Berbers more closely related to Europeans

Abstract  Alu elements are the largest family of short tandem interspersed elements (SINEs) in human who have arisen to a copy number with an excess of 500 000 copies per haploid human genome and mobilize through an RNAse polymerase III derived transcript in a process termed retroposition. Several features make Alu insertions a powerful tool used in population genetic studies: the polymorphic nature of many Alu insertions, the stability of an Alu insertion event and, furthermore, the ancestral state of an Alu insertion is known to be the absence (complete and exact) of the Alu element at a particular locus and the presence of an Alu insertion at the site that forward mutational change. Here we report on the distribution of six polymorphic Alu insertions in a general Moroccan population and in the Arab and Berber populations from Morocco and their relationships with other populations previously studied. Our results show that there is a small difference between Arabs and Berbers and that the Arab population was closer to African populations than Berber population which is closest to Europeans.

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