Co-introgression of Y-chromosome haplogroups and the sickle cell gene across Africa's Sahel.
Bereir RE., Hassan HY., Salih NA., Underhill PA., Cavalli-Sforza LL., Hussain AA., Kwiatkowski D., Ibrahim ME.
The Sahel that extends from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ethiopian highland is a historical reservoir of Africa's cultures and grandest populations and a known arena of ancient and recent migrations. We are interested in the issue whether such migrations were also carriers of genetic traits and whether this introgression could be associated with population genetic markers. Based on analysis of Y-chromosome haplogroups, we present evidence that the sickle gene, one of the major protective polymorphisms known in malaria, has in fact found its way only recently to the gene pool of the populations in eastern Sahel. We discuss the possible dynamics of the process and give estimates of the age of the introduction of the S allele into eastern Sahel.