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, 6 (6), e21592

Wave-of-advance Models of the Diffusion of the Y Chromosome Haplogroup R1b1b2 in Europe


Wave-of-advance Models of the Diffusion of the Y Chromosome Haplogroup R1b1b2 in Europe

Per Sjödin et al. PLoS One.


Whether or not the spread of agriculture in Europe was accompanied by movements of people is a long-standing question in archeology and anthropology, which has been frequently addressed with the help of population genetic data. Estimates on dates of expansion and geographic origins obtained from genetic data are however sensitive to the calibration of mutation rates and to the mathematical models used to perform inference. For instance, recent data on the Y chromosome haplogroup R1b1b2 (M269) have either suggested a Neolithic origin for European paternal lineages or a more ancient Paleolithic origin depending on the calibration of Y-STR mutation rates. Here we examine the date of expansion and the geographic origin of hgR1b1b2 considering two current estimates of mutation rates in a total of fourteen realistic wave-of-advance models. We report that a range expansion dating to the Paleolithic is unlikely to explain the observed geographical distribution of microsatellite diversity, and that whether the data is informative with respect to the spread of agriculture in Europe depends on the mutation rate assumption in a critical way.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Distributions of allelic richness in 14 range expansion models. Model names refer to the description given in Table 1 .
Figure 2
Figure 2. Distribution of sum of squared distances between simulated and observed local microsatellite diversity in 14 range expansion models.
Figure 3
Figure 3. Interpolated maps of sample microsatellite genetic diversity.
Best fitting simulation obtained under Model A) Recent expansion from Anatolia (GMR), B) Neolithic expansion from Anatolia (GMR), C) Neolithic expansion from Anatolia (EMR), D) Genetic diversity in the actual data. Circles indicate sample locations.

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Cited by 3 PubMed Central articles


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