Mating patterns and gene dynamics of a population isolate of Native Americans

Jeffrey C. Long, Francine C. Romero, Margrit Urbanek, David Goldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Mating structure can have important effects on population genetic phenomena, including inbreeding and genetic drift. However, data necessary to test predictions based on mathematical models or identify sensitivity to simplifying assumptions are difficult to collect. We used two sources of such data, pedigrees and genotypes, collected in a human-population isolate. The population studied was Native American and located in New Mexico. It was founded in the mid-19th century by ca. 30 individuals, primarily of Navajo origin, and its size increased steadily thereafter. A complete tribal pedigree spanning ca. 100 years (up to 1948) was collected by anthropologists starting in the 1920s. Probabilities of allelic identity by descent (IBD) within and among individuals were calculated for all generations directly from the pedigree. Wright's F-statistics were calculated from the IBD probabilities, and Ne was obtained from the statistic FST. Genetic typings were performed on blood samples collected from the population between 1991-1993. A second set of F-statistics were calculated from genetic typings. Genetic kinship between individuals (FST) and average inbreeding within individuals (FIT) stabilized after the first two generations. However, FST was always greater than FIT of the next generation, suggesting that the net effect of social practices was inbreeding avoidance. In contrast to general expectations for growing populations, Ne increased over generations due to immigration. F-statistics estimated from the genetic typings were remarkably close to pedigree estimates, suggesting a drift-migration steady state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)681-691
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Mammalogy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1998


  • F-statistics
  • Human-population isolate
  • Marker typings
  • Pedigrees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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