biol Lett. 2007 Apr 22;3(2):218-23.

A private allele ubiquitous in the Americas.

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  • 1Department of Anthropology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


The three-wave migration hypothesis of Greenberg et al. has permeated the genetic literature on the peopling of the Americas. Greenberg et al. proposed that Na-Dene, Aleut-Eskimo and Amerind are language phyla which represent separate migrations from Asia to the Americas. We show that a unique allele at autosomal microsatellite locus D9S1120 is present in all sampled North and South American populations, including the Na-Dene and Aleut-Eskimo, and in related Western Beringian groups, at an average frequency of 31.7%. This allele was not observed in any sampled putative Asian source populations or in other worldwide populations. Neither selection nor admixture explains the distribution of this regionally specific marker. The simplest explanation for the ubiquity of this allele across the Americas is that the same founding population contributed a large fraction of ancestry to all modern Native American populations.

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