Twenty-two Y-chromosomal markers, consisting of fourteen biallelic markers (YAP/DYS287, M170, M253, P37, M223, 12f2, M9, P43, Tat, 92R7, P36, SRY-1532, M17, P25) and eight STRs (DYS19, DYS385a/b, DYS388, DYS389I/II, DYS390, DYS391, DYS392, DYS393), were analyzed in 536 unrelated Finnish males from eastern and western subpopulations of Finland. The aim of the study was to analyze regional differences in genetic variation within the country, and to analyze the population history of the Finns. Our results gave further support to the existence of a sharp genetic border between eastern and western Finns so far observed exclusively in Y-chromosomal variation. Both biallelic haplogroup and STR haplotype networks showed bifurcated structures, and similar clustering was evident in haplogroup, and haplotype frequencies and genetic distances. These results suggest that the western and eastern parts of the country have been subject to partly different population histories, which is also supported by earlier archaeological, historical and genetic data. It seems probable that early migrations from Finno-Ugric sources affected the whole country, whereas subsequent migrations from Scandinavia had an impact mainly on the western parts of the country. The contacts between Finland and neighboring Finno-Ugric, Scandinavian and Baltic regions are evident. However, there is no support for recent migrations from Siberia and Central Europe. Our results emphasize the importance of incorporating Y-chromosomal data to reveal the population substructure which is often left undetected in mitochondrial DNA variation. Early assumptions of the homogeneity of the isolated Finnish population have now proven to be false, which may also have implications for future association studies. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.