August 20, 2006

mtDNA from century-old Malaysian hair

Am J Hum Biol. 2006 Aug 17;18(5):654-667 [Epub ahead of print]

Ancient mitochondrial DNA from Malaysian hair samples: Some indications of Southeast Asian population movements.

Ricaut FX, Bellatti M, Lahr MM.

The late Pleistocene and early Holocene population history of Southeast Asia is not well-known. Our study provides new data on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) lineages of the aboriginal inhabitants of the Malay Peninsula, and through an extensive comparison to the known mtDNA diversity in Southeast and East Asia, provides some new insights into the origins and historical geography of certain mtDNA lineages in the region. We extracted DNA from hair samples (dating back 100 years) preserved in the Duckworth Collection and belonging to two Peninsular Malaysian individuals identified as "Negrito." Ancient DNA was analyzed by sequencing hypervariable region I (HVS-I) of the mtDNA control region and the mtDNA region V length polymorphism. The results show that the maternal lineages of these individuals belong to a recently defined haplogroup B sub-branch called B4c2. A comparison of mitochondrial haplotypes and haplogroups with those of 10,349 East Asian individuals indicates their very restricted geographical distribution (southwestern China, Southeast Asia Peninsula, and Indonesia). Recalculation of the B4c2 age across all of East Asia ( approximately 13,000 years) and in different subregions/populations suggests its rapid diffusion in Southeast Asia between the end of the Last Glacial Maximum and the Neolithic expansion of the Holocene.


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