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Summary

The general population of Costa Rica has sometimes been considered to be the product of an amalgamation of groups of diverse origin. To determine the magnitude of accumulated admixture since Spanish colonization, 11 classic genetic markers were analyzed in a total of 2196 individuals originating from five distinct regions of the country. A maximum likelihood approach was used. The proportions of genes of European, Amerindian and African ancestry were found to be 61%, 30% and 9% of the total population, respectively. Variation was observed at a regional level, with an increased European influence in the North (66%) and Central (65%) regions. Meanwhile an increase in Amerindian ancestry was found in the South (38%), and a higher incidence in the contribution of African genes was detected in the coastal regions (13% in the Atlantic and 14% in the North Pacific). A principal component (PC) analysis showed that 76% of the existing variability can be explained by the first two PCs, which is in agreement with the variations observed in the admixture process by geographic area. It has been concluded that the Costa Rican population is truly trihybrid, similar to populations in other Latin American countries; however, it differs from them fundamentally by the proportion of gene flow from ancestral populations.