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Thousands of Qatari genomes inform human migration history and improve imputation of Arab haplotypes

journal contribution
submitted on 2024-05-22, 07:55 and posted on 2024-05-22, 07:55 authored by Rozaimi Mohamad Razali, Juan Rodriguez-Flores, Mohammadmersad Ghorbani, Haroon Naeem, Waleed Aamer, Elbay Aliyev, Ali Jubran, Said I. Ismail, Wadha Al-Muftah, Radja Badji, Hamdi Mbarek, Dima Darwish, Tasnim Fadl, Heba Yasin, Maryem Ennaifar, Rania Abdellatif, Fatima Alkuwari, Muhammad Alvi, Yasser Al-Sarraj, Chadi Saad, Asmaa Althani, Eleni Fethnou, Fatima Qafoud, Eiman Alkhayat, Nahla Afifi, Sara Tomei, Wei Liu, Stephan Lorenz, Najeeb Syed, Hakeem Almabrazi, Fazulur Rehaman Vempalli, Ramzi Temanni, Tariq Abu Saqri, Mohammedhusen Khatib, Mehshad Hamza, Tariq Abu Zaid, Ahmed El Khouly, Tushar Pathare, Shafeeq Poolat, Rashid Al-Ali, Omar Albagha, Souhaila Al-Khodor, Mashael Alshafai, Ramin Badii, Lotfi Chouchane, Xavier Estivill, Khalid A. Fakhro, Younes Mokrab, Jithesh V. Puthen, Karsten Suhre, Zohreh Tatari, Andrew G. Clark, Qatar Genome Program Research Consortium, Qatar Genome Project Management, Biobank and Sample Preparation, Sequencing and Genotyping group, Applied Bioinformatics Core, Data Management and Computing Infrastructure group, Consortium Lead Principal Investigators (in alphabetical order)

Arab populations are largely understudied, notably their genetic structure and history. Here we present an in-depth analysis of 6,218 whole genomes from Qatar, revealing extensive diversity as well as genetic ancestries representing the main founding Arab genealogical lineages of Qahtanite (Peninsular Arabs) and Adnanite (General Arabs and West Eurasian Arabs). We find that Peninsular Arabs are the closest relatives of ancient hunter-gatherers and Neolithic farmers from the Levant, and that founder Arab populations experienced multiple splitting events 12–20 kya, consistent with the aridification of Arabia and farming in the Levant, giving rise to settler and nomadic communities. In terms of recent genetic flow, we show that these ancestries contributed significantly to European, South Asian as well as South American populations, likely as a result of Islamic expansion over the past 1400 years. Notably, we characterize a large cohort of men with the ChrY J1a2b haplogroup (n = 1,491), identifying 29 unique sub-haplogroups. Finally, we leverage genotype novelty to build a reference panel of 12,432 haplotypes, demonstrating improved genotype imputation for both rare and common alleles in Arabs and the wider Middle East.

Other Information

Published in: Nature Communications
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Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library.



  • English


Springer Nature

Publication Year

  • 2021

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Sidra Medicine
  • Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar
  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • College of Health and Life Sciences - HBKU
  • Qatar Genome Programme (2015-2024)
  • Qatar Biobank (2012-2024)
  • Qatar University
  • Qatar University Health - QU
  • College of Health Sciences - QU HEALTH
  • Hamad Medical Corporation

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