Admixture and population stratification in African Caribbean populations

J. Benn-Torres, C. Bonilla, C. M. Robbins, L. Waterman, T. Y. Moses, W. Hernandez, E. R. Santos, F. Bennett, W. Aiken, T. Tullock, K. Coard, A. Hennis, S. Wu, B. Nemesure, M. C. Leske, V. Freeman, J. Carpten, R. A. Kittles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Throughout biomedical research, there is growing interest in the use of ancestry informative markers (AIMs) to deconstruct racial categories into useful variables. Studies on recently admixed populations have shown significant population substructure due to differences in individual ancestry; however, few studies have examined Caribbean populations. Here we used a panel of 28 AIMs to examine the genetic ancestry of 298 individuals of African descent from the Caribbean islands of Jamaica, St. Thomas and Barbados. Differences in global admixture were observed, with Barbados having the highest level of West African ancestry (89.6% ± 2.0) and the lowest levels of European (10.2% ± 2.2) and Native American ancestry (0.2% ± 2.0), while Jamaica possessed the highest levels of European (12.4% ± 3.5) and Native American ancestry (3.2% ± 3.1). St. Thomas, USVI had ancestry levels quite similar to African Americans in continental U.S. (86.8% ± 2.2 West African, 10.6% ± 2.3 European, and 2.6% ± 2.1 Native American). Significant substructure was observed in the islands of Jamaica and St. Thomas but not Barbados (K=1), indicating that differences in population substructure exist across these three Caribbean islands. These differences likely stem from diverse colonial and historical experiences, and subsequent evolutionary processes. Most importantly, these differences may have significant ramifications for case-control studies of complex disease in Caribbean populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-98
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Human Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Ancestry informative markers
  • Barbados
  • Caribbean
  • Genetic admixture
  • Jamaica
  • St.Thomas USVI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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