Distribution of Y chromosomes among native North Americans: A study of Athapaskan population history

Ripan Singh Malhi, Angelica Gonzalez-Oliver, Kari Britt Schroeder, Brian M. Kemp, Jonathan A. Greenberg, Solomon Z. Dobrowski, David Glenn Smith, Andres Resendez, Tatiana Karafet, Michael Hammer, Stephen Zegura, Tatiana Brovko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, 231 Y chromosomes from 12 populations were typed for four diagnostic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to determine haplogroup membership and 43 Y chromosomes from three of these populations were typed for eight short tandem repeats (STRs) to determine haplotypes. These data were combined with previously published data, amounting to 724 Y chromosomes from 26 populations in North America, and analyzed to investigate the geographic distribution of Y chromosomes among native North Americans and to test the Southern Athapaskan migration hypothesis. The results suggest that European admixture has significantly altered the distribution of Y chromosomes in North America and because of this caution should be taken when inferring prehistoric population events in North America using Y chromosome data alone. However, consistent with studies of other genetic systems, we are still able to identify close relationships among Y chromosomes in Athapaskans from the Subarctic and the Southwest, suggesting that a small number of proto-Apachean migrants from the Subarctic founded the Southwest Athapaskan populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)412-424
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican journal of physical anthropology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2008


  • Diffusion
  • European contact
  • Founder effect
  • Migration
  • Mitochondrial DNA
  • Native American
  • Y chromosome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology


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