Digging deeper into East African human Y chromosome lineages
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- Gomes, V., Sánchez-Diz, P., Amorim, A. et al. Hum Genet (2010) 127: 603. doi:10.1007/s00439-010-0808-5
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The most significant and widely studied remodeling of the African genetic landscape is the Bantu expansion, which led to an almost total replacement of the previous populations from the sub-Saharan region. However, a poor knowledge exists about other population movements, namely, the Nilotic migration, which is a pastoralist dispersal that, contrary to the Bantu expansion, impacted only East African populations. Here, samples from a Ugandan Nilotic-speaking population were studied for 37 Y chromosome-specific SNPs, and the obtained data were compared with those already available for other sub-Saharan population groups. Although Uganda lies on the fringe of both Bantu and Nilotic expansions, a low admixture with Bantu populations was detected, with haplogroups carrying M13, M182 and M75 mutations prevailing in Nilotes together with a low frequency of the main Bantu haplogroups from clade E1b1a-M2. The results of a comparative analysis with data from other population groups allowed a deeper characterization of some lineages in our sample, clarifying some doubts about the origin of some particular Y-SNPs in different ethnic groups, such as M150, M112 and M75. Moreover, it was also possible to identify a new Y-SNP apparently specific to Nilotic groups, as well as the presence of particular haplogroups that characterize Nilotic populations. The detection of a new haplogroup B2a1b defined by G1, could be, therefore, important to differentiate Nilotes from other groups, helping to trace migration and admixture events that occurred in eastern Africa.