January 02, 2010

30,000 year old mtDNA haplogroup U2 from Kostenki

The discovery ties in well with my thoughts in Migrationism Strikes Back. Indeed it ties in well with some of my comments in that post to the effect that the late European foragers tested recently (who belonged to mtDNA haplogroup U) were not significantly different from the earlier hunter-gatherers of Europe. So, we have continuity of U-types in Europe across tens of thousands of years, interrupted by the Neolithic ander latintrogression of the full package of modern Caucasoid haplogroups (the so-called other "Daughters of Eve").

The BBC has a story.

Current Biology doi:10.1016/j.cub.2009.11.068

A Complete mtDNA Genome of an Early Modern Human from Kostenki, Russia

Johannes Krause et al.


The recovery of DNA sequences from early modern humans (EMHs) could shed light on their interactions with archaic groups such as Neandertals and their relationships to current human populations. However, such experiments are highly problematic because present-day human DNA frequently contaminates bones [1,2]. For example, in a recent study of mitochondrial (mt) DNA from Neolithic European skeletons, sequence variants were only taken as authentic if they were absent or rare in the present population, whereas others had to be discounted as possible contamination [3,4]. This limits analysis to EMH individuals carrying rare sequences and thus yields a biased view of the ancient gene pool. Other approaches of identifying contaminating DNA, such as genotyping all individuals who have come into contact with a sample, restrict analyses to specimens where this is possible [5,6] and do not exclude all possible sources of contamination. By studying mtDNA in Neandertal remains, where contamination and endogenous DNA can be distinguished by sequence, we show that fragmentation patterns and nucleotide misincorporations can be used to gauge authenticity of ancient DNA sequences. We use these features to determine a complete mtDNA sequence from a ∼30,000-year-old EMH from the Kostenki 14 site in Russia.



Gioiello said...

If the face on the article of the BBC is really reconstructed from the rests of the man of Kostenky, it isn't difficult to find who was a descendant of his: some ancient Italic sculptures of ancient Romans, the masks of "Atellana" and "Fescennini", the mask of "Pulcinella", that always surprised me, the face of Giacomo Leopardi and why not Ugo Foscolo, who had a Greek mother.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. mtDNA U2 is not European. More South Asian. An indicator where that chap's maternal line originated?

Gioiello said...

Ponto, I found a U2d of an Italian American on SMGF, I extracted it and put on Mitosearch. Then I had a mail from Prof. Palanichamy who asked me the sample of this mitochondrial for an FGS he would do at Yunnan University where he is a teacher. Unfortunately I don't have contact with that Italian American nor with his Italian relatives. I tried to contact them but I failed. Probably U2d is very ancient in Italy, being its HVR1,2,3 very different from those published. U2e is very diffused in Italy and probably very ancient too.

Anonymous said...

U2 is ancient. It is not surprising to find it in modern day Europeans. It doesn't make its origin point European. Eventually everything in Europe tracks back to Asia. Europe is unfortunately a cul-de-sac genetically.

The Russian finding shows U2 to have a presence in the bleachers part of Europe, Russia, in the Paleolithic. From that you can make the assumption that the haplogroup is European if you like, but as recent studies are showing with R1b, it ain't necessarily so.

I have been on 23andMe and deCODEme lately finding out about myself via SNPs. My closest genetic affinity is to Italians (from Bergamo up north) and then the Tuscans. The French, the French Basques, the Sardinians, the Orcadians, the Adygei, the Icelander and finally the Russians. Interesting, no?