Genetic structure of First Nation communities in the Pacific Northwest

Genetic structure of First Nation communities in the Pacific Northwest


This study presents genetic data for nine Native American populations from northern North America. Analyses of genetic variation focus on the Pacific Northwest (PNW). Using mitochondrial, Y chromosomal and autosomal DNA variants, we aim to more closely address the relationships of geography and language with present genetic diversity among the regional PNW Native American populations. Patterns of genetic diversity exhibited by the three genetic systems were consistent with our hypotheses, in that we expected genetic variation to be more strongly explained by geographic proximity than linguistic structure. Our findings were corroborated through a variety on analytic approaches, with the unrooted trees for the three genetic systems consistently separating inland from coastal PNW populations. Furthermore, the AMOVA tests support the trends exhibited by the unrooted trees, with geographic partitioning of PNW populations (FCT = 19.43%, p = 0.010 ± 0.009) accounting for over twice as much of the observed genetic variation compared with linguistic partitioning of the same populations (FCT = 9.15%, p = 0.193 ± 0.013). These findings demonstrate a consensus with previous PNW population studies examining the relationships of genome-wide variation, mitochondrial haplogroup frequencies, and skeletal morphology with geography and language.


  • Hughes, C.E., Rogers, M.P., Owings, A.C., Petzelt, B. & Mitchell, J. (2017). Genetic structure of First Nation communities in the Pacific Northwest. Human Biology, pre-press, pre-press.

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Peoples: Native Americans | Places: North America and Pacific Northwest | Topics: AMOVA tests | DNA Type: Autosomal DNA, mtDNA, and Y-DNA

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