Demographic expansions in South America: Enlightening a complex scenario with genetic and linguistic data

Authors

  • Virginia Ramallo,

    1. Departamento de Genética, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Caixa Postal 15053, 91501-970, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
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    • Virginia Ramallo, Rafael Bisso-Machado, Tábita Hünemeier, and Maria Cátira Bortolini contributed equally to this work.

  • Rafael Bisso-Machado,

    1. Departamento de Genética, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Caixa Postal 15053, 91501-970, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
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  • Claudio Bravi,

    1. Laboratorio de Genética Molecular Poblacional, Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biología Celular (CCT La Plata CONICET-CICPBA), Argentina
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  • Michael D. Coble,

    1. Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, 1413 Research Blvd, Rockville, MD
    Current affiliation:
    1. National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8214
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  • Francisco M. Salzano,

    1. Departamento de Genética, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Caixa Postal 15053, 91501-970, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
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  • Tábita Hünemeier,

    1. Departamento de Genética, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Caixa Postal 15053, 91501-970, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
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  • Maria Cátira Bortolini

    Corresponding author
    1. Departamento de Genética, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Caixa Postal 15053, 91501-970, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
    • Maria Cátira Bortolini, Departamento de Genética, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Caixa Postal 15053, 91501-970 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
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Abstract

Native Americans are characterized by specific and unique patterns of genetic and cultural/linguistic diversities, and this information has been used to understand patterns of geographic dispersion, and the relationship between these peoples. Particularly interesting are the Tupi and Je speaker dispersions. At present, a large number of individuals speak languages of these two stocks; for instance, Tupi-Guarani is one of the official languages in Paraguay, Bolivia, and the Mercosul economic block. Although the Tupi expansion can be compared in importance to the Bantu migration in Africa, little is known about this event relative to others. Equal and even deeper gaps exist concerning the Je-speakers' expansion. This study aims to elucidate some aspects of these successful expansions. To meet this purpose, we analyzed Native American mtDNA complete control region from nine different populations and included HVS-I sequences available in the literature, resulting in a total of 1,176 samples investigated. Evolutionary relationships were explored through median-joining networks and genetic/geographic/linguistic correlations with Mantel tests and spatial autocorrelation analyses. Both Tupi and Je showed general traces of ancient or more recent fissionfusion processes, but a very different pattern of demographic expansion. Tupi populations displayed a classical isolation-by-distance pattern, while Je groups presented an intricate and nonlinear mode of dispersion. We suggest that the collective memory and other cultural processes could be important factors influencing the fissionfusion events, which likely contributed to the genetic structure, evolution, and dispersion of Native American populations. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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