Genetic structure of first nation communities in the pacific northwest

Cris E. Hughes, Mary P. Rogers, Amanda C. Owings, Barbara Petzelt, Joycelynn Mitchell, Harold Harry, Theresa Williams, Dena Goldberg, Damian Labuda, David Glenn Smith, Jerome S. Cybulski, Ripan S. Malhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study presents genetic data for nine Native American populations from northern North America. Analyses of genetic variation focus on the Pacific Northwest (PNW). Using mitochondrial, Y chromosomal, and autosomal DNA variants, we aimed to more closely address the relationships of geography and language with present genetic diversity among the regional PNW Native American populations. Patterns of genetic diversity exhibited by the three genetic systems were consistent with our hypotheses: genetic variation was more strongly explained by geographic proximity than by linguistic structure. Our findings were corroborated through a variety on analytic approaches, with the unrooted trees for the three genetic systems consistently separating inland from coastal PNW populations. Furthermore, analyses of molecular variance support the trends exhibited by the unrooted trees, with geographic partitioning of PNW populations (FCT = 19.43%, p = 0.010 ± 0.009) accounting for over twice as much of the observed genetic variation as linguistic partitioning of the same populations (FCT = 9.15%, p = 0.193 ± 0.013). These findings demonstrate a consensus with previous PNW population studies examining the relationships of genome-wide variation, mitochondrial haplogroup frequencies, and skeletal morphology with geography and language.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-263
Number of pages13
JournalHuman biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • D9S1120
  • First nations
  • Migration
  • Mitochondrial DNA
  • Y chromosome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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