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Curr Biol. 2013 Apr 8;23(7):553-559. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.02.044. Epub 2013 Mar 21.

A revised timescale for human evolution based on ancient mitochondrial genomes.

Author information

1
Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, 04103 Germany.
2
CAS-MPS Joint Laboratory for Human Evolution and Archaeometry, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044, P.R. China.
3
Institute for Archaeological Sciences, University of Tübingen, Rümelinstr. 23, Tübingen, Germany.
4
Department of Biology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, 30322 USA.
5
Laboratoire de Paléoanthropologie, École Pratique des Hautes Études, UMR 5199 PACEA, CNRS-Université de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France.
6
Dipartimento di Biologia Evoluzionistica, Università di Firenze, Firenze, Italy.
7
Palaeogenetics Group, Institute for Anthropology, Johannes Gutenberg-University, Saarstrasse 21, D-55099 Mainz, Germany.
8
ShandongMuseum, 11899 Jing 10th Road, Jinan, Shandong 250014, P. R. China.
9
LVR-Landesmuseum Bonn, Bachstrasse 5-9, D-53115 Bonn, Germany.
10
Department of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology, Institute for Archaeology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Bonn, Regina-Pacis-Weg 7, 53113 Bonn, Germany.
11
Università degli Studi di Siena Dip. di Scienze Fisiche, della Terra e dell'Ambiente U.R. Ecologia Preistorica Via Laterina, 8 - 53100 Siena, Italy.
12
Università di Firenze Dipartimento di Scienze dell'Antichità, Medioevo e Rinascimento e Linguistica, Piazza Brunelleschi, 3-4 - 50121 Firenze, Italy.
13
Dipartimento di Scienze Archeologiche Università di Pisa via Galvani 1, 56126 Pisa.
14
Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Vinařská 5, 603 00 Brno.
15
Institute of Archaeology, Academy of Science of the Czech Republic, Kralovopolska 147, 612 00 Brno, Czech Republic.
16
Human Genetics Department, Medical Faculty, University of Tübingen, 72070 Tübingen, Germany.
17
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA, 02142 USA.
18
Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, 02115 USA.
#
Contributed equally

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Recent analyses of de novo DNA mutations in modern humans have suggested a nuclear substitution rate that is approximately half that of previous estimates based on fossil calibration. This result has led to suggestions that major events in human evolution occurred far earlier than previously thought.

RESULTS:

Here, we use mitochondrial genome sequences from ten securely dated ancient modern humans spanning 40,000 years as calibration points for the mitochondrial clock, thus yielding a direct estimate of the mitochondrial substitution rate. Our clock yields mitochondrial divergence times that are in agreement with earlier estimates based on calibration points derived from either fossils or archaeological material. In particular, our results imply a separation of non-Africans from the most closely related sub-Saharan African mitochondrial DNAs (haplogroup L3) that occurred less than 62-95 kya.

CONCLUSIONS:

Though single loci like mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) can only provide biased estimates of population divergence times, they can provide valid upper bounds. Our results exclude most of the older dates for African and non-African population divergences recently suggested by de novo mutation rate estimates in the nuclear genome.

PMID:
23523248
PMCID:
PMC5036973
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2013.02.044
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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