, Volume 107, Issue 6, pp 582-590

Y chromosome haplotypes reveal prehistorical migrations to the Himalayas

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Abstract

By using 19 Y chromosome biallelic markers and 3 Y chromosome microsatellite markers, we analyzed the genetic structure of 31 indigenous Sino-Tibetan speaking populations (607 individuals) currently residing in East, Southeast, and South Asia. Our results showed that a T to C mutation at locus M122 is highly prevalent in almost all of the Sino-Tibetan populations, implying a strong genetic affinity among populations in the same language family. Furthermore, the extremely high frequency of H8, a haplotype derived from M122C, in the Sino-Tibetan speaking populations in the Himalayas including Tibet and northeast India indicated a strong bottleneck effect that occurred during a westward and then southward migration of the founding population of Tibeto-Burmans. We, therefore, postulate that the ancient people, who lived in the upper-middle Yellow River basin about 10,000 years ago and developed one of the earliest Neolithic cultures in East Asia, were the ancestors of modern Sino-Tibetan populations.