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On the genetic interrelationships of South African Negroes






American Journal of Physical Anthropology 69(3): 389-401

On the genetic interrelationships of South African Negroes

This study addresses the comparative genetic interrelationships between South African Negro groups. For this the genetic distances between seven ethnically defined Negro subsamples (total of 998 individuals) based on 24 genetic loci/polymorphisms are calculated by applying standard distance formulae. These computations offer an opportunity to evaluate the different polymorphisms in terms of their effects on the genetic distances. The genetic interrelationships thus computed are illustrated by way of dendrograms and are discussed in terms of their comparative significance. It follows from the findings that the Ndebele, Northern Sotho (Pedi), and Tswana form a closely related subcluster and that the Zulu and Swazi as well as the Venda and Shangana-Tsonga form two additional, more distant, subclusters. These results are discussed and tentatively interpreted against the background of the reported Khoisan admixture of the populations concerned as well as their ethnological history. The data are also compared to those derived from metric and dermatoglyphic studies. It is concluded that whereas there is some agreement between these categories of variation (genetic, metric, and dermatoglyphic) as far as the comparative evaluation of South African Negro groups is concerned, there are also discrepancies. These conclusions need to be explained in terms of evolutionary mechanisms (such as historic origins, hybridization, natural selection, and genetic drift) in order to obtain a more consistent and comprehensive comparative picture of the physical anthropology of southern African populations.

Accession: 006027436

PMID: 3458377

DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.1330690310

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