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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Map of Paleolithic mtDNA in Europe

This seems to be what we know as of now of pre-Neolithic European mtDNA:

I just needed to create this map after the sometimes heated discussions at Dienekes' blog (and probably other places) after the publication of Bramanti 2009 (paywall but the supplementary material is freely available) and the even more confusing Malmstöm 2009, which in fact studies Neolithic hunter-gatherers rather than true Paleolithic samples.

I have included all hunter-gatherer samples from Bramanti's work except those of Funnelbeaker culture, which do in fact belong to the Neolithic period, even if they were (regressed?, subneolithic?) hunter-gatherers and (update) another case from NE Poland that would seem to belong to the same period (3rd milennium) and cultural area.

It's worth noticing that the samples in fact belong to various different periods anyhow: middle Upper Paleolithic in the case of Paglicci (Italy) and Sunghir (central Russia), late Upper Paleolithic in the case of Taforalt (Morocco) and a couple of the Swabian samples (the U* ones), and Epipaleolithic ("Mesolithic") in the rest.

The key issue is the lack of mtDNA H, the most common European lineage nowadays, in most or even maybe all the samples of Central/Northern/Eastern Europe, clearly dominated by U5 instead. On the other hand, H has been detected in dominant ammounts in pre-Neolithic Portugal and Morocco and its precursor, HV, was determined in the case of Gravettian age Italy.

I will deal with Neolithic aDNA later on but the case is that, while it begins to show up some H in Central and Northern Europe, it does not yet have it in the amounts that is found nowadays, while instead carries high amounts of mtDNA that is now pretty much rare (the most striking case is N1a, at least 12% among Danubian Neolithics but extremely rare today).

- The other category includes a case determined to be N1 in Paglicci (Italy). It could be anything "exotic" in Portugal and Morocco.
- U(xU5) is determined to be U4 in the case of East Germany and Lithuania. It seems to be U6 in Morocco.

- Ancient Eurasian DNA (reference site, thanks to PConroy for indicating this site)
- Caramelli 2003 and 2005
- Chandler 2005
- Kèfi 2005
- Bramanti 2009

Update (Oct 8th): a likely H individual from Di Benedetto 2000 (Villabruna, Trentino-South Tirol, c. 14,000 BP) was missing from this map. Somehow this was the piece that the puzzle needed so much to confirm widespread presence of H not just in Portugal but elsewhere in Southern Europe in the Paleolithic. So it's an important sample even if it only includes one individual.

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