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An analysis of 8 Alu insertion loci (ACE, TPA25, PV92, APO, FXIIIB, D1, A25, B65) has been carried out in six populations from the Caucasus, including Indo-European-speaking Armenians; Altaic-speaking Azerbaijanians; North Caucasian-speaking Cherkessians, Darginians, and Ingushians; and South Caucasian (Kartvelian)-speaking Georgians. The Caucasus populations exhibit low levels of within-population variation and high levels of between-population differentiation, with the average Fst value for the Caucasus of 0.113, which is almost as large as the Fst value of 0.157 for worldwide populations. Maximum likelihood tree and principal coordinate analyses both group the Caucasus populations with European populations. Neither geographic nor linguistic relationships appear to explain the genetic relationships of Caucasus populations. Instead, it appears as if they have been small and relatively isolated, and hence genetic drift has been the dominant influence on the genetic structure of Caucasus populations.

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European Journal of Human Genetics

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