• uniparental genetic markers;
  • migrant origins;
  • gender-specific dispersal;
  • African diaspora


We analyzed sequence variation in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) hypervariable segment I (HVS-I) from 201 Black individuals from two Brazilian cities (Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre), and compared these data with published information from 21 African populations. A subset of 187 males of the sample was also characterized for 30 Y-chromosome biallelic polymorphisms, and the data were compared with those from 48 African populations. The mtDNA data indicated that respectively 69% and 82% of the matrilineages found in Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre originated from West-Central/Southeast Africa. These estimates are in close agreement with historical records which indicated that most of the Brazilian slaves who arrived in Rio de Janeiro were from West-Central Africa. In contrast to mtDNA, Y-chromosome haplogroup analysis did not allow discrimination between places of origin in West or West-Central Africa. Thus, when comparing these two major African regions, there seems to be higher genetic structure with mtDNA than with Y-chromosome data. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.