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Hum Mol Genet. 1997 Jan;6(1):41-6.

Lack of founding Amerindian mitochondrial DNA lineages in extinct aborigines from Tierra del Fuego-Patagonia.

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Departament de Biologia Animal, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain.


Ancient DNA from bones and teeth of 60 individuals from four extinct human populations from Tierra del Fuego-Patagonia (Selknam, Yamana, Kaweskar and Aonikenk) has been extracted and the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) amplified by using the polymerase chain reaction. High-resolution analysis of endonuclease restriction site variation in the mtDNA and sequencing of its hypervariable non-coding control region, revealed complete absence of two of the four primary mitochondrial haplotype groups present in contemporary Amerinds, namely A and B. In contrast, haplogroups C and D were found in all but one sample with frequencies of approximately 38% and 60%. These results, together with the decreasing incidence of group A in more southerly latitudes in the American continent and the absence of cluster B above 55 degrees North in America and Asia, argue that the first settlers entering America 21000-14000 years ago already lacked both mtDNA lineages.

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