Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Faculty of Communications, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Wei Wang

Second Advisor

Professor Alan Bittles


Throughout recorded Chinese history, regions of the country populated by persons of non-Han ancestry often fluctuated significantly in population numbers and in their political and commercial influence. However, at all times they were considered as important contributors to the nation. Many of these peoples had moved from their homelands, settled in China and had intermarried with Han Chinese. Over the generations they became accepted as fully-fledged Chinese citizens although, in many instances, they retained their traditional customs and religious practices, and frequently their own language. The Hui Muslims are a good example of this process of integration, and today they comprise some 8.6 million individuals thus forming approximately half of the total Muslim population of PR China. The purpose of this study is to investigate the genetic structure of two populations, the Han and Hui of Liaoning, Northeast PR China. The study seeks to provide a better understanding of the effect of population subdivision on the genetic diversity of human populations, by comparing genome-based investigations using single tandem repeat markers with historical and anthropological information. As the Hui of Liaoning are endogamous, and they are known to contract consanguineous marriages, the study also attempts to assess the effect of consanguinity on overall genetic diversity in the Hui. Genetic analysis of the Han and Hui was undertaken by surveying the allele distribution patterns at ten autosomal and seven Y-chromosome microsatellite loci in both study populations. Various population genetic techniques were applied, based either on the Infinite Allele Mutation model or the Stepwise Mutation Model. It was found that both the Han and the Hui exhibited appreciable heterogeneity at autosomal and Y-chromosome loci, indicative of the presence of population substructure and that the AMOV A test best defined genetic relationship between two populations. It was concluded that further detailed anthropological and demographic information was needed to provide a more detailed account of population structure and for the creation of a detailed phylogeny tracing male Hui gene flow. It was also found that consanguinity seemed to have a negligible effect on the genetic diversity of the Hui population of Liaoning. It was concluded that either the practice of consanguinity had not occurred over a sufficiently long time period to alter overall genetic diversity or that heterozygote advantage may be operating at various loci.