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PLoS One. 2008 May 7;3(5):e2105. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0002105.

The Druze: a population genetic refugium of the Near East.

Author information

  • 1Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine and Research Institute, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Phylogenetic mitochondrial DNA haplogroups are highly partitioned across global geographic regions. A unique exception is the X haplogroup, which has a widespread global distribution without major regions of distinct localization.

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

We have examined mitochondrial DNA sequence variation together with Y-chromosome-based haplogroup structure among the Druze, a religious minority with a unique socio-demographic history residing in the Near East. We observed a striking overall pattern of heterogeneous parental origins, consistent with Druze oral tradition, together with both a high frequency and a high diversity of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) X haplogroup within a confined regional subpopulation. Furthermore demographic modeling indicated low migration rates with nearby populations.

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings were enabled through the use of a paternal kindred based sampling approach, and suggest that the Galilee Druze represent a population isolate, and that the combination of a high frequency and diversity of the mtDNA X haplogroup signifies a phylogenetic refugium, providing a sample snapshot of the genetic landscape of the Near East prior to the modern age.

PMID:
18461126
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2324201
Free PMC Article

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