The Garífuna (Black Carib) people of the Atlantic coasts of Honduras: Population dynamics, structure, and phylogenetic relations inferred from genetic data, migration matrices, and isonymy



The aim of this study is to assess population dynamics, structure, and phylogenetic relations of the populations that inhabit the Caribbean coasts of Honduras: the Garífuna (or Black Carib) people, an admixture of Black Africans and Red Carib Native Amerindians. Thirteen autosomal tetranucleotide microsatellite markers of the DNA (namely short tandem repeats) were genotyped in samples from the Garifuna communities of Bajamar, in the Department of Cortés; Corozal, in the Department of Atlántida; and Iriona, in the Department of Gracias a Dios. Each subject in the study filled a questionnaire with the following information: complete name and surname of participant, and places of birth of the participant, his/her parents, and grandparents. We performed analyses that included determination of migration rates and residence patterns from information of places of birth, fixation indices from genetic data, and analysis of surnames of the sampled subjects (isonymy). Migration matrices showed a migration wave from east to west in the parents and grandparents of the subjects. A raise in migration rates and a shift in predominating residence pattern from neolocality to matrilocality from grandparents to parents were observed. Analysis of isonymy conjunctly with values for FIS in each community showed high endogamy in Bajamar, and recent, high immigration in Iriona. A dendrogram constructed with allele frequencies of the Garifuna and other populations from the Americas, Africa, and Europe revealed the close relationships of this ethnic group with Afro-Caribbean and African Populations. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.