The roots of the Hispanic populations of the Caribbean Islands and Central and South America go back to three continents of the Old World. In Puerto Rico major genetic contributions have come from (1) Asians in the form of the aboriginal Taino population, an Arawak tribe, present when Columbus arrived on the Island, (2) Europeans, largely Spanish explorers, settlers, government administrators, and soldiers, and (3) Africans who came as part of the slave trade. Since JC virus (JCV) genotypes characteristic of Asia, Europe, and Africa have been identified, and excretion of JCV in urine has been proposed as a marker for human migrations, we sought to characterize the JCV strains present in a Caribbean Hispanic population. We found that the strains of JCV present today in Puerto Rico are those derived from the Old World populations represented there: Types 1B and 4 from Spain, Types 3A, 3B, and 6 from Africa, and Type 2A from Asia. The Type 2A genotype represents the indigenous Taino people. This JCV genotype was represented much more frequently (61%) than would be predicted by the trihybrid model of genetic admixture. This might be attributable to characteristics of JCV Type 2A itself, as well as to the nature of the early relationships between Spanish men and native women. These findings indicate that the JCV strains carried by the Taino Indians can be found in today’s Puerto Rican population despite the apparent demise of these people more than two centuries ago. Therefore, molecular characterization of JCV provides a tool to supplement genetic techniques for reconstructing population histories including admixed populations.
Cobo, Mariana Fernandez; Jobes, David V.; Yanagihara, Richard; Nerurkar, Vivek R.; Yamamura, Yasuhiro; Ryschkewitsch, Caroline F.; and Stoner, Gerald L.
"Reconstructing Population History Using JC Virus: Amerinds,
Spanish, and Africans in the Ancestry of Modern Puerto Ricans,"
3, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol73/iss3/4