Dental morphological markers as a proxy for ethnicity in Robinson Crusoe islanders.

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Pía Villanueva; Mónica Quevedo; Zulema de Barbieri; Soledad Piñeiro; Carolina Herrero; María Angélica Fernández & Hernán Palomino


Chilean Robinson Crusoe Island is a semi-isolated location with unusually high rates of both consanguinity and language disorder. The current population of 633 inhabitants is descended almost exclusively from the colonization at the end of the 19th century, as there were few preceding immigrations to the island. This study investigates the genetic composition and degree of miscegenation within the island population, using dental morphological markers. The universe of island children was studied (n= 128, 3 to 15 years of age) using clinical exams, dental cast, and identification of each individual within a previously-constructed extensive genealogy for the island. The frequencies for Carabelli's cusp (61.7%), shovel-shaped incisor (9.4%), and sixth cusp (2.3%), along with the absence of seventh cusp, are consistent with a primarily Caucasian population. The estimated degree of miscegenation suggests an Amerindian component of 4.3%, which is consistent with the extensive known genealogies of the founders. Characterizing the genetic profile of Robinson Crusoe Island, a location with a remarkably high prevalence of language disorder, facilitates the comparison of the genetic variants underlying this pathology with those identified in European populations.

KEY WORDS: Dental morphological markers; Carabelli's cusp; Shovel-shaped incisor; Robinson Crusoe Island.

How to cite this article

VILLANUEVA, P.; QUEVEDO, M.; DE BARBIERI, Z.; PIÑEIRO, S.; HERRERO, C.; FERNÁNDEZ, M. A. & PALOMINO, H. Dental morphological markers as a proxy for ethnicity in Robinson Crusoe islanders. Int. J. Morphol., 33(2):538-543, 2015.