The genetic ancestry of African Americans, Latinos, and European Americans across the United States

Am J Hum Genet. 2015 Jan 8;96(1):37-53. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2014.11.010. Epub 2014 Dec 18.

Abstract

Over the past 500 years, North America has been the site of ongoing mixing of Native Americans, European settlers, and Africans (brought largely by the trans-Atlantic slave trade), shaping the early history of what became the United States. We studied the genetic ancestry of 5,269 self-described African Americans, 8,663 Latinos, and 148,789 European Americans who are 23andMe customers and show that the legacy of these historical interactions is visible in the genetic ancestry of present-day Americans. We document pervasive mixed ancestry and asymmetrical male and female ancestry contributions in all groups studied. We show that regional ancestry differences reflect historical events, such as early Spanish colonization, waves of immigration from many regions of Europe, and forced relocation of Native Americans within the US. This study sheds light on the fine-scale differences in ancestry within and across the United States and informs our understanding of the relationship between racial and ethnic identities and genetic ancestry.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / genetics*
  • Cohort Studies
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genome, Human
  • Genotype
  • Genotyping Techniques
  • Hispanic Americans / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States

Substances

  • DNA, Mitochondrial