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Population genetic diversity in an Iraqi population and gene flow across the Arabian Peninsula.Y-STRs have emerged as important forensic and population genetic markers for human identification and population differentiation studies. Therefore, population databases for these markers have been developed for almost all major populations around the world. The Iraqi population encompasses several ethnic groups that need to be genetically characterised and evaluated for possible substructures. Previous studies on the Iraqi population based on Y-STR markers were limited by a restricted number of markers. A larger database for Iraqi Arab population needed to be developed to help study and compare the population with other Middle Eastern populations. Twenty-three Y-STR loci included in the PowerPlex Y23 (Promega, Madison, WI, USA) were typed in 254 males from the Iraqi Arab population. Global and regional Y-STR analysis demonstrated regional genetic continuity among the populations of Iraq, the Arabian Peninsula and the Middle East. The Iraqi Arab haplotypes were used to allocate samples to their most likely haplogroups using Athey’s Haplogroup Predictor tool. Prediction indicated predominance (36.6%) of haplogroup J1 in Iraqi Arabs. The migration rate between other populations and the Iraqis was inferred using coalescence theory in the Migrate-n program. Y-STR data were used to test different out-of-Africa migration models as well as more recent migrations within the Arabian Peninsula. The migration models demonstrated that gene flow to Iraq began from East Africa, with the Levantine corridor the most probable passageway out of Africa. The data presented here will enrich our understanding of genetic diversity in the region and introduce a PowerPlex Y23 database to the forensic community.