Background: Recent genome studies of modern and ancient samples have proposed that Native Americans derive from a subset of the Eurasian gene pool carried to America by an ancestral Beringian population, from which two well-differentiated components originated and subsequently mixed in different proportion during their spread in the Americas. To assess the timing, places of origin and extent of admixture between these components, we performed an analysis of the Y-chromosome haplogroup Q, which is the only Pan-American haplogroup and accounts for virtually all Native American Y chromosomes in Mesoamerica and South America. Results: Our analyses of 1.5 Mb of 152 Y chromosomes, 34 re-sequenced in this work, support a “coastal and inland routes scenario” for the first entrance of modern humans in North America. We show a major phase of male population growth in the Americas after 15 thousand years ago (kya), followed by a period of constant population size from 8 to 3 kya, after which a secondary sign of growth was registered. The estimated dates of the first expansion in Mesoamerica and the Isthmo-Colombian Area, mainly revealed by haplogroup Q-Z780, suggest an entrance in South America prior to 15 kya. During the global constant population size phase, local South American hints of growth were registered by different Q-M848 sub-clades. These expansion events, which started during the Holocene with the improvement of climatic conditions, can be ascribed to multiple cultural changes rather than a steady population growth and a single cohesive culture diffusion as it occurred in Europe. Conclusions: We established and dated a detailed haplogroup Q phylogeny that provides new insights into the geographic distribution of its Eurasian and American branches in modern and ancient samples.
Grugni, Viola;Raveane, Alessandro;Battaglia, Vincenza;Colombo, Giulia;Capodiferro, Marco Rosario;Olivieri, Anna;Achilli, Alessandro;Ferretti, Luca;Torroni, Antonio;Semino, Ornella
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