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On the origins, rapid expansion and genetic diversity of native Americans from hunting-gatherers to agriculturalists

Authors

  • Maria Regueiro,

    1. Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, College of Medicine, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199
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  • Joseph Alvarez,

    1. Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, College of Medicine, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199
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  • Diane Rowold,

    1. Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, College of Medicine, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199
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  • Rene J. Herrera

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, College of Medicine, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199
    • Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, College of Medicine, Florida International University, Modesto Maidique Campus, OE 304, Miami, FL 33199, USA
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Abstract

Given the importance of Y-chromosome haplogroup Q to better understand the source populations of contemporary Native Americans, we studied 8 biallelic and 17 microsatellite polymorphisms on the background of 128 Q Y-chromosomes from geographically targeted populations. The populations examined in this study include three from the Tuva Republic in Central Asia (Bai-Tai, Kungurtug, and Toora-Hem, n = 146), two from the northeastern tip of Siberia (New Chaplino and Chukchi, n = 32), and two from Mesoamerica (Mayans from Yucatan, Mexico n = 72, and Mayans from the Guatemalan Highlands, n = 43). We also see evidence of a dramatic Mesoamerican post-migration population growth in the ubiquitous and diverse Y-STR profiles of the Mayan and other Mesoamerican populations. In the case of the Mayans, this demographic growth was most likely fueled by the agricultural- and trade-based subsistence adopted during the Pre-Classic, Classic and Post-Classic periods of their empire. The limited diversity levels observed in the Altaian and Tuvinian regions of Central Asia, the lowest of all populations examined, may be the consequence of bottleneck events fostered by the spatial isolation and low effective population size characteristic of a nomadic lifestyle. Furthermore, our data illustrate how a sociocultural characteristic such as mode of subsistence may be of impact on the genetic structure of populations. We analyzed our genetic data using Multidimensional Scaling Analysis of populations, Principal Component Analysis of individuals, Median-joining networks of M242, M346, L54, and M3 individuals, age estimations based on microsatellite variation utilizing genealogical and evolutionary mutation rates/generation times and estimation of Y- STR average gene diversity indices. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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