Absence of polymorphism at the ZFY locus on the human Y chromosome

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Science  26 May 1995:
Vol. 268, Issue 5214, pp. 1183-1185
DOI: 10.1126/science.7761836


DNA polymorphism in the Y chromosome, examined at a 729-base pair intron located immediately upstream of the ZFY zinc-finger exon, revealed no sequence variation in a worldwide sample of 38 human males. This finding cannot be explained by global constraint on the intron sequence, because interspecific comparisons with other nonhuman primates revealed phylogenetically informative sequence changes. The invariance likely results from either a recent selective sweep, a recent origin for modern Homo sapiens, recurrent male population bottlenecks, or historically small effective male population sizes. A coalescence model predicts an expected time to a most recent common ancestral male lineage of 270,000 years (95 percent confidence limits: 0 to 800,000 years).