Reconstructing the Population Genetic History of the Caribbean
Andres Moreno-Estrada, Simon Gravel, Fouad Zakharia, Jacob L. McCauley, Jake K. Byrnes, Christopher R. Gignoux, Patricia A. Ortiz-Tello, Ricardo J. Martinez, Dale J. Hedges, Richard W. Morris, Celeste Eng, Karla Sandoval, Suehelay Acevedo-Acevedo, Juan Carlos Martinez-Cruzado, Paul J. Norman, Zulay Layrisse, Peter Parham, Esteban Gonzalez Burchard, Michael L. Cuccaro, Eden R. Martin, Carlos D. Bustamante
(Submitted on 3 Jun 2013)
The Caribbean basin is home to some of the most complex interactions in recent history among previously diverged human populations. Here, by making use of genome-wide SNP array data, we characterize ancestral components of Caribbean populations on a sub-continental level and unveil fine-scale patterns of population structure distinguishing insular from mainland Caribbean populations as well as from other Hispanic/Latino groups. We provide genetic evidence for an inland South American origin of the Native American component in island populations and for extensive pre-Columbian gene flow across the Caribbean basin. The Caribbean-derived European component shows significant differentiation from parental Iberian populations, presumably as a result of founder effects during the colonization of the New World. Based on demographic models, we reconstruct the complex population history of the Caribbean since the onset of continental admixture. We find that insular populations are best modeled as mixtures absorbing two pulses of African migrants, coinciding with early and maximum activity stages of the transatlantic slave trade. These two pulses appear to have originated in different regions within West Africa, imprinting two distinguishable signatures in present day Afro-Caribbean genomes and shedding light on the genetic impact of the dynamics occurring during the slave trade in the Caribbean.