A new whole-genome analysis out of Brazil has some interesting ancestry information. The preprint, Whole-genome sequencing of 1,171 elderly admixed individuals from the largest Latin American metropolis (São Paulo, Brazil):
As whole-genome sequencing (WGS) becomes the gold standard tool for studying population genomics and medical applications, data on diverse non-European and admixed individuals are still scarce. Here, we present a high-coverage WGS dataset of 1,171 highly admixed elderly Brazilians from a census-based cohort, providing over 76 million variants, of which ~2 million are absent from large public databases….
First, it’s old. The average age is 72, so these are people born in 1950. This is the genetic characteristics of Brazil in 1950 in many ways, not today. This is why you see so many individuals who self-identify as Asian who are nearly 100% Asian. These individuals are the children of Japanese immigrants. In 1950 the endogamy of the community was high. Today the youngest generation of Japanese Brazilians is 60% mixed.
Second, most of the ancestry of self-identified Brazilian whites in this sample is mostly white. Like the Japanese, a large number of these individuals are probably the children of European immigrants. I suspect this accounts for many of the 20% of the “white” sample that has no trace non-European ancestry. But observe that around another 20% has trace proportions (~1%) of non-European ancestry, mostly African. My supposition, in this case, is that these are “old stock” white Brazilians. That this, one or both of their parents descend from Portuguese Brazilians who settled in overwhelmingly European areas and retain some non-European admixture due to long-term residence in Brazil. The remainder is white Brazilians who have substantial non-European ancestry, with a small minority whose proportions are quite high from a North American perspective.
A point of comparison is probably useful. About 95% of non-Hispanic whites in the United States seem to have almost no detectable non-European ancestry using this sort of model-based clustering. This illustrates the massive demographic difference between the USA and Latin American nations. The vast majority of white Latin Americans look quite Iberian, but the majority also have far more non-European ancestry than 95% of North American whites. This is partly a reflection of the smaller population sizes of native peoples in North America, and, the nature of hypodescent for people of any African ancestry in the United States, so that mixed individuals were integrated into African Americans.
Third, the people who are “mixed” and black in Brazil are more European than you might expect. All the estimates of European ancestry I’ve seen for self-identified black Brazilians (a somewhat protean category due to social changes over the past few generations) indicate higher European ancestry fraction than among African Americans (~20% median in the latter). Self-identified “mixed” Brazilians have more European ancestry than anything.
The native category is interesting because most of these people have only a minor component of that ancestry. Additionally, a huge number of white, mixed, and black Brazilians have native ancestry. This is not surprising from previous work. Ancestry deconvolution indicates this is an old admixture, and mtDNA lineages are more native than Y chromosomes. There was a sex asymmetry in the early settlement, and native women married into the settler population. Both black and white Brazilians (and mixed) have lots of native ancestry.
Finally, though there is some overlap between these groups (despite their average differences), I assume that the overlap is much greater in contemporary cohorts in terms of genomic ancestry. It will be interesting to see when we get temporal transects in Brazil to see how assortative mating does, or doesn’t, work.
Looking forward to more of this from Latin America. So many opportunities for admixture mapping!