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Am J Hum Genet. Sep 1995; 57(3): 523–538.
PMCID: PMC1801280

Origins and affinities of modern humans: a comparison of mitochondrial and nuclear genetic data.

Abstract

To test hypotheses about the origin of modern humans, we analyzed mtDNA sequences, 30 nuclear restriction-site polymorphisms (RSPs), and 30 tetranucleotide short tandem repeat (STR) polymorphisms in 243 Africans, Asians, and Europeans. An evolutionary tree based on mtDNA displays deep African branches, indicating greater genetic diversity for African populations. This finding, which is consistent with previous mtDNA analyses, has been interpreted as evidence for an African origin of modern humans. Both sets of nuclear polymorphisms, as well as a third set of trinucleotide polymorphisms, are highly consistent with one another but fail to show deep branches for African populations. These results, which represent the first direct comparison of mtDNA and nuclear genetic data in major continental populations, undermine the genetic evidence for an African origin of modern humans.

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