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Am J Hum Genet. 1996 Aug;59(2):437-44.

mtDNA sequence diversity in Africa.

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Institute of Zoology, University of Munich, Germany.


mtDNA sequences were determined from 241 individuals from nine ethnic groups in Africa. When they were compared with published data from other groups, it was found that the !Kung, Mbuti, and Biaka show on the order of 10 times more sequence differences between the three groups, as well as between those and the other groups (the Fulbe, Hausa, Tuareg, Songhai, Kanuri, Yoruba, Mandenka, Somali, Tukana, and Kikuyu), than these other groups do between one other. Furthermore, the pairwise sequence distributions, patterns of coalescence events, and numbers of variable positions relative to the mean sequence difference indicate that the former three groups have been of constant size over time, whereas the latter have expanded in size. We suggest that this reflects subsistence patterns in that the populations that have expanded in size are food producers whereas those that have not are hunters and gatherers.

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