It has been proposed that women had a higher migration rate than men throughout human evolutionary history. However, in a recent study of South American natives using mtDNA restriction fragment polymorphisms and Y-chromosome microsatellites we failed to detect a significant difference in estimates of migration rates between the sexes. As the high mutation rate of microsatellites might affect estimates of population structure, we now examine biallelic polymorphisms in both mtDNA and the Y-chromosome. Analyses of these markers in Amerinds from North, Central and South America agree with our previous findings in not supporting a higher migration rate for women in these populations. Furthermore, they underline the importance of genetic drift in the evolution of Amerinds and suggest the existence of a North to South gradient of increasing drift in the Americas.
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