European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication 15 August 2012; doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2012.176
Naser Ansari Pour1, Christopher A Plaster1 and Neil Bradman1
The expansion of the Bantu-speaking people (EBSP) during the past 3000–5000 years is an event of great importance in the history of humanity. Anthropology, archaeology, linguistics and, in recent decades, genetics have been used to elucidate some of the events and processes involved. Although it is generally accepted that the EBSP has its origin in the so-called Bantu Homeland situated in the area of the border between Nigeria and the Grassfields of Cameroon, and that it followed both western and eastern routes, much less is known about the number and dates of those expansions, if more than one. Mitochondrial, Y-chromosome and autosomal DNA analyses have been carried out in attempts to understand the demographic events that have taken place. There is an increasing evidence that the expansion was a more complex process than originally thought and that neither a single demographic event nor an early split between western and eastern groups occurred. In this study, we analysed unique event polymorphism and short tandem repeat variation in non-recombining Y-chromosome haplogroups contained within the E1b1a haplogroup, which is exclusive to individuals of recent African ancestry, in a large, geographically widely distributed, set of sub-Saharan Africans (groups=43, n=2757), all of whom, except one Nilo-Saharan-speaking group, spoke a Niger-Congo language and most a Bantu tongue. Analysis of diversity and rough estimates of times to the most recent common ancestors of haplogroups provide evidence of multiple expansions along eastern and western routes and a late, exclusively eastern route, expansion.
European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication 15 August 2012; doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2012.167
The genetic landscape of Equatorial Guinea and the origin and migration routes of the Y chromosome haplogroup R-V88
Miguel González1, Verónica Gomes1,2, Ana Maria López-Parra3, António Amorim1,4, Ángel Carracedo2, Paula Sánchez-Diz2, Eduardo Arroyo-Pardo3 and Leonor Gusmão1
Human Y chromosomes belonging to the haplogroup R1b1-P25, although very common in Europe, are usually rare in Africa. However, recently published studies have reported high frequencies of this haplogroup in the central-western region of the African continent and proposed that this represents a ‘back-to-Africa’ migration during prehistoric times. To obtain a deeper insight into the history of these lineages, we characterised the paternal genetic background of a population in Equatorial Guinea, a Central-West African country located near the region in which the highest frequencies of the R1b1 haplogroup in Africa have been found to date. In our sample, the large majority (78.6%) of the sequences belong to subclades in haplogroup E, which are the most frequent in Bantu groups. However, the frequency of the R1b1 haplogroup in our sample (17.0%) was higher than that previously observed for the majority of the African continent. Of these R1b1 samples, nine are defined by the V88 marker, which was recently discovered in Africa. As high microsatellite variance was found inside this haplogroup in Central-West Africa and a decrease in this variance was observed towards Northeast Africa, our findings do not support the previously hypothesised movement of Chadic-speaking people from the North across the Sahara as the explanation for these R1b1 lineages in Central-West Africa. The present findings are also compatible with an origin of the V88-derived allele in the Central-West Africa, and its presence in North Africa may be better explained as the result of a migration from the south during the mid-Holocene.