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Hum Biol. 2000 Aug;72(4):585-95.

Frequency distribution of mitochondrial DNA haplogroups in Corsica and Sardinia.

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Dipartimento di Zoologia e Antropologia Biologica, Università di Sassari, Italy.


Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) polymorphisms were analyzed by polymerase chain reaction amplification and haplogroup-specific restriction screening in populations from Corsica and Sardinia. These included 56 individuals from the area of Corte, central Corsica (France), 51 individuals from Gallura, northern Sardinia (Italy), and 45 individuals from Barbagia, central Sardinia. The screening revealed that about 95% of mtDNAs could be grouped in 8 of the 9 European haplogroups, including H-K, T-V, and X. Our results confirmed that these haplogroups encompass virtually all the mitochondrial lineages present in Europe and can be detected in both northern and southern European populations. We also discovered 2 restriction sites (-73 Alw441 and +75 SphI) that allow the detection of informative nucleotide changes in the second hypervariable segment of the control region, which help to detect the haplogroup identity of mtDNAs without requiring further DNA sequencing. Haplogroup H was the most common mtDNA lineage in this sample, reaching frequencies from about 40% in Corsican and Gallurese populations, to about 65% in the Barbagian population. Haplogroup V, possibly originating in the Iberian peninsula, was found only in the central Sardinian sample. Of the 5 Corsican mtDNAs belonging to the haplogroup T, 4 had a restriction fragment length polymorphism found only in this population. It seems that this mutation originated in Corsica and has had time to spread in the area, since the maternal grandmothers of the subjects came from different villages of the island. The sample from central Sardinia shows a remarkable discontinuity with those from the northern part of the island and from Corsica. Gallura and Corsica seem to have undergone a more recent peopling event, possibly related to the arrival of new mitochondrial variability from continental Italy, while Barbagia has apparently maintained more archaic haplotypes.

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