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Genetics and Molecular Biology

Print version ISSN 1415-4757


MONCER, Wifak El et al. Research of the origin of a particular Tunisian group using a physical marker and Alu insertion polymorphisms. Genet. Mol. Biol. [online]. 2011, vol.34, n.3, pp.371-376.  Epub July 08, 2011. ISSN 1415-4757.

The aim of this study was to show how, in some particular circumstances, a physical marker can be used along with molecular markers in the research of an ancient people movement. A set of five Alu insertions was analysed in 42 subjects from a particular Tunisian group (El Hamma) that has, unlike most of the Tunisian population, a very dark skin, similar to that of sub-Saharans, and in 114 Tunisian subjects (Gabes sample) from the same governorate, but outside the group. Our results showed that the El Hamma group is genetically midway between sub-Saharan populations and North Africans, whereas the Gabes sample is clustered among North Africans. In addition, The A25 Alu insertion, considered characteristic to sub-Saharan Africans, was present in the El Hamma group at a relatively high frequency. This frequency was similar to that found in sub-Saharans from Nigeria, but significantly different from those found in the Gabes sample and in other North African populations. Our molecular results, consistent with the skin color status, suggest a sub-Saharan origin of this particular Tunisian group.

Keywords : Tunisian population; El Hamma group; skin color; Alu insertion polymorphisms; people movement history.

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