Publications by authors named "Gemma Berniell-Lee"

5 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Genetic and demographic implications of the Bantu expansion: insights from human paternal lineages.

Mol Biol Evol 2009 Jul 15;26(7):1581-9. Epub 2009 Apr 15.

Institute of Evolutionary Biology, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas-UPF, CEXS-UPF-PRBB, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

The expansion of Bantu languages, which started around 5,000 years before present in west/central Africa and spread all throughout sub-Saharan Africa, may represent one of the major and most rapid demographic movements in the history of the human species. Although the genetic footprints of this expansion have been unmasked through the analyses of the maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA lineages, information on the genetic impact of this massive movement and on the genetic composition of pre-Bantu populations is still scarce. Here, we analyze an extensive collection of Y-chromosome markers--41 single nucleotide polymorphisms and 18 short tandem repeats--in 883 individuals from 22 Bantu-speaking agriculturalist populations and 3 Pygmy hunter-gatherer populations from Gabon and Cameroon. Our data reveal a recent origin for most paternal lineages in west Central African populations most likely resulting from the expansion of Bantu-speaking farmers that erased the more ancient Y-chromosome diversity found in this area. However, some traces of ancient paternal lineages are observed in these populations, mainly among hunter-gatherers. These results are at odds with those obtained from mtDNA analyses, where high frequencies of ancient maternal lineages are observed, and substantial maternal gene flow from hunter-gatherers to Bantu farmers has been suggested. These differences are most likely explained by sociocultural factors such as patrilocality. We also find the intriguing presence of paternal lineages belonging to Eurasian haplogroup R1b1*, which might represent footprints of demographic expansions in central Africa not directly related to the Bantu expansion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msp069DOI Listing
July 2009

Genetic origin, admixture, and asymmetry in maternal and paternal human lineages in Cuba.

BMC Evol Biol 2008 Jul 21;8:213. Epub 2008 Jul 21.

Unitat de Biologia Evolutiva, Departament de Ciències Experimentals i de la Salut, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.

Background: Before the arrival of Europeans to Cuba, the island was inhabited by two Native American groups, the Tainos and the Ciboneys. Most of the present archaeological, linguistic and ancient DNA evidence indicates a South American origin for these populations. In colonial times, Cuban Native American people were replaced by European settlers and slaves from Africa. It is still unknown however, to what extent their genetic pool intermingled with and was 'diluted' by the arrival of newcomers. In order to investigate the demographic processes that gave rise to the current Cuban population, we analyzed the hypervariable region I (HVS-I) and five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) coding region in 245 individuals, and 40 Y-chromosome SNPs in 132 male individuals.

Results: The Native American contribution to present-day Cubans accounted for 33% of the maternal lineages, whereas Africa and Eurasia contributed 45% and 22% of the lineages, respectively. This Native American substrate in Cuba cannot be traced back to a single origin within the American continent, as previously suggested by ancient DNA analyses. Strikingly, no Native American lineages were found for the Y-chromosome, for which the Eurasian and African contributions were around 80% and 20%, respectively.

Conclusion: While the ancestral Native American substrate is still appreciable in the maternal lineages, the extensive process of population admixture in Cuba has left no trace of the paternal Native American lineages, mirroring the strong sexual bias in the admixture processes taking place during colonial times.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2148-8-213DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2492877PMC
July 2008

Admixture and sexual bias in the population settlement of La Réunion Island (Indian Ocean).

Am J Phys Anthropol 2008 May;136(1):100-7

Unitat de Biologia Evolutiva, Departament de Ciències Experimentals i de la Salut, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, 08003 Barcelona, Spain.

La Réunion, one of the three Mascarene islands located in the Indian Ocean, remained devoid of inhabitants until it was first colonized by the French in the middle of the 17th century. The continuous flow of foreign-born slaves and immigrant workers from Africa, India, Southeast Asia, and China to work on coffee and sugar cane plantations led to the island becoming a melting pot of people of multiple ethnic origins. To establish the impact of the different incoming ethnic groups on the present Reunionese gene pool, we have sequenced both hypervariable regions I and II of the mitochondrial DNA molecule, the 9 bp COII/tRNA(Lys) deletion, and four SNPs located in the coding region in a total of 41 samples of the general population, and a further 18 STRs and 35 SNPs on the Y chromosome in 26 of these samples. Our results show that there was a strong sexual bias (asymmetrical gene flow) in the peopling of La Réunion, where admixture events were mainly between male settlers and females from the incoming slave groups. Most of the Y-chromosome gene pool is of European/Middle Eastern ancestry (85%), whereas the mtDNA gene pool is mainly of Indian and East Asian ancestry (70%). The absence of genetic diversity within these two major components of the mtDNA gene pool suggests these populations may have witnessed strong founder effects during the colonization process.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.20783DOI Listing
May 2008

SNPlexing the human Y-chromosome: a single-assay system for major haplogroup screening.

Electrophoresis 2007 Sep;28(18):3201-6

Unitat de Biologia Evolutiva, Departament de Ciències Experimentals i de la Salut, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.

SNPs are one of the main sources of DNA variation among humans. Their unique properties make them useful polymorphic markers for a wide range of fields, such as medicine, forensics, and population genetics. Although several high-throughput techniques have been (and are being) developed for the vast typing of SNPs in the medical context, population genetic studies involve the typing of few and select SNPs for targeted research. This results in SNPs having to be typed in multiple reactions, consuming large amounts of time and of DNA. In order to improve the current situation in the area of human Y-chromosome diversity studies, we decided to employ a system based on a multiplex oligo ligation assay/PCR (OLA/PCR) followed by CE to create a Y multiplex capable of distinguishing, in a single reaction, all the major haplogroups and as many subhaplogroups on the Y-chromosome phylogeny as possible. Our efforts resulted in the creation of a robust and accurate 35plex (35 SNPs in a single reaction) that when tested on 165 human DNA samples from different geographic areas, proved capable of assigning samples to their corresponding haplogroup.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/elps.200700078DOI Listing
September 2007

Results of the 2003-2004 GEP-ISFG collaborative study on mitochondrial DNA: focus on the mtDNA profile of a mixed semen-saliva stain.

Forensic Sci Int 2006 Jul 21;160(2-3):157-67. Epub 2005 Oct 21.

Instituto Nacional de Toxicología y Ciencias Forenses, Servicio de Biología, Barcelona, Spain.

We report here a review of the seventh mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) exercise undertaken by the Spanish and Portuguese working group (GEP) of the International Society for Forensic Genetics (ISFG) corresponding to the period 2003-2004. Five reference bloodstains from five donors (M1-M5), a mixed stain of saliva and semen (M6), and a hair sample (M7) were submitted to each participating laboratory for nuclear DNA (nDNA; autosomal STR and Y-STR) and mtDNA analysis. Laboratories were asked to investigate the contributors of samples M6 and M7 among the reference donors (M1-M5). A total of 34 laboratories reported total or partial mtDNA sequence data from both, the reference bloodstains (M1-M5) and the hair sample (M7) concluding a match between mtDNA profiles of M5 and M7. Autosomal STR and Y-STR profiling was the preferred strategy to investigate the contributors of the semen/saliva mixture (M6). Nuclear DNA profiles were consistent with a mixture of saliva from the donor (female) of M4 and semen from donor M5, being the semen (XY) profile the dominant component of the mixture. Strikingly, and in contradiction to the nuclear DNA analysis, mtDNA sequencing results yield a more simple result: only the saliva contribution (M4) was detected, either after preferential lysis or after complete DNA digestion. Some labs provided with several explanations for this finding and carried out additional experiments to explain this apparent contradictory result. The results pointed to the existence of different relative amounts of nuclear and mtDNAs in saliva and semen. We conclude that this circumstance could strongly influence the interpretation of the mtDNA evidence in unbalanced mixtures and in consequence lead to false exclusions. During the GEP-ISFG annual conference a validation study was planned to progress in the interpretation of mtDNA from different mixtures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2005.09.005DOI Listing
July 2006