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Am J Hum Genet. 2008 May;82(5):1084-100. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2008.03.019. Epub 2008 May 1.

Mitochondrial genome diversity in arctic Siberians, with particular reference to the evolutionary history of Beringia and Pleistocenic peopling of the Americas.

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  • 1Laboratory of Human Molecular Genetics, Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Siberian Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk 630090, Russia.

Abstract

Through extended survey of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) diversity in the Nganasan, Yukaghir, Chuvantsi, Chukchi, Siberian Eskimos, and Commander Aleuts, we filled important gaps in previously unidentified internal sequence variation within haplogroups A, C, and D, three of five (A-D and X) canonical mtDNA lineages that defined Pleistocenic extension from the Old to the New World. Overall, 515 mtDNA samples were analyzed via high-resolution SNP analysis and then complete sequencing of the 84 mtDNAs. A comparison of the data thus obtained with published complete sequences has resulted in the most parsimonious phylogenetic structure of mtDNA evolution in Siberia-Beringia. Our data suggest that although the latest inhabitants of Beringia are well genetically reflected in the Chukchi-, Eskimo-Aleut-, and Na-Dene-speaking Indians, the direct ancestors of the Paleosiberian-speaking Yukaghir are primarily drawn from the southern belt of Siberia when environmental conditions changed, permitting recolonization the high arctic since early Postglacial. This study further confirms that (1) Alaska seems to be the ancestral homeland of haplogroup A2 originating in situ approximately 16.0 thousand years ago (kya), (2) an additional founding lineage for Native American D, termed here D10, arose approximately 17.0 kya in what is now the Russian Far East and eventually spread northward along the North Pacific Rim. The maintenance of two refugial sources, in the Altai-Sayan and mid-lower Amur, during the last glacial maximum appears to be at odds with the interpretation of limited founding mtDNA lineages populating the Americas as a single migration.

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