Article

Genetic evidence supports linguistic affinity of Mlabri--a hunter-gatherer group in Thailand.

Chinese Academy of Sciences and Max Planck Society (CAS-MPG) Partner Institute for Computational Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, China.
BMC Genetics (Impact Factor: 2.36). 03/2010; 11:18. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2156-11-18
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The Mlabri are a group of nomadic hunter-gatherers inhabiting the rural highlands of Thailand. Little is known about the origins of the Mlabri and linguistic evidence suggests that the present-day Mlabri language most likely arose from Tin, a Khmuic language in the Austro-Asiatic language family. This study aims to examine whether the genetic affinity of the Mlabri is consistent with this linguistic relationship, and to further explore the origins of this enigmatic population.
We conducted a genome-wide analysis of genetic variation using more than fifty thousand single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) typed in thirteen population samples from Thailand, including the Mlabri, Htin and neighboring populations of the Northern Highlands, speaking Austro-Asiatic, Tai-Kadai and Hmong-Mien languages. The Mlabri population showed higher LD and lower haplotype diversity when compared with its neighboring populations. Both model-free and Bayesian model-based clustering analyses indicated a close genetic relationship between the Mlabri and the Htin, a group speaking a Tin language.
Our results strongly suggested that the Mlabri share more recent common ancestry with the Htin. We thus provided, to our knowledge, the first genetic evidence that supports the linguistic affinity of Mlabri, and this association between linguistic and genetic classifications could reflect the same past population processes.

3 Bookmarks
 · 
132 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Hmong Diaspora is one of the widest modern human migrations. Mainly localised in South-East Asia, the United States of America, and metropolitan France, a small community has also settled the Amazonian forest of French Guiana. We have biologically analysed 62 individuals of this unique Guianese population through three complementary genetic markers: mitochondrial DNA (HVS-I/II and coding region SNPs), Y-chromosome (SNPs and STRs), and the Gm allotypic system. All genetic systems showed a high conservation of the Asian gene pool (Asian ancestry: mtDNA=100.0%; NRY=99.1%; Gm=96.6%), without a trace of founder effect. When compared across various Asian populations, the highest correlations were observed with Hmong-Mien groups still living in South-East Asia (Fst<0.05; P-value<0.05). Despite a long history punctuated by exodus, the French Guianese Hmong have maintained their original genetic diversity.
    Comptes rendus biologies 10/2012; 335(10-11):698-707. DOI:10.1016/j.crvi.2012.10.003 · 1.71 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A key aim of evolutionary biology - inferring the action of natural selection on wild species - can be achieved by comparing neutral genetic differentiation between populations (F(ST) ) with quantitative genetic variation (Q(ST) ). Each of the three possible outcomes of comparisons of Q(ST) and F(ST) (Q(ST) ( ) > F(ST) , Q(ST) ( ) = F(ST) , Q(ST) ( ) < F(ST) ) is associated with an inference (diversifying selection, genetic drift, uniform selection, respectively). However, published empirical and theoretical studies have focused on the Q(ST) ( ) > F(ST) outcome. We believe that this reflects the absence of a straightforward biological interpretation of the Q(ST) < F(ST) pattern. We here report recent evidence of this neglected evolutionary pattern, provide guidelines to its interpretation as either a canalization phenomenon or a consequence of uniform selection and discuss the significant importance this issue will have for the area of evolutionary biology.
    Molecular Ecology 10/2012; DOI:10.1111/mec.12017 · 5.84 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: There is considerable ethno-linguistic and genetic variation among human populations in Asia, although tracing the origins of this diversity is complicated by migration events. Thailand is at the center of Mainland Southeast Asia (MSEA), a region within Asia that has not been extensively studied. Genetic substructure may exist in the Thai population, since waves of migration from southern China throughout its recent history may have contributed to substantial gene flow. Autosomal SNP data were collated for 438,503 markers from 992 Thai individuals. Using the available self-reported regional origin, four Thai subpopulations genetically distinct from each other and from other Asian populations were resolved by Neighbor-Joining analysis using a 41,569 marker subset. Using an independent Principal Components-based unsupervised clustering approach, four major MSEA subpopulations were resolved in which regional bias was apparent. A major ancestry component was common to these MSEA subpopulations and distinguishes them from other Asian subpopulations. On the other hand, these MSEA subpopulations were admixed with other ancestries, in particular one shared with Chinese. Subpopulation clustering using only Thai individuals and the complete marker set resolved four subpopulations, which are distributed differently across Thailand. A Sino-Thai subpopulation was concentrated in the Central region of Thailand, although this constituted a minority in an otherwise diverse region. Among the most highly differentiated markers which distinguish the Thai subpopulations, several map to regions known to affect phenotypic traits such as skin pigmentation and susceptibility to common diseases. The subpopulation patterns elucidated have important implications for evolutionary and medical genetics. The subpopulation structure within Thailand may reflect the contributions of different migrants throughout the history of MSEA. The information will also be important for genetic association studies to account for population-structure confounding effects.
    PLoS ONE 11/2013; 8(11):e79522. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0079522 · 3.53 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Download
50 Downloads
Available from
May 29, 2014