Population structure and demographics in Nigerian populations utilizing Y-chromosome markers
Cole-Showers, Curtis Lanre
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Nigeria is peopled by ethnically and linguistically diverse populations of which little were known until the last few millennial. The absence of major natural geographical barrier increases the possibility of the populations being affected by the same demographic events. The aim of this thesis was to ascertain the genetic variations and demographics in five major Nigerian populations using Y-markers. This was done by determining the genetic structures of the Afro-asiatic speaking Hausa (n=78) of Northern Nigeria and the Niger Congo speaking populations of Igbo (n=119), Yoruba (n=238), Bini (n=13) and Ijaw (n=15) of Southern Nigeria all spread over 22 geographical origins and four (North, South east, south west and South south) geographical regions. They were compared with more than 2000 individuals from 46 populations of 20 other African and Middle Eastern countries, in published literature. The Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (SWGDAM) recommended Y-Short Tandem Repeats (STRs) and nine Y-Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) haplogroups were typed with multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphisms (RFLP) and High Resolution Melting (HRM). Summary statistics and measures of diversity were determined. Population structure was assessed with Population Pairwise Differences, hierarchical Analysis of Molecular Variance, Multidimensional scaling and correspondence analysis plots. Mantel’s test was used to assess the correlation of genetic distances with geographic distances. Demographic inferences were assessed with lineage based Network reconstruction, Spatial autocorrelation plots, effective migrants per population and both Inter and Intra-lineages Times to the Most Recent Common Ancestor (TMRCA). The patterns of diversity of the Y-markers showed a North-South gradient and a notable sub-structure among the Hausa populations. The Niger-Congo speakers displayed rare presence of haplogroups R and E1b1b but a preponderance of E1b1a7. Overall, the Y markers showed high diversities and significant genetic sub-structure within the Hausa populations of Nigeria with stronger linguistic than geographical bias. The demographic evaluations gave credence for genetic validation of both historical records and archeological findings among these Nigerian populations. These populations showed stronger affiliations with other sub-Saharan African populations rather than with North African or Middle Eastern populations, lacking evidence for the Middle Eastern origins of the male founders of these populations. Finally, the contribution of these Nigerian dataset would greatly enhance the Africa meta-population on the YHRD with more than 274 new haplotypes of forensic estimation significance.