The genetic polymorphisms of Y chromosome at YAP locus in 25 ethnic groups (33 populations) of China were analyzed in a total of 1294 samples. The average YAP+ frequency of the 33 populations was 9.2%, coinciding with published data of Chinese populations. Primi has the highest YAP+ frequency (72.3%), which is also the highest YAP+ among all the eastern Asian populations studied. The YAP+ occurred in 17 populations studied including Tibetan (36.0%), Naxi (37.5% and 25.5%), Zhuang (21.3%), Jingpo (12.5%), Miao (11.8%), Dai (11.4%, 10.0%, 3.3% and 2.0%), Yi (8.0%), Bai of Yunnan (6.7% and 6.0%), Mongol of Inner Mongolia (4.3%), Tujia of Hunan (2.6%), Yao (2.2%) and Nu (1.8%). The other 15 populations are YAP-including Lahu (2 populations), Hani, Achang, Drung, Lisu, Sui, Bouyei, Va, Bulang, Deang, Man and Hui and Mongol of Yunnan and Bai of Hunan. The YAP+ frequencies varied among the different ethnic groups studied, and even different among the same ethnic group living in different geographic locations. Using the genetic information, combined with the knowledge of ethnology, history and archaeology, the origin and prehistoric migrations of the ethnic groups in China, especially in Yunnan Province were discussed.