Tunisian and Moroccan Y Chromosomes

Y-chromosome markers distribution in Northern Africa: High-resolution SNP and STR analysis in Tunisia and Morocco populations

Valerio Onofria, Federica Alessandrinia, Chiara Turchia, Mauro Pesaresia and Adriano Tagliabracci, a,
At the beginning of 2006 more than 301,000 immigrants resident in Italy resulted to come from Tunisia and Morocco, 66% of which are male subjects; in addition, it is estimated that some other thousand are clandestine. Our data show that there is an increasing involvement of Tunisian and Moroccan individuals in paternity testing and in individual identification cases. For these reasons, the aim of this work was to enrich forensic Y-chromosome databases with Northern Africa data to better know markers frequency and their distribution across these populations. 103 Tunisian and Moroccan healthy male donors were typed by 17 microsatellites extended haplotype and 41 Y-SNPs. A high-resolution level database was created, including both haplotype and haplogroup for each sample. This study confirmed that precious informations might come both from Y-SNPs haplogroup distribution besides Y-STRs data.


After just re-reading the Guanche Y chr the total abscence of  ‘I’ across this part of N Africa is a mystery. How did it get to the Canaries when it skipped Morocco? Admittedly the sample size is a bit small. Maybe it got missed.


10 responses to “Tunisian and Moroccan Y Chromosomes

  1. I think this is fascinating that this is how they are finding out about the North African genomes, from the immigrants to Italy (especially since I live in Morocco)!

    Expat 21

  2. Somewhat unrelated question: seems to me that every population with lots of J1 has lots of J2 and vice versa. Does anyone know the mutation rate between J1 and J2?

  3. Dear Mathilda,
    I follow your blog already for some time and appreciate it very much.
    Since august 11th no news, so I assume you’re not feeling well. I hope got get better soon and wish you all the best !!
    Guus Schenk
    ( Of course you don’t have to put these best wishes in your “comments” )

  4. Sorry to go off topic but I wonder what you make of this? Hype or vindication for “non-OOA” origins?


  5. Hey,

    can u please tell me, how to download the y chromosome data, the sequences for the NRY chromosome data, that doesn’t seem to ahve accesssion numbers anywhere?

    and also STR data?please help!


  6. Haplogroup I may have to use a biblical term, fallen on stony ground. There are mysteries in life with haplogroups. Why did R1b which originated in Siberia or the top part of SW Asia take off in Europe but not in its homeland? Why did J1 take off in Arabians like Yemenis but not in Anatolians? Both those haplogroups have higher genetic diversities in areas where they are low in frequency, and far from their high frequency zones. Haplogroup I couldn’t cut the sauce in North Africa and died out.

    Islands like the Canaries have strange demographics often caused by extreme founder effects, and isolation. Just as islands have strange lifeforms e.g Moa in New Zealand, Dodo in Mauritius, they have unusual humans like the Andamese Islanders.

  7. @Ponto: because of the wavefront effect. However for this effect to occur the colonization must happen on a virgin land or imply massive demic replacement. The simulation only accounts anyhow for a Paleolithic scenario with very low population levels and no pre-existing population.

  8. I agree with Ponto: unlike the continent with a multitude of individuals, islands are colonized by small groups of fringe, marginal individuals.

    Would you embark on a small homemade boat and sail to the horizon without a map? You, I and other “normal” people would not. Those that did were not “normal”

  9. “seems to me that every population with lots of J1 has lots of J2 and vice versa”.

    Not correct at all. North Africans have lots of J1 and very little J2, Iberians and other Mediterranean Europeans are in the opposite case: abundant J2 (J2b essentially) and almost nil J1.

    In general it seems that J2 has a West Asian highlands (Kurdistan, Anatolia, Zagros) origin and a European, Central Asian and Indian distribution (J2b mostly, because J2a is quite restricted), while J1 has rather a West Asian lowlands (Palestine specially) origin and a North African/Arabian main distribution. An important exception is the Caucasus, where J1 is high and apparently old.

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