The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Sub-Saharan African and West Eurasian maternal (mtDNA) lineages in the Dominican Republic


1School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, 2Department of Biochemistry, Advanced Genetics Laboratory, Ponce School of Medicine and Health Sciences, 3Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez

Friday 5:30-5:45, Parlors Add to calendar

This research uses mtDNA to estimate the contributions of sub-continental West Eurasian and sub-Saharan African regions to the modern admixed population of the Dominican Republic; which also has Native American ancestry. We expect results to resemble those reported in Puerto Rico, where African and Eurasian mtDNA lineages resembled those of populations in West-Central Africa, and the Atlantic Iberian Islands.

HVR-I sequences of 570 samples collected in 43 locations across the country indicate that 71% of Dominican mtDNAs originate in sub-Saharan Africa (n=403), while 15% originate in West Eurasia (n=83). After dividing the country into three large geographic regions based on historical and climatological criteria, we found that the Cibao and Southeastern regions show similar African (63% and 69%, respectively), and Eurasian (18.2% and 13.5%, respectively) ancestries; while the Southwestern region shows a much higher African (89%) and a lower Eurasian (7%) ancestry. An AMOVA test on African mtDNAs showed that the vast majority of the variation is found within regions (98.77%, p< .001).

Large contributions of West and West-Central African lineages to the Dominican population (59% and 18%) have been found. Principal Component Analysis confirmed these findings by clustering the Dominican samples close to modern Western and Central African populations. Bayesian probability of origin estimates showed that Dominican mtDNA sequences of sub-Saharan African ancestry have a 48% and 23% chance of originating in West and Central Africa, respectively. Sequencing of HVR-2 is currently underway for all samples of Eurasian origin in order to aid in further haplogroup identification and analysis.

This study was funded by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship grant No. DGE-0802261 to MANC, and grant SBR-0624064 to JCMC.

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