Published for the Galton Laboratory by Cambridge University Press
Annals of Human Genetics vol:78 pages:92-103
Y-chromosomal short tandem repeats (Y-STRs) are often used in addition to Y-chromosomal single-nucleotide polymorphisms (Y-SNP) to detect subtle patterns in a population genetic structure. There are, however, indications for Y-STR haplotype resemblance across different sub-haplogroups within haplogroup R1b1b2 (R-M269) which may lead to erosion in the observation of the population genetic pattern. Hence the question arises whether Y-STR haplotypes are still informative beyond high-resolution Y-SNP genotyping for population genetic studies. To address this question, we genotyped the Y chromosomes of more than 1,000 males originating from the West-European regions of Flanders (Belgium), North-Brabant and Limburg (the Netherlands) at the highest resolution of the current Y-SNP tree together with 38 commonly used Y-STRs. We observed high resemblance of Y-STR haplotypes between males belonging to different sub-haplogroups of haplogroup R-M269. Several sub-haplogroups within R-M269 could not be distinguished from each other based on differences in Y-STR haplotype variation. The most likely hypothesis to explain this similarity of Y-STR haplotypes within the population of R-M269 members is a recent radiation where various sub-haplogroups originated within a relatively short time period. We conclude that high-resolution Y-SNP typing rather than Y-STR typing might be more useful to study population genetic patterns in (Western) Europe.