The peopling of Madeira Archipelago (Portugal) according to HLA genes.

Department of Immunology, University Complutense, The Madrid Regional Blood Center, Madrid, Spain.
International Journal of Immunogenetics (Impact Factor: 1.25). 12/2008; 36(1):9-14. DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-313X.2008.00813.x
Source: PubMed


The Madeira-Porto Santo Archipelago was officially colonized in 1420 by Portuguese settlers. Its importance in Columbus' information for the American discovery and for slave traffic across the Atlantic is unquestionable. Thus, a complex peopling may have given rise to a present-day high admixture of ethnicities according to HLA genes. A sample of 173 healthy unrelated Madeirans was analysed and compared with 6986 HLA chromosomes from other worldwide populations. Genetic distances, neighbour-joining dendrograms and correspondence analyses were used for comparisons. Southern European, North African (including Canary Islands), Jewish and Mediterranean typical HLA alleles were found and genetic distances from Madeirans to these populations were the closest ones. In addition A*24-B*65-DRB1*0102-DQB1*0501 and A*68-B*08-DRB1*0301-DQB1*0201 haplotypes were newly found in Madeira and not found in any other population. Jewish-Armenian-Middle East haplotype (A*33-B*65-DRB1*0102-DQB1*0501) is one of the most common haplotypes; this haplotype is also present in Spaniards and North Africans. Quantitatively, Portuguese, North Africans (Algerians), Spaniards and Canary Islanders (in this order) are the most important parental populations to Madeirans. Results are discussed on the basis of the recorded historical peopling which does not show a noticeable African gene input in present-day Madeiran population according to our data; one of the closest related populations found is the Canary Islanders, suggesting that Guanche (Canary Islands first inhabitants) slaves gene flow is still noticed at present, both in Madeira and in Canary Islands populations.

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