Currently, language and cultural practices are the only criteria to distinguish between Berber autochthonous Tunisian populations. To evaluate these populations’ possible genetic structure and differentiation, we have analyzed 15 autosomal short tandem repeat loci (CSF1PO, D3S1358, D5S818, D7S820, D8S1179, D13S317, D16S539, D18S51, D21S11, FGA, TH01, TPOX, VWA, D2S1338, and D19S433) in three southern Tunisian Berber groups: Sened, Matmata, and Chenini-Douiret. The exact test of population differentiation based on allele frequencies at the 15 loci shows significant P values at 7 loci between Chenini-Douiret and both Sened and Matmata, whereas just 5 loci show significant P values between Sened and Matmata. Comparative analyses between the three Berber groups based on genetic distances show that P values for FST distances are significant between the three Berber groups. Population analysis performed using Structure shows a clear differentiation between these Berber groups, with strong genetic isolation of Chenini-Douiret. These results confirm at the autosomal level the high degree of heterogeneity of Tunisian Berber populations that had been previously reported for uniparental markers.
Khodjet-El-Khil, Houssein; Fadhlaoui-Zid, Karima; Gusmao, Leonor; and Alves, Cintia
"Substructure of a Tunisian Berber Population as Inferred from 15 Autosomal Short Tandem Repeat Loci,"
4, Article 6.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol80/iss4/6