Dental size variation in admixed Latin Americans: Effects of age, sex and genomic ancestry

Yang, Guangrui; Chen, Yingjie; Li, Qing; Benítez, Daniel; Ramírez, Luis Miguel; Fuentes-Guajardo, Macarena; Hanihara, Tsunehiko; Scott, G. Richard; Acuña Alonzo, Victor; Gonzalez Jose, Rolando; Bortolini, Maria Catira; Poletti, Giovanni; Gallo, Carla; Rothhammer, Francisco; Rojas, Winston; Zanolli, Clément; Adhikari, Kaustubh; Ruiz-Linares, Andres and Delgado, Miguel (2023). Dental size variation in admixed Latin Americans: Effects of age, sex and genomic ancestry. PLOS ONE, 18(5), article no. e0285264.



Dental size variation in modern humans has been assessed from regional to worldwide scales, especially under microevolutionary and forensic contexts. Despite this, populations of mixed continental ancestry such as contemporary Latin Americans remain unexplored. In the present study we investigated a large Latin American sample from Colombia (N = 804) and obtained buccolingual and mesiodistal diameters and three indices for maxillary and mandibular teeth (except third molars). We evaluated the correlation between 28 dental measurements (and three indices) with age, sex and genomic ancestry (estimated using genome-wide SNP data). In addition, we explored correlation patterns between dental measurements and the biological affinities, based on these measurements, between two Latin American samples (Colombians and Mexicans) and three putative parental populations: Central and South Native Americans, western Europeans and western Africans through PCA and DFA. Our results indicate that Latin Americans have high dental size diversity, overlapping the variation exhibited by the parental populations. Several dental dimensions and indices have significant correlations with sex and age. Western Europeans presented closer biological affinities with Colombians, and the European genomic ancestry exhibited the highest correlations with tooth size. Correlations between tooth measurements reveal distinct dental modules, as well as a higher integration of postcanine dentition. The effects on dental size of age, sex and genomic ancestry is of relevance for forensic, biohistorical and microevolutionary studies in Latin Americans.

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