Sex-Specific Migration Patterns in Central Asian Populations, Revealed by Analysis of Y-Chromosome Short Tandem Repeats and mtDNA


SummaryEight Y-linked short-tandem-repeat polymorphisms (DYS19, DYS388, DYS389I, DYS389II, DYS390, DYS391, DYS392, and DYS393) were analyzed in four populations of Central Asia, comprising two lowland samples—Uighurs and lowland Kirghiz—and two highland samples—namely, the Kazakhs (altitude 2,500 m above sea level) and highland Kirghiz (altitude 3,200 m above sea level). The results were compared with mtDNA sequence data on the same individuals, to study possible differences in male versus female genetic-variation patterns in these Central Asian populations. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) showed a very high degree of genetic differentiation among the populations tested, in discordance with the results obtained with mtDNA sequences, which showed high homogeneity. Moreover, a dramatic reduction of the haplotype genetic diversity was observed in the villages at high altitude, especially in the highland Kirghiz, when compared with the villages at low altitude, which suggests a male founder effect in the settlement of high-altitude lands. Nonetheless, mtDNA genetic diversity in these highland populations is equivalent to that in the lowland populations. The present results suggest a very different migration pattern in males versus females, in an extended historical frame, with a higher migration rate for females

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