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2.  Separating the post-Glacial coancestry of European and Asian Y chromosomes within haplogroup R1a 
Human Y-chromosome haplogroup structure is largely circumscribed by continental boundaries. One notable exception to this general pattern is the young haplogroup R1a that exhibits post-Glacial coalescent times and relates the paternal ancestry of more than 10% of men in a wide geographic area extending from South Asia to Central East Europe and South Siberia. Its origin and dispersal patterns are poorly understood as no marker has yet been described that would distinguish European R1a chromosomes from Asian. Here we present frequency and haplotype diversity estimates for more than 2000 R1a chromosomes assessed for several newly discovered SNP markers that introduce the onset of informative R1a subdivisions by geography. Marker M434 has a low frequency and a late origin in West Asia bearing witness to recent gene flow over the Arabian Sea. Conversely, marker M458 has a significant frequency in Europe, exceeding 30% in its core area in Eastern Europe and comprising up to 70% of all M17 chromosomes present there. The diversity and frequency profiles of M458 suggest its origin during the early Holocene and a subsequent expansion likely related to a number of prehistoric cultural developments in the region. Its primary frequency and diversity distribution correlates well with some of the major Central and East European river basins where settled farming was established before its spread further eastward. Importantly, the virtual absence of M458 chromosomes outside Europe speaks against substantial patrilineal gene flow from East Europe to Asia, including to India, at least since the mid-Holocene.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2009.194
PMCID: PMC2987245  PMID: 19888303
Y chromosome; haplogroup R1a; human evolution; population genetics
3.  Refined Geographic Distribution of the Oriental ALDH2*504Lys (nee 487Lys) Variant 
Annals of human genetics  2009;73(Pt 3):335-345.
Summary
Mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) is one of the most important enzymes in human alcohol metabolism. The oriental ALDH2*504Lys variant functions as a dominant negative greatly reducing activity in heterozygotes and abolishing activity in homozygotes. This allele is associated with serious disorders such as alcohol liver disease, late onset Alzheimer disease, colorectal cancer, and esophageal cancer, and is best known for protection against alcoholism. Many hundreds of papers in various languages have been published on this variant, providing allele frequency data for many different populations. To develop a highly refined global geographic distribution of ALDH2*504Lys, we have collected new data on 4,091 individuals from 86 population samples and assembled published data on a total of 80,691 individuals from 366 population samples. The allele is essentially absent in all parts of the world except East Asia. The ALDH2*504Lys allele has its highest frequency in Southeast China, and occurs in most areas of China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, and Indochina with frequencies gradually declining radially from Southeast China. As the indigenous populations in South China have much lower frequencies than the southern Han migrants from Central China, we conclude that ALDH2*504Lys was carried by Han Chinese as they spread throughout East Asia. Esophageal cancer, with its highest incidence in East Asia, may be associated with ALDH2*504Lys because of a toxic effect of increased acetaldehyde in the tissue where ingested ethanol has its highest concentration. While the distributions of esophageal cancer and ALDH2*504Lys do not precisely correlate, that does not disprove the hypothesis. In general the study of fine scale geographic distributions of ALDH2*504Lys and diseases may help in understanding the multiple relationships among genes, diseases, environments, and cultures.
doi:10.1111/j.1469-1809.2009.00517.x
PMCID: PMC2846302  PMID: 19456322
East Asia; aldehyde dehydrogenase 2; alcohol associated; allele frequency; esophageal cancer
4.  Global patterns of variation in allele and haplotype frequencies and linkage disequilibrium across the CYP2E1 gene 
The pharmacogenomics journal  2008;8(5):349-356.
Cytochrome P450 2E1, gene symbol CYP2E1, is one of a family of enzymes with a central role in activating and detoxifying xenobiotics and endogenous compounds. Genetic variation at this gene has been reported in different human populations, and some association studies have reported increased risk for cancers and other diseases. To the best of our knowledge, multi-SNP haplotypes and linkage disequilibrium (LD) have not been systematically studied for CYP2E1 in multiple populations. Haplotypes can greatly increase the power both to identify patterns of genetic variation relevant for gene expression as well as to detect disease-related susceptibility mutations. We present frequency and LD data and analyses for 11 polymorphisms and their haplotypes that we have studied on over 2,600 individuals from 50 human population samples representing the major geographical regions of the world. The diverse patterns of haplotype variation found in the different populations we have studied show that ethnicity may be an important variable helping to explain inconsistencies that have been reported by association studies. More studies clearly are needed of the variants we have studied, especially those in the 5′ region, such as the VNTR, as well as studies of additional polymorphisms known for this gene to establish evidence relating any systematic differences in gene expression that exist to the haplotypes at this gene.
doi:10.1038/tpj.2008.9
PMCID: PMC2782390  PMID: 18663376
CYP2E1; Cytochrome P450; SNP; haplotype; linkage disequilibrium; random genetic drift
5.  Y-chromosomal evidence for a limited Greek contribution to the Pathan population of Pakistan 
Three Pakistani populations residing in northern Pakistan, the Burusho, Kalash and Pathan claim descent from Greek soldiers associated with Alexander’s invasion of southwest Asia. Earlier studies have excluded a substantial Greek genetic input into these populations, but left open the question of a smaller contribution. We have now typed 89 binary polymorphisms and 16 multiallelic, short-tandem-repeat (STR) loci mapping to the male-specific portion of the human Y chromosome in 952 males, including 77 Greeks in order to re-investigate this question. In pairwise comparisons between the Greeks and the three Pakistani populations using genetic distance measures sensitive to recent events, the lowest distances were observed between the Greeks and the Pathans. Clade E3b1 lineages, which were frequent in the Greeks but not in Pakistan, were nevertheless observed in two Pathan individuals, one of whom shared a 16 Y-STR haplotype with the Greeks. The worldwide distribution of a shortened (9 Y-STR) version of this haplotype, determined from database information, was concentrated in Macedonia and Greece, suggesting an origin there. Although based on only a few unrelated descendants this provides strong evidence for a European origin for a small proportion of the Pathan Y chromosomes.
doi:10.1038/sj.ejhg.5201726
PMCID: PMC2588664  PMID: 17047675
Population genetics; Pakistan; Greek; Y chromosome polymorphism
6.  Identification and characterisation of novel human Y-chromosomal microsatellites from sequence database information 
Nucleic Acids Research  2000;28(2):e8.
1.33 Mb of sequence from the human Y chromosome was searched for tri- to hexanucleotide microsatellites. Twenty loci containing a stretch of eight or more repeat units with complete repeat sequence homogeneity were found, 18 of which were novel. Six loci (one tri-, four tetra- and one pentanucleotide) were assembled into a single multiplex reaction and their degree of polymorphism was investigated in a sample of 278 males from Pakistan. Diversities of the individual loci ranged from 0.064 to 0.727 in Pakistan, while the haplotype diversity was 0.971. One population, the Hazara, showed particularly low diversity, with predominantly two haplotypes. As the sequence builds up in the databases, direct methods such as this will replace more biased and technically demanding indirect methods for the isolation of microsatellites.
PMCID: PMC102540  PMID: 10606676

Results 1-6 (6)