Reconstructing ancient mitochondrial DNA links between Africa and Europe
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) lineages of macro-haplogroup L (excluding the
derived L3 branches M and N) represent the majority
of the typical sub-Saharan mtDNA variability. In
Europe, these mtDNAs account for <1% of the total but, when analyzed
level of control region, they show no signals of
having evolved within the European continent, an observation that is
with a recent arrival from the African
continent. To further evaluate this issue, we analyzed 69 mitochondrial
genomes belonging to various L sublineages from
a wide range of European populations.
Phylogeographic analyses showed that ∼65% of the European L lineages
most likely arrived
in rather recent historical times, including the
Romanization period, the Arab conquest of the Iberian Peninsula and
and during the period of the Atlantic slave trade.
However, the remaining 35% of L mtDNAs form European-specific subclades,
revealing that there was gene flow from sub-Saharan
Africa toward Europe as early as 11,000 yr ago.