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1.  Sequencing Y Chromosomes Resolves Discrepancy in Time to Common Ancestor of Males versus Females 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2013;341(6145):562-565.
The Y chromosome and the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) have been used to estimate when the common patrilineal and matrilineal ancestors of humans lived. We sequenced the genomes of 69 males from nine populations, including two in which we find basal branches of the Y chromosome tree. We identify ancient phylogenetic structure within African haplogroups and resolve a long-standing ambiguity deep within the tree. Applying equivalent methodologies to the Y and mtDNA, we estimate the time to the most recent common ancestor (TMRCA) of the Y chromosome to be 120–156 thousand years and the mtDNA TMRCA to be 99–148 ky. Our findings suggest that, contrary to prior claims, male lineages do not coalesce significantly more recently than female lineages.
PMCID: PMC4032117  PMID: 23908239
2.  Population Genomic Analysis of Ancient and Modern Genomes Yields New Insights into the Genetic Ancestry of the Tyrolean Iceman and the Genetic Structure of Europe 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(5):e1004353.
Genome sequencing of the 5,300-year-old mummy of the Tyrolean Iceman, found in 1991 on a glacier near the border of Italy and Austria, has yielded new insights into his origin and relationship to modern European populations. A key finding of that study was an apparent recent common ancestry with individuals from Sardinia, based largely on the Y chromosome haplogroup and common autosomal SNP variation. Here, we compiled and analyzed genomic datasets from both modern and ancient Europeans, including genome sequence data from over 400 Sardinians and two ancient Thracians from Bulgaria, to investigate this result in greater detail and determine its implications for the genetic structure of Neolithic Europe. Using whole-genome sequencing data, we confirm that the Iceman is, indeed, most closely related to Sardinians. Furthermore, we show that this relationship extends to other individuals from cultural contexts associated with the spread of agriculture during the Neolithic transition, in contrast to individuals from a hunter-gatherer context. We hypothesize that this genetic affinity of ancient samples from different parts of Europe with Sardinians represents a common genetic component that was geographically widespread across Europe during the Neolithic, likely related to migrations and population expansions associated with the spread of agriculture.
Author Summary
The analysis of the genome of the Tyrolean Iceman, a 5,300 year old mummy from Central Europe, revealed a surprising recent common ancestry with modern Sardinians for this ancient genome. However, this study was limited both by the availability of data from Sardinians and by a lack of genomic data from other ancient European samples. Here, we use genomic data from modern Sardinians and from ancient European individuals from different geographic regions and cultural contexts, to demonstrate that this ancestry component is shared among individuals associated with the onset of agriculture in Europe. Our results thus suggest that the Iceman's Sardinian ancestry actually reflects a more widespread genetic component related to the migration of people during the Neolithic transition in Central Europe.
PMCID: PMC4014435  PMID: 24809476
3.  Distinguishing the co-ancestries of haplogroup G Y-chromosomes in the populations of Europe and the Caucasus 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2012;20(12):1275-1282.
Haplogroup G, together with J2 clades, has been associated with the spread of agriculture, especially in the European context. However, interpretations based on simple haplogroup frequency clines do not recognize underlying patterns of genetic diversification. Although progress has been recently made in resolving the haplogroup G phylogeny, a comprehensive survey of the geographic distribution patterns of the significant sub-clades of this haplogroup has not been conducted yet. Here we present the haplogroup frequency distribution and STR variation of 16 informative G sub-clades by evaluating 1472 haplogroup G chromosomes belonging to 98 populations ranging from Europe to Pakistan. Although no basal G-M201* chromosomes were detected in our data set, the homeland of this haplogroup has been estimated to be somewhere nearby eastern Anatolia, Armenia or western Iran, the only areas characterized by the co-presence of deep basal branches as well as the occurrence of high sub-haplogroup diversity. The P303 SNP defines the most frequent and widespread G sub-haplogroup. However, its sub-clades have more localized distribution with the U1-defined branch largely restricted to Near/Middle Eastern and the Caucasus, whereas L497 lineages essentially occur in Europe where they likely originated. In contrast, the only U1 representative in Europe is the G-M527 lineage whose distribution pattern is consistent with regions of Greek colonization. No clinal patterns were detected suggesting that the distributions are rather indicative of isolation by distance and demographic complexities.
PMCID: PMC3499744  PMID: 22588667
Y-chromosome; haplogroup G; human evolution; population genetics
4.  Afghan Hindu Kush: Where Eurasian Sub-Continent Gene Flows Converge 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76748.
Despite being located at the crossroads of Asia, genetics of the Afghanistan populations have been largely overlooked. It is currently inhabited by five major ethnic populations: Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek and Turkmen. Here we present autosomal from a subset of our samples, mitochondrial and Y- chromosome data from over 500 Afghan samples among these 5 ethnic groups. This Afghan data was supplemented with the same Y-chromosome analyses of samples from Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and updated Pakistani samples (HGDP-CEPH). The data presented here was integrated into existing knowledge of pan-Eurasian genetic diversity. The pattern of genetic variation, revealed by structure-like and Principal Component analyses and Analysis of Molecular Variance indicates that the people of Afghanistan are made up of a mosaic of components representing various geographic regions of Eurasian ancestry. The absence of a major Central Asian-specific component indicates that the Hindu Kush, like the gene pool of Central Asian populations in general, is a confluence of gene flows rather than a source of distinctly autochthonous populations that have arisen in situ: a conclusion that is reinforced by the phylogeography of both haploid loci.
PMCID: PMC3799995  PMID: 24204668
5.  Afghanistan from a Y-chromosome perspective 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2012;20(10):1063-1070.
Central Asia has served as a corridor for human migrations providing trading routes since ancient times. It has functioned as a conduit connecting Europe and the Middle East with South Asia and far Eastern civilizations. Therefore, the study of populations in this region is essential for a comprehensive understanding of early human dispersal on the Eurasian continent. Although Y- chromosome distributions in Central Asia have been widely surveyed, present-day Afghanistan remains poorly characterized genetically. The present study addresses this lacuna by analyzing 190 Pathan males from Afghanistan using high-resolution Y-chromosome binary markers. In addition, haplotype diversity for its most common lineages (haplogroups R1a1a*-M198 and L3-M357) was estimated using a set of 15 Y-specific STR loci. The observed haplogroup distribution suggests some degree of genetic isolation of the northern population, likely due to the Hindu Kush mountain range separating it from the southern Afghans who have had greater contact with neighboring Pathans from Pakistan and migrations from the Indian subcontinent. Our study demonstrates genetic similarities between Pathans from Afghanistan and Pakistan, both of which are characterized by the predominance of haplogroup R1a1a*-M198 (>50%) and the sharing of the same modal haplotype. Furthermore, the high frequencies of R1a1a-M198 and the presence of G2c-M377 chromosomes in Pathans might represent phylogenetic signals from Khazars, a common link between Pathans and Ashkenazi groups, whereas the absence of E1b1b1a2-V13 lineage does not support their professed Greek ancestry.
PMCID: PMC3449065  PMID: 22510847
Afghanistan; Pathans/Pashtuns; Y-SNP; phylogenetic analyses; haplogroup; haplotype
6.  Neolithic patrilineal signals indicate that the Armenian plateau was repopulated by agriculturalists 
Armenia, situated between the Black and Caspian Seas, lies at the junction of Turkey, Iran, Georgia, Azerbaijan and former Mesopotamia. This geographic position made it a potential contact zone between Eastern and Western civilizations. In this investigation, we assess Y-chromosomal diversity in four geographically distinct populations that represent the extent of historical Armenia. We find a striking prominence of haplogroups previously implicated with the Agricultural Revolution in the Near East, including the J2a-M410-, R1b1b1*-L23-, G2a-P15- and J1-M267-derived lineages. Given that the Last Glacial Maximum event in the Armenian plateau occured a few millennia before the Neolithic era, we envision a scenario in which its repopulation was achieved mainly by the arrival of farmers from the Fertile Crescent temporally coincident with the initial inception of farming in Greece. However, we detect very restricted genetic affinities with Europe that suggest any later cultural diffusions from Armenia to Europe were not associated with substantial amounts of paternal gene flow, despite the presence of closely related Indo-European languages in both Armenia and Southeast Europe.
PMCID: PMC3286660  PMID: 22085901
Armenia; phylogenetics; Y-chromosome; SNPs; neolithic
7.  The Phylogeography of Y-Chromosome Haplogroup H1a1a-M82 Reveals the Likely Indian Origin of the European Romani Populations 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48477.
Linguistic and genetic studies on Roma populations inhabited in Europe have unequivocally traced these populations to the Indian subcontinent. However, the exact parental population group and time of the out-of-India dispersal have remained disputed. In the absence of archaeological records and with only scanty historical documentation of the Roma, comparative linguistic studies were the first to identify their Indian origin. Recently, molecular studies on the basis of disease-causing mutations and haploid DNA markers (i.e. mtDNA and Y-chromosome) supported the linguistic view. The presence of Indian-specific Y-chromosome haplogroup H1a1a-M82 and mtDNA haplogroups M5a1, M18 and M35b among Roma has corroborated that their South Asian origins and later admixture with Near Eastern and European populations. However, previous studies have left unanswered questions about the exact parental population groups in South Asia. Here we present a detailed phylogeographical study of Y-chromosomal haplogroup H1a1a-M82 in a data set of more than 10,000 global samples to discern a more precise ancestral source of European Romani populations. The phylogeographical patterns and diversity estimates indicate an early origin of this haplogroup in the Indian subcontinent and its further expansion to other regions. Tellingly, the short tandem repeat (STR) based network of H1a1a-M82 lineages displayed the closest connection of Romani haplotypes with the traditional scheduled caste and scheduled tribe population groups of northwestern India.
PMCID: PMC3509117  PMID: 23209554
8.  A major Y-chromosome haplogroup R1b Holocene era founder effect in Central and Western Europe 
The phylogenetic relationships of numerous branches within the core Y-chromosome haplogroup R-M207 support a West Asian origin of haplogroup R1b, its initial differentiation there followed by a rapid spread of one of its sub-clades carrying the M269 mutation to Europe. Here, we present phylogeographically resolved data for 2043 M269-derived Y-chromosomes from 118 West Asian and European populations assessed for the M412 SNP that largely separates the majority of Central and West European R1b lineages from those observed in Eastern Europe, the Circum-Uralic region, the Near East, the Caucasus and Pakistan. Within the M412 dichotomy, the major S116 sub-clade shows a frequency peak in the upper Danube basin and Paris area with declining frequency toward Italy, Iberia, Southern France and British Isles. Although this frequency pattern closely approximates the spread of the Linearbandkeramik (LBK), Neolithic culture, an advent leading to a number of pre-historic cultural developments during the past ≤10 thousand years, more complex pre-Neolithic scenarios remain possible for the L23(xM412) components in Southeast Europe and elsewhere.
PMCID: PMC3039512  PMID: 20736979
Y-chromosome; haplogroup R1b; human evolution; population genetics
10.  Croatian genetic heritage: Y-chromosome story 
Croatian Medical Journal  2011;52(3):225-234.
The aim of this article is to offer a concise interpretation of the scientific data about the topic of Croatian genetic heritage that was obtained over the past 10 years. We made a short overview of previously published articles by our and other groups, based mostly on Y-chromosome results. The data demonstrate that Croatian human population, as almost any other European population, represents remarkable genetic mixture. More than 3/4 of the contemporary Croatian men are most probably the offspring of Old Europeans who came here before and after the Last Glacial Maximum. The rest of the population is the offspring of the people who were arriving in this part of Europe through the southeastern route in the last 10 000 years, mostly during the neolithization process. We believe that the latest discoveries made with the techniques for whole-genome typing using the array technology, will help us understand the structure of Croatian population in more detail, as well as the aspects of its demographic history.
PMCID: PMC3118711  PMID: 21674820
11.  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.
PMCID: PMC2987245  PMID: 19888303
Y chromosome; haplogroup R1a; human evolution; population genetics
12.  The coming of the Greeks to Provence and Corsica: Y-chromosome models of archaic Greek colonization of the western Mediterranean 
The process of Greek colonization of the central and western Mediterranean during the Archaic and Classical Eras has been understudied from the perspective of population genetics. To investigate the Y chromosomal demography of Greek colonization in the western Mediterranean, Y-chromosome data consisting of 29 YSNPs and 37 YSTRs were compared from 51 subjects from Provence, 58 subjects from Smyrna and 31 subjects whose paternal ancestry derives from Asia Minor Phokaia, the ancestral embarkation port to the 6th century BCE Greek colonies of Massalia (Marseilles) and Alalie (Aleria, Corsica).
19% of the Phokaian and 12% of the Smyrnian representatives were derived for haplogroup E-V13, characteristic of the Greek and Balkan mainland, while 4% of the Provencal, 4.6% of East Corsican and 1.6% of West Corsican samples were derived for E-V13. An admixture analysis estimated that 17% of the Y-chromosomes of Provence may be attributed to Greek colonization. Using the following putative Neolithic Anatolian lineages: J2a-DYS445 = 6, G2a-M406 and J2a1b1-M92, the data predict a 0% Neolithic contribution to Provence from Anatolia. Estimates of colonial Greek vs. indigenous Celto-Ligurian demography predict a maximum of a 10% Greek contribution, suggesting a Greek male elite-dominant input into the Iron Age Provence population.
Given the origin of viniculture in Provence is ascribed to Massalia, these results suggest that E-V13 may trace the demographic and socio-cultural impact of Greek colonization in Mediterranean Europe, a contribution that appears to be considerably larger than that of a Neolithic pioneer colonization.
PMCID: PMC3068964  PMID: 21401952
13.  The emergence of Y-chromosome haplogroup J1e among Arabic-speaking populations 
Haplogroup J1 is a prevalent Y-chromosome lineage within the Near East. We report the frequency and YSTR diversity data for its major sub-clade (J1e). The overall expansion time estimated from 453 chromosomes is 10 000 years. Moreover, the previously described J1 (DYS388=13) chromosomes, frequently found in the Caucasus and eastern Anatolian populations, were ancestral to J1e and displayed an expansion time of 9000 years. For J1e, the Zagros/Taurus mountain region displays the highest haplotype diversity, although the J1e frequency increases toward the peripheral Arabian Peninsula. The southerly pattern of decreasing expansion time estimates is consistent with the serial drift and founder effect processes. The first such migration is predicted to have occurred at the onset of the Neolithic, and accordingly J1e parallels the establishment of rain-fed agriculture and semi-nomadic herders throughout the Fertile Crescent. Subsequently, J1e lineages might have been involved in episodes of the expansion of pastoralists into arid habitats coinciding with the spread of Arabic and other Semitic-speaking populations.
PMCID: PMC2987219  PMID: 19826455
Y-chromosome haplogroup J1e; Neolithic; Arabic languages; pastoralism
15.  Analysis of the asymmetrically expressed Ablim1 locus reveals existence of a lateral plate Nodal-independent left sided signal and an early, left-right independent role for nodal flow 
Vertebrates show clear asymmetry in left-right (L-R) patterning of their organs and associated vasculature. During mammalian development a cilia driven leftwards flow of liquid leads to the left-sided expression of Nodal, which in turn activates asymmetric expression of the transcription factor Pitx2. While Pitx2 asymmetry drives many aspects of asymmetric morphogenesis, it is clear from published data that additional asymmetrically expressed loci must exist.
A L-R expression screen identified the cytoskeletally-associated gene, actin binding lim protein 1 (Ablim1), as asymmetrically expressed in both the node and left lateral plate mesoderm (LPM). LPM expression closely mirrors that of Nodal. Significantly, Ablim1 LPM asymmetry was detected in the absence of detectable Nodal. In the node, Ablim1 was initially expressed symmetrically across the entire structure, resolving to give a peri-nodal ring at the headfold stage in a flow and Pkd2-dependent manner. The peri-nodal ring of Ablim1 expression became asymmetric by the mid-headfold stage, showing stronger right than left-sided expression. Node asymmetry became more apparent as development proceeded; expression retreated in an anticlockwise direction, disappearing first from the left anterior node. Indeed, at early somite stages Ablim1 shows a unique asymmetric expression pattern, in the left lateral plate and to the right side of the node.
Left LPM Ablim1 is expressed in the absence of detectable LPM Nodal, clearly revealing existence of a Pitx2 and Nodal-independent left-sided signal in mammals. At the node, a previously unrecognised action of early nodal flow and Pkd2 activity, within the pit of the node, influences gene expression in a symmetric manner. Subsequent Ablim1 expression in the peri-nodal ring reveals a very early indication of L-R asymmetry. Ablim1 expression analysis at the node acts as an indicator of nodal flow. Together these results make Ablim1 a candidate for controlling aspects of L-R identity and patterning.
PMCID: PMC2885315  PMID: 20487527
16.  Loading-related regulation of gene expression in bone in the contexts of estrogen deficiency, lack of estrogen receptor α and disuse 
Bone  2010;46(3):628-642.
Loading-related changes in gene expression in resident cells in the tibia of female mice in the contexts of normality (WT), estrogen deficiency (WT-OVX), absence of estrogen receptor α (ERα−/−) and disuse due to sciatic neurectomy (WT-SN) were established by microarray. Total RNA was extracted from loaded and contra-lateral non-loaded tibiae at selected time points after a single, short period of dynamic loading sufficient to engender an osteogenic response. There were marked changes in the expression of many genes according to context as well as in response to loading within those contexts. In WT mice at 3, 8, 12 and 24 h after loading the expression of 642, 341, 171 and 24 genes, respectively, were differentially regulated compared with contra-lateral bones which were not loaded. Only a few of the genes differentially regulated by loading in the tibiae of WT mice have recognized roles in bone metabolism or have been linked previously to osteogenesis (Opn, Sost, Esr1, Tgfb1, Lrp1, Ostn, Timp, Mmp, Ctgf, Postn and Irs1, BMP and DLX5). The canonical pathways showing the greatest loading-related regulation were those involving pyruvate metabolism, mitochondrial dysfunction, calcium-induced apoptosis, glycolysis/gluconeogenesis, aryl hydrocarbon receptor and oxidative phosphorylation. In the tibiae from WT-OVX, ERα−/− and WT-SN mice, 440, 439 and 987 genes respectively were differentially regulated by context alone compared to WT. The early response to loading in tibiae of WT-OVX mice involved differential regulation compared to their contra-lateral non-loaded pair of fewer genes than in WT, more down-regulation than up-regulation and a later response. This was shared by WT-SN. In tibiae of ERα−/− mice, the number of genes differentially regulated by loading was markedly reduced at all time points.
These data indicate that in resident bone cells, both basal and loading-related gene expression is substantially modified by context. Many of the genes differentially regulated by the earliest loading-related response were primarily involved in energy metabolism and were not specific to bone.
PMCID: PMC2887492  PMID: 19857613
Gene expression; Mechanical loading; Bone; Estrogen; ERα
17.  Y-Chromosome distribution within the geo-linguistic landscape of northwestern Russia 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2009;17(10):1260-1273.
Populations of northeastern Europe and the Uralic mountain range are found in close geographic proximity, but they have been subject to different demographic histories. The current study attempts to better understand the genetic paternal relationships of ethnic groups residing in these regions. We have performed high-resolution haplotyping of 236 Y-chromosomes from populations in northwestern Russia and the Uralic mountains, and compared them to relevant previously published data. Haplotype variation and age estimation analyses using 15 Y-STR loci were conducted for samples within the N1b, N1c1 and R1a1 single-nucleotide polymorphism backgrounds. Our results suggest that although most genetic relationships throughout Eurasia are dependent on geographic proximity, members of the Uralic and Slavic linguistic families and subfamilies, yield significant correlations at both levels of comparison making it difficult to denote either linguistics or geographic proximity as the basis for their genetic substrata. Expansion times for haplogroup R1a1 date approximately to 18 000 YBP, and age estimates along with Network topology of populations found at opposite poles of its range (Eastern Europe and South Asia) indicate that two separate haplotypic foci exist within this haplogroup. Data based on haplogroup N1b challenge earlier findings and suggest that the mutation may have occurred in the Uralic range rather than in Siberia and much earlier than has been proposed (12.9±4.1 instead of 5.2±2.7 kya). In addition, age and variance estimates for haplogroup N1c1 suggest that populations from the western Urals may have been genetically influenced by a dispersal from northeastern Europe (eg, eastern Slavs) rather than the converse.
PMCID: PMC2986641  PMID: 19259129
Y-chromosome; Y-STRs; northeastern Europe; phylogenetics
18.  Saudi Arabian Y-Chromosome diversity and its relationship with nearby regions 
BMC Genetics  2009;10:59.
Human origins and migration models proposing the Horn of Africa as a prehistoric exit route to Asia have stimulated molecular genetic studies in the region using uniparental loci. However, from a Y-chromosome perspective, Saudi Arabia, the largest country of the region, has not yet been surveyed. To address this gap, a sample of 157 Saudi males was analyzed at high resolution using 67 Y-chromosome binary markers. In addition, haplotypic diversity for its most prominent J1-M267 lineage was estimated using a set of 17 Y-specific STR loci.
Saudi Arabia differentiates from other Arabian Peninsula countries by a higher presence of J2-M172 lineages. It is significantly different from Yemen mainly due to a comparative reduction of sub-Saharan Africa E1-M123 and Levantine J1-M267 male lineages. Around 14% of the Saudi Arabia Y-chromosome pool is typical of African biogeographic ancestry, 17% arrived to the area from the East across Iran, while the remainder 69% could be considered of direct or indirect Levantine ascription. Interestingly, basal E-M96* (n = 2) and J-M304* (n = 3) lineages have been detected, for the first time, in the Arabian Peninsula. Coalescence time for the most prominent J1-M267 haplogroup in Saudi Arabia (11.6 ± 1.9 ky) is similar to that obtained previously for Yemen (11.3 ± 2) but significantly older that those estimated for Qatar (7.3 ± 1.8) and UAE (6.8 ± 1.5).
The Y-chromosome genetic structure of the Arabian Peninsula seems to be mainly modulated by geography. The data confirm that this area has mainly been a recipient of gene flow from its African and Asian surrounding areas, probably mainly since the last Glacial maximum onwards. Although rare deep rooting lineages for Y-chromosome haplogroups E and J have been detected, the presence of more basal clades supportive of the southern exit route of modern humans to Eurasian, were not found.
PMCID: PMC2759955  PMID: 19772609
19.  Upregulation of PKD1L2 provokes a complex neuromuscular disease in the mouse 
Human Molecular Genetics  2009;18(19):3553-3566.
Following a screen for neuromuscular mouse mutants, we identified ostes, a novel N-ethyl N-nitrosourea-induced mouse mutant with muscle atrophy. Genetic and biochemical evidence shows that upregulation of the novel, uncharacterized transient receptor potential polycystic (TRPP) channel PKD1L2 (polycystic kidney disease gene 1-like 2) underlies this disease. Ostes mice suffer from chronic neuromuscular impairments including neuromuscular junction degeneration, polyneuronal innervation and myopathy. Ectopic expression of PKD1L2 in transgenic mice reproduced the ostes myopathic changes and, indeed, caused severe muscle atrophy in Tg(Pkd1l2)/Tg(Pkd1l2) mice. Moreover, double-heterozygous mice (ostes/+, Tg(Pkd1l2)/0) suffer from myopathic changes more profound than each heterozygote, indicating positive correlation between PKD1L2 levels and disease severity. We show that, in vivo, PKD1L2 primarily associates with endogenous fatty acid synthase in normal skeletal muscle, and these proteins co-localize to costameric regions of the muscle fibre. In diseased ostes/ostes muscle, both proteins are upregulated, and ostes/ostes mice show signs of abnormal lipid metabolism. This work shows the first role for a TRPP channel in neuromuscular integrity and disease.
PMCID: PMC2742400  PMID: 19578180
21.  Y-chromosomal evidence of the cultural diffusion of agriculture in southeast Europe 
The debate concerning the mechanisms underlying the prehistoric spread of farming to Southeast Europe is framed around the opposing roles of population movement and cultural diffusion. To investigate the possible involvement of local people during the transition of agriculture in the Balkans, we analysed patterns of Y-chromosome diversity in 1206 subjects from 17 population samples, mainly from Southeast Europe. Evidence from three Y-chromosome lineages, I-M423, E-V13 and J-M241, make it possible to distinguish between Holocene Mesolithic forager and subsequent Neolithic range expansions from the eastern Sahara and the Near East, respectively. In particular, whereas the Balkan microsatellite variation associated to J-M241 correlates with the Neolithic period, those related to E-V13 and I-M423 Balkan Y chromosomes are consistent with a late Mesolithic time frame. In addition, the low frequency and variance associated to I-M423 and E-V13 in Anatolia and the Middle East, support an European Mesolithic origin of these two clades. Thus, these Balkan Mesolithic foragers with their own autochthonous genetic signatures, were destined to become the earliest to adopt farming, when it was subsequently introduced by a cadre of migrating farmers from the Near East. These initial local converted farmers became the principal agents spreading this economy using maritime leapfrog colonization strategies in the Adriatic and transmitting the Neolithic cultural package to other adjacent Mesolithic populations. The ensuing range expansions of E-V13 and I-M423 parallel in space and time the diffusion of Neolithic Impressed Ware, thereby supporting a case of cultural diffusion using genetic evidence.
PMCID: PMC2947100  PMID: 19107149
Balkan Neolithic; farming transition; peopling of Europe; Y-chromosome haplogroups
22.  Y-chromosome Short Tandem Repeat Intermediate Variant Alleles DYS392.2, DYS449.2, and DYS385.2 Delineate New Phylogenetic Substructure in Human Y-chromosome Haplogroup Tree 
Croatian Medical Journal  2009;50(3):239-249.
To determine the human Y-chromosome haplogroup backgrounds of intermediate-sized variant alleles displayed by short tandem repeat (STR) loci DYS392, DYS449, and DYS385, and to evaluate the potential of each intermediate variant to elucidate new phylogenetic substructure within the human Y-chromosome haplogroup tree.
Molecular characterization of lineages was achieved using a combination of Y-chromosome haplogroup defining binary polymorphisms and up to 37 short tandem repeat loci. DNA sequencing and median-joining network analyses were used to evaluate Y-chromosome lineages displaying intermediate variant alleles.
We show that DYS392.2 occurs on a single haplogroup background, specifically I1*-M253, and likely represents a new phylogenetic subdivision in this European haplogroup. Intermediate variants DYS449.2 and DYS385.2 both occur on multiple haplogroup backgrounds, and when evaluated within specific haplogroup contexts, delineate new phylogenetic substructure, with DYS449.2 being informative within haplogroup A-P97 and DYS385.2 in haplogroups D-M145, E1b1a-M2, and R1b*-M343. Sequence analysis of variant alleles observed within the various haplogroup backgrounds showed that the nature of the intermediate variant differed, confirming the mutations arose independently.
Y-chromosome short tandem repeat intermediate variant alleles, while relatively rare, typically occur on multiple haplogroup backgrounds. This distribution indicates that such mutations arise at a rate generally intermediate to those of binary markers and Y-STR loci. As a result, intermediate-sized Y-STR variants can reveal phylogenetic substructure within the Y-chromosome phylogeny not currently detected by either binary or Y-STR markers alone, but only when such variants are evaluated within a haplogroup context.
PMCID: PMC2702739  PMID: 19480020
23.  Differential Greek and northern African migrations to Sicily are supported by genetic evidence from the Y chromosome 
The presence or absence of genetic heterogeneity in Sicily has long been debated. Through the analysis of the variation of Y-chromosome lineages, using the combination of haplogroups and short tandem repeats from several areas of Sicily, we show that traces of genetic flows occurred in the island, due to ancient Greek colonization and to northern African contributions, are still visible on the basis of the distribution of some lineages. The genetic contribution of Greek chromosomes to the Sicilian gene pool is estimated to be about 37% whereas the contribution of North African populations is estimated to be around 6%.
In particular, the presence of a modal haplotype coming from the southern Balkan Peninsula and of its one-step derivates associated to E3b1a2-V13, supports a common genetic heritage between Sicilians and Greeks. The estimate of Time to Most Recent Common Ancestor is about 2380 years before present, which broadly agrees with the archaeological traces of the Greek classic era. The Eastern and Western part of Sicily appear to be significantly different by the χ2-analysis, although the extent of such differentiation is not very high according to an analysis of molecular variance. The presence of a high number of different haplogroups in the island makes its gene diversity to reach about 0.9. The general heterogeneous composition of haplogroups in our Sicilian data is similar to the patterns observed in other major islands of the Mediterranean, reflecting the complex histories of settlements in Sicily.
PMCID: PMC2985948  PMID: 18685561
genetics of Sicily (Italy); Y chromosome; short tandem repeats; haplotype; haplogroups; population genetics
24.  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.
PMCID: PMC2588664  PMID: 17047675
Population genetics; Pakistan; Greek; Y chromosome polymorphism
25.  The ethics of characterizing difference: guiding principles on using racial categories in human genetics 
Genome Biology  2008;9(7):404.
We are a multidisciplinary group of Stanford faculty who propose ten principles to guide the use of racial and ethnic categories when characterizing group differences in research into human genetic variation.
We are a multidisciplinary group of Stanford faculty who propose ten principles to guide the use of racial and ethnic categories when characterizing group differences in research into human genetic variation.
PMCID: PMC2530857  PMID: 18638359

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