Annals of Human Genetics

Y-chromosome biallelic polymorphisms and Native American population structure

M.-C.  BORTOLINI  a1 a2, F. M.  SALZANO  a1, C. H. D.  BAU  a1, Z.  LAYRISSE  a3, M. L.  PETZL-ERLER  a4, L. T.  TSUNETO  a4, K.  HILL  a5, A. M.  HURTADO  a5, D.  CASTRO-DE-GUERRA  a3, G.  BEDOYA  a6 and A.  RUIZ-LINARES  a2 a6 c1
a1 Departamento de Genética, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil
a2 Galton Laboratory, Department of Biology, University College London, UK
a3 Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Cientificas, Caracas, Venezuela
a4 Departamento de Genética, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil
a5 Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, USA
a6 Laboratorio de Genética Molecular, Universidad de Antioquia, A.A. 1226 Medellín, Colombia


It has been proposed that women had a higher migration rate than men throughout human evolutionary history. However, in a recent study of South American natives using mtDNA restriction fragment polymorphisms and Y-chromosome microsatellites we failed to detect a significant difference in estimates of migration rates between the sexes. As the high mutation rate of microsatellites might affect estimates of population structure, we now examine biallelic polymorphisms in both mtDNA and the Y-chromosome. Analyses of these markers in Amerinds from North, Central and South America agree with our previous findings in not supporting a higher migration rate for women in these populations. Furthermore, they underline the importance of genetic drift in the evolution of Amerinds and suggest the existence of a North to South gradient of increasing drift in the Americas.

(Received August 31 2001)
(Accepted April 30 2002)

c1 Correspondence: Andres Ruiz-Linares, Department of Biology (Wolfson House), University College London, 4 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2HE, UK. Tel/Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 5049/7383 2048. E-mail: