Human Genetics

, Volume 116, Issue 6, pp 529–532 | Cite as

On the evolutionary mutation rate at Y-chromosome STRs: comments on paper by Di Giacomo et al. (2004)

  • Lev A. ZhivotovskyEmail author
  • Peter A. Underhill
Letter to the Editors

In the recent paper of Di Giacomo et al. (2004), the post-Neolithic was suggested as a time for expansion of Y-chromosomal haplogroup J in southern Europe in contrast to the scenario of its more earlier expansion suggested by Semino et al. (2004). Those two different time estimates were based on short tandem repeat (STR) variation within Y-chromosomal haplogroup J in geographically similarly distributed population samples. Di Giacomo et al. (2004) estimated the age of J haplogroups by three different methods with data from five microsatellite loci. Two approaches (YMRCA and BATWING) employed the same locus-specific mutation rates ranging from 0.0011 to 0.0054 and a novel third method (ASD vs. time) gave relative branch lengths and thus did not require a mutation rate coefficient. The only principal disagreement between the two models was a 3.7-fold difference in STR mutation rate used for the calibration of evolutionary time: an average basic mutation rate of 2.6×10−3per generation...


Mutation Rate Short Tandem Repeat Short Tandem Repeat Locus Large Average Allele Relative Branch Length 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Our research is supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (grants R03 TW005540, GM 28016, GM 28428), the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (grant 04-04-48639), RUS’ Program “Origins and Evolution of Biosphere” (section 2: “Human origins and expansion”, no. 25). We are indebted to two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.N.I. Vavilov Institute of General GeneticsRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Institute of Cytology and GeneticsSiberian Branch of The Russian Academy of SciencesNovosibirskRussia
  3. 3.Department of GeneticsStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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