African MtDNA in Slavs

Reconstructing the phylogeny of African mitochondrial DNA lineages in Slavs.

Malyarchuk BA, Derenko M, Perkova M, Grzybowski T, Vanecek T, Lazur J.

1Genetics Laboratory, Institute of Biological Problems of the North, Far-East Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, Magadan, Russia.

To elucidate the origin of African-specific mtDNA lineages, revealed previously in Slavonic populations (at frequency of about 0.4%), we completely sequenced eight African genomes belonging to haplogroups L1b, L2a, L3b, L3d and M1 gathered from Russians, Czechs, Slovaks and Poles. Results of phylogeographic analysis suggest that at least part of the African mtDNA lineages found in Slavs (such as L1b, L3b1, L3d) appears to be of West African origin, testifying to an opportunity of their occurrence as a result of migrations to Eastern Europe through Iberia. However, a prehistoric introgression of African mtDNA lineages into Eastern Europe (approximately 10 000 years ago) seems to be probable only for European-specific subclade L2a1a, defined by coding region mutations at positions 6722 and 12903 and detected in Czechs and Slovaks. Further studies of the nature of African admixture in gene pools of Europeans require the essential enlargement of databases of African complete mitochondrial genomes.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 9 April 2008.

This probably maps Oranian population movement into Iberia, and the neolithic expansion into Europe that seems to have taken some African MtDNA with it, probably via the Kebarans/Natufians/mesolithic Anatolians.

One response to “African MtDNA in Slavs

  1. This probably maps Oranian population movement into Iberia…

    There was never any Oranian migration into Iberia. Oranian being derived from Iberian middle UP (Gravetto-Solutrean) remains a possibility but the opposite simply is not true nor can be defended in any way. Iberia (excluding the northern strip belonging to the Franco-Cantabrian region) was a reciever of culture in the UP but all inputs arrived from continental Europe, specially the Franco-Cantabrian region.

    Another thing would be North African inputs in the early Neolithic, or even in the Megalithic period (though then the origin appears to be in Iberia rather than Africa). But it would be nearly impossible to explain how it arrived to Eastern Europe (much more logical would be to find such “Iberian” influences in Atlantic Europe or the Western Mediterranean).

    The other possibility (Neolithic input via West Asia) makes more sense, specially as some Y-DNA E subclades seem associated to the genesis and expansion of Balcanic Neolithic. In this case we should find that L clades in Eastern Europe and Iberia would be different (due to different founder effects).

    If this is not the case (impossible to tell from what I read here), then maybe the route was the opposite: from the Balcans to Iberia, and certainly must have happened in the Neolithic period.

    L subclades in Iberia are extremely rare anyhow, with the partial exception of Portugal, where these have been mostly attributed to modern colonial inputs.

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