Many Y-chromosomal lineages which are defined in the latest phylogenetic tree of the human Y chromosome by the Y Chromosome Consortium (YCC) in 2008 are distributed in (Western) Europe due to the fact that a large number of phylogeographic studies focus on this area. Therefore, the question arises whether newly discovered polymorphisms on the Y chromosome will still be interesting to study Western Europeans on a population genetic level. To address this question, the West-European region of Flanders (Belgium) was selected as study area since more than 1000 Y chromosomes from this area have previously been genotyped at the highest resolution of the 2008 YCC-tree and coupled to in-depth genealogical data. Based on these data the temporal changes of the population genetic pattern over the last centuries within Flanders were studied and the effects of several past gene flow events were identified. In the present study a set of recently reported novel Y-SNPs were genotyped to further characterize all those Flemish Y chromosomes that belong to haplogroups G, R-M269 and T. Based on this extended Y-SNP set the discrimination power increased drastically as previous large (sub-)haplogroups are now subdivided in several non-marginal groups. Next, the previously observed population structure within Flanders appeared to be the result of different gradients of independent sub-haplogroups. Moreover, for the first time within Flanders a significant East-West gradient was observed in the frequency of two R-M269 lineages, and this gradient is still present when considering the current residence of the DNA donors. Our results thus suggest that an update of the Y-chromosomal tree based on new polymorphisms is still useful to increase the discrimination power based on Y-SNPs and to study population genetic patterns in more detail, even in an already well-studied region such as Western Europe.

Discrimination power, Flanders, Genetic genealogy, Population structure, Y-SNPs, Y-chromosomal phylogeny,
Forensic Science International: Genetics
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Larmuseau, M.H.D, Vanderheyden, N, Geystelen, A, van Oven, M, Kayser, M.H, & Decorte, R. (2014). Increasing phylogenetic resolution still informative for Y chromosomal studies on West-European populations. Forensic Science International: Genetics, 9(1), 179–185. doi:10.1016/j.fsigen.2013.04.002