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Demographic history of Canary Islands male gene-pool: replacement of native lineages by European

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-9-181

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Abstract:

Autochthonous (E-M81) and prominent (E-M78 and J-M267) Berber Y-chromosome lineages were detected in the indigenous remains, confirming a North West African origin for their ancestors which confirms previous mitochondrial DNA results. However, in contrast with their female lineages, which have survived in the present-day population since the conquest with only a moderate decline, the male indigenous lineages have dropped constantly being substituted by European lineages. Male and female sub-Saharan African genetic inputs were also detected in the Canary population, but their frequencies were higher during the 17th–18th centuries than today.The European colonization of the Canary Islands introduced a strong sex-biased change in the indigenous population in such a way that indigenous female lineages survived in the extant population in a significantly higher proportion than their male counterparts.The Canary Islands are a volcanic archipelago consisting of seven main islands situated in the Atlantic Ocean, facing the western Saharan coast of Africa. Fuerteventura and Lanzarote are the easternmost islands, the former being only a hundred km from the continent.The Islands were already known to Mediterranean Classical cultures, but the Archipelago was rediscovered and visited by Genovese, Majorcan, Portuguese and French sailors during the 13th and 14th centuries. Under the auspices of the Castilian crown, Europeans conquered the Canary Islands during the 15th century, beginning with Lanzarote in 1402 and finishing with Tenerife in 1496. The conquest was rather violent because the Guanches often fought fiercely against the invaders. Even islands such as Lanzarote or Gomera, which pacifically received the first Norman and Castilian expeditions, were the scene of violent revolts because the natives were enslaved in large numbers to defray the cost of the military expeditions. In retaliation, the rebels, mainly men, were killed and massively deported by the conquerors [1].Th

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