Year of publication:
Journal title abbreviated:
EUR J HUM GENET
Journal title long:
European journal of human genetics
Deviation from the stepwise mutation model (SMM) at specific human microsatellite loci has implications for population genetic and forensic investigations. In the present study, data on six Y chromosome-specific microsatellites were pooled for 455 paternally unrelated males from six Middle Eastern populations. All chromosomes were assigned to three haplogroups defined by six binary polymorphisms. Two of the microsatellite loci tested, DYS388 and DYS392, displayed marked haplogroup-specific differences in their allele variability. A bimodal distribution of short and long alleles was observed for DYS388 in haplogroup 1 and for DYS392 in haplogroups 1 and 2. Further investigation showed that the short/long alleles segregated almost completely between genealogically distinct haplogroups defined by additional binary markers. Thus, these two loci have a discriminatory power similar to a binary polymorphism. DYS388 was characterised by an extremely low mutation rate in haplogroups 2 and 3, as was DYS392 in haplogroup 3. Sequence analysis of the repeat regions at the two loci revealed no irregularities, indicating that the triplet expansion in these loci is not controlled by sequence variation at the repeat level. A high frequency of long DYS388 alleles has, so far, been found only in populations originating in the Middle East, suggesting that this microsatellite is useful as a region-specific marker.