- It is important to confirm the hypotheses put forward with ancient DNA data. For example, haplogroup V is said to be traced to Paleolithic SW Europe, and yet it is lacking in ancient DNA data. Looking at Jean Manco's ancient Eurasian DNA compendium, I only find a very late Neolithic hunter-gatherer sample from Pitted Ware in Sweden (2,800-2,000BC); if J/T subclades had entered Europe prior to the Neolithic, their almost complete absence in ancient DNA data is puzzling.
- Both this and the recent "Copernican" paper provide age estimates for the same nodes of the tree using the mutation rate of Soares et al. (2009). The estimaets of Pala et al. (2012) appear to be older by several thousand years than those of Behar et al. (2012) for different nodes. I don't know whether this is due to a different methodology or different dataset, but, in any case, it is a warning to avoid very close correlations between archaeological-geological events and age estimates.
The American Journal of Human Genetics, Volume 90, Issue 5, 915-924, 4 May 2012 doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2012.04.003
Mitochondrial DNA Signals of Late Glacial Recolonization of Europe from Near Eastern Refugia
Maria Pala et al.
Human populations, along with those of many other species, are thought to have contracted into a number of refuge areas at the height of the last Ice Age. European populations are believed to be, to a large extent, the descendants of the inhabitants of these refugia, and some extant mtDNA lineages can be traced to refugia in Franco-Cantabria (haplogroups H1, H3, V, and U5b1), the Italian Peninsula (U5b3), and the East European Plain (U4 and U5a). Parts of the Near East, such as the Levant, were also continuously inhabited throughout the Last Glacial Maximum, but unlike western and eastern Europe, no archaeological or genetic evidence for Late Glacial expansions into Europe from the Near East has hitherto been discovered. Here we report, on the basis of an enlarged whole-genome mitochondrial database, that a substantial, perhaps predominant, signal from mitochondrial haplogroups J and T, previously thought to have spread primarily from the Near East into Europe with the Neolithic population, may in fact reflect dispersals during the Late Glacial period, ∼19–12 thousand years (ka) ago.