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BMC Evol Biol. 2009 Aug 3;9:181. doi: 10.1186/1471-2148-9-181.

Demographic history of Canary Islands male gene-pool: replacement of native lineages by European.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, University of La Laguna, Avda. Astrofísico Fco, Sánchez, La Laguna, 38271 Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain. rfregel@gmail.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The origin and prevalence of the prehispanic settlers of the Canary Islands has attracted great multidisciplinary interest. However, direct ancient DNA genetic studies on indigenous and historical 17th-18th century remains, using mitochondrial DNA as a female marker, have only recently been possible. In the present work, the analysis of Y-chromosome polymorphisms in the same samples, has shed light on the way the European colonization affected male and female Canary Island indigenous genetic pools, from the conquest to present-day times.

RESULTS:

Autochthonous (E-M81) and prominent (E-M78 and J-M267) Berber Y-chromosome lineages were detected in the indigenous remains, confirming a North West African origin for their ancestors which confirms previous mitochondrial DNA results. However, in contrast with their female lineages, which have survived in the present-day population since the conquest with only a moderate decline, the male indigenous lineages have dropped constantly being substituted by European lineages. Male and female sub-Saharan African genetic inputs were also detected in the Canary population, but their frequencies were higher during the 17th-18th centuries than today.

CONCLUSION:

The European colonization of the Canary Islands introduced a strong sex-biased change in the indigenous population in such a way that indigenous female lineages survived in the extant population in a significantly higher proportion than their male counterparts.

PMID:
19650893
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2728732
Free PMC Article
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