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Keywords:

  • Mediterranean;
  • Y chromosome;
  • population genetic structure;
  • STRs;
  • UEPs

Abstract

The Mediterranean region has been characterised by a number of pre-historical and historical demographic events whose legacy on the current genetic landscape is still a matter of debate. In order to investigate the degree of population structure across the Mediterranean, we have investigated Y chromosome variation in a large dataset of Mediterranean populations, 11 of which are first described here. Our analyses identify four main clusters in the Mediterranean that can be labelled as North Africa, Arab, Central-East and West Mediterranean. In particular, Near Eastern samples tend to separate according to the presence of Arab Y chromosome lineages, suggesting that the Arab expansion played a major role in shaping the current genetic structuring within the Fertile Crescent.