The early African experience in the Americas is marked by the transatlantic slave trade from ~1619 to 1850 and the rise of the plantation system. The origins of enslaved Africans were largely dependent on European preferences as well as the availability of potential laborers within Africa. Rice production was a key industry of many colonial South Carolina low country plantations. Accordingly, rice plantations owners within South Carolina often requested enslaved Africans from the so-called "Grain Coast" of western Africa (Senegal to Sierra Leone). Studies on the African origins of the enslaved within other regions of the Americas have been limited. To address the issue of origins of people of African descent within the Americas and understand more about the genetic heterogeneity present within Africa and the African Diaspora, we typed Y chromosome specific markers in 1,319 men consisting of 508 west and central Africans (from 12 populations), 188 Caribbeans (from 2 islands), 532 African Americans (AAs from Washington, DC and Columbia, SC), and 91 European Americans. Principal component and admixture analyses provide support for significant Grain Coast ancestry among African American men in South Carolina. AA men from DC and the Caribbean showed a closer affinity to populations from the Bight of Biafra. Furthermore, 30-40% of the paternal lineages in African descent populations in the Americas are of European ancestry. Diverse west African ancestries and sex-biased gene flow from EAs has contributed greatly to the genetic heterogeneity of African populations throughout the Americas and has significant implications for gene mapping efforts in these populations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)