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J Hum Genet. 2011 Aug;56(8):583-8. doi: 10.1038/jhg.2011.64. Epub 2011 Jun 16.

Ancient links between Siberians and Native Americans revealed by subtyping the Y chromosome haplogroup Q1a.

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Genetics Laboratory, Institute of Biological Problems of the North, Russian Academy of Sciences, Portovaya street 18, Magadan, Russia.


To investigate the structure of Y chromosome haplogroups R-M207 and Q-M242 in human populations of North Asia, we have performed high-resolution genotyping using both single nucleotide polymorphisms and short tandem repeat (STR)-based approaches of 121 M207- and M242-derived samples from 885 males of 16 ethnic groups of Siberia and East Asia. As a result, the following Y chromosome haplogroups were revealed: R1b1b1-M73 (2.0%), R1b1b2-M269 (0.7%), R2-M124 (1.1%), Q1a*-MEH2 (0.5%), Q1a2-M25 (0.1%), Q1a3*-M346 (9.2%) and Q1a3a-M3 (0.2%). Despite the low coalescence age of haplogroup Q1a3*-M346, which is estimated in South Siberia as about 4.5±1.5 thousand years ago (Ka), divergence time between these Q1a3*-M346 haplotypes and Amerindian-specific haplogroup Q1a3a-M3 is equal to 13.8±3.9 Ka, pointing to a relatively recent entry date to America. In addition, unique cluster of haplotypes belonging to Q1a*-MEH2 was found in Koryaks inhabiting the Sea of Okhotsk coast (at a frequency of 10.3%). Although the level of STR diversity associated with Q1a*-MEH2 is very low, this lineage appears to be closest to the extinct Palaeo-Eskimo individuals belonging to the Saqqaq culture arisen in the New World Arctic about 5.5 Ka. This finding suggests that Q1a*-MEH2 likely traces a population migration originating in Northeast Siberia across the Bering Strait.

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