Original Article

Journal of Human Genetics (2010) 55, 428–435; doi:10.1038/jhg.2010.40; published online 7 May 2010

Global distribution of Y-chromosome haplogroup C reveals the prehistoric migration routes of African exodus and early settlement in East Asia

Hua Zhong1,2,5, Hong Shi1, Xue-Bin Qi1, Chun-Jie Xiao3, Li Jin4, Runlin Z Ma2 and Bing Su1

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution, Kunming Institute of Zoology and Kunming Primate Research Centre, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, PR China
  2. 2Center for Developmental Biology, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, PR China
  3. 3Human Genetics Centre, Yunnan University, Kunming, PR China
  4. 4State Key Laboratory of Genetic Engineering and Center for Anthropological Studies, School of Life Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai, PR China
  5. 5Graduate School, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, PR China

Correspondence: Dr RZ Ma, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 1 West Beichen Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, PR China. E-mail: rlma@genetics.ac.cn; Dr B Su, State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 32 East Jiaochang Road, Kunming 650223, PR China. E-mail: sub@mail.kiz.ac.cn

Received 8 November 2009; Revised 5 April 2010; Accepted 5 April 2010; Published online 7 May 2010.

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Abstract

The regional distribution of an ancient Y-chromosome haplogroup C-M130 (Hg C) in Asia provides an ideal tool of dissecting prehistoric migration events. We identified 465 Hg C individuals out of 4284 males from 140 East and Southeast Asian populations. We genotyped these Hg C individuals using 12 Y-chromosome biallelic markers and 8 commonly used Y-short tandem repeats (Y-STRs), and performed phylogeographic analysis in combination with the published data. The results show that most of the Hg C subhaplogroups have distinct geographical distribution and have undergone long-time isolation, although Hg C individuals are distributed widely across Eurasia. Furthermore, a general south-to-north and east-to-west cline of Y-STR diversity is observed with the highest diversity in Southeast Asia. The phylogeographic distribution pattern of Hg C supports a single coastal ‘Out-of-Africa’ route by way of the Indian subcontinent, which eventually led to the early settlement of modern humans in mainland Southeast Asia. The northward expansion of Hg C in East Asia started ~40 thousand of years ago (KYA) along the coastline of mainland China and reached Siberia ~15KYA and finally made its way to the Americas.

Keywords:

genetic divergence; Out of Africa; prehistoric migration; Y chromosome