Anita Brandstätter1,2 , Bettina Zimmermann1 , Janine Wagner1,3 , Tanja Göbel1,4 , Alexander W Röck5 , Antonio Salas6 , Angel Carracedo6 and Walther Parson1
BMC Evolutionary Biology 2008, Published: 4 July 2008
Nearly half of the West Eurasian assemblage of human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is fractioned into numerous sub-lineages of the predominant haplogroup (hg) R0. Several hypotheses have been proposed on the origin and the expansion times of some R0 sub-lineages, which were partially inconsistent with each other. Here we describe the phylogenetic structure and genetic variety of hg R0 in five European populations and one population from the Middle East.
Our analysis of 1,350 mtDNA haplotypes belonging to R0, including entire control region sequences and 45 single nucleotide polymorphisms from the coding region, revealed significant differences in the distribution of different sub-hgs even between geographically closely located regions. Estimates of coalescence times that were derived using diverse algorithmic approaches consistently affirmed that the major expansions of the different R0 hgs occurred in the terminal Pleistocene and early Holocene.
Given an estimated coalescence time of the distinct lineages of 10 – 18 kya, the differences in the distributions could hint to either limited maternal gene flow after the Last Glacial Maximum due to the alpine nature of the regions involved or to a stochastic loss of diversity due to environmental events and/or disease episodes occurred at different times and in distinctive regions. Our comparison of two different ways of obtaining the timing of the most recent common ancestor confirms that the time of a sudden expansion can be adequately recovered from control region data with valid confidence intervals. For reliable estimates, both procedures should be applied in order to cross-check the results for validity and soundness.
Just one for the records.