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Euclides
Thursday, March 18th, 2004, 10:54 PM
Mitochondrial portrait of the Cabo Verde archipelago: the Senegambian outpost of Atlantic slave trade

A. BREHM1, L. PEREIRA2, 3, H.-J. BANDELT4, M. J. PRATA2, 3 and A. AMORIM2, 3

In order to study the matrilineal genetic composition in Cabo Verde (Republic of Cape Verde), an archipelago that used to serve as a Portuguese entrepôt of the Atlantic slave trade, we have analysed a total of 292 mtDNAs sampled from the seven inhabitated islands for the hypervariable segment I (HVS-I) and some characteristic RFLPs of the coding regions. The different settlement history of the northwestern group of the islands is well reflected in the mtDNA pool. The total Cabo Verde sample clearly displays the characteristic mitochondrial features of the Atlantic fringe of western Africa and testifies to almost no mitochondrial input from the Portuguese colonizers.

Euclides
Thursday, March 18th, 2004, 10:58 PM
Distribution of HLA alleles in Portugal and Cabo Verde. Relationships with the slave trade route

H. SPÍNOLA1, A. BREHM1, F. WILLIAMS2, J. JESUS1 & D. MIDDLETON2


HLA-A, -B, and -DR frequencies were analysed in populations from Portugal and the Madeira and Cabo Verde Archipelagos, aiming to characterize their genetic composition. Portuguese settlers colonized both Archipelagos in the 15th and 16th centuries. Madeira received many sub-Saharan slaves to work in the sugar plantations, and Cabo Verde served as a pivotal market in the Atlantic slave trade and was populated by individuals coming from the Senegambia region of the West African coast. The population of Madeira shows the highest genetic diversity and the presence of alleles and haplotypes usually linked to sub-Saharan populations, the haplotypes accounting for 3.5% of the total. Cabo Verde presents typical markers acknowledged to be of European or Ibero-Mediterranean origin, thus revealing the admixture of European settlers with Sub-Saharan slaves. Altogether the number of European haplotypes reaches 15% of the total. The Portuguese population shows a perceivable and significant heterogeneity both in allele and haplotype frequencies, unveiling a differential input of peoples from different origins. A PCA of the populations studied, plus other relevant ones, clearly shows gene heterogeneity in mainland Portugal as well as the differences and relationships between these populations and Madeira and Cabo Verde.