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A la croisée de l'anthropologie et de la biologie évolutive : diversité génétique et comportements migratoires en Asie intérieure

Abstract : My PhD thesis is about the influence of cultural behaviours on the neutral genetic diversity of human populations from Inner Asia. Notably, I investigated how specific behaviours may affect the demographic history of populations, by acting on the intensity of migration and genetic drift. To do so, I combined genetic and ethnological data, collected in present-day Inner Asian populations that belong to two major cultural and linguistic groups and have different social organisations.The first part of this work aims at understanding how Inner Asia was peopled, from the Bronze Age to nowadays. This was done in the framework of an international collaboration, through the study of both ancient and modern genomic data. The results obtained showed that modern populations are divided in two distinct genetic groups, mirroring the two cultural groups, and exhibiting contrasted ancestral components. I was then interested in exploring the influence of cultural behaviours on the sex-specific genetic structure of present-day populations from Inner Asia. By studying the genetic diversity of uniparental markers, namely mitochondrial DNA and the Y chromosome, I was able to characterize sex-specific genetic differences, such as a reduced population differentiation for mitochondrial DNA as compared to the Y chromosome. This maternal genetic homogeneity between populations may be explained by patrilocality, a residence rule shared by all the studied populations and generating mostly female migrations between populations. On the other hand, I showed there were some significant differences in genetic diversity between the two cultural groups for the Y chromosome. This observation may be related to the different filiation rules of these two groups. Indeed, one is patrilineal: the social filiation is inherited from the father, while the other is cognatic: the transmission is undifferentiated between the parents. It could then be that patrilineality leads to the formation of cores of related men within the population, who share the same Y chromosome. This population structuration would result in a reduced genetic diversity for the Y chromosome in patrilineal populations, compared to cognatics. As expected, the mitochondrial diversity is comparable between patrilineal and cognatic group, comforting the idea that patrilineality affects only the male genetic diversity. Finally, to investigate the ethnogenesis process, I calculated the genetic age of patrilineal ethnic groups from STR markers of the Y chromosome. I showed that this biological age is older than the one from historical sources, which suggests that, at least for Turko-Mongolic from Inner Asia, the ethnic group is partly a social construct, rather than an actual biological entity. In the third part, I focused on whether dispersal can be an inbreeding avoidance mechanisms by dispersal. Notably, I tested the hypothesis that exogamous unions, between spouses born in different villages, would lead to less inbreeding than endogamous unions. Despite a strong variation of the exogamous rate between the populations of the studied dataset, no significant difference was found for inbreeding, which was estimated from a genome-wide dataset. At the individual scale, I showed that some of the descendants of exogamous unions are inbred. This is especially true for spouses born less than 40 km away, in which case their descendants are statistically more inbred than those from endogamous unions. This shows that, in human populations, specific matrimonial behaviours, driven by culture, may contradict the results expected by evolutionary biology.In conclusion, my work shows several cases, at different time and geographic scales, where cultural behaviours left a footprint into the genetic diversity of Inner Asian populations.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, August 22, 2018 - 5:59:07 PM
Last modification on : Monday, October 5, 2020 - 9:12:04 AM
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  • HAL Id : tel-01859956, version 1


Nina Marchi. A la croisée de l'anthropologie et de la biologie évolutive : diversité génétique et comportements migratoires en Asie intérieure. Anthropologie sociale et ethnologie. Museum national d'histoire naturelle - MNHN PARIS, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017MNHN0021⟩. ⟨tel-01859956⟩



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