A predominantly neolithic origin for Y-chromosomal DNA variation in North Africa

Barbara Arredi, Es Poloni, S Paracchini, Tatiana Zerjal, Dm Fathallah, M Makrelouf, Vincenzo Lorenzo Pascali, A Novelletto, C. Tyler Smith

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

152 Citazioni (Scopus)


We have typed 275 men from five populations in Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt with a set of 119 binary markers and 15 microsatellites from the Y chromosome, and we have analyzed the results together with published data from Moroccan populations. North African Y-chromosomal diversity is geographically structured and fits the pattern expected under an isolation-by-distance model. Autocorrelation analyses reveal an east-west cline of genetic variation that extends into the Middle East and is compatible with a hypothesis of demic expansion. This expansion must have involved relatively small numbers of Y chromosomes to account for the reduction in gene diversity towards the West that accompanied the frequency increase of Y haplogroup E3b2, but gene flow must have been maintained to explain the observed pattern of isolation-by-distance. Since the estimates of the times to the most recent common ancestor (TMRCAs) of the most common haplogroups are quite recent, we suggest that the North African pattern of Y-chromosomal variation is largely of Neolithic origin. Thus, we propose that the Neolithic transition in this part of the world was accompanied by demic diffusion of Afro-Asiatic-speaking pastoralists from the Middle East.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)338-345
Numero di pagine8
RivistaAmerican Journal of Human Genetics
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2004


  • Human population genetic
  • North Africa
  • Y chromosome
  • neolithic


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