Sub-population structure and intricate kinship dynamics might introduce biases in molecular anthropology studies and could invalidate the efforts to understand diseases in highly admixed populations. In order to clarify the previously observed distribution pattern and morbidity of Chagas disease in Gran Chaco, Argentina, we studied two populations (Wichí and Criollos) recruited following an innovative bio-cultural model considering their complex cultural interactions. By reconstructing the genetic background and the structure of these two culturally different populations, the pattern of admixture, the correspondence between genealogical and genetic relationships, this integrated perspective had the power to validate data and to link the gap usually relying on a singular discipline. Although Wichí and Criollos share the same area, these sympatric populations are differentiated from the genetic point of view as revealed by Non Recombinant Y Chromosome genotyping resulting in significantly high Fst values and in a lower genetic variability in the Wichí population. Surprisingly, the Amerindian and the European components emerged with comparable amounts (20%) among Criollos and Wichí respectively. The detailed analysis of mitochondrial DNA showed that the two populations have as much as 87% of private haplotypes. Moreover, from the maternal perspective, despite a common Amerindian origin, an Andean and an Amazonian component emerged in Criollos and in Wichí respectively. Our approach allowed us to highlight that quite frequently there is a discrepancy between self-reported and genetic kinship. Indeed, if self-reported identity and kinship are usually utilized in population genetics as a reliable proxy for genetic identity and parental relationship, in our model populations appear to be the result not only and not simply of the genetic background but also of complex cultural determinants. This integrated approach paves the way to a rigorous reconstruction of demographic and cultural history as well as of bioancestry and propensity to diseases of Wichí and Criollos.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)