Short Report

European Journal of Human Genetics (2007) 15, 1183–1185; doi:10.1038/sj.ejhg.5201892; published online 15 August 2007

Co-introgression of Y-chromosome haplogroups and the sickle cell gene across Africa's Sahel

Rihab E Bereir1, Hisham Y Hassan1, Niven A Salih1, Peter A Underhill1, Luigi L Cavalli-Sforza2, Ayman A Hussain1, Dominic Kwiatkowski3 and Muntaser E Ibrahim1

  1. 1Institute of Endemic Diseases, Medical Campus, University of Khartoum, Khartoum, Sudan
  2. 2Department of Genetics, School of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
  3. 3Wellcome Trust Center for Human Genetics, Oxford, UK

Correspondence: Professor M Ibrahim, Department of Molecular Biology, Institute of Endemic Diseases, University of Khartoum, PO Box 102/Qasser Street, Kartoum, Sudan. Tel: +24 99 12576418; Fax: +24 91 83793263; E-mail: mibrahim@iend.org

Received 30 March 2007; Accepted 11 May 2007; Published online 15 August 2007.

Top

Abstract

The Sahel that extends from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ethiopian highland is a historical reservoir of Africa's cultures and grandest populations and a known arena of ancient and recent migrations. We are interested in the issue whether such migrations were also carriers of genetic traits and whether this introgression could be associated with population genetic markers. Based on analysis of Y-chromosome haplogroups, we present evidence that the sickle gene, one of the major protective polymorphisms known in malaria, has in fact found its way only recently to the gene pool of the populations in eastern Sahel. We discuss the possible dynamics of the process and give estimates of the age of the introduction of the S allele into eastern Sahel.

Keywords:

Y-chromosome, haplogroups, sickle gene, Sudan