Synthetic review on the genetic relatedness between North Africa and Arabia deduced from paternal lineage distributions

  • S Triki-Fendri
  • A Rebai
Keywords: Y-SNP, haplogroup, Arab-speaking populations, North Africa, Middle East


-Y-chromosome single-nucleotide polymorphisms are highly used for phylogenetic construction and in the study of human migration patterns and evolution. Knowing that these genetic markers are associated with certain aspects of human culture like languages, it has been reported that some specific haplogroups characterize the Arab world. In this review, we draw the main conclusions referring to these polymorphisms in the Arab world, in order to provide an anthropological approach to the analysis of the genetic landscape of these populations. In the Middle East, the predominant categories of Y chromosomes are varieties associated with haplogroup J-M304. It has been hypothesized that the center of origin of sub-haplogroup J1-M267 would be the southern Arabian Peninsula whereas J2-M172 seems to be originating from the Fertile Crescent region. In North African populations, the distribution of E-M81, the most common haplogroup there, closely matches the present area of Berber-speaking population’s allocation on the continent, suggesting a close haplogroup-ethnic group parallelism. Remarkably, J1-M267 and J2-M172 were also encountered in North African populations but with less frequency than the Middle Eastern ones, showing an important paternal gene flow from the Middle East towards North Africa. This is in agreement with historical data such as the Phoenician migration flows, from the Fertile Crescent, and mainly to the Arab expansion during the spread of Islam and the important migration of Arabic tribes like the Hilalians that led to a large scale Arabization of North Africa.

Key words: Y-SNP, haplogroup, Arab-speaking populations, North Africa, Middle East


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1737-8176
print ISSN: 1737-7374