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

Y chromosome diversity in Inupiat populations of the Alaskan North Slope


1Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Molecular Medicine, Department of Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, 2Department of Anthropology, Northwestern University,

Saturday 3:15-3:30, Parlors Add to calendar

The Iñupiaq-speaking populations of North Alaskan slope, descendents of the Neo-Eskimo Thule peoples who colonized the arctic approximately 1000 years before present, are the focus of ongoing genetic investigations aimed at characterizing their origins and population history. Previous and ongoing mitochondrial DNA analysis of North American Arctic populations, including our investigations of Northern Alaskans, indicates reduced genetic diversity compared to other Native American groups. However, analyzing only the maternally-inherited mitochondrial genome captures only a fraction of total genetic diversity and potentially introduces biases in interpretations of population history. We determined Y-chromosome profiles for a suite of 16 STRs (DYS19, DYS389I, DYS389II, DYS390, DYS391, DYS392, DYS393, DYS385, DYS438, DYS439, DYS437, DYS448, DYS456, DYS458, DYS635, YGATAH4) for 67 consenting males from eight villages throughout the Alaskan North Slope.We compared these to published results from Greenlandic Inuits (Bosch et al. 2003), as well as over 93,000 publically available haplotypes from the Y Haplotype Reference Database ( Of the 67 lineages observed, 9 (13%) were identified as non-Native American but predominantly found in Russia and Eastern Europe. This contrasts with the higher (58%) rates of admixture found in Greenlandic Inuits (Bosch et al., 2003). Seventeen Inuit Y lineages were shared with a recently reported sample of Inuit males from forensic studies (Davis et al. 2011). In contrast to reported maternal lineages, Y chromosome gene diversity among North Slope Iñupiaq was high (0.9856 +/-.002). We discuss the implications these results have for our interpretation of Alaskan arctic genetic history.

This research was supported by NSF grant OPP-0732857

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