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, 9 (8), e103772

Genetic Structure of Qiangic Populations Residing in the Western Sichuan Corridor


Genetic Structure of Qiangic Populations Residing in the Western Sichuan Corridor

Chuan-Chao Wang et al. PLoS One.


The Qiangic languages in western Sichuan (WSC) are believed to be the oldest branch of the Sino-Tibetan linguistic family, and therefore, all Sino-Tibetan populations might have originated in WSC. However, very few genetic investigations have been done on Qiangic populations and no genetic evidences for the origin of Sino-Tibetan populations have been provided. By using the informative Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) markers, we analyzed the genetic structure of Qiangic populations. Our results revealed a predominantly Northern Asian-specific component in Qiangic populations, especially in maternal lineages. The Qiangic populations are an admixture of the northward migrations of East Asian initial settlers with Y chromosome haplogroup D (D1-M15 and the later originated D3a-P47) in the late Paleolithic age, and the southward Di-Qiang people with dominant haplogroup O3a2c1*-M134 and O3a2c1a-M117 in the Neolithic Age.

Conflict of interest statement

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


Figure 1
Figure 1. Geographic locations of Qiangic and other referenced East Asian populations in this study.
(a). Geographic location of WSC and distributions of the East Asian populations used in data analysis; (b). Detailed geographic location of studied Qiangic speaking populations. The number of individual sampled in each population is enclosed in parentheses.
Figure 2
Figure 2. Y chromosome and mtDNA haplogroup frequencies of studied Qiangic populations.
(a). Y chromosome haplogroup frequencies of the four Qiangic populations; (b). mtDNA haplogroup frequencies of the four Qiangic populations.
Figure 3
Figure 3. Phylogenetic relationship between Qiangic and reference populations analyzed by PCA with the frequencies of haplogroups.
(a). PCA plot based on Y chromosome haplogroup frequencies of 51 populations; (b). PCA plot based on mtDNA haplogroups frequencies of 72 populations.
Figure 4
Figure 4. Reduced Median joining network of Y chromosome haplogroups.
Reduced Median-joining network based on six Y-STR data (DYS19, DYS389I, DYS390, DYS391, DYS392, and DYS393) of haplogroup D1-M15, D3a-P47, O3a2c1*-M134, and O3a2c1a-M117.
Figure 5
Figure 5. Reduced Median-joining network based on the HVRI data of mtDNA.

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Grant support

This work was supported by the National Excellent Youth Science Foundation of China (31222030), National Natural Science Foundation of China (91131002), Shanghai Rising-Star Program (12QA1400300), China Ministry of Education Scientific Research Major Project (311016,113022A), MOE University Doctoral Research Supervisor’s Funds (20120071110021), and Shanghai Professional Development Funding (2010001). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.