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Revisiting the Diego Blood Group System in Amerindians: Evidence for Gene-Culture Comigration

Abstract : Six decades ago the DI*A allele of the Diego blood group system was instrumental in proving Native American populations originated from Siberia. Since then, it has received scant attention. The present study was undertaken to reappraise distribution of the DI*A allele in 144 Native American populations based on current knowledge. Using analysis of variance tests, frequency distribution was studied according to geographical, environmental, and cultural parameters. Frequencies were highest in Amazonian populations. In contrast, DI*A was undetectable in subarctic, Fuegian, Panamanian, Chaco and Yanomama populations. Closer study revealed a correlation that this unequal distribution was correlated with language, suggesting that linguistic divergence was a driving force in the expansion of DI*A among Native Americans. The absence of DI*A in circumpolar Eskimo-Aleut and Na-Dene speakers was consistent with a late migratory event confined to North America. Distribution of DI*A in subtropical areas indicated that gene and culture exchanges were more intense within than between ecozones. Bolstering the utility of classical genetic markers in biological anthropology, the present study of the expansion of Diego blood group genetic polymorphism in Native Americans shows strong evidence of gene-culture comigration.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - 11:37:02 AM
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Christophe Bégat, Pascal Bailly, Jacques Chiaroni, Stéphane Mazières. Revisiting the Diego Blood Group System in Amerindians: Evidence for Gene-Culture Comigration. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2015, pp.e0132211. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0132211⟩. ⟨hal-01199829⟩

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