Genetic Chaos

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The phylogeography of Y chromosome binary haplotypes and the origins of modern human populations

Although molecular genetic evidence continues to accumulate that is consistent with a recent common African ancestry of modern humans, its ability to illuminate regional histories remains incomplete. A set of unique event polymorphisms associated with the non-recombining portion of the Y-chromosome (NRY) addresses this issue by providing evidence concerning successful migrations originating from Africa, which can be interpreted as subsequent colonizations, differentiations and migrations overlaid upon previous population ranges. A total of 205 markers identified by denaturing high performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC), together with 13 taken from the literature, were used to construct a parsimonious genealogy. Ancestral allelic states were deduced from orthologous great ape sequences. A total of 131 unique haplotypes were defined which trace the microevolutionary trajectory of global modern human genetic diversification. The genealogy provides a detailed phylogeographic portrait of contemporary global population structure that is emblematic of human origins, divergence and population history that is consistent with climatic, paleoanthropological and other genetic knowledge.

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Origins of modern humans still look recent

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