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Thread: New complete mtDNA U sequences from ancient Europe

  1. #1
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    New complete mtDNA U sequences from ancient Europe

    Qiaomei Fu et al., A Revised Timescale for Human Evolution Based on Ancient Mitochondrial Genomes, Current Biology, 21 March 2013.

    All but one of the ancient modern human sequences from Europe belonged to mtDNA hg U, thus confirming previous findings that hg U was the dominant type of mtDNA before the spread of agriculture into Europe. The exception was the Cro-Magnon 1 sample, which belonged to the derived hg T2b1, an unexpected hg given its putative age of 30,000 years. Since the radiocarbon date for this specimen was obtained from an associated shell, we dated the sample itself using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). Surprisingly, the sample had a much younger age of about 700 years, suggesting a medieval origin. Consequently, this bone fragment has now been removed from the Cro-Magnon collection at the Musee de l’Homme in Paris. ...

    It has been argued that hg U5 is the most ancient subhaplogroup of the U lineage, originating among the first early modern humans in Europe. Our results support this hypothesis because we find that the two Dolni Vestonice individuals radiocarbon dated to 31.5 kya carry a type of mtDNA that is as yet uncharacterized, sits close to the root of hg U, and carries two mutations that are specific to hg U5.
    Their table 1 shows a sample from Paglicci Cave as H1, but the text rejects this sample, which appears not to be ancient. (Contamination maybe.) The authors have been very careful.

    The new sequences are in my Ancient Western Eurasian DNA table.
    Last edited by Jean M; 03-22-2013 at 02:36 AM.

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    J Man
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    Wow this is huge!

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    Yeah, this is the paper I was hoping for - if they could do a full sequence for Neanderthals and Denisovans, I hoped they could do the same for pre-ice age modern humans. Very exciting. The also establish to some extent the order in which U5's string of 5 mutations occured - some of the samples have just 2 of the 5 defining mutations for U5.

    From the Dicussion section of the paper:
    We were able to reconstruct three complete and six nearly
    complete mitochondrial genomes from ancient human
    remains that were found in Europe and Eastern Asia and
    span 40,000 years of human history. All Paleolithic and
    Mesolithic European samples belong to mtDNA hg U, as
    was previously suggested for pre-Neolithic Europeans [15].
    Two of the three individuals from the Dolni Vestonice triple
    burial associated with the pre-ice age Gravettian culture,
    namely, 14 and 15, show identical mtDNAs, suggesting
    a maternal relationship. Furthermore, both individuals
    display a mitochondrial sequence that falls basal in a phylo-
    genetic tree compared to the post-ice age hunter-gatherer
    samples from Italy and central Europe, as well as the
    contemporary mtDNA hg U5 (Figure 1). It has been argued
    that hg U5 is the most ancient subhaplogroup of the U
    lineage, originating among the first early modern humans in
    Europe [18]. Our results support this hypothesis because
    we find that the two Dolni Vestonice individuals radiocarbon
    dated to 31.5 kya carry a type of mtDNA that is as yet un-
    characterized, sits close to the root of hg U, and carries
    two mutations that are specific to hg U5. With our recali-
    brated molecular clock, we date the age of the U5 branch
    to approximately 30 kya, thus predating the LGM. Because
    the majority of late Paleolithic and Mesolithic mtDNAs
    analyzed to date fall on one of the branches of U5 (see
    also [15]), our data provide some support for maternal
    genetic continuity between the pre- and post-ice age Euro-
    pean hunter-gatherers from the time of first settlement to
    the onset of the Neolithic. U4, another hg commonly found
    in Mesolithic hunter-gatherers [15], has so far not been
    sequenced in a Paleolithic individual, and we find hgs U8
    and U2 in pre-LGM individuals but not in later hunter-gath-
    erers. At present, the genetic data on Upper Paleolithic,
    and especially pre-ice age, populations are too sparse to
    comment on whether or not this is representative of a change
    in the genetic structure of the population, perhaps caused by
    a bottleneck during the LGM and a subsequent repopulation
    from glacial refugia.

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