Y-chromosomal STR analysis in the Pashtun population of Southern Afghanistan.
ABSTRACT Afghanistan is a landlocked country in the heart of Asia and since the dawn of humankind Afghanistan has faced centuries of turmoil, strife, conflict, warfare, distress, social unrest, difficult climate, harsh terrain and due to its unique geostrategic position in Eurasia which has historically attracted commerce and conflict. It is an important stop along the Silk Road, connecting the far eastern civilizations to the western world. A 5000-year history of constant invasion. Afghanistan has been repeatedly invaded and conquered by rulers and super powers, neighboring interference in this conflict-tattered land for centuries yet rarely leading to the conquest of this rugged and challenging terrain nation. Afghans are not only shepherds, farmers and nomads but also intense fighters and fierce warriors. Currently very limited genetic studies have been performed in Afghan populations.
17 Y chromosomal short tandem repeats (Y-STRs) were analyzed in 125 unrelated Pashtun (in hindi: Pathan) males residing in the Kandahar region of Southern Afghanistan. A total of 92 unique haplotypes were observed. The predominant haplotype reached a frequency of 9.6%. The haplotype diversity was 0.987 and the discrimination capacity 73.6%. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) reveals a considerable regional stratification within the country as well as between different Pashtun (Pathan) groups from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.