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PLoS Genet. 2014 Aug 14;10(8):e1004530. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004530. eCollection 2014 Aug.

Patterns of admixture and population structure in native populations of Northwest North America.

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CNRS-MNHN-University Paris Diderot-Sorbonne Paris Cité, UMR7206 Eco-Anthropology and Ethno-Biology, Paris, France.
Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Department of Anthropology and School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, United States of America.
Departmento de Biología Celular, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autonóma de México, Mexico City, Mexico.
Department of Immunology and Immunogenetics, Instituto de Diagnóstico y Referencia Epidemiológicos, Secretary of Health, Mexico City, Mexico.
Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, United States of America.
Department of Anthropology, New York University, New York, New York, United States of America.
Metlakatla Treaty Office, Metlakatla, British Columbia, Canada.
Stswecem'c/Xgat'tem Band, British Columbia, Canada.
Splatsin Band Office, Enderby, British Columbia, Canada.
Seaalaska Heritage Institute, Juneau, Alaska, United States of America.
Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau, Quebec, Canada.
Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, California, United States of America.
Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, United States of America; Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, United States of America.


The initial contact of European populations with indigenous populations of the Americas produced diverse admixture processes across North, Central, and South America. Recent studies have examined the genetic structure of indigenous populations of Latin America and the Caribbean and their admixed descendants, reporting on the genomic impact of the history of admixture with colonizing populations of European and African ancestry. However, relatively little genomic research has been conducted on admixture in indigenous North American populations. In this study, we analyze genomic data at 475,109 single-nucleotide polymorphisms sampled in indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest in British Columbia and Southeast Alaska, populations with a well-documented history of contact with European and Asian traders, fishermen, and contract laborers. We find that the indigenous populations of the Pacific Northwest have higher gene diversity than Latin American indigenous populations. Among the Pacific Northwest populations, interior groups provide more evidence for East Asian admixture, whereas coastal groups have higher levels of European admixture. In contrast with many Latin American indigenous populations, the variance of admixture is high in each of the Pacific Northwest indigenous populations, as expected for recent and ongoing admixture processes. The results reveal some similarities but notable differences between admixture patterns in the Pacific Northwest and those in Latin America, contributing to a more detailed understanding of the genomic consequences of European colonization events throughout the Americas.

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