High frequencies of Y chromosome lineages characterized by E3b1, DYS19-11, DYS392-12 in Somali males

We genotyped 45 biallelic markers and 11 STR systems on the Y chromosome in 201 male Somalis. In addition, 65 sub-Saharan Western Africans, 59 Turks and 64 Iraqis were typed for the biallelic Y chromosome markers. In Somalis, 14 Y chromosome haplogroups were identified including E3b1 (77.6%) and K2 (10.4%). The haplogroup E3b1 with the rare DYS19-11 allele (also called the E3b1 cluster γ) was found in 75.1% of male Somalis, and 70.6% of Somali Y chromosomes were E3b1, DYS19-11, DYS392-12, DYS437-14, DYS438-11 and DYS393-13. The haplotype diversity of eight Y-STRs (‘minimal haplotype’) was 0.9575 compared to an average of 0.9974 and 0.9996 in European and Asian populations. In sub-Saharan Western Africans, only four haplogroups were identified. The West African clade E3a was found in 89.2% of the samples and the haplogroup E3b1 was not observed. In Turks, 12 haplogroups were found including J2*(xJ2f2) (27.1%), R1b3*(xR1b3d, R1b3f) (20.3%), E3b3 and R1a1*(xR1a1b) (both 11.9%). In Iraqis, 12 haplogroups were identified including J2*(xJ2f2) (29.7%) and J*(xJ2) (26.6%). The data suggest that the male Somali population is a branch of the East African population – closely related to the Oromos in Ethiopia and North Kenya – with predominant E3b1 cluster γ lineages that were introduced into the Somali population 4000–5000 years ago, and that the Somali male population has approximately 15% Y chromosomes from Eurasia and approximately 5% from sub-Saharan