Original Article

Journal of Human Genetics (2010) 55, 314–322; doi:10.1038/jhg.2010.30; published online 23 April 2010

There is a Corrigendum (18 December 2015) associated with this article.

Y-chromosome distributions among populations in Northwest China identify significant contribution from Central Asian pastoralists and lesser influence of western Eurasians

Wei-Hua Shou1, En-Fa Qiao1, Chuan-Yu Wei1, Yong-Li Dong1, Si-Jie Tan1, Hong Shi2, Wen-Ru Tang1 and Chun-Jie Xiao1

  1. 1Key Laboratory of Bioresources Conservation and Utilization and Human Genetics Center, Yunnan University, Kunming, PR China
  2. 2State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution, Kunming Institute of Zoology and Kunming Primate Research Centre, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, PR China

Correspondence: Dr C-J Xiao, Key Laboratory of Bioresources Conservation and Utilization and Human Genetics Center, Yunnan University, 2 North Cuihu Road, Kunming, Yunnan 650091, PR China. E-mail: cjxiao@public.km.yn.cn

Received 26 January 2010; Revised 7 March 2010; Accepted 15 March 2010; Published online 23 April 2010.



Northwest China is closely adjacent to Central Asia, an intermediate region of the Eurasian continent. Moreover, the Silk Road through the northwest of China once had a vital role in the east–west intercommunications. Nevertheless, little has been known about the genetic makeup of populations in this region. We collected 503 male samples from 14 ethnic groups in the northwest of China, and surveyed 29 Y-chromosomal biallelic markers and 8 short tandem repeats (STRs) loci to reconstruct the paternal architecture. Our results illustrated obvious genetic difference among these ethnic groups, and in general their genetic background is more similar with Central Asians than with East Asians. The ancestors of present northwestern populations were the admixture of early East Asians peopling northwestward and later Central Asians immigrating eastward. This population mixture was dated to occur within the past 10000 years. The J2-M172 lineages likely entered China during the eastward migration of Central Asians. The influence from West Eurasia through gene flows on the extant ethnic groups in Northwest China was relatively weak.


admixture; biallelic marker; Central Asians; migration; populations in Northwest China; short tandem repeat; Y chromosome