The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

A tale of two sisters: Mitochondrial HVI sequence variation in Accompong Town Maroons


Department of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame

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Jamaican Maroon oral histories uses an allegory of two sisters as means to explain the relationship between Maroons and the African-descended populace of Jamaica. In this allegory, one sister fought and won her freedom while the other chose not to fight thereby remaining enslaved. In the current study, we also sought to learn about the relationship between Accompong Town Maroons and the greater Jamaican populace. To address this issue we calculated standard diversity indices, tested for founder’s effect, and ran a median-network analysis using a sequenced segment of the mitochondrial hypervariable region I (mtDNA HVI) from fifty-two Accompong Town Maroons. Comparative mitochondrial sequence data were gathered from online databases. Our analyses indicated that the mitochondrial genetic diversity among Accompong Town Maroons is comparable to that observed among Jamaican and other Caribbean communities. Secondly, there is some evidence of rapid recent population expansion among the Accompong Town Maroons, and finally the presence of divergent lineages within the network may be indicative of varied origins of the women in this Maroon community. This study provides a glimpse into how cultural and historical factors have worked to shape the genetic history of a Caribbean community.

This research was supported with a Piloit Grant from the Institute of Scholarship and Learning in the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Notre Dame.

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