September 08, 2009

Ancient mtDNA from Yayoi period Doigahama (Japan)

Journal of Human Genetics doi: 10.1038/jhg.2009.81

Mitochondrial DNA analysis of Yayoi period human skeletal remains from the Doigahama site

Kazunari Igawa et al.

We analyzed the mitochondrial DNA extracted from 14 human skeletal remains from the Doigahama site in Japan to clarify the genetic structure of the Doigahama Yayoi population and the relationship between burial style and kinship among individuals. The sequence types obtained in this study were compared with those of the modern Japanese, northern Kyushu Yayoi and ancient Chinese populations. We found that the northern Kyushu Yayoi populations belonged to the groups that include most of the modern Japanese population. In contrast, most of the Doigahama Yayoi population belonged to the group that includes a small number of the modern Japanese population. These results suggest that the Doigahama Yayoi population might have contributed less to the formation of the modern Japanese population than the northern Kyushu Yayoi populations. Moreover, when we examined the kinship between individuals in the Doigahama site, we found that the vicinal burial of adult skeletons indicated a maternal kinship, although that of juvenile skeletons did not. The vicinal burial style might have been influenced by many factors, such as paternal lineages, periods and geographical regions, as well as maternal lineages. In addition, skeletons considered to be those of shamans or leaders had the same sequence types. Their crucial social roles may have been inherited through maternal lineage.


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