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Keywords:

  • Amerindians;
  • LINE insertions;
  • Alu insertions

Abstract

This study attempts to ascertain genetic affinities between Native American and East Asian populations by analyzing four polymorphic Alu insertions (PAIs) and three L1 polymorphic loci. These two genetic systems demonstrated strong congruence when levels of diversity and genetic distances were considered. Overall, genetic relatedness within Native American groups does not correlate with geographical and linguistic structure, although strong grouping for Native Americans with East Asians was demonstrated, with clear discrimination from African and European groups. Most of the variation was assigned to differences occurring within groups, but the interpopulation variation found for South Amerindians was recognizably higher in comparison to the other sampled groups of populations. Our data suggest that bottleneck events followed by strong influence of genetic drift in the process of the peopling of the Americas may have been determinant factors in delineating the genetic background of present-day South Amerindians. Since no clear subgroups were detected within Native Americans and East Asians, there is no indication of multiple waves in the early colonization of the New World. Am J Phys Anthropol 128:171-184, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.