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Keywords:

  • parental lineages;
  • colonization of Quebec;
  • haplotype frequency classes

Abstract

Stable colonization of the Gaspe Peninsula by Europeans started in the middle of the 18th century at the time of the British conquest of New France. The earliest settlers were Acadians, escaping British deportation policies, followed by Loyalists from the US, who preferred to remain under British rule after the Declaration of Independence. In the 19th century, the developing fishing industry attracted French Canadians from the St. Lawrence Valley and newcomers from Europe including Channel Islanders from Jersey and Guernsey. We analyzed parental lineages of the self-declared descendants of these four groups of settlers by mtDNA D-loop sequencing and Y-chromosome genotyping and compared them with French, British, and Irish samples. Their representation in terms of haplotype frequency classes reveals different signatures of founder effects, such as a loss of rare haplotypes, modification of intermediate frequency haplotypes, reduction in genetic diversity (seen in Acadians), but also enrichment by admixture. Parental lineages correlate with group identity. Descendants of early settlers, Acadians and Loyalists, preserved their identity more than those of French Canadian and Channel Islander “latecomers.” Although overall genetic diversity among Gaspesians is comparable with their European source populations, FST analysis indicated their greater differentiation. Distinct settlement history, a limited number of founders and relative genetic isolation contributed to the regionalization of the Quebec gene pool that appears less homogenous than usually anticipated. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.