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, 6 (8), e24282

Human Migration Through Bottlenecks From Southeast Asia Into East Asia During Last Glacial Maximum Revealed by Y Chromosomes

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Human Migration Through Bottlenecks From Southeast Asia Into East Asia During Last Glacial Maximum Revealed by Y Chromosomes

Xiaoyun Cai et al. PLoS One.


Molecular anthropological studies of the populations in and around East Asia have resulted in the discovery that most of the Y-chromosome lineages of East Asians came from Southeast Asia. However, very few Southeast Asian populations had been investigated, and therefore, little was known about the purported migrations from Southeast Asia into East Asia and their roles in shaping the genetic structure of East Asian populations. Here, we present the Y-chromosome data from 1,652 individuals belonging to 47 Mon-Khmer (MK) and Hmong-Mien (HM) speaking populations that are distributed primarily across Southeast Asia and extend into East Asia. Haplogroup O3a3b-M7, which appears mainly in MK and HM, indicates a strong tie between the two groups. The short tandem repeat network of O3a3b-M7 displayed a hierarchical expansion structure (annual ring shape), with MK haplotypes being located at the original point, and the HM and the Tibeto-Burman haplotypes distributed further away from core of the network. Moreover, the East Asian dominant haplogroup O3a3c1-M117 shows a network structure similar to that of O3a3b-M7. These patterns indicate an early unidirectional diffusion from Southeast Asia into East Asia, which might have resulted from the genetic drift of East Asian ancestors carrying these two haplogroups through many small bottle-necks formed by the complicated landscape between Southeast Asia and East Asia. The ages of O3a3b-M7 and O3a3c1-M117 were estimated to be approximately 19 thousand years, followed by the emergence of the ancestors of HM lineages out of MK and the unidirectional northward migrations into East Asia.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: International Business Machines assisted with the funding for this study. This does not alter the authors' adherence to all the PLoS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Distribution of Hmong-Mien and Mon-Khmer populations.
A: distribution of the two ethnic groups; B: our population samples.
Figure 2
Figure 2. Frequencies and diversities of O2-M95, O3-M7, and O3-M117.
A: Geographic distributions of haplogroup frequency; B: STR haplotype Networks.
Figure 3
Figure 3. Relationship between the geographic locations of the STR haplotypes and STR mutation steps from the origins of the networks.
A: O3-M7; B: O3-M117. X-coordinate represents the STR mutation steps counted from the Network origins, while Y-coordinate represents the latitude of each population with certain haplotypes. The correlations between latitude and mutation step were significant for both M7 (r = 0.551, P = 2.18×10−17), and M117 (r = 0.442, P = 4.07×10−14).
Figure 4
Figure 4. Clustering analyses for populations based on the Y chromosome SNP data.
A: Principal component plot; B: Neighbor-joining tree.

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