Genetic Chaos

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Review of Croatian Genetic Heritage as Revealed by Mitochondrial DNA and Y Chromosomal Lineages

The aim of this review is to summarize the existing data collected in high-resolution phylogenetic studies of mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome variation in mainland and insular Croatian populations. Mitochondrial DNA polymorphisms were explored in 721 individuals by sequencing mtDNA HVS-1 region and screening a selection of 24 restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs), diagnostic for main Eurasian mtDNA haplogroups. Whereas Y chromosome variation was analyzed in 451 men by using 19 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)/indel and 8 short tandem repeat (STR) loci. The phylogeography of mtDNA and Y chromosome variants of Croatians can be adequately explained within typical European maternal and paternal genetic landscape, with the exception of mtDNA haplogroup F and Y-chromosomal haplogroup P* which indicate a connection to Asian populations. Similar to other European and Near Eastern populations, the most frequent mtDNA haplogroups in Croatians were H (41.1%), U5 (10.3%), and J (9.7%). The most frequent Y chromosomal haplogroups in Croatians, I-P37 (41.7%) and R1a-SRY1532 (25%), as well as the observed structuring of Y chromosomal variance reveal a clearly evident Slavic component in the paternal gene pool of contemporary Croatian men. Even though each population and groups of populations are well characterized by maternal and paternal haplogroup distribution, it is important to keep inmind that linking phylogeography of various haplogroups with known historic and prehistoric scenarios should be cautiously performed.

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Gene Pool Structure of Eastern Ukrainians as Inferred from the Y-Chromosome Haplogroups

Y chromosomes from representative sample of Eastern Ukrainians (94 individuals) were analyzed for composition and frequencies of haplogroups, defined by 11 biallelic loci located in non-recombining part of the chromosome (SRY1532, YAP, 92R7, DYF155S2, 12f2, Tat, M9, M17, M25, M89, and M56). In the Ukrainian gene pool six haplogroups were revealed: E, F (including G and I), J, N3, P, and R1a1. These haplogroups were earlier detected in a study of Y-chromosome diversity on the territory of Europe as a whole. The major haplogroup in the Ukrainian gene pool, haplogroup R1a1 (earlier designated HG3), accounted for about 44% of all Y chromosomes in the sample examined. This haplogroup is thought to mark the migration patterns of the early Indo-Europeans and is associated with the distribution of the Kurgan archaeological culture. The second major haplogroup is haplogroup F (21.3%), which is a combination of the lineages differing by the time of appearance. Haplogroup P found with the frequency of 9.6%, represents the genetic contribution of the population originating from the ancient autochthonous population of Europe. Haplogroups J and E (11.7 and 4.2%, respectively) mark the migration patterns of the Middle-Eastern agriculturists during the Neolithic. The presence of the N3 lineage (9.6%) is likely explained by a contribution of the assimilated Finno–Ugric tribes. The data on the composition and frequencies of Y-chromosome haplogroups in the sample studied substantially supplement the existing picture of the male lineage distribution in the Eastern Slav population.

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High-Resolution Phylogenetic Analysis of Southeastern Europe (SEE) Traces Major Episodes of Paternal Gene Flow Among Slavic Populations

The extent and nature of SEE paternal genetic contribution to European genetic landscape was explored based on a high-resolution Y chromosome analysis involving 681 males from 7 populations in the region. Paternal lineages present in SEE were compared with previously published data from 81 western Eurasian populations and 5,017 Y chromosome samples. The finding that five major haplogroups (E3b1, I1b* (xM26), J2, R1a, R1b) comprise more than 70% of SEE total genetic variation is consistent with the typical European Y chromosome gene pool. However, distribution of major Y chromosomal lineages and estimated expansion signals clarify the specific role of this region in structuring of European, and particularly, Slavic paternal genetic heritage. Contemporary Slavic paternal gene pool, mostly characterized by the predominance of R1a and I1b* (xM26), and scarcity of E3b1 lineages, is a result of two major prehistoric gene flows with opposite directions: the post-LGM R1a expansion from east to west, the YD-Holocene I1b* (xM26) diffusion out of SEE in addition to subsequent R1a and I1b* (xM26) putative gene flows between eastern and southeastern Europe and a rather weak extent of E3b1 diffusion towards regions nowadays occupied by Slavic speaking populations.

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The Peopling of Modern Bosnia-Herzegovina: Y - chromosome Haplogroups in the Three Main Ethnic Groups

The variation at 28 Y-chromosome biallelic markers was analysed in 256 males (90 Croats, 81 Serbs and 85 Bosniacs) from Bosnia-Herzegovina. An important shared feature between the three ethnic groups is the high frequency of the "Palaeolithic" European-specific haplogroup (Hg) I, a likely signature of a Balkan population re-expansion after the Last Glacial Maximum. This haplogroup is almost completely represented by the sub-haplogroup I-P37 whose frequency is, however, higher in the Croats (~71%) than in Bosniacs (~44%) and Serbs (~31%). Other rather frequent haplogroups are E (~15%) and J (~7%), which are considered to have arrived from the Middle East in Neolithic and post-Neolithic times, and R-M17 (~14%), which probably marked several arrivals, at different times, from eastern Eurasia. Hg E, almost exclusively represented by its subclade E-M78, is more common in the Serbs (~20%) than in Bosniacs (~13%) and Croats (~9%), and Hg J, observed in only one Croat, encompasses ~9% of the Serbs and ~12% of the Bosniacs, where it shows its highest diversification. By contrast, Hg R-M17 displays similar frequencies in all three groups. On the whole, the three main groups of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in spite of some quantitative differences, share a large fraction of the same ancient gene pool distinctive for the Balkan area.

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