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Logo of bmcgenoBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Genomics
BMC Genomics. 2009; 10: 605.
Published online Dec 14, 2009. doi:  10.1186/1471-2164-10-605
PMCID: PMC2808327
A new deep branch of eurasian mtDNA macrohaplogroup M reveals additional complexity regarding the settlement of Madagascar
François-X Ricaut,corresponding author#1,2 Harilanto Razafindrazaka,#1 Murray P Cox,3 Jean-M Dugoujon,1 Evelyne Guitard,1 Clement Sambo,4 Maru Mormina,5 Marta Mirazon-Lahr,5 Bertrand Ludes,1,6 and Eric Crubézy1
1CNRS FRE 2960, Laboratoire d'Anthropobiologie, Université de Toulouse, Toulouse III Paul sabatier, 37 allées Jules Guesde, 31073 Toulouse cedex 3, France
2Center for Archaeological Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200E, 3001 Heverlee, Belgium
3Institute of Molecular BioSciences, Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution, and the Bio-Protection Centre, Massey University, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
4Ecole Normale Supérieure, Université de Toliara, Toliara, Madagascar
5Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies, Henry Wellcome Building, Fitzwilliam Street, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1QH, UK
6Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Moléculaire, Institut de Médecine Légale, 11 rue Humann, 67085 Strasbourg, France
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
#Contributed equally.
François-X Ricaut: fx.ricaut/at/; Harilanto Razafindrazaka: razafindrazaka.harilanto/at/; Murray P Cox: m.p.cox/at/; Jean-M Dugoujon: dugoujon/at/; Evelyne Guitard: guitard/at/; Clement Sambo: samboclement/at/; Maru Mormina: mem50/at/; Marta Mirazon-Lahr: mbml1/at/; Bertrand Ludes: bertrand.ludes/at/; Eric Crubézy: crubezy.eric/at/
Received June 9, 2009; Accepted December 14, 2009.
Current models propose that mitochondrial DNA macrohaplogroups M and N evolved from haplogroup L3 soon after modern humans left Africa. Increasingly, however, analysis of isolated populations is filling in the details of, and in some cases challenging, aspects of this general model.
Here, we present the first comprehensive study of three such isolated populations from Madagascar: the Mikea hunter-gatherers, the neighbouring Vezo fishermen, and the Merina central highlanders (n = 266). Complete mitochondrial DNA genome sequences reveal several unresolved lineages, and a new, deep branch of the out-of-Africa founder clade M has been identified. This new haplogroup, M23, has a limited global distribution, and is restricted to Madagascar and a limited range of African and Southwest Asian groups.
The geographic distribution, phylogenetic placement and molecular age of M23 suggest that the colonization of Madagascar was more complex than previously thought.
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