Distribution of Y chromosomes among native North Americans: a study of Athapaskan population history

Am J Phys Anthropol. 2008 Dec;137(4):412-24. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.20883.


In this study, 231 Y chromosomes from 12 populations were typed for four diagnostic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to determine haplogroup membership and 43 Y chromosomes from three of these populations were typed for eight short tandem repeats (STRs) to determine haplotypes. These data were combined with previously published data, amounting to 724 Y chromosomes from 26 populations in North America, and analyzed to investigate the geographic distribution of Y chromosomes among native North Americans and to test the Southern Athapaskan migration hypothesis. The results suggest that European admixture has significantly altered the distribution of Y chromosomes in North America and because of this caution should be taken when inferring prehistoric population events in North America using Y chromosome data alone. However, consistent with studies of other genetic systems, we are still able to identify close relationships among Y chromosomes in Athapaskans from the Subarctic and the Southwest, suggesting that a small number of proto-Apachean migrants from the Subarctic founded the Southwest Athapaskan populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Chromosomes, Human, Y
  • Emigration and Immigration / trends
  • Geography
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American / classification
  • Indians, North American / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • United States