Human Genetics

, Volume 117, Issue 5, pp 428–443

Significant genetic differentiation between Poland and Germany follows present-day political borders, as revealed by Y-chromosome analysis

Authors

    • Department of Forensic Molecular Biology, Medical-Genetic Cluster,Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam
  • Oscar Lao
    • Department of Forensic Molecular Biology, Medical-Genetic Cluster,Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam
  • Katja Anslinger
    • Institute of Legal MedicineUniversity of Munich
  • Christa Augustin
    • Institute of Legal MedicineUniversity of Hamburg
  • Grazyna Bargel
    • Human Molecular Genetics Lab, Departments of Forensic Medicine and PediatricsMedical University Warsaw
  • Jeanett Edelmann
    • Institute of Legal MedicineUniversity of Leipzig
  • Sahar Elias
    • Institute of Legal MedicineUniversity of Hamburg
  • Marielle Heinrich
    • Institute of Legal MedicineUniversity of Muenster
  • Jürgen Henke
    • Institut fuer Blutgruppenforschung
  • Lotte Henke
    • Institut fuer Blutgruppenforschung
  • Carsten Hohoff
    • Institute of Legal MedicineUniversity of Muenster
  • Anett Illing
    • Department for Evolutionary GeneticsMax Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
  • Anna Jonkisz
    • Institute of Forensic MedicineMedical University Wroclaw
  • Piotr Kuzniar
    • Human Molecular Genetics Lab, Departments of Forensic Medicine and PediatricsMedical University Warsaw
  • Arleta Lebioda
    • Institute of Forensic MedicineMedical University Wroclaw
  • Rüdiger Lessig
    • Institute of Legal MedicineUniversity of Leipzig
  • Slawomir Lewicki
    • Human Molecular Genetics Lab, Departments of Forensic Medicine and PediatricsMedical University Warsaw
  • Agnieszka Maciejewska
    • Institute of Forensic MedicineMedical University Gdañsk
  • Dorota Marta Monies
    • Institute of Forensic MedicineMedical University Lublin
  • Ryszard Pawłowski
    • Institute of Forensic MedicineMedical University Gdañsk
  • Micaela Poetsch
    • Institute of Legal MedicineUniversity of Greifswald
  • Dagmar Schmid
    • Institute of Legal MedicineUniversity of Munich
  • Ulrike Schmidt
    • Institute of Legal MedicineUniversity of Freiburg
  • Peter M. Schneider
    • Institute of Legal MedicineUniversity of Mainz
  • Beate Stradmann-Bellinghausen
    • Institute of Legal MedicineUniversity of Mainz
  • Reinhard Szibor
    • Institute of Legal MedicineUniversity of Magdeburg
  • Rudolf Wegener
    • Institute of Legal MedicineUniversity of Rostock
  • Marcin Wozniak
    • Institute of Molecular and Forensic Genetics, Collegium MedicumNicolaus Copernicus University
  • Magdalena Zoledziewska
    • Institute of Forensic MedicineMedical University Wroclaw
  • Lutz Roewer
    • Institute of Legal MedicineCharite—University Medicine
  • Tadeusz Dobosz
    • Institute of Forensic MedicineMedical University Wroclaw
  • Rafal Ploski
    • Human Molecular Genetics Lab, Departments of Forensic Medicine and PediatricsMedical University Warsaw
Original Investigation

DOI: 10.1007/s00439-005-1333-9

Cite this article as:
Kayser, M., Lao, O., Anslinger, K. et al. Hum Genet (2005) 117: 428. doi:10.1007/s00439-005-1333-9

Abstract

To test for human population substructure and to investigate human population history we have analysed Y-chromosome diversity using seven microsatellites (Y-STRs) and ten binary markers (Y-SNPs) in samples from eight regionally distributed populations from Poland (n=913) and 11 from Germany (n=1,215). Based on data from both Y-chromosome marker systems, which we found to be highly correlated (r=0.96), and using spatial analysis of the molecular variance (SAMOVA), we revealed statistically significant support for two groups of populations: (1) all Polish populations and (2) all German populations. By means of analysis of the molecular variance (AMOVA) we observed a large and statistically significant proportion of 14% (for Y-SNPs) and 15% (for Y-STRs) of the respective total genetic variation being explained between both countries. The same population differentiation was detected using Monmonier’s algorithm, with a resulting genetic border between Poland and Germany that closely resembles the course of the political border between both countries. The observed genetic differentiation was mainly, but not exclusively, due to the frequency distribution of two Y-SNP haplogroups and their associated Y-STR haplotypes: R1a1*, most frequent in Poland, and R1*(xR1a1), most frequent in Germany. We suggest here that the pronounced population differentiation between the two geographically neighbouring countries, Poland and Germany, is the consequence of very recent events in human population history, namely the forced human resettlement of many millions of Germans and Poles during and, especially, shortly after World War II. In addition, our findings have consequences for the forensic application of Y-chromosome markers, strongly supporting the implementation of population substructure into forensic Y chromosome databases, and also for genetic association studies.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005