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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

European ancient mtDNA in sequential maps

I'm posting here five maps for all the ancient mtDNA I know of. Mostly compiled from the
Ancient Eurasian DNA site, but checking the references when I thought necessary. Two of the maps have been posted here before.

Paleolithic and Epipaleolithic:

Already commented here.

Updated (Oct 8): a likely H individual from Villabruna (Trentino-South Tirol, Italy) from Di Benedetto 2000 belongs also to this period (c. 14,000 BP) and is also an important counterpoint to the apparent U dominance of Central Europe, somehow ratifying my idea of H being common throught the south of the continent already in this period.

Neolithic and early Chalcolithic (up to c. 3000 BCE):

Already commented here.

Late Chalcolithic and Bronze (c. 2800-1000 BCE):

Note on Germany: the Eulau (Saxony-Anhalt) and Liechtenstein (Lower Saxony) sites are not too distant geographically but, in time, they are at the extremes of the temporal scope of this map, with Eulau belonging to Corded Ware (c. 2600 BCE) and Liechtenstein Cave to Urnfield culture (c. 1000 BCE). This may be an important reason behind the quite radical differences in the mtDNA pools, though I fail to understand well the processes that might have been involved; after all both were Indoeuropean cultures, right?

Nevertheless, while Corded Ware would seem to express influences from the East (Poland and beyond), Urnfields belongs rather to the West, being its core area at the Rhine. Why would this make a difference? I am not sure but I have read that in the late Bell Beaker there may have been a real demic replacement in the Rhine area (from the Austrian-Czech area?). This might have allowed for founder effects that later spread with Urnfield culture maybe. Just a tentative conjecture anyhow.

Another possibility could be the older influence of Megalithism and "collective burial" (clannic burial probably) cultural package directly in that region (but not in East Germany).

Note on Basques: the three Basque samples of Izagirre & De la Rúa for this period are shown as two: I have merged the two samples of Biscay but shown as distinct the one from Navarre (Longar).

Antique and early Medieval (c. 600 BCE-800 CE):

Note: map updated (Oct 6th) in order to include the Iron Age Iberian data of Sampietro 2005.

Notice how Britain and Denmark already show a high apportions of H, as is the case of Italy (and SE Romania too in the previous map). While this says nothing directly on the previous situation, it may suggest that either (1) H was relatively high in southern Europe (besides Iberia) already in Paleolithic times and that (2) H spread (partly?) with Megalithism through the Atlantic. Still conjectural anyhow.

Take note also that one of the Italian samples is attributed to Luke the Evangelist (hence presumably of Syrian origin, haplogroup H2a2).

Late Medieval (c. 890-1300 CE):

Most noticeable is maybe the still relevant presence of N1a (2/27) in Medieval Hungary, haplogroup also found in the Danubian Neolithic that originated there. This really suggests that, in spite of its apparent numerical decline towards the present, European N1a can be rather safely considered of Middle Danubian origin. Haplogroup I, while not a direct descendant, is a close cousin of N1a and may have also coalesced in Central Europe.

The small Italian sample in this map belongs to Francesco Petrarca (J) and a woman buried in the same tomb (H).


Jean said...

Thank you! Just what I wanted. I have linked to this post.

Maju said...

You're welcome. Thanks to you for the backlink. :)

Maju said...

Jean: I just realized you are the author of that great site I used as basic reference for this post and the previous ones.

I was just thinking that you seem to have missed a paper on ancient Iberian mtDNA by M. L. Sampietro et al. (2005), that produced 16 individual samples from Ullastret, northern Catalonia, from the 600-200 BCE period.

I am going to update the corresponding map (not sure which one exactly because they are from the pre-Roman Iron Age) and thought I'd contact you somehow about this issue as well. But I cannot find your email address anywhere, so guess that posting here is the best I can do.

Whatever the case, my most emphatic congratulations for a very nice site, of the kind you'd wish the Internet was full of but, sadly, is not.

Maju said...

Oops, never mind. I just found your email and will send you one with this reference.

terryt said...

H is very strange, isn't it. Like you, I used to assume it had arrived early in Europe but Dienekes' posts suggest that it's arrival (well spread anyway) is more recent. Is it possible that mtDNA H (HV?) entered Europe from North Africa?

Jean said...

Thanks for the kind words about my website. Got your email thank you.

Maju said...

H is very strange, isn't it. Like you, I used to assume it had arrived early in Europe but Dienekes' posts suggest that it's arrival (well spread anyway) is more recent.

Dienekes' opinion is his own and, as you probably know, we often disagree. In this particular case I found he conveniently ignored the data on Portugal and other places.

Is it possible that mtDNA H (HV?) entered Europe from North Africa? -

In my opinion it's quite unlikely: there's no reason to think of a migration originated in North Africa at that time and it's been recently claimed (Cherni) that North African H is all derived from the Iberian one, process that should have taken place before Oranian, as the Taforalt data clearly shows abundant H there.

The origin of the novel Neolithic lineages should be either in West Asia of SE Europe, including maybe the ill-sampled Middle Danubian area.

We should not look only at what we know but also at what we do not know. There are huge blanks in the Paleolithic mtDNA sampling of Europe: basically we have reasonably wide samples for Central Europe (all U) and Portugal (majority H), as well as for Morocco. Smaller but confusing samples are known for Italy, Russia and (with just one individual) Britain. We have brutal blanks for very important regions: the Balcans, the Middle Danube and France particularly. Other important regions are clearly undersampled as well.

I am guessing, largely based on what we see for later periods, that, while North-Central Europe may have been dominated by U5 and U4, South-Central Europe and the Balcans may have got other gene pools, specially regarding H but also other lineages (N1a, K and even T2 maybe). This may imply some sort of pre-Neolithic Med/Nord duality in Europe, reflected in the mtDNA too, or maybe just a specificity of certain North-Central areas that has been exagerated by Bramanti's study accidentally.

Dienekes argued for the U5/U4 apparent domination of the German-Polish-Lithuanian area to be almost automatically extensible to all Europe north of the Alps but I understand this is not clearly justified with the available data. The samples for Russia are small and contradictory and the case for Britain is all built on a single individual.

By the moment I think it's best to keep some prudence and hope that further aDNA will help clarify the issue in the future.

Maju said...

Wow, Jean, I see you have already updated your site with the Iberian data! That's what I meant with "the kind words", which are obviously well deserved. :)

terryt said...

"North African H is all derived from the Iberian one".

That pretty much rules out an African origin then. H is still very strange. It will be interesting to see what comes up in the future.

Maju said...

It's maybe more complicated but that's what it looks like to my eyes.

Cherni 2008 (paywall) researched Tunisian mtDNA H and found that: 46% of 81 Tunisian H lineages subscreened for 1,580 bp in mtDNA coding region were affiliated with H1 and H3 subhaplogroups, which are known to have originated in Iberia. Although no signs of local expansion were detected, which would allow a clear dating of their introduction, the younger and less diverse Tunisian H1 and H3 lineages indicate Iberia as the radiating centre.

- Enafaa 2008 (open access) researched all North African mtDNA H and he also found such affinity with Iberia. However his conclusions are more confusing. He states that H1, while rarer is more diverse in West Asia than either in Iberia or North Africa and that H3 (absent in West Asia) is more diverse in North Africa than Iberia. He seems to approach the notion of intense flow between North Africa and Iberia several times only to later shake his head, step back and ask for further studies at the genomic level.

But the raw data clearly states that the main H lineages of North Africa are exactly the same of Iberia/France: H1, H3, H7 and H4. I mention France specially because H7 seems rare in Iberia but common in France (Álvarez-Iglesias 2009), H4 instead shows the opposite pattern, while H1 and H3 are more extended in general.

So, while I could not fully discard that H arrived to SW Europe from North Africa, I am of the opinion that the opposite is true. Why? Because of archaeological matters: Oranian (or Iberomaurusian) culture has been hotly argued to be of Iberian or Egyptian origin but the C-14 dates show quite clearly that Western sites are significatively older than Eastern ones. Also it'd be most difficult to search in North Africa for the origin of any European culture, at least in the Upper Paleolithic. Finally the lithic technology of Oranian is strikingly similar to the Gravetto-Solutrean of SE Iberia.

So I do think that, some 20,000 years ago, at the genesis of the Oranian culture there was major demic flow from Iberia into North Africa. This was largely overridden, specially in the Y-DNA side, by the counter-tide of Capsian culture that has indeed an Upper Egyptian origin. But a good deal of Oranian mtDNA remained anyhow.

Anonymous said...

So where did H6 originate?

Anonymous said...

What is the name of Jean's website?

Maju said...

Question 1: Not sure: it's found in East and West, scattered.

Question 2: the address is

Maju said...

Terry, please: notice the update on the UP map. I had missed a single but quite significative individual from the Italian Alps that was H. It does seem to ratify that H was widespread in the late Upper Paleolithic of Southern Europe.

Jean said...

My website is called Researching Historic Buildings in the British Isles. I'm a building historian. Prehistory/genetics is just a private interest. My pages on it are in a section called Distant Past.

terryt said...

"It does seem to ratify that H was widespread in the late Upper Paleolithic of Southern Europe".

To me mtDNA H's distribution has all the hallmarks of being an early one into Europe. Perhaps it is. But by the Upper Paleolithic it had been displaced through much of Eastern and Central Europe by U. Perhaps H is sort of Aurignacian and U is Gravettian? Haplogroup H, and its relation V, survived on the Gravettian's margin and in turn expanded from those regions. Fits your comments regarding H1, H3, H7 and H4.

Maju said...

I am leaning to that hypothesis. But what we'd really need is lots more aDNA data, preferably tested for haplogroup defining coding region polymorphisms (most are only tested for the HVR or control region, what always casts doubts).