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1.  The history of the North African mitochondrial DNA haplogroup U6 gene flow into the African, Eurasian and American continents 
Complete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genome analyses have greatly improved the phylogeny and phylogeography of human mtDNA. Human mitochondrial DNA haplogroup U6 has been considered as a molecular signal of a Paleolithic return to North Africa of modern humans from southwestern Asia.
Using 230 complete sequences we have refined the U6 phylogeny, and improved the phylogeographic information by the analysis of 761 partial sequences. This approach provides chronological limits for its arrival to Africa, followed by its spreads there according to climatic fluctuations, and its secondary prehistoric and historic migrations out of Africa colonizing Europe, the Canary Islands and the American Continent.
The U6 expansions and contractions inside Africa faithfully reflect the climatic fluctuations that occurred in this Continent affecting also the Canary Islands. Mediterranean contacts drove these lineages to Europe, at least since the Neolithic. In turn, the European colonization brought different U6 lineages throughout the American Continent leaving the specific sign of the colonizers origin.
PMCID: PMC4062890  PMID: 24885141
Population genetics; Human evolution; Mitochondrial DNA; Haplogroup U6; Phylogeny; Phylogeography
2.  Distinguishing the co-ancestries of haplogroup G Y-chromosomes in the populations of Europe and the Caucasus 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2012;20(12):1275-1282.
Haplogroup G, together with J2 clades, has been associated with the spread of agriculture, especially in the European context. However, interpretations based on simple haplogroup frequency clines do not recognize underlying patterns of genetic diversification. Although progress has been recently made in resolving the haplogroup G phylogeny, a comprehensive survey of the geographic distribution patterns of the significant sub-clades of this haplogroup has not been conducted yet. Here we present the haplogroup frequency distribution and STR variation of 16 informative G sub-clades by evaluating 1472 haplogroup G chromosomes belonging to 98 populations ranging from Europe to Pakistan. Although no basal G-M201* chromosomes were detected in our data set, the homeland of this haplogroup has been estimated to be somewhere nearby eastern Anatolia, Armenia or western Iran, the only areas characterized by the co-presence of deep basal branches as well as the occurrence of high sub-haplogroup diversity. The P303 SNP defines the most frequent and widespread G sub-haplogroup. However, its sub-clades have more localized distribution with the U1-defined branch largely restricted to Near/Middle Eastern and the Caucasus, whereas L497 lineages essentially occur in Europe where they likely originated. In contrast, the only U1 representative in Europe is the G-M527 lineage whose distribution pattern is consistent with regions of Greek colonization. No clinal patterns were detected suggesting that the distributions are rather indicative of isolation by distance and demographic complexities.
PMCID: PMC3499744  PMID: 22588667
Y-chromosome; haplogroup G; human evolution; population genetics
3.  Genetics, Environment, and Diabetes-Related End-Stage Renal Disease in the Canary Islands 
Aims: Type 1 and type 2 diabetes, complicated with renal disease, have a significantly higher incidence in the Canary Islands than in mainland Spain and other European countries. Present-day Canarian inhabitants consist of a mixed population with North African indigenous and European colonizer ancestors who have rapidly evolved from a rural to an urban life style. The aim of this work was to assess the possible role of genetic and environmental factors on diabetes-related end-stage renal disease incidence in the Canary Islands. Results: For both types of diabetes there is an ethnic susceptibility increased by diabetes family history. Whereas the Y-chromosome does not play a significant role, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup differences point to a maternal origin for this ethnic predisposition, confirming susceptible and protective effects for haplogroups J and T, respectively. In addition, urban life style seems to be an additional risk factor for type 1 diabetes. Conclusions: The maternal ethnic predisposition to diabetes complicated with kidney disease detected in the Canary Islands signals mtDNA and X-chromosome markers as the best candidates to uncover the genetic predisposition to this disease.
PMCID: PMC3422557  PMID: 22480375
4.  Introducing the Algerian Mitochondrial DNA and Y-Chromosome Profiles into the North African Landscape 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56775.
North Africa is considered a distinct geographic and ethnic entity within Africa. Although modern humans originated in this Continent, studies of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y-chromosome genealogical markers provide evidence that the North African gene pool has been shaped by the back-migration of several Eurasian lineages in Paleolithic and Neolithic times. More recent influences from sub-Saharan Africa and Mediterranean Europe are also evident. The presence of East-West and North-South haplogroup frequency gradients strongly reinforces the genetic complexity of this region. However, this genetic scenario is beset with a notable gap, which is the lack of consistent information for Algeria, the largest country in the Maghreb. To fill this gap, we analyzed a sample of 240 unrelated subjects from a northwest Algeria cosmopolitan population using mtDNA sequences and Y-chromosome biallelic polymorphisms, focusing on the fine dissection of haplogroups E and R, which are the most prevalent in North Africa and Europe respectively. The Eurasian component in Algeria reached 80% for mtDNA and 90% for Y-chromosome. However, within them, the North African genetic component for mtDNA (U6 and M1; 20%) is significantly smaller than the paternal (E-M81 and E-V65; 70%). The unexpected presence of the European-derived Y-chromosome lineages R-M412, R-S116, R-U152 and R-M529 in Algeria and the rest of the Maghreb could be the counterparts of the mtDNA H1, H3 and V subgroups, pointing to direct maritime contacts between the European and North African sides of the western Mediterranean. Female influx of sub-Saharan Africans into Algeria (20%) is also significantly greater than the male (10%). In spite of these sexual asymmetries, the Algerian uniparental profiles faithfully correlate between each other and with the geography.
PMCID: PMC3576335  PMID: 23431392
6.  Ancient DNA from Hunter-Gatherer and Farmer Groups from Northern Spain Supports a Random Dispersion Model for the Neolithic Expansion into Europe 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e34417.
Background/Principal Findings
The phenomenon of Neolithisation refers to the transition of prehistoric populations from a hunter-gatherer to an agro-pastoralist lifestyle. Traditionally, the spread of an agro-pastoralist economy into Europe has been framed within a dichotomy based either on an acculturation phenomenon or on a demic diffusion. However, the nature and speed of this transition is a matter of continuing scientific debate in archaeology, anthropology, and human population genetics. In the present study, we have analyzed the mitochondrial DNA diversity in hunter-gatherers and first farmers from Northern Spain, in relation to the debate surrounding the phenomenon of Neolithisation in Europe.
Analysis of mitochondrial DNA was carried out on 54 individuals from Upper Paleolithic and Early Neolithic, which were recovered from nine archaeological sites from Northern Spain (Basque Country, Navarre and Cantabria). In addition, to take all necessary precautions to avoid contamination, different authentication criteria were applied in this study, including: DNA quantification, cloning, duplication (51% of the samples) and replication of the results (43% of the samples) by two independent laboratories. Statistical and multivariate analyses of the mitochondrial variability suggest that the genetic influence of Neolithisation did not spread uniformly throughout Europe, producing heterogeneous genetic consequences in different geographical regions, rejecting the traditional models that explain the Neolithisation in Europe.
The differences detected in the mitochondrial DNA lineages of Neolithic groups studied so far (including these ones of this study) suggest different genetic impact of Neolithic in Central Europe, Mediterranean Europe and the Cantabrian fringe. The genetic data obtained in this study provide support for a random dispersion model for Neolithic farmers. This random dispersion had a different impact on the various geographic regions, and thus contradicts the more simplistic total acculturation and replacement models proposed so far to explain Neolithisation.
PMCID: PMC3340892  PMID: 22563371
7.  A major Y-chromosome haplogroup R1b Holocene era founder effect in Central and Western Europe 
The phylogenetic relationships of numerous branches within the core Y-chromosome haplogroup R-M207 support a West Asian origin of haplogroup R1b, its initial differentiation there followed by a rapid spread of one of its sub-clades carrying the M269 mutation to Europe. Here, we present phylogeographically resolved data for 2043 M269-derived Y-chromosomes from 118 West Asian and European populations assessed for the M412 SNP that largely separates the majority of Central and West European R1b lineages from those observed in Eastern Europe, the Circum-Uralic region, the Near East, the Caucasus and Pakistan. Within the M412 dichotomy, the major S116 sub-clade shows a frequency peak in the upper Danube basin and Paris area with declining frequency toward Italy, Iberia, Southern France and British Isles. Although this frequency pattern closely approximates the spread of the Linearbandkeramik (LBK), Neolithic culture, an advent leading to a number of pre-historic cultural developments during the past ≤10 thousand years, more complex pre-Neolithic scenarios remain possible for the L23(xM412) components in Southeast Europe and elsewhere.
PMCID: PMC3039512  PMID: 20736979
Y-chromosome; haplogroup R1b; human evolution; population genetics
8.  Eurasian and Sub-Saharan African mitochondrial DNA haplogroup influences pseudoexfoliation glaucoma development in Saudi patients 
Molecular Vision  2011;17:543-547.
To investigate whether different mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroups have a role on the development of pseudoexfoliation glaucoma (PEG) in the Saudi Arab population.
The mtDNA regulatory region and coding regions comprising mtDNA haplogroup diagnostic polymorphisms were sequenced in patients with PEG (n=94), healthy matched controls (free of PEG; n=112) and a healthy Saudi Arab population group (n=810).
The Eurasian haplogroup T and the Sub-Saharan African Haplogroup L2 confer susceptibility to PEG, whereas the Eurasian haplogroup N1 was associated with reduced risk to develop PEG in the Saudi Arab population.
Mitochondrial haplogroups T and L2 may play a role in the development of PEG in the Saudi Arabian population.
PMCID: PMC3044700  PMID: 21364909
9.  Mitochondrial DNA lineages of African origin confer susceptibility to primary open-angle glaucoma in Saudi patients 
Molecular Vision  2011;17:1468-1472.
We previously reported that certain mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) polymorphisms in the coding region may be involved in the pathogenesis for primary open-angle-glaucoma (POAG). This encouraged us to extend our work and assess whether mtDNA diagnostic polymorphisms, defining geographically structured haplogroups, could be associated with the development of POAG.
We sequenced the mtDNA regulatory hypervariable region-I (HVS-I) region and coding regions, comprising haplogroup diagnostic polymorphisms, in 176 POAG patients and 186 matched healthy controls (free of glaucoma by examination) of Saudi Arabia ascendancy. A large sample of 810 healthy Saudi Arabs representing the general Saudi population has also been included in the analysis. Assigning individuals into various mitochondrial haplogroups was performed using the nomenclature previously described for African and for Eurasian sequences.
African mtDNA haplotypes belonging to L haplogroups, excluding L2, confer susceptibility to POAG whereas the Eurasian haplogroup N1 was associated with reduced risk of developing POAG in Saudi Arabian population.
Saudi individuals with mtDNA of African origin are at higher risk of developing POAG. In addition, the mtDNA Eurasian haplogroup N1 may play a mild protective effect to this illness.
PMCID: PMC3110492  PMID: 21677789
10.  Susceptibility to primary angle closure glaucoma in Saudi Arabia: the possible role of mitochondrial DNA ancestry informative haplogroups 
Molecular Vision  2011;17:2171-2176.
In a previous preliminary analysis we reported that mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup R0a was significantly more frequent in primary angle closure glaucoma (PACG) Saudi patients than in healthy Saudi controls. This result prompted us to extend our work using a significant larger Saudi PACG cohort and more healthy controls.
We sequenced the mtDNA regulatory hypervariable region-I (HVS-I) and coding regions, comprising haplogroup diagnostic polymorphisms, in 227 PACG Saudi patients and compared their haplogroup frequencies with those obtained from 186 matched healthy controls (free of PACG by examination) and from a large sample of 810 healthy Saudi Arabs representing the general Saudi population.
MtDNA Haplogroups R0a and J, the most abundant lineages in Saudi Arabia, were in significant higher frequencies in the PACG patients than in controls, while the widespread western Eurasian haplogroup U was associated with reduced risk to developing PACG.
Haplogroups R0a and J could be ancestry informative markers for PACG in the Saudi Arabian population. In addition, the western Eurasian haplogroup U may play a mild protective effect to this illness.
PMCID: PMC3156795  PMID: 21850192
11.  The maternal aborigine colonization of La Palma (Canary Islands) 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2009;17(10):1314-1324.
Teeth from 38 aboriginal remains of La Palma (Canary Islands) were analyzed for external and endogenous mitochondrial DNA control region sequences and for diagnostic coding positions. Informative sequences were obtained from 30 individuals (78.9%). The majority of lineages (93%) were from West Eurasian origin, being the rest (7%) from sub-Saharan African ascription. The bulk of the aboriginal haplotypes had exact matches in North Africa (70%). However, the indigenous Canarian sub-type U6b1, also detected in La Palma, has not yet been found in North Africa, the cradle of the U6 expansion. The most abundant H1 clade in La Palma, defined by transition 16260, is also very rare in North Africa. This means that the exact region from which the ancestors of the Canarian aborigines came has not yet been sampled or that they have been replaced by later human migrations. The high gene diversity found in La Palma (95.2±2.3), which is one of the farthest islands from the African continent, is of the same level than the previously found in the central island of Tenerife (92.4±2.8). This is against the supposition that the islands were colonized from the continent by island hopping and posterior isolation. On the other hand, the great similarity found between the aboriginal populations of La Palma and Tenerife is against the idea of an island-by-island independent maritime colonization without secondary contacts. Our data better fit to an island model with frequent migrations between islands.
PMCID: PMC2986650  PMID: 19337312
ancient DNA; mtDNA haplogroups; Canarian aborigines; colonization
12.  Saudi Arabian Y-Chromosome diversity and its relationship with nearby regions 
BMC Genetics  2009;10:59.
Human origins and migration models proposing the Horn of Africa as a prehistoric exit route to Asia have stimulated molecular genetic studies in the region using uniparental loci. However, from a Y-chromosome perspective, Saudi Arabia, the largest country of the region, has not yet been surveyed. To address this gap, a sample of 157 Saudi males was analyzed at high resolution using 67 Y-chromosome binary markers. In addition, haplotypic diversity for its most prominent J1-M267 lineage was estimated using a set of 17 Y-specific STR loci.
Saudi Arabia differentiates from other Arabian Peninsula countries by a higher presence of J2-M172 lineages. It is significantly different from Yemen mainly due to a comparative reduction of sub-Saharan Africa E1-M123 and Levantine J1-M267 male lineages. Around 14% of the Saudi Arabia Y-chromosome pool is typical of African biogeographic ancestry, 17% arrived to the area from the East across Iran, while the remainder 69% could be considered of direct or indirect Levantine ascription. Interestingly, basal E-M96* (n = 2) and J-M304* (n = 3) lineages have been detected, for the first time, in the Arabian Peninsula. Coalescence time for the most prominent J1-M267 haplogroup in Saudi Arabia (11.6 ± 1.9 ky) is similar to that obtained previously for Yemen (11.3 ± 2) but significantly older that those estimated for Qatar (7.3 ± 1.8) and UAE (6.8 ± 1.5).
The Y-chromosome genetic structure of the Arabian Peninsula seems to be mainly modulated by geography. The data confirm that this area has mainly been a recipient of gene flow from its African and Asian surrounding areas, probably mainly since the last Glacial maximum onwards. Although rare deep rooting lineages for Y-chromosome haplogroups E and J have been detected, the presence of more basal clades supportive of the southern exit route of modern humans to Eurasian, were not found.
PMCID: PMC2759955  PMID: 19772609
13.  Demographic history of Canary Islands male gene-pool: replacement of native lineages by European 
The origin and prevalence of the prehispanic settlers of the Canary Islands has attracted great multidisciplinary interest. However, direct ancient DNA genetic studies on indigenous and historical 17th–18th century remains, using mitochondrial DNA as a female marker, have only recently been possible. In the present work, the analysis of Y-chromosome polymorphisms in the same samples, has shed light on the way the European colonization affected male and female Canary Island indigenous genetic pools, from the conquest to present-day times.
Autochthonous (E-M81) and prominent (E-M78 and J-M267) Berber Y-chromosome lineages were detected in the indigenous remains, confirming a North West African origin for their ancestors which confirms previous mitochondrial DNA results. However, in contrast with their female lineages, which have survived in the present-day population since the conquest with only a moderate decline, the male indigenous lineages have dropped constantly being substituted by European lineages. Male and female sub-Saharan African genetic inputs were also detected in the Canary population, but their frequencies were higher during the 17th–18th centuries than today.
The European colonization of the Canary Islands introduced a strong sex-biased change in the indigenous population in such a way that indigenous female lineages survived in the extant population in a significantly higher proportion than their male counterparts.
PMCID: PMC2728732  PMID: 19650893
14.  Mitochondrial DNA haplogroup H structure in North Africa 
BMC Genetics  2009;10:8.
The Strait of Gibraltar separating the Iberian Peninsula from North Africa is thought to be a stronger barrier to gene flow for male than for female lineages. However, the recent subdivision of the haplogroup H at mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) level has revealed greater genetic differentiation among geographic regions than previously detected. The dissection of the mtDNA haplogroup H in North Africa, and its comparison with the Iberian Peninsula and Near-East profiles would help clarify the relative affinities among these regions.
Like the Iberian Peninsula, the dominant mtDNA haplogroup H subgroups in North Africa are H1 (42%) and H3 (13%). The similarity between these regions is stronger in the North-West edge affecting mainly Moroccan Arabs, West Saharans and Mauritanians, and decreases eastwards probably due to gene flow from Near East as attested for the higher frequencies of H4, H5, H7, H8 and H11 subgroups. Moroccan Berbers show stronger affinities with Tunisian and Tunisian Berbers than with Moroccan Arabs. Coalescence ages for H1 (11 ± 2 ky) and H3 (11 ± 4 ky) in North Africa point to the possibility of a late Palaeolithic settlement for these lineages similar to those found for other mtDNA haplogroups. Total and partial mtDNA genomic sequencing unveiled stronger mtDNA differentiation among regions than previously found using HVSI mtDNA based analysis.
The subdivision of the mtDNA haplogroup H in North Africa has confirmed that the genetic differentiation found among Western and Eastern populations is mainly due to geographical rather than cultural barriers. It also shows that the historical Arabian role on the region had more a cultural than a demic effect. Whole mtDNA sequencing of identical H haplotypes based on HVSI and RFLP information has unveiled additional mtDNA differences between North African and Iberian Peninsula lineages, pointing to an older mtDNA genetic flow between regions than previously thought. Based on this new information, it seems that the Strait of Gibraltar barrier affected both male and female gene flow in a similar fashion.
PMCID: PMC2657161  PMID: 19243582
15.  Mitochondrial DNA structure in the Arabian Peninsula 
Two potential migratory routes followed by modern humans to colonize Eurasia from Africa have been proposed. These are the two natural passageways that connect both continents: the northern route through the Sinai Peninsula and the southern route across the Bab al Mandab strait. Recent archaeological and genetic evidence have favored a unique southern coastal route. Under this scenario, the study of the population genetic structure of the Arabian Peninsula, the first step out of Africa, to search for primary genetic links between Africa and Eurasia, is crucial. The haploid and maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) molecule has been the most used genetic marker to identify and to relate lineages with clear geographic origins, as the African Ls and the Eurasian M and N that have a common root with the Africans L3.
To assess the role of the Arabian Peninsula in the southern route, we genetically analyzed 553 Saudi Arabs using partial (546) and complete mtDNA (7) sequencing, and compared the lineages obtained with those present in Africa, the Near East, central, east and southeast Asia and Australasia. The results showed that the Arabian Peninsula has received substantial gene flow from Africa (20%), detected by the presence of L, M1 and U6 lineages; that an 18% of the Arabian Peninsula lineages have a clear eastern provenance, mainly represented by U lineages; but also by Indian M lineages and rare M links with Central Asia, Indonesia and even Australia. However, the bulk (62%) of the Arabian lineages has a Northern source.
Although there is evidence of Neolithic and more recent expansions in the Arabian Peninsula, mainly detected by (preHV)1 and J1b lineages, the lack of primitive autochthonous M and N sequences, suggests that this area has been more a receptor of human migrations, including historic ones, from Africa, India, Indonesia and even Australia, than a demographic expansion center along the proposed southern coastal route.
PMCID: PMC2268671  PMID: 18269758
16.  The role of mitochondrial haplogroups in glaucoma: a study in an Arab population 
Molecular Vision  2008;14:518-522.
Glaucoma prevalence can vary geographically and ethnically, which suggests that a genetic element could play a significant role. Studies investigating the role of various mitochondrial haplogroups in the pathogenesis of glaucoma are scarce.
We compared the prevalence of different mitochondrial haplogroups in 107 glaucoma patients (49 primary open-angle glaucoma, POAG; 29 primary angle-closure glaucoma, PACG; and 29 pseudoexfoliation glaucoma, PEG) and 552 maternally unrelated normal controls. All patients and controls were Saudi Arabs.
There was no statistically significant difference between patients and controls for all mitochondrial haplogroups tested except for PACG patients with mitochondrial haplogroup preHV1 (odds ratio=4.9; 95% CI 2.3 – 10.5; p=0.00002).
Patients with preHV1 mitochondrial haplogroups are at higher risk of developing PACG. However, our study group is relatively small and further studies with more patients in other populations are needed to confirm this interesting finding.
PMCID: PMC2268863  PMID: 18385785
17.  Mitochondrial lineage M1 traces an early human backflow to Africa 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:223.
The out of Africa hypothesis has gained generalized consensus. However, many specific questions remain unsettled. To know whether the two M and N macrohaplogroups that colonized Eurasia were already present in Africa before the exit is puzzling. It has been proposed that the east African clade M1 supports a single origin of haplogroup M in Africa. To test the validity of that hypothesis, the phylogeographic analysis of 13 complete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences and 261 partial sequences belonging to haplogroup M1 was carried out.
The coalescence age of the African haplogroup M1 is younger than those for other M Asiatic clades. In contradiction to the hypothesis of an eastern Africa origin for modern human expansions out of Africa, the most ancestral M1 lineages have been found in Northwest Africa and in the Near East, instead of in East Africa. The M1 geographic distribution and the relative ages of its different subclades clearly correlate with those of haplogroup U6, for which an Eurasian ancestor has been demonstrated.
This study provides evidence that M1, or its ancestor, had an Asiatic origin. The earliest M1 expansion into Africa occurred in northwestern instead of eastern areas; this early spread reached the Iberian Peninsula even affecting the Basques. The majority of the M1a lineages found outside and inside Africa had a more recent eastern Africa origin. Both western and eastern M1 lineages participated in the Neolithic colonization of the Sahara. The striking parallelism between subclade ages and geographic distribution of M1 and its North African U6 counterpart strongly reinforces this scenario. Finally, a relevant fraction of M1a lineages present today in the European Continent and nearby islands possibly had a Jewish instead of the commonly proposed Arab/Berber maternal ascendance.
PMCID: PMC1945034  PMID: 17620140
18.  Eurasian and African mitochondrial DNA influences in the Saudi Arabian population 
Genetic studies of the Arabian Peninsula are scarce even though the region was the center of ancient trade routes and empires and may have been the southern corridor for the earliest human migration from Africa to Asia. A total of 120 mtDNA Saudi Arab lineages were analyzed for HVSI/II sequences and for haplogroup confirmatory coding diagnostic positions. A phylogeny of the most abundant haplogroup (preHV)1 (R0a) was constructed based on 13 whole mtDNA genomes.
The Saudi Arabian group showed greatest similarity to other Arabian Peninsula populations (Bedouin from the Negev desert and Yemeni) and to Levantine populations. Nearly all the main western Asia haplogroups were detected in the Saudi sample, including the rare U9 clade. Saudi Arabs had only a minority sub-Saharan Africa component (7%), similar to the specific North-African contribution (5%). In addition, a small Indian influence (3%) was also detected.
The majority of the Saudi-Arab mitochondrial DNA lineages (85%) have a western Asia provenance. Although the still large confidence intervals, the coalescence and phylogeography of (preHV)1 haplogroup (accounting for 18 % of Saudi Arabian lineages) matches a Neolithic expansion in Saudi Arabia.
PMCID: PMC1810519  PMID: 17331239
19.  The mitochondrial lineage U8a reveals a Paleolithic settlement in the Basque country 
BMC Genomics  2006;7:124.
It is customary, in population genetics studies, to consider Basques as the direct descendants of the Paleolithic Europeans. However, until now there has been no irrefutable genetic proof to support this supposition. Even studies based on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), an ideal molecule for constructing datable maternal genealogies, have failed to achieve this. It could be that incoming gene flow has replaced the Basque ancient lineages but it could also be that these lineages have not been detected due to a lack of resolution of the Basque mtDNA genealogies. To assess this possibility we analyzed here the mtDNA of a large sample of autochthonous Basques using mtDNA genomic sequencing for those lineages that could not be unequivocally classified by diagnostic RFLP analysis and control region (HVSI and HVSII) sequencing.
We show that Basques have the most ancestral phylogeny in Europe for the rare mitochondrial subhaplogroup U8a. Divergence times situate the Basque origin of this lineage in the Upper Palaeolithic. Most probably, their primitive founders came from West Asia. The lack of U8a lineages in Africa points to an European and not a North African route of entrance. Phylogeographic analysis suggest that U8a had two expansion periods in Europe, the first, from a south-western area including the Iberian peninsula and Mediterranean France before 30,000 years ago, and the second, from Central Europe around 15,000–10,000 years ago.
It has been demonstrated, for the first time, that Basques show the oldest lineages in Europe for subhaplogroup U8a. Coalescence times for these lineages suggest their presence in the Basque country since the Upper Paleolithic. The European U8 phylogeography is congruent with the supposition that Basques could have participated in demographic re-expansions to repopulate central Europe in the last interglacial periods.
PMCID: PMC1523212  PMID: 16719915
20.  Mitochondrial DNA transit between West Asia and North Africa inferred from U6 phylogeography 
BMC Genetics  2003;4:15.
World-wide phylogeographic distribution of human complete mitochondrial DNA sequences suggested a West Asian origin for the autochthonous North African lineage U6. We report here a more detailed analysis of this lineage, unraveling successive expansions that affected not only Africa but neighboring regions such as the Near East, the Iberian Peninsula and the Canary Islands.
Divergence times, geographic origin and expansions of the U6 mitochondrial DNA clade, have been deduced from the analysis of 14 complete U6 sequences, and 56 different haplotypes, characterized by hypervariable segment sequences and RFLPs.
The most probable origin of the proto-U6 lineage was the Near East. Around 30,000 years ago it spread to North Africa where it represents a signature of regional continuity. Subgroup U6a reflects the first African expansion from the Maghrib returning to the east in Paleolithic times. Derivative clade U6a1 signals a posterior movement from East Africa back to the Maghrib and the Near East. This migration coincides with the probable Afroasiatic linguistic expansion. U6b and U6c clades, restricted to West Africa, had more localized expansions. U6b probably reached the Iberian Peninsula during the Capsian diffusion in North Africa. Two autochthonous derivatives of these clades (U6b1 and U6c1) indicate the arrival of North African settlers to the Canarian Archipelago in prehistoric times, most probably due to the Saharan desiccation. The absence of these Canarian lineages nowadays in Africa suggests important demographic movements in the western area of this Continent.
PMCID: PMC270091  PMID: 14563219
21.  Major genomic mitochondrial lineages delineate early human expansions 
BMC Genetics  2001;2:13.
The phylogeographic distribution of human mitochondrial DNA variations allows a genetic approach to the study of modern Homo sapiens dispersals throughout the world from a female perspective. As a new contribution to this study we have phylogenetically analysed complete mitochondrial DNA(mtDNA) sequences from 42 human lineages, representing major clades with known geographic assignation.
We show the relative relationships among the 42 lineages and present more accurate temporal calibrations than have been previously possible to give new perspectives as how modern humans spread in the Old World.
The first detectable expansion occurred around 59,000–69,000 years ago from Africa, independently colonizing western Asia and India and, following this southern route, swiftly reaching east Asia. Within Africa, this expansion did not replace but mixed with older lineages detectable today only in Africa. Around 39,000–52,000 years ago, the western Asian branch spread radially, bringing Caucasians to North Africa and Europe, also reaching India, and expanding to north and east Asia. More recent migrations have entangled but not completely erased these primitive footprints of modern human expansions.
PMCID: PMC55343  PMID: 11553319

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