Genetic Chaos

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Molecular Genetic Diversity of Indigenous Siberians: Implications for Ancient DNA Studies of Cis-Baikal Archeological Populations

Over the past several years, researchers have conducted a number of genetic studies of populations from central and southeastern Siberia because of their purported role in the peopling of the Americas. Molecular evidence suggests that ancestral Native American populations may have emerged from this region of northern Asia, as several maternally- and paternally-inherited genetic lineages present in both Siberia and the Americas appear to have evolved there. Recent work has also revealed the presence of both Eurasian and Asian genetic lineages in modern populations from the same area of Siberia, a pattern that probably reflects a complex history of population movements and interactions since the Paleolithic. This paper provides an overview of molecular genetic data from Siberian populations, and explores their implications for the ancient DNA analysis of archeological populations from the Cis-Baikal region.

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Ancestral Asian Source(s) of New World Y-Chromosome Founder Haplotypes

Haplotypes constructed from Y-chromosome markers were used to trace the origins of Native Americans. Our sample consisted of 2,198 males from 60 global populations, including 19 Native American and 15 indigenous North Asian groups. A set of 12 biallelic polymorphisms gave rise to 14 unique Y-chromosome haplotypes that were unevenly distributed among the populations. Combining multiallelic variation at two Y-linked microsatellites (DYS19 and DXYS156Y) with the unique haplotypes results in a total of 95 combination haplotypes. Contra previous findings based on Y- chromosome data, our new results suggest the possibility of more than one Native American paternal founder haplotype. We postulate that, of the nine unique haplotypes found in Native Americans, haplotypes 1C and 1F are the best candidates for major New World founder haplotypes, whereas haplotypes 1B, 1I, and 1U may either be founder haplotypes and/or have arrived in the New World via recent admixture. Two of the other four haplotypes (YAP+ haplotypes 4 and 5) are probably present because of post-Columbian admixture, whereas haplotype 1G may have originated in the New World, and the Old World source of the final New World haplotype (1D) remains unresolved. The contrasting distribution patterns of the two major candidate founder haplotypes in Asia and the New World, as well as the results of a nested cladistic analysis, suggest the possibility of more than one paternal migration from the general region of Lake Baikal to the Americas.

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