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Abstract

One hundred nineteen individuals classified as White, living in different localities of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, were studied in relation to the HVS-I region of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). The male fraction of the sample (N = 74) was also tested for seven Y-chromosome polymorphisms. In a specific population (Veranópolis), a city characterized by a large influence of the Italian immigration of the 19th century, the results from the maternal and paternal sides indicated almost complete European ancestry. However, another sample identified as White, from different localities of Rio Grande do Sul, presented significant fractions of Native American (36%) and African (16%) mtDNA haplogroups. These results indicate that Brazilian populations are remarkably heterogeneous; while some present an overwhelming majority of transplanted European genomes, with a complete correspondence between physical appearance and ancestry, others reflect a history of extensive admixture with dissociation between physical appearance and ancestry. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 17:496–506, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.