The Qatari population’s genetic structure and gene flow as revealed by the Y chromosome

Novelli, Giuseppe, Almohammed, Eida Khalaf, Hadi, Abdullah, Al-Asmakh, Maha and Lazim, Hayder (2023) The Qatari population’s genetic structure and gene flow as revealed by the Y chromosome. PLOS ONE, 18 (9).

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The Y-chromosome has been widely used in forensic genetic applications and human population genetic studies due to its uniparental origins. A large database on the Qatari population was created for comparison with other databases from the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East, and Africa. We provide a study of 23 Y-STR loci included in PowerPlex Y23 (Promega, USA) that were genotyped to produce haplotypes in 379 unrelated males from Qatar, a country at the crossroads of migration patterns. Overall, the most polymorphic locus provided by the Promega kit was DYS458, with a genetic diversity value of 0.85 and a haplotype diversity of 0.998924. Athey’s Haplogroup Predictor tool was used to predict haplogroups from Y-STR haplotypes in the Qatari population. In a median-joining network, the haplogroup J1 predominance (49%) in Qatar generated a star-like expansion cluster. The graph of population Q-matrix was developed using Y-STR data from 38 Middle Eastern and 97 African populations (11,305 individuals), and it demonstrated a stronger sub-grouping of countries within each ethnic group and showed the effect of Arabs on the indigenous Berbers of North Africa. The estimated migration rate between the Qatari and other Arabian populations was inferred using Bayesian coalescence theory in the Migrate-n program. According to the Gene Flow study, the main migration route was from Yemen to Kuwait through Qatar. Our research, using the PowerPlex Y23 database, shows the importance of gene diversity, as well as regional and social structuring, in determining the utility of demographic and forensic databases.

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