, Volume 113, Issue 3, pp 244-252

The origins and genetic structure of three co-resident Chinese Muslim populations: the Salar, Bo'an and Dongxiang

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Abstract

A genome-based investigation of three Muslim populations, the Salar, Bo'an, and Dongxiang, was conducted on 212 individuals (148 males, 64 females) co-resident in Jishisan County, a minority autonomous region located in the province of Gansu, PR China. The Salar are believed to be of Turkic origin, whereas the Bo'an and Dongxiang both speak Mongolian. Biparental dinucleotide markers on chromosomes 13 and 15 indicated elevated mean homozygosity in the Salar (0.32), Bo'an (0.32), and Dongxiang (0.27), equivalent to inbreeding coefficients (F is ) of 0.16; 0.12; 0.01, confirming varying levels of endogamous and consanguineous marriage in all three communities. Y-chromosome unique event polymorphisms (UEPs) showed that males in the three communities shared common ancient origins, with 80–90% of haplotypes in common. However, the high levels of community-specific Y-chromosome STR haplotypes strongly suggested the action(s) of founder effect, genetic drift and preferential consanguinity during more recent historical time. By comparison with the marked inter-community differentiation revealed by the Y-chromosome STRs (29.4%), the mtDNA data indicated similarity between the female lineages of each community with just 1.2% inter-community variation. The combined use of these different marker systems gives an in-depth historical perspective, and provides evidence of past inter-marriage between genetically diverse male founders of each community and Han Chinese females with subsequent community endogamy.