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Hum Genet. 2003 Apr;112(4):353-63. Epub 2003 Feb 20.

High level of male-biased Scandinavian admixture in Greenlandic Inuit shown by Y-chromosomal analysis.

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Department of Genetics, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK.


We have used binary markers and microsatellites on the Y chromosome to analyse diversity in a sample of Greenlandic Inuit males. This sample contains Y chromosomes typical of those found in European populations. Because the Y chromosome has a unique and robust phylogeny of a time depth that precedes the split between European and Native American populations, it is possible to assign chromosomes in an admixed population to either continental source. On this basis, 58+/-6% of these Y chromosomes have been assigned to a European origin. The high proportion of European Y chromosomes contrasts with a complete absence of European mitochondrial DNA and indicates strongly male-biased European admixture into Inuit. Comparison of the European component of Inuit Y chromosomes with European population data suggests that they have their origins in Scandinavia. There are two potential source populations: Norse settlers from Iceland, who may have been assimilated 500 years ago, and the Danish-Norwegian colonists of the eighteenth century. Insufficient differentiation between modern Icelandic and Danish Y chromosomes means that a choice between these cannot be made on the basis of diversity analysis. However, the extreme sex bias in the admixture makes the later event more likely as the source.

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