Gene diversity and estimation of genetic admixture among Mexican-Americans of Starr County, Texas

Ann Hum Biol. Jul-Aug 1992;19(4):347-60. doi: 10.1080/03014469200002222.


The Mexican-Americans of Starr County, Texas, classified by sex and birthplace, were studied to determine the extent of genetic variation and contributions from ancestral populations such as Spanish, Amerindian and West African. Using 21 genetic marker systems, genetic distance and diversity analyses indicate that subpopulations of Mexican-Americans in Starr County are similar, and that more than 99% of the total gene diversity (HT) can be attributed to individual variation within the population. Genetic admixture analysis shows the predominant influence comes from the Spanish, a lesser contribution from Amerindians and a slight one from the West Africans. The contribution of the ancestral population to various subpopulations of the Mexican-Americans of Starr County is similar. The Mexican-Americans of Starr County are similar to the Mexican population from northeastern Mexico. The history of admixture is apparently old enough to have brought the entire Mexican-American gene pool to Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. There is no non-random association of alleles among the genetic marker systems considered in the present study, in spite of the fact that this population is of admixed origin. These results, in aggregate, suggest genetic homogeneity of the Mexican-Americans of Starr County, Texas, and point towards the utility of this population for genetic and epidemiological studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Africa / ethnology
  • Alleles*
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American / genetics
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans / genetics*
  • Spain / ethnology
  • Texas