Genetic admixture patterns in Argentinian Patagonia

As in other Latin American populations, Argentinians are the result of the admixture amongst different continental groups, mainly from America and Europe, and to a lesser extent from Sub-Saharan Africa. However, it is known that the admixture processes did not occur homogeneously throughout the country. Therefore, considering the importance for anthropological, medical and forensic researches, this study aimed to investigate the population genetic structure of the Argentinian Patagonia, through the analysis of 46 ancestry informative markers, in 433 individuals from five different localities. Overall, in the Patagonian sample, the average individual ancestry was estimated as 35.8% Native American (95% CI: 32.2–39.4%), 62.1% European (58.5–65.7%) and 2.1% African (1.7–2.4%). Comparing the five localities studied, statistically significant differences were observed for the Native American and European contributions, but not for the African ancestry. The admixture results combined with the genealogical information revealed intra-regional variations that are consistent with the different geographic origin of the participants and their ancestors. As expected, a high European ancestry was observed for donors with four grandparents born in Europe (96.8%) or in the Central region of Argentina (85%). In contrast, the Native American ancestry increased when the four grandparents were born in the North (71%) or in the South (61.9%) regions of the country, or even in Chile (60.5%). In summary, our results showed that differences on continental ancestry contribution have different origins in each region in Patagonia, and even in each locality, highlighting the importance of knowing the origin of the participants and their ancestors for the correct interpretation and contextualization of the genetic information.