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Abstract

The present-day Brazilian gene pool is known to be the outcome of an admixture process of populations from different origins, mainly Amerindians, Europeans, and Africans. It is also known that in Brazil, a wide variation in the admixture process occurred in different regions of the country or even in different subpopulations from the same region. In the present study, we aimed to characterize the male lineages present in the Rio de Janeiro population, the second most populated of the 26 Brazilian states. A random sample of 127 unrelated males from Rio de Janeiro was typed for 28 Y-chromosome-specific biallelic markers. In total, 17 different haplogroups were defined within our sample, most of them of European ancestry (88.1%). Those of sub-Saharan African origin (E3a) amounted to 7.9%, while only 2 males carried Amerindian lineages (characterized by the presence of an M3 mutation: haplogroup Q3). Using both Y-STR haplotype and Y-SNP haplogroup information, genetic distances were calculated between the subgroup of Rio de Janeiro males carrying European haplogroups and the Portuguese population. Low, nonsignificant, values were obtained. Thus, in contrast with what is observed in their female counterparts, the vast majority of the present Rio de Janeiro male gene pool is of European extraction, while the original Amerindian lineages are residual and much less frequent than the sub-Saharan component resulting from the slave trade. These observations can be interpreted as the signature of the strong gender asymmetry of the admixture processes in colonial systems. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 18:829–837, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.