Genetic prints of Amerindian female migrations through the Caribbean revealed by control sequences from Dominican haplogroup a mitochondrial DNAs.
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Both historical literature and popular opinion tend to establish that the population of the Dominican Republic descended mainly from Africans and Europeans. Amerindian ancestry was considered negligible due to Taíno extinction in the 16th century. Nevertheless, three independent mtDNA studies have recently revealed the presence of Native American haplogroups in the Dominican society. This study analyzed thirty-two Dominican mtDNA control region sequences from the Amerindian haplogroup A to determine lineages, feasible origins and their estimated time of entrance to the Dominican Republic by using median networks. Various diversity estimates, such as nucleotide diversity, haplogroup diversity, FST and S were calculated for Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. The results suggest the presence of 9 lineages: 6 possibly native and 3 of recent, probably post-Hispanic origin. The estimates for genetic diversity point to the existence of a diverse preColumbian population in Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. The estimated time of entrance for 5 native lineages was calculated using HVR-I sequences. It was estimated that 5 lineages were introduced to Hispaniola during the Archaic period. The Dominican Republic shared 34% of its sequences with Puerto Rico, all distributed between only two founder haplotypes, suggesting that both islands were colonized by these haplotypes, and that gene flow through females was reduced thereafter.