The genetic structure of a tribal population, the Yanomama indians. XV. Patterns inferred by autocorrelation analysis

R. R. Sokal, P. E. Smouse, J. V. Neel

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86 Scopus citations

Abstract

Fifteen allele frequencies have previously been determined for 50 villages of the Yanomama, an Amerindian tribe from southern Venezuela and northern Brazil. These frequencies were subjected to spatial autocorrelation analysis to investigate their population structure. There are significant spatial patterns for most allele frequencies. Clinical patterns, investigated by one-dimensional and directional spatial correlograms, were relatively few in number and were moderate in strength. Overall, however, there is a marked decline in genetic similarity with geographic distance. The results are compatible with a hierarchic population structure superimposed on the geography, and generated by a stochastic fission-fusion model of village propagation, followed by localized gene flow. Strong temporal autocorrelations of allele frequencies based on linguistic-historical distances representing time since divergence were also found. There appears to be a stronger relation between geography and linguistic-historical hierarchic subdivisions than between either feature and genetic distances. These findings confirm by different approaches the results of earlier analyses concerning the important roles of both stochastic and social factors in determining village allele frequencies and the occurrence within this tribe of some allele frequency clines most likely due to the operation of chance historical processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-287
Number of pages29
JournalGenetics
Volume114
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics

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