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Sci Rep. 2019 Mar 5;9(1):3530. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-39802-1.

Ancestral mitochondrial N lineage from the Neolithic 'green' Sahara.

Author information

1
Department of Biology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy.
2
Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.
3
Department of Cultural Heritage, University of Bologna, Ravenna, Italy.
4
Department of Environmental Biology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
5
Department of Ancient World Studies, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
6
Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Department Evolutionary Genetics, Leipzig, Germany.
7
Department of Biology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy. david.caramelli@unifi.it.
8
Department of Ancient World Studies, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy. savino.dilernia@uniroma1.it.
9
School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. savino.dilernia@uniroma1.it.

Abstract

Because Africa's climate hampers DNA preservation, knowledge of its genetic variability is mainly restricted to modern samples, even though population genetics dynamics and back-migrations from Eurasia may have modified haplotype frequencies, masking ancient genetic scenarios. Thanks to improved methodologies, ancient genetic data for the African continent are now increasingly available, starting to fill in the gap. Here we present newly obtained mitochondrial genomes from two ~7000-year-old individuals from Takarkori rockshelter, Libya, representing the earliest and first genetic data for the Sahara region. These individuals carry a novel mutation motif linked to the haplogroup N root. Our result demonstrates the presence of an ancestral lineage of the N haplogroup in the Holocene "Green Sahara", associated to a Middle Pastoral (Neolithic) context.

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