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BMC Genetics  2009 

Saudi Arabian Y-Chromosome diversity and its relationship with nearby regions

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2156-10-59

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Saudi Arabia differentiates from other Arabian Peninsula countries by a higher presence of J2-M172 lineages. It is significantly different from Yemen mainly due to a comparative reduction of sub-Saharan Africa E1-M123 and Levantine J1-M267 male lineages. Around 14% of the Saudi Arabia Y-chromosome pool is typical of African biogeographic ancestry, 17% arrived to the area from the East across Iran, while the remainder 69% could be considered of direct or indirect Levantine ascription. Interestingly, basal E-M96* (n = 2) and J-M304* (n = 3) lineages have been detected, for the first time, in the Arabian Peninsula. Coalescence time for the most prominent J1-M267 haplogroup in Saudi Arabia (11.6 ± 1.9 ky) is similar to that obtained previously for Yemen (11.3 ± 2) but significantly older that those estimated for Qatar (7.3 ± 1.8) and UAE (6.8 ± 1.5).The Y-chromosome genetic structure of the Arabian Peninsula seems to be mainly modulated by geography. The data confirm that this area has mainly been a recipient of gene flow from its African and Asian surrounding areas, probably mainly since the last Glacial maximum onwards. Although rare deep rooting lineages for Y-chromosome haplogroups E and J have been detected, the presence of more basal clades supportive of the southern exit route of modern humans to Eurasian, were not found.The arid Arabian Peninsula can be viewed as a geographic cul de sac and passive recipient of Near East cultural and demic expansions since the Bronze Age. However, southern Arabian late Neolithic excavations revealing sorghum and date palm cultivation attest to earlier influences from East Africa and South western Asia [1]. However, after the southern dispersal route of modern humans across the Bab el Mandeb Strait was proposed [2] and further developed [3], multidisciplinary interest on this region has dramatically increased in the search for traces of such putative early southern dispersals across the Arabian threshold. From an archaeological p


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