Autosomal STRs, Y-chromosome markers, and mitochondrial DNA sequences were investigated in six Mbyá-Guaraní villages (Fortín M'Bororé, Yryapu, Tabay, Kaaguy Poty, Jejy, and Yaboti), all of them settled within the province of Misiones, northeastern Argentina. One hundred twenty-one unrelated individuals were analyzed. The study involved typing fifteen autosomal STRs, nine Y-chromosome STRs, and four biallele loci in the nonrecombinant region of the Y chromosome, sequencing the mtDNA of hypervariable regions I and II, and detecting the 9-bp ins/del in region V of mtDNA. All autosomal STRs were in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. The four major native American mtDNA haplogroups were represented in the sample. Haplogroups A2 and D1 exhibited the highest frequencies (40.5% and 36.0%, respectively), and haplogroups B2 and C1 appeared to be less frequent (17.5% and 6.0%, respectively). The native American haplogroup Q1a3a was observed in a relevant proportion (88.8%). In addition, a nine-STR Y-chromosome haplo-type (DYS19*13, DYS389I*14, DYS389II*31, DYS390*24, DYS391*11, DYS392*14, DYS393*11, DYS385A*14, DYS385B*16) exhibited a frequency of more than 36%. Our results indicate that the analyzed Argentinean Guaraní individuals are genetically more closely related to Guaraní from Brazil [genetic distance (Δµ)2= 0.48] than to other related tribes that are geographically closer. Statistical approaches based on autosomal data do not support the hypothesis of genetic drift previously proposed; however, this apparent discrepancy might be due to the lack of sensitivity of the autosomal markers used here.
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