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Am J Hum Genet. 2015 Jan 8;96(1):54-69. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2014.11.012. Epub 2014 Dec 31.

Uncovering the genetic history of the present-day Greenlandic population.

Author information

1
The Bioinformatics Centre, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, 2200 Copenhagen, Denmark; Department of Human Genetics, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.
2
Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA; UCL Genetics Institute, Department of Genetics, Evolution, and Environment, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK.
3
Centre for GeoGenetics, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, 1350 Copenhagen, Denmark.
4
Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.
5
National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, 1353 Copenhagen, Denmark.
6
National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, 1353 Copenhagen, Denmark; Steno Diabetes Center, 2820 Gentofte, Denmark.
7
The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, Section of Metabolic Genetics, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.
8
Arctic Centre at the Ethnographic Collections, National Museum of Denmark, 1220 Copenhagen, Denmark.
9
Research Centre for Prevention and Health, Glostrup University Hospital, 2600 Glostrup, Denmark; Department of Clinical Experimental Research, Glostrup University Hospital, 2600 Glostrup, Denmark; Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, 2200 Copenhagen, Denmark.
10
The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, Section of Metabolic Genetics, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark; Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southern Denmark, 5000 Odense, Denmark.
11
Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA; Department of Statistics, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA. Electronic address: rasmus_nielsen@berkeley.edu.
12
The Bioinformatics Centre, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, 2200 Copenhagen, Denmark. Electronic address: albrecht@binf.ku.dk.

Abstract

Because of past limitations in samples and genotyping technologies, important questions about the history of the present-day Greenlandic population remain unanswered. In an effort to answer these questions and in general investigate the genetic history of the Greenlandic population, we analyzed ∼200,000 SNPs from more than 10% of the adult Greenlandic population (n = 4,674). We found that recent gene flow from Europe has had a substantial impact on the population: more than 80% of the Greenlanders have some European ancestry (on average ∼25% of their genome). However, we also found that the amount of recent European gene flow varies across Greenland and is far smaller in the more historically isolated areas in the north and east and in the small villages in the south. Furthermore, we found that there is substantial population structure in the Inuit genetic component of the Greenlanders and that individuals from the east, west, and north can be distinguished from each other. Moreover, the genetic differences in the Inuit ancestry are consistent with a single colonization wave of the island from north to west to south to east. Although it has been speculated that there has been historical admixture between the Norse Vikings who lived in Greenland for a limited period ∼600-1,000 years ago and the Inuit, we found no evidence supporting this hypothesis. Similarly, we found no evidence supporting a previously hypothesized admixture event between the Inuit in East Greenland and the Dorset people, who lived in Greenland before the Inuit.

PMID:
25557782
PMCID:
PMC4289681
DOI:
10.1016/j.ajhg.2014.11.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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