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Ann Hum Genet. 2004 Nov;68(Pt 6):600-5.

A tale of aborigines, conquerors and slaves: Alu insertion polymorphisms and the peopling of Canary Islands.

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Unidad de Investigación, Hospital Universitario N. S. de Candelaria, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain.


Classical, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosome markers have been used to examine the genetic admixture in present day inhabitants of the Canary Islands. In this study, we report the analysis of ten autosomal Alu insertion polymorphisms in 364 samples from the seven main islands of the Archipelago, and their comparison to continental samples. The detection of population-specific alleles from the Iberian Peninsula and Northwest Africa, as well as their affinities on the basis of genetic distances and principal component analysis, support a clear link between these populations. Coincident with previous results, the Canarian gene pool can be distinguished as being halfway between those of its putative parents, although with a major Iberian contribution (62-78%). Both the substantial Northwest African contribution (23-38%), and the minor sub-Saharan African input (3%), suggest that the genetic legacy from the aborigines and slaves still persists in the Canary Islanders.

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