Autosomal Short Tandem Repeats (STR) Polymorphism Based Genetic Characterization of An Arabic Speaking Population, Western Center Morocco, North Africa
North African populations have a long history of complex migrations, making them an intriguing case to study how the current genetic structure of these populations was shaped. In this study, we describe for the first time the profile of an Arabic-speaking population located in the western center of Morocco, namely Chaouia, using 15 autosomal STRs loci (D5S818, FGA, D8S1179, D21S11, D7S820, CSF1PO, D3S1358, TH01, D13S317, D16S539, D2S1338, D19S433, VWA, TPOX, and D18S51) in a random sample of 150 unrelated individuals. All markers exhibited high power of discrimination values (≥0.853). Both TH01 and D18S51deviated from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, after Bonferroni correction. Based on phylogeny analysis, the Chaouia population was genetically close to all Moroccan sub-populations. Based on the linguistic affiliation (Berber or Arabic-speaking groups), locus-by-locus AMOVA revealed no significant differences between Moroccan sub-populations, as well as between various groups from all over North Africa, including Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, and Libya. These findings support the conclusion that the impact of Arabization following the Arab expansion was cultural rather than demographic.
Keywords - Short Tandem Repeats, Population Data, Chaouia, Arabic-Speaking, Morocco.