Mitochondrial DNA Variation in North Dakota Residents of European Ancestry
Katelyn Kjelland, Dr. Igor Ovchinnikov

This study aims to examine mtDNA variation in residents of European ancestry living in North Dakota. This state was settled by European migrants of distinct origins who originally formed isolated ethnic enclaves. MtDNA hypervariable segments HVS-I and HVS-II of 97 unrelated individuals revealed high diversity as well as admixture, inferring extensive postsettlement gene flow. A total of 106 polymorphisms in the data set defined 88 different haplotypes belonging to haplogroups of western Eurasian origin. Population statistics of North Dakota demonstrated no reduction in mtDNA diversity. Close genetic proximity was observed with Germans, Slavs, and Scandinavians. AMOVA tests provided no significant evidence of genetic structure within the population and suggested less stratification than is observed in European source populations. Comparison of genetic data with genealogical record indicated that emigration from Europe led to increased gene flow and, consequently, a more homogenous genetic structure due to maternal ancestry in North Dakota.

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