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Publication Detail
Dissecting human North African gene-flow into its western coastal surroundings.
Abstract
North African history and populations have exerted a pivotal influence on surrounding geographical regions, although scant genetic studies have addressed this issue. Our aim is to understand human historical migrations in the coastal surroundings of North Africa. We built a refined genome-wide dataset of North African populations to unearth the fine-scale genetic structure of the region, using haplotype information. The results suggest that the gene-flow from North Africa into the European Mediterranean coast (Tuscany and the Iberian Peninsula) arrived mainly from the Mediterranean coast of North Africa. In Tuscany, this North African admixture date estimate suggests the movement of peoples during the fall of the Roman Empire around the fourth century. In the Iberian Peninsula, the North African component probably reflects the impact of the Arab expansion since the seventh century and the subsequent expansion of the Christian Kingdoms. By contrast, the North African component in the Canary Islands has a source genetically related to present-day people from the Atlantic North African coast. We also find sub-Saharan gene-flow from the Senegambia region in the Canary Islands. Specifically, we detect a complex signal of admixture involving Atlantic, Senegambian and European sources intermixing around the fifteenth century, soon after the Castilian conquest. Our results highlight the differential genetic influence of North Africa into the surrounding coast and show that specific historical events have not only had a socio-cultural impact but additionally modified the gene pool of the populations.
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