Document Type



Geographic isolation is a significant factor to consider when characterizing human populations. The knowledge of the genetic structure of isolated populations has been of great importance to disease-locus positioning and gene identification. To investigate the genetic structure of the Azorean population, we conducted a survey based on the frequencies of surnames listed in the 2001 telephone book.We calculated the following parameters: isonymy (I ), the random component of inbreeding (FST), genetic diversity according to Fisher (α), Karlin-McGregor’s migration rate (ν), and Nei’s distance. For the 1,271 subscribers and 163 different surnames, Graciosa island presented the lowest value of abundance of surnames (α= 15.75), suggesting great genetic isolation compared to the other eight islands. Migration, calculated on the basis of the diversity of surnames within islands, ranged from 0.2747 (Corvo island) to 0.0026 (Sao Miguel island), indicating that people migrated preferentially toward the economically more developed islands. The value of the random component of inbreeding obtained for the whole population (FST = 0.0039) indicates little genetic differentiation (Wright’s FST < 0.05). Moreover, isonymy similarity revealed using the UPGMA method shows three subclusters corresponding to the geographic distribution of the islands.