Paternal genetic history of the Yong population in northern Thailand revealed by Y-chromosomal haplotypes and haplogroups


We have determined the distribution of Y-chromosomal haplotypes and haplogroups in the Yong population, one of the largest and well-known ethnic groups that began migrating southward from China to Thailand centuries ago. Their unique mass migration pattern provided great opportunities for researchers to study the genetic links of the transboundary migration movements among the peoples of China, Myanmar and Thailand. We analysed relevant male-specific markers, such as Y-STRs and Y-SNPs, and the distribution of 23 Y-STRs of 111 Yong individuals and 116 nearby ethnic groups including the Shan, Northern Thai, Lawa, Lua, Skaw, Pwo and Padong groups. We found that the general haplogroup distribution values were similar among different populations; however, the haplogroups O1b-M268 and O2-M112 constituted the vast majority of these values. In contrast with previous maternal lineage studies, the paternal lineage of the Yong did not relate to the Xishuangbanna Dai people, who represent their historically documented ancestors. However, they did display a close genetic affinity to other prehistoric Tai-Kadai speaking groups in China such as the Zhuang and Bouyei. Low degrees of genetic admixture within the populations who belonged to the Austroasiatic and Sino-Tibetan linguistic families were observed in the gene pool of the Yong populations. Resettlement in northern Thailand in the early part of the nineteenth century AD, by way of mass migration trend, was able to preserve the Yong’s ancestral genetic background in terms of the way they had previously lived in China and Myanmar. Our study has revealed similar genetic structures among ethnic populations in northern Thailand and southern China, and has identified and emphasized an ancient Tai-Kadai patrilineal ancestry line in the Yong ethnic group.

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The authors thank all volunteers and village chiefs for their participation in the sample collection process. This work was financially and technically supported by the former Network of Forensic Science Institutes, Institute of Forensic Medicine, DNA laboratory (2015), Budapest, Hungary. JK gratefully acknowledges the partial support provided by Chiang Mai University, Thailand, and Tempus Public Foundation, Hungary. WK was provided funding from the Thailand Research Fund (Grant No. RSA6180058).

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Correspondence to Horolma Pamjav.

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Online Resource 1 (ESM_1)

General information and Fst genetic distances of Y haplogroup frequencies of 27 populations compared. Fst (below the diagonal) and their p values (above the diagonal) are shown. Grey boxes indicate non-significant p values, p>0.01 (XLSX 20 kb)

Online Resource 2 (ESM_2)

General information and Rst-genetic distances of 23 STR-based Y haplotype frequencies of 23 populations compared. Rst (below the diagonal) and their p values (above the diagonal). Grey boxes indicate non-significant p values, p>0.01 (XLSX 16 kb)

Online Resource 3 (ESM_3)

Haplotypes of 23 Y-STRs and haplogroups of 227 male samples obtained from northern Thailand (XLSX 35 kb)

Online Resource 4 (ESM_4)

Median-Joining Network (MJ) of 414 N haplotypes constructed. The circle sizes are proportional to the haplotype frequencies. The smallest area is equivalent to one individual (TIFF 8565 kb)

Online Resource 5 (ESM_5)

Median-Joining Network (MJ) of 82 G haplotypes constructed. The circle sizes are proportional to the haplotype frequencies. The smallest area is equivalent to one individual. (Arrow 1: G1 samples of Skaw and Pwo; Arrow 2: G1a common haplotype; Arrow 3: G2a common haplotype) (TIFF 60062 kb)

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Kampuansai, J., Kutanan, W., Dudás, E. et al. Paternal genetic history of the Yong population in northern Thailand revealed by Y-chromosomal haplotypes and haplogroups. Mol Genet Genomics (2020).

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  • Y haplotypes and haplogroups
  • Yong ethnic groups in Thailand
  • Human demographic history