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Abstract

Although south-Slavic populations have been studied to date from various aspects, the population of Serbia, occupying the central part of the Balkan Peninsula, is still genetically understudied at least at the level of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation. We analyzed polymorphisms of the first and the second mtDNA hypervariable segments (HVS-I and HVS-II) and informative coding-region markers in 139 Serbians to shed more light on their mtDNA variability, and used available data on other Slavic and neighboring non-Slavic populations to assess their interrelations in a broader European context. The contemporary Serbian mtDNA profile is consistent with the general European maternal landscape having a substantial proportion of shared haplotypes with eastern, central, and southern European populations. Serbian population was characterized as an important link between easternmost and westernmost south-Slavic populations due to the observed lack of genetic differentiation with all other south-Slavic populations and its geographical positioning within the Balkan Peninsula. An increased heterogeneity of south Slavs, most likely mirroring turbulent demographic events within the Balkan Peninsula over time (i.e., frequent admixture and differential introgression of various gene pools), and a marked geographical stratification of Slavs to south-, east-, and west-Slavic groups, were also found. A phylogeographic analyses of 20 completely sequenced Serbian mitochondrial genomes revealed not only the presence of mtDNA lineages predominantly found within the Slavic gene pool (U4a2a*, U4a2a1, U4a2c, U4a2g, HV10), supporting a common Slavic origin, but also lineages that may have originated within the southern Europe (H5*, H5e1, H5a1v) and the Balkan Peninsula in particular (H6a2b and L2a1k). Am J Phys Anthropol 156:449–465, 2015. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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... Based on the analysis of uniparental markers (mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome), the current patterns of genetic variation can be utilized to gain insights into past population processes, migrations and other demographic events and in the last two decades significant results have been published regarding peopling of the world and specific genetic structure and variation of different populations (Karmin et al., 2015;Nielsen et al., 2017). Results of mitochondrial DNA variation of this region published so far reflect the turbulent and complex demographic history of SEE, influenced by gene flow from various parts of Eurasia and a long history of intermixing (Malyarchuk et al., 2003;Cvjetan et al., 2004;Bosch et al., 2006;Peričić et al., 2005;Šarac et al. 2014;Kovačević et al. 2014, Davidović et al. 2015. The general aim of this study is to enrich the current mtDNA database on Slavic-speaking, Southeast European populations that share the same geographic area, are of the same religious background and have a long history of cohabitation in this region. ...
... The obtained results show that the Serbian and Montenegrin mtDNA diversity fits within the wider SEE maternal genetic landscape, as expected (Cvjetan et al., 2004;Bosch et al., 2006, Šarac et al. 2014Davidović et al. 2015). However, in spite of the geographical proximity of the SEE populations (Fig. 1), certain differences can be observed in mtDNA haplogroup composition and variation. ...
... Other typically European haplogroups (T, K, I, V, HV, X, W) are represented in the general sample with a similar frequency as reported previously for this region of Europe, without significant differences between the Serbians and Montenegrins (Šarac et al. 2014;Kovačević et al. 2014;Davidović et al. 2015). Non-European haplogroups present in the sample are hg A and D, more specifically A8 and D4 subclades. ...
Article
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Significant mtDNA variation in Southeastern Europe (SEE) reflects the turbulent and complex demographic history of the region, influenced by gene flow from various parts of Eurasia and a long history of intermixing. In this study we present the maternal genetic profile of the Serbian and Montenegrin populations based on the high resolution analysis of 258 mtDNAs, 119 samples from Serbia and 139 samples from Montenegro. Besides the evidence of minor gene flow from distant central/northeastern Asia, the majority of haplogroups place these populations in the broader genetic landscape of Southeastern Europe, close to their neighbors.
... Nonetheless, using mtDNA variation in ancient and modern samples, Juras et al. (2014) were able to corroborate the autochthonous hypothesis of Slavic origin in the area between Oder and Vistula rivers (Kostrzewski et al., 1965;Sedov, 1979). Furthermore, the common origin of Slavs and their differentiation into three groups well distinguished genetically and geographically has also been inferred from mtDNA data, as well as differential genetic affinities of Slavic groups towards different European populations (Davidovic et al., 2015;Malyarchuk, 2001). It was shown that West Slavs, who have the central position among all Slavic populations, display genetic affinity towards Germanic populations, while Russians and South Slavs are genetically similar to Finno-Ugric populations from North-Eastern Europe and non-Slavic populations from the Balkan Peninsula, respectively (Malyarchuk, 2001). ...
... These patterns observed in Slavs comply with views that geographic proximity is the major determinant of shared ancestry among extant European human populations, and that processes such as migrations, replacements and admixture have played an important role in modelling the contemporary genetic landscape in Europe characterised by the clinal latitudinal distribution of genetic diversity (Ralph & Coop, 2013). Such events and processes have also been evoked to explain regional sub-structuring of the maternal gene pool of South Slavs inferred from low resolution mtDNA markers (Davidovic et al., 2015). ...
... Huns, Avars, Magyars, Bulgars). Given the long-lasting and turbulent demographic events typical for the Balkans, extant human populations in this region which have different historical and linguistic backgrounds but belong mainly to the South-Slavic-speaking group, are characterised by rather high levels of genetic diversity at both autosomal and uniparentally inherited markers (Davidovic et al., 2015;Kovacevic et al., 2014;Kushniarevich et al., 2015;Novembre et al., 2008). Along with the structuring of their maternal gene pool (Davidovic et al., 2015), South Slavs are also characterised by the presence of region-specific mtDNA haplotypes (e.g. ...
Article
Background: Available mitochondrial (mtDNA) data demonstrate genetic differentiation among South Slavs inhabiting the Balkan Peninsula. However, their resolution is insufficient to elucidate the female-specific aspects of the genetic history of South Slavs, including the genetic impact of various migrations which were rather common within the Balkans, a region having a turbulent demographic history. Aim: Therefore, we thoroughly studied complete mitogenomes of Serbians, a population linking westward and eastward South Slavs. Subjects and methods: Forty-six predominantly Serbian super-haplogroup U complete mitogenomes were analysed phylogenetically against ∼4000 available complete mtDNAs of modern and ancient Western Eurasians. Results: Serbians share a number of U mtDNA lineages with Southern, Eastern-Central and North-Western Europeans. Putative Balkan-specific lineages (e.g. U1a1c2, U4c1b1, U5b3j, K1a4l and K1a13a1) and lineages shared among Serbians (South Slavs) and West and East Slavs were detected (e.g. U2e1b1, U2e2a1d, U4a2a, U4a2c, U4a2g1, U4d2b and U5b1a1). Conclusion: The exceptional diversity of maternal lineages found in Serbians may be associated with the genetic impact of both autochthonous pre-Slavic Balkan populations whose mtDNA gene pool was affected by migrations of various populations over time (e.g. Bronze Age pastoralists) and Slavic and Germanic newcomers in the early Middle Ages.
... However, thus far, there have been no reports on the contemporary Serbian variome. Most of the research on Balkan populations was conducted on uniparentally inherited markers such as mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and the Y chromosome, focusing on population descent and haplogroup diversity [23][24][25] . One recent exception is a report that describes the sequencing and analysis of a genome from a contemporary individual of Serbian origin and which introduces tens of thousands of previously unknown variants 26 . ...
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The complete understanding of the genomic contribution to complex traits, diseases, and response to treatments, as well as genomic medicine application to the well-being of all humans will be achieved through the global variome that encompasses fine-scale genetic diversity. Despite significant efforts in recent years, uneven representation still characterizes genomic resources and among the underrepresented European populations are the Western Balkans including the Serbian population. Our research addresses this gap and presents the first ever targeted sequencing dataset of variants in clinically relevant genes. By measuring population differentiation and applying the Principal Component and Admixture analysis we demonstrated that the Serbian population differs little from other European populations, yet we identified several novel and more frequent variants that appear as its unique genetic determinants. We explored thoroughly the functional impact of frequent variants and its correlation with the health burden of the population of Serbia based on a sample of 144 individuals. Our variants catalogue improves the understanding of genetics of modern Serbia, contributes to research on ancestry, and aids in improvements of well-being and health equity. In addition, this resource may also be applicable in neighboring regions and valuable in worldwide functional analyses of genetic variants in individuals of European descent.
... Most of the research on Balkan populations was conducted on uniparentally inherited markers such as mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and the Y chromosome, focusing on population descent and haplogroup diversity [22][23][24]. One recent exception is a report that describes the sequencing and analysis of a genome from a contemporary individual of Serbian origin and which introduces tens of thousands of previously unknown variants [25]. ...
Preprint
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The complete understanding of the genomic contribution to complex traits, diseases, and response to treatments, as well as genomic medicine application to the well-being of all humans will be achieved through the global variome that encompasses fine-scale genetic diversity. Despite significant efforts in recent years, uneven representation still characterizes genomic resources and among the underrepresented European populations are the Western Balkans including the Serbian population. Our research addresses this gap and presents the first ever dataset of variants in clinically relevant genes in the population sample of contemporary Serbia. A few variants significantly more frequent in the analyzed sample population compared to the European population as a whole are distinguished as its unique genetic determinants. We explored thoroughly their potential functional impact and its correlation with the health burden of the population of Serbia. Our variant's catalogue improves the understanding of genetics of modern Serbia, contributes to application of precision medicine and health equity. In addition, this resource may also be applicable in neighboring regions and in worldwide functional analyses of genetic variants in individuals of European descent.
... It should also be considered that Kosovo Albanians and Italians might be some kind of "outliers" in this study. Although there are similar data in the literature describing the separation of Italians (Lao et al. 2008) and Albanians (Davidovic et al. 2015) from other Europeans, the outlying positioning of these populations observed in this study was most likely biased due to the exceptionally small publicly available samples (136 Albanians and 72 Italians). ...
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Background Analysis of allele frequencies of short tandem repeat (STR) loci in ethnically diverse populations is essential for forensic reference database construction and studies on population genetics. Aim To analyse genetic polymorphisms of 22 autosomal STR loci in the Serbian population and to compare them with previously published data from some European and Turkish populations. Subjects and methods The study was conducted among 983 unrelated individuals from Serbia. Genotyping was performed using PowerPlex® Fusion amplification kit. Allele frequencies and forensic parameters were calculated using FORSTAT software. Interpopulation comparisons and genetic distances calculations were performed in Arlequin and POPTREEW software. Results A total of 280 alleles were detected with corresponding allelic frequencies ranging from 0.0005 to 0.5255. Based on heterozygosity and the polymorphism information content, D1S1656 and Penta E may be considered as the most informative markers. Both the combined power of discrimination (CPD) and the combined power of exclusion (CPE) for the 22 analysed loci were higher than 0.999999. The combined match probability (CPM) for all 22 loci was 6.773688e−29. Conclusion With respect to the results, the 22 STR loci are highly polymorphic and discriminating in the Serbian population and could be used for forensic practice and population genetics studies.
... So far, there are several studies regarding the genetic profile and diversity of mtDNA in the Serbian population [58][59][60]. Our study determined the association of those specific mitochondrial genetic backgrounds to LHON pathogenic mutations in a group of Serbian subjects; furthermore, we constructed a phylogenetic tree encompassing the studied probands and provided detailed phenotypic characterization of subjects. ...
Article
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Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is a maternally inherited disorder that affects central vision in young adults and is typically associated with mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations. This study is based on a mutational screening of entire mtDNA in eight Serbian probands clinically and genetically diagnosed with LHON and four of their family members, who are asymptomatic mutation carriers. All obtained sequence variants were compared to human mtDNA databases, and their potential pathogenic characteristics were assessed by bioinformatics tools. Mitochondrial haplogroup analysis was performed by MITOMASTER. Our study revealed two well-known primary LHON mutations, m.11778G>A and m.3460G>A, and one rare LHON mutation, m.8836A>G. Various secondary mutations were detected in association with the primary mutations. MITOMASTER analysis showed that the two well-known primary mutations belong to the R haplogroup, while the rare LHON m.8836A>G was detected within the N1b haplogroup. Our results support the need for further studies of genetic background and its role in the penetrance and severity of LHON.
... Therefore, the overall gene pool of Europe was turbulently mixed many times. (Özdoğan, 2011;Davidović et al. 2015;Šarac et al. 2016;Veldhuis and Underdown 2017). ...
Article
The aim of this study is to provide an insight into Balkan populations' genetic relations utilizing in silico analysis of Y-STR haplotypes and performing haplogroup predictions together with network analysis of the same haplotypes for visualization of the relations between chosen haplotypes and Balkan populations in general. The population dataset used in this study was obtained using 23, 17, 12, 9 and 7 Y-STR loci for 13 populations. The 13 populations include: Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H),. The overall dataset contains a total of 2179 samples with 1878 different haplotypes. I2a was detected as the major haplogroup in four out of thirteen analysed Balkan populations. The four populations (B&H, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia) which had I2a as the most prevalent haplogroup were all from the former Yugoslavian republic. The remaining two major populations from former Yugoslavia, Macedonia and Slovenia, had E1b1b and R1a haplogroups as the most prevalent, respectively. The populations with E1b1b haplogroup as the most prevalent one are Macedonian, Romanian, as well as Albanian populations from Kosovo and Albania. The I2a haplogroup cluster is more compact when compared to E1b1b and R1b haplogroup clusters, indicating a larger degree of homogeneity within the haplotypes that belong to the I2a haplogroup. Our study demonstrates that a combination of haplogroup prediction and network analysis represents an effective approach to utilize publicly available Y-STR datasets for population genetics.
... From this result, they concluded that the mtDNA encompasses much greater continent-specific sequence diversity than the nDNA (Merriwether et al., 1991). Apart from this study, there are some other studies (Krings et al., 1999;Dornelles et al., 2004;Behar et al., 2012a;Fernandes et al., 2012;Pala et al., 2012;Davidovic et al., 2014) where mtDNA was taken for phylogenetic reconstruction. ...
Article
Human migration Molecular marker mtD-Loop Trend of molecular markers Individual DNA barcode Modern human population Anatomically modern humans are known to have widely migrated throughout history. Different scientific evidences suggest that the entire human population descended from just several thousand African migrants. About 85,000 years ago, the first wave of human migration was out of Africa, that followed the coasts through the Middle East, into Southern Asia via Sri Lanka, and in due course around Indonesia and into Australia. Another wave of migration between 40,000 and 12,000 years ago brought humans northward into Europe. However, the frozen north limited human expansion in Europe, and created a land bridge, "Bering land bridge", connecting Asia with North America about 25,000 years ago. Although fossil data give the most direct information about our past, it has certain anomalies. So, molecular archeologists are now using different molecular markers to trace the "most recent common ancestor" and also the migration pattern of modern humans. In this study, we have studied the trend of molecular markers and also the methodologies implemented in the last decades (2003–2014). From our observation, we can say that D-loop region of mtDNA and Y chromosome based markers are predominant. Nevertheless, mtDNA, especially the D-loop region, has some unique features, which makes it a more effective marker for tracing prehistoric footprints of modern human populations. Although, natural selection should also be taken into account in studying mtDNA based human migration. As per technology is concerned, Sanger sequencing is the major technique that is being used in almost all studies. But, the emergence of different cost-effective-and-easy-to-handle NGS platforms has increased its popularity over Sanger sequencing in studying human migration. © 2014 Published by Elsevier B.V.
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The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) polymorphisms in Bosnian human population was analyzed by means of hypervariable segment I and II (HVSI and HVSII) sequencing and restriction fragment-length polymorphism analysis of the mtDNA coding region. The results suggest that shaping the genetic structure of recent Bosnian population likely to be affected by the expansion from the European glacial refuges area at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), postglacial expansions from southwestern refuges of Europe, the Italian Peninsula and the dispersion in periods of more recent historical events, from the East European Plain. Especially interesting feature of the Neolithic expansion in this area is the ancient African/South Asian haplogroup N1a with the HVSI variant 16147G, which is almost absent in Europe. The haplotyps HVSI with variant 16147G suggest the colonization of the Northeast Bosnia region by Neolithic communities in the Early Neolithic period of expansion through Europe, as evidenced by the archaeological remains of the Starcevo culture.
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High mtDNA variation in Southeastern Europe (SEE) is a reflection of the turbulent and complex demographic history of this area, influenced by gene flow from various parts of Eurasia and a long history of intermixing. Our results of 1035 samples (488 from Croatia, 239 from Bosnia and 130 from Herzegovina, reported earlier, and 97 Slovenians and 81 individuals from Žumberak, reported here for the first time) show that the SEE maternal genetic diversity fits within a broader European maternal genetic landscape. The study also shows that the population of Žumberak, located in the continental part of Croatia, developed some unique mtDNA haplotypes and elevated haplogroup frequencies due to distinctive demographic history and can be considered a moderate genetic isolate. We also report seven samples from the Bosnian population and one Herzegovinian sample designated as X2* individuals that could not be assigned to any of its sublineages (X2a'o) according to the existing X2 phylogeny. In an attempt to clarify the phylogeny of our X2 samples, their mitochondrial DNA has been completely sequenced. We suppose that these lineages are signs of local microdifferentiation processes that occurred in the recent demographic past in this area and could possibly be marked as SEE-specific X2 sublineages.
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Abstract - Amplification of human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has been widely used in population genetics, human evolutionary and molecular anthropology studies. mtDNA hypervariable segments I and II (HVSI and HVSII) were shown to be a suitable tool in genetic analyses due to the unique properties of mtDNA, such as the lack of recombination, maternal mode of inheritance, rapid evolutionary rate and high population-specific polymorphisms. Here we present a rapid and low-cost method for direct PCR amplification of a 330 bp fragment of HVSI from buccal cell samples. Avoiding the DNA isolation step makes this method appropriate for the analysis of a large number of samples in a short period of time. Since the transportation of samples and fieldwork conditions can affect the quality of samples and subsequent DNA analysis, we tested the effects of long-term storage of buccal cell swabs on the suitability of such samples for direct PCR amplification. We efficiently amplified a 330 bp fragment of HVSI even after the long-term storage of buccal cells at room temperature, +4°C or at -20°C, for up to eight months. All examined PCR products were successfully sequenced, regardless of sample storage time and conditions. Our results suggest that the direct PCR amplification of the HVSI region from buccal cells is a method well suited for large-scale mtDNA population studies.
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Due to its pivotal geographical location and proximity to transcontinental migratory routes, Iran has played a key role in subsequent migrations, both prehistoric and historic, between Africa, Asia and Europe. To shed light on the genetic structure of the Iranian population as well as on the expansion patterns and population movements which affected this region, the complete mitochondrial genomes of 352 Iranians were obtained. All Iranian populations studied here exhibit similarly high diversity values comparable to the other groups from the Caucasus, Anatolia and Europe. The results of AMOVA and MDS analyses did not associate any regional and/or linguistic group of populations in the Anatolia/Caucasus and Iran region pointing to close genetic positions of Persians and Qashqais to each other and to Armenians, and Azeris from Iran to Georgians. By reconstructing the complete mtDNA phylogeny of haplogroups R2, N3, U1, U3, U5a1g, U7, H13, HV2, HV12, M5a and C5c we have found a previously unexplored genetic connection between the studied Iranian populations and the Arabian Peninsula, India, Near East and Europe, likely the result of both ancient and recent gene flow. Our results for Persians and Qashqais point to a continuous increase of the population sizes from ∼24 kya to the present, although the phase between 14-24 kya is thought to be hyperarid according to the Gulf Oasis model. Since this would have affected hunter-gatherer ranges and mobility patterns and forced them to increasingly rely on coastal resources, this transition can explain the human expansion across the Persian Gulf region.
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The origins of Ashkenazi Jews remain highly controversial. Like Judaism, mitochondrial DNA is passed along the maternal line. Its variation in the Ashkenazim is highly distinctive, with four major and numerous minor founders. However, due to their rarity in the general population, these founders have been difficult to trace to a source. Here we show that all four major founders, ~40% of Ashkenazi mtDNA variation, have ancestry in prehistoric Europe, rather than the Near East or Caucasus. Furthermore, most of the remaining minor founders share a similar deep European ancestry. Thus the great majority of Ashkenazi maternal lineages were not brought from the Levant, as commonly supposed, nor recruited in the Caucasus, as sometimes suggested, but assimilated within Europe. These results point to a significant role for the conversion of women in the formation of Ashkenazi communities, and provide the foundation for a detailed reconstruction of Ashkenazi genealogical history.
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Ethnic Belarusians make up more than 80% of the nine and half million people inhabiting the Republic of Belarus. Belarusians together with Ukrainians and Russians represent the East Slavic linguistic group, largest both in numbers and territory, inhabiting East Europe alongside Baltic-, Finno-Permic- and Turkic-speaking people. Till date, only a limited number of low resolution genetic studies have been performed on this population. Therefore, with the phylogeographic analysis of 565 Y-chromosomes and 267 mitochondrial DNAs from six well covered geographic sub-regions of Belarus we strove to complement the existing genetic profile of eastern Europeans. Our results reveal that around 80% of the paternal Belarusian gene pool is composed of R1a, I2a and N1c Y-chromosome haplogroups - a profile which is very similar to the two other eastern European populations - Ukrainians and Russians. The maternal Belarusian gene pool encompasses a full range of West Eurasian haplogroups and agrees well with the genetic structure of central-east European populations. Our data attest that latitudinal gradients characterize the variation of the uniparentally transmitted gene pools of modern Belarusians. In particular, the Y-chromosome reflects movements of people in central-east Europe, starting probably as early as the beginning of the Holocene. Furthermore, the matrilineal legacy of Belarusians retains two rare mitochondrial DNA haplogroups, N1a3 and N3, whose phylogeographies were explored in detail after de novo sequencing of 20 and 13 complete mitogenomes, respectively, from all over Eurasia. Our phylogeographic analyses reveal that two mitochondrial DNA lineages, N3 and N1a3, both of Middle Eastern origin, might mark distinct events of matrilineal gene flow to Europe: during the mid-Holocene period and around the Pleistocene-Holocene transition, respectively.
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To shed more light on the processes leading to crystallization of a Slavic identity, we investigated variability of complete mitochondrial genomes belonging to haplogroups H5 and H6 (63 mtDNA genomes) from the populations of Eastern and Western Slavs, including new samples of Poles, Ukrainians and Czechs presented here. Molecular dating implies formation of H5 approximately 11.5-16 thousand years ago (kya) in the areas of southern Europe. Within ancient haplogroup H6, dated at around 15-28 kya, there is a subhaplogroup H6c, which probably survived the last glaciation in Europe and has undergone expansion only 3-4 kya, together with the ancestors of some European groups, including the Slavs, because H6c has been detected in Czechs, Poles and Slovaks. Detailed analysis of complete mtDNAs allowed us to identify a number of lineages that seem specific for Central and Eastern Europe (H5a1f, H5a2, H5a1r, H5a1s, H5b4, H5e1a, H5u1, some subbranches of H5a1a and H6a1a9). Some of them could possibly be traced back to at least ∼4 kya, which indicates that some of the ancestors of today's Slavs (Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Ukrainians and Russians) inhabited areas of Central and Eastern Europe much earlier than it was estimated on the basis of archaeological and historical data. We also sequenced entire mitochondrial genomes of several non-European lineages (A, C, D, G, L) found in contemporary populations of Poland and Ukraine. The analysis of these haplogroups confirms the presence of Siberian (C5c1, A8a1) and Ashkenazi-specific (L2a1l2a) mtDNA lineages in Slavic populations. Moreover, we were able to pinpoint some lineages which could possibly reflect the relatively recent contacts of Slavs with nomadic Altaic peoples (C4a1a, G2a, D5a2a1a1).
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The evolutionary history of modern humans is characterized by numerous migrations driven by environmental change, population pressures, and cultural innovations. In Europe, the events most widely considered to have had a major impact on patterns of genetic diversity are the initial colonization of the continent by anatomically modern humans (AMH), the last glacial maximum, and the Neolithic transition. For some decades it was assumed that the geographical structuring of genetic diversity within Europe was mainly the result of gene flow during and soon after the Neolithic transition, but recent advances in next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies, computer simulation modeling, and ancient DNA (aDNA) analyses are challenging this simplistic view. Here we review the current knowledge on the evolutionary history of humans in Europe based on archaeological and genetic data.
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Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence variation was examined in Poles (from the Pomerania-Kujawy region; n = 436) and Russians (from three different regions of the European part of Russia; n = 201), for which the two hypervariable segments (HVS I and HVS II) and haplogroup-specific coding region sites were analyzed. The use of mtDNA coding region RFLP analysis made it possible to distinguish parallel mutations that occurred at particular sites in the HVS I and II regions during mtDNA evolution. In total, parallel mutations were identified at 73 nucleotide sites in HVS I (17.8%) and 31 sites in HVS II (7.73%). The classification of mitochondrial haplotypes revealed the presence of all major European haplogroups, which were characterized by similar patterns of distribution in Poles and Russians. An analysis of the distribution of the control region haplotypes did not reveal any specific combinations of unique mtDNA haplotypes and their subclusters that clearly distinguish both Poles and Russians from the neighbouring European populations. The only exception is a novel subcluster U4a within subhaplogroup U4, defined by a diagnostic mutation at nucleotide position 310 in HVS II. This subcluster was found in common predominantly between Poles and Russians (at a frequency of 2.3% and 2.0%, respectively) and may therefore have a central-eastern European origin.
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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 at the level of control region, they show no signals of having evolved within the European continent, an observation that is compatible 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 Sicily, 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.
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Many Croatian islands are examples of genetic isolates, with low level of heterozygosity and high level of inbreeding, due to practice of endogamy. The aim was to study the genetic structure of two insular and one mainland population through high-resolution phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). MtDNA polymorphisms were explored in 300 unrelated individuals from Mljet, Lastovo and the coastal city of Dubrovnik, based on SNP polymorphisms. All mtDNA haplogroups found in the sample were of typical European origin. However, the frequency distribution of their subclades differed significantly from other Croatian and European populations. MtDNA haplotype analysis revealed only two possible founder lineages on Mljet and six on Lastovo, accounting for almost half of the sample on both islands. The island of Mljet also has the lowest reported haplotype and nucleotide diversity among Croatian isolates and the island of Lastovo, a new sublineage of a usually quite rare U1b clade. The results can be explained by the effect evolutionary forces have on genetic structure, which is in line with the specific demographic histories of the islands. An additional research value of these two island isolates is the appearance of certain Mendelian disorders, highlighting their importance in epidemiological studies.
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The ancestry of modern Europeans is a subject of debate among geneticists, archaeologists, and anthropologists. A crucial question is the extent to which Europeans are descended from the first European farmers in the Neolithic Age 7500 years ago or from Paleolithic hunter-gatherers who were present in Europe since 40,000 years ago. Here we present an analysis of ancient DNA from early European farmers. We successfully extracted and sequenced intact stretches of maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from 24 out of 57 Neolithic skeletons from various locations in Germany, Austria, and Hungary. We found that 25% of the Neolithic farmers had one characteristic mtDNA type and that this type formerly was widespread among Neolithic farmers in Central Europe. Europeans today have a 150-times lower frequency (0.2%) of this mtDNA type, revealing that these first Neolithic farmers did not have a strong genetic influence on modern European female lineages. Our finding lends weight to a proposed Paleolithic ancestry for modern Europeans.
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To define the matrilineal relationships between Bulgarians and other European populations, we have evaluated the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation in a sample of 855 Bulgarian subjects from the mtDNA perspective. The molecular survey was performed by sequencing ∼750 bp of the control region, which resulted in 557 different haplotypes, and by a subsequent restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis to confirm haplogroup/subhaplogroup affiliation. The classification was carried out according to the most updated criteria as reported by van Oven and Kayser (Hum Mutat 30:386-394, 2009), allowing the identification of 45 mitochondrial clades. The observed pattern of mtDNA variation indicates that the Bulgarian mitochondrial pool is geographically homogeneous across the country, and that is characterized by an overall extremely high frequency of western Eurasian lineages. In the principal component analysis, Bulgarians locate in an intermediate position between Eastern European and Mediterranean populations, which is in agreement with historical events. Thus, while the Mediterranean legacy could be attributed to the Thracians, indigenous people that firstly inhabited the Balkans, the Eastern contribution is likely due to the Proto-Bulgarians originating from the Middle East and to the Slavs migrating from northeast Europe.
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More than a half of the northern Asian pool of human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is fragmented into a number of subclades of haplogroups C and D, two of the most frequent haplogroups throughout northern, eastern, central Asia and America. While there has been considerable recent progress in studying mitochondrial variation in eastern Asia and America at the complete genome resolution, little comparable data is available for regions such as southern Siberia--the area where most of northern Asian haplogroups, including C and D, likely diversified. This gap in our knowledge causes a serious barrier for progress in understanding the demographic pre-history of northern Eurasia in general. Here we describe the phylogeography of haplogroups C and D in the populations of northern and eastern Asia. We have analyzed 770 samples from haplogroups C and D (174 and 596, respectively) at high resolution, including 182 novel complete mtDNA sequences representing haplogroups C and D (83 and 99, respectively). The present-day variation of haplogroups C and D suggests that these mtDNA clades expanded before the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), with their oldest lineages being present in the eastern Asia. Unlike in eastern Asia, most of the northern Asian variants of haplogroups C and D began the expansion after the LGM, thus pointing to post-glacial re-colonization of northern Asia. Our results show that both haplogroups were involved in migrations, from eastern Asia and southern Siberia to eastern and northeastern Europe, likely during the middle Holocene.
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Tracing the genetic origin of central European farmer N1a lineages can provide a unique opportunity to assess the patterns of the farming technology spread into central Europe in the human prehistory. Here, we have chosen twelve N1a samples from modern populations which are most similar with the farmer N1a types and performed the complete mitochondrial DNA genome sequencing analysis. To assess the genetic and phylogeographic relationship, we performed a detailed survey of modern published N1a types from Eurasian and African populations. The geographic origin and expansion of farmer lineages related N1a subclades have been deduced from combined analysis of 19 complete sequences with 166 N1a haplotypes. The phylogeographic analysis revealed that the central European farmer lineages have originated from different sources: from eastern Europe, local central Europe, and from the Near East via southern Europe. The results obtained emphasize that the arrival of central European farmer lineages did not occur via a single demic diffusion event from the Near East at the onset of the Neolithic spread of agriculture into Europe. Indeed these results indicate that the Neolithic transition process was more complex in central Europe and possibly the farmer N1a lineages were a result of a 'leapfrog' colonization process.
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To investigate diversity of mitochondrial gene pool of Tatars inhabiting the territory of the middle Volga River basin, 197 individuals from two populations representing Kazan Tatars and Mishars were subjected for analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region variation. In addition, 73 mitochondrial genomes of individuals from Mishar population were sequenced completely. It was found that mitochondrial gene pool of the Volga Tatars consists of two parts, but western Eurasian component prevails considerably (84% on average) over eastern Asian one (16%). Eastern Asian mtDNAs detected in Tatars belonged to a heterogeneous set of haplogroups (A, C, D, G, M7, M10, N9a, Y, and Z), although only haplogroups A and D were revealed simultaneously in both populations. Complete mtDNA variation study revealed that the age of western Eurasian haplogroups (such as U4, HV0a, and H) is less than 18,000 years, thus suggesting re-expansion of eastern Europeans soon after the Last Glacial Maximum.
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Diversity of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) lineages of the Island of Cres was determined by high-resolution phylogenetic analysis on a sample of 119 adult unrelated individuals from eight settlements. The composition of mtDNA pool of this Island population is in contrast with other Croatian and European populations. The analysis revealed the highest frequency of haplogroup U (29.4%) with the predominance of one single lineage of subhaplogroup U2e (20.2%). Haplogroup H is the second most prevalent one with only 27.7%. Other very interesting features of contemporary Island population are extremely low frequency of haplogroup J (only 0.84%), and much higher frequency of haplogroup W (12.6%) comparing to other Croatian and European populations. Especially interesting finding is a strikingly higher frequency of haplogroup N1a (9.24%) presented with African/south Asian branch almost absent in Europeans, while its European sister-branch, proved to be highly prevalent among Neolithic farmers, is present in contemporary Europeans with only 0.2%. Haplotype analysis revealed that only five mtDNA lineages account for almost 50% of maternal genetic heritage of this island and they present supposed founder lineages. All presented findings confirm that genetic drift, especially founder effect, has played significant role in shaping genetic composition of the isolated population of the Island of Cres. Due to presented data contemporary population of Cres Island can be considered as genetic "outlier" among Croatian populations.
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In order to generate and establish the database for forensic identification purposes in Vojvodina Province (Serbia), the sequence of the hypervariable regions 1 (HV1) and 2 (HV2) of the mtDNA control region were determined in a population of 104 unrelated individuals from Vojvodina Province, using a fluorescent-based capillary electrophoresis sequencing method. A total of 93 different haplotypes were found, of these 83 mtDNA types were unique, nine haplotypes were shared by two individuals and one haplotype by three individuals. The variation of mtDNA HV1 and HV2 regions was confined to 116 nucleotide positions, of which 72 were observed in the HV1 and 44 in the HV2. A statistical estimate of the results for this population showed the genetic diversity of 0.9977 and the random match probability of 1.18%. Haplogroup H was the most common haplogroup (43.3%). Haplogroups observed at intermediate levels included clusters U (13.5%), T (10.6%), J (8.6%) and W (5.8%).
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There are extensive data indicating that some glacial refuge zones of southern Europe (Franco-Cantabria, Balkans, and Ukraine) were major genetic sources for the human recolonization of the continent at the beginning of the Holocene. Intriguingly, there is no genetic evidence that the refuge area located in the Italian Peninsula contributed to this process. Here we show, through phylogeographic analyses of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation performed at the highest level of molecular resolution (52 entire mitochondrial genomes), that the most likely homeland for U5b3-a haplogroup present at a very low frequency across Europe-was the Italian Peninsula. In contrast to mtDNA haplogroups that expanded from other refugia, the Holocene expansion of haplogroup U5b3 toward the North was restricted by the Alps and occurred only along the Mediterranean coasts, mainly toward nearby Provence (southern France). From there, approximately 7,000-9,000 years ago, a subclade of this haplogroup moved to Sardinia, possibly as a result of the obsidian trade that linked the two regions, leaving a distinctive signature in the modern people of the island. This scenario strikingly matches the age, distribution, and postulated geographic source of a Sardinian Y chromosome haplogroup (I2a2-M26), a paradigmatic case in the European context of a founder event marking both female and male lineages.
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The debate concerning the mechanisms underlying the prehistoric spread of farming to Southeast Europe is framed around the opposing roles of population movement and cultural diffusion. To investigate the possible involvement of local people during the transition of agriculture in the Balkans, we analysed patterns of Y-chromosome diversity in 1206 subjects from 17 population samples, mainly from Southeast Europe. Evidence from three Y-chromosome lineages, I-M423, E-V13 and J-M241, make it possible to distinguish between Holocene Mesolithic forager and subsequent Neolithic range expansions from the eastern Sahara and the Near East, respectively. In particular, whereas the Balkan microsatellite variation associated to J-M241 correlates with the Neolithic period, those related to E-V13 and I-M423 Balkan Y chromosomes are consistent with a late Mesolithic time frame. In addition, the low frequency and variance associated to I-M423 and E-V13 in Anatolia and the Middle East, support an European Mesolithic origin of these two clades. Thus, these Balkan Mesolithic foragers with their own autochthonous genetic signatures, were destined to become the earliest to adopt farming, when it was subsequently introduced by a cadre of migrating farmers from the Near East. These initial local converted farmers became the principal agents spreading this economy using maritime leapfrog colonization strategies in the Adriatic and transmitting the Neolithic cultural package to other adjacent Mesolithic populations. The ensuing range expansions of E-V13 and I-M423 parallel in space and time the diffusion of Neolithic Impressed Ware, thereby supporting a case of cultural diffusion using genetic evidence.
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Mitochondrial DNA sequence variation was examined by the control region sequencing (HVS I and HVS II) and RFLP analysis of haplogroup-diagnostic coding region sites in 570 individuals from four regional populations of Poles and two Russian groups from northwestern part of the country. Additionally, sequences of complete mitochondrial genomes representing K1a1b1a subclade in Polish and Polish Roma populations have been determined. Haplogroup frequency patterns revealed in Poles and Russians are similar to those characteristic of other Europeans. However, there are several features of Slavic mtDNA pools seen on the level of regional populations which are helpful in the understanding of complex interactions of the Eastern and Western Slavic populations with other European groups. One of the most important is the presence of subhaplogroups U5b1b1, D5, Z1 and U8a with simultaneous scarcity of haplogroup K in populations of northwestern Russia suggesting the participation of Finno-Ugrian tribes in the formation of mtDNA pools of Russians from this region. The results of genetic structure analyses suggest that Russians from Velikii Novgorod area (northwestern Russia) and Poles from Suwalszczyzna (northeastern Poland) differ from all remaining Polish and Russian samples. Simultaneously, northwestern Russians and northeastern Poles bear some similarities to Baltic (Latvians) and Finno-Ugrian groups (Estonians) of northeastern Europe, especially on the level of U5 haplogroup frequencies. The occurrence of K1a1b1a subcluster in Poles and Polish Roma is one of the first direct proofs of the presence of Ashkenazi-specific mtDNA lineages in non-Jewish European populations.
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For the past few years, scientific controversy has surrounded the large number of errors in forensic and literature mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) data. However, recent research has shown that using mtDNA phylogeny and referring to known mtDNA haplotypes can be useful for checking the quality of sequence data. We developed a Web-based bioinformatics resource "mtDNAmanager" that offers a convenient interface supporting the management and quality analysis of mtDNA sequence data. The mtDNAmanager performs computations on mtDNA control-region sequences to estimate the most-probable mtDNA haplogroups and retrieves similar sequences from a selected database. By the phased designation of the most-probable haplogroups (both expected and estimated haplogroups), mtDNAmanager enables users to systematically detect errors whilst allowing for confirmation of the presence of clear key diagnostic mutations and accompanying mutations. The query tools of mtDNAmanager also facilitate database screening with two options of "match" and "include the queried nucleotide polymorphism". In addition, mtDNAmanager provides Web interfaces for users to manage and analyse their own data in batch mode. The mtDNAmanager will provide systematic routines for mtDNA sequence data management and analysis via easily accessible Web interfaces, and thus should be very useful for population, medical and forensic studies that employ mtDNA analysis. mtDNAmanager can be accessed at http://mtmanager.yonsei.ac.kr.
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Understanding the genetic structure of human populations is of fundamental interest to medical, forensic and anthropological sciences. Advances in high-throughput genotyping technology have markedly improved our understanding of global patterns of human genetic variation and suggest the potential to use large samples to uncover variation among closely spaced populations. Here we characterize genetic variation in a sample of 3,000 European individuals genotyped at over half a million variable DNA sites in the human genome. Despite low average levels of genetic differentiation among Europeans, we find a close correspondence between genetic and geographic distances; indeed, a geographical map of Europe arises naturally as an efficient two-dimensional summary of genetic variation in Europeans. The results emphasize that when mapping the genetic basis of a disease phenotype, spurious associations can arise if genetic structure is not properly accounted for. In addition, the results are relevant to the prospects of genetic ancestry testing; an individual's DNA can be used to infer their geographic origin with surprising accuracy-often to within a few hundred kilometres.
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We present here a framework for the study of molecular variation within a single species. Information on DNA haplotype divergence is incorporated into an analysis of variance format, derived from a matrix of squared-distances among all pairs of haplotypes. This analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) produces estimates of variance components and F-statistic analogs, designated here as phi-statistics, reflecting the correlation of haplotypic diversity at different levels of hierarchical subdivision. The method is flexible enough to accommodate several alternative input matrices, corresponding to different types of molecular data, as well as different types of evolutionary assumptions, without modifying the basic structure of the analysis. The significance of the variance components and phi-statistics is tested using a permutational approach, eliminating the normality assumption that is conventional for analysis of variance but inappropriate for molecular data. Application of AMOVA to human mitochondrial DNA haplotype data shows that population subdivisions are better resolved when some measure of molecular differences among haplotypes is introduced into the analysis. At the intraspecific level, however, the additional information provided by knowing the exact phylogenetic relations among haplotypes or by a nonlinear translation of restriction-site change into nucleotide diversity does not significantly modify the inferred population genetic structure. Monte Carlo studies show that site sampling does not fundamentally affect the significance of the molecular variance components. The AMOVA treatment is easily extended in several different directions and it constitutes a coherent and flexible framework for the statistical analysis of molecular data.
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Understanding the genetic structure of human populations is of fundamental interest to medical, forensic and anthropological sciences. Advances in high-throughput genotyping technology have markedly improved our understanding of global patterns of human genetic variation and suggest the potential to use large samples to uncover variation among closely spaced populations. Here we characterize genetic variation in a sample of 3,000 European individuals genotyped at over half a million variable DNA sites in the human genome. Despite low average levels of genetic differentiation among Europeans, we find a close correspondence between genetic and geographic distances; indeed, a geographical map of Europe arises naturally as an efficient two-dimensional summary of genetic variation in Europeans. The results emphasize that when mapping the genetic basis of a disease phenotype, spurious associations can arise if genetic structure is not properly accounted for. In addition, the results are relevant to the prospects of genetic ancestry testing; an individual’s DNA can be used to infer their geographic origin with surprising accuracy—often to within a few hundred kilometres.
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Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages stood at a crossroads of trade and crusading routes, within the sphere of influence of both the Byzantine Orthodox Church and Latin Christendom. This innovative and expansive survey draws on historical and archaeological sources in the narration of 750 years of the region's history. Among a number of key themes it addresses the rise of medieval states, the conversion to Christianity, the monastic movement inspired by developments in Western Europe and in Byzantium and the role of material culture in the representation of power.
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The archaeogenetics of Europe remains deeply controversial. Advances in ancient deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) analysis have suggested gene flow between Neanderthals and modern humans, who arrived in Europe <50 000 years ago, but have so far failed to support evolution of Neanderthals from a population of Homo heidelbergensis represented by remains in northern Spain. The extent to which European Mesolithic forager populations versus Neolithic pioneers from the Near East contributed to the extant gene pool of Europeans also continues to be contested. Whilst analyses of extant mitochondrial lineages have emphasised late Palaeolithic and Mesolithic expansions, ancient DNA (aDNA) results suggest significant Neolithic dispersals from the southern ‘refugial’ zone into the northern ‘bio-tidal’ zone. However, whether these had a primarily Near Eastern or North Mediterranean source remains a matter for debate. Meanwhile, aDNA has also begun to highlight an important role for later dispersals, especially during the late Neolithic, in shaping the European gene pool.
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In order to understand the Aurignacian phenomenon in Europe, one must clarify definitions and then consider it both in its territorial entirety and within the complexity of its origins. Moreover, the Aurignacian appears to be a composite phenomenon, articulated in a series of phases with varying geographic limits. The "classic" sequence defined in Western Europe is from now on insufficient to support an intelligible model. We propose here to explain certain essential characteristics useful for this new idea.
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The Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture provides the fullest and most inclusive coverage yet compiled of the major Indo-European language stocks and their origins, and the conceptual range of the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European language. The encyclopedia also offers entries on selected archaeological cultures having some relationship to the origin and dispersal of Indo-European groups, and on some of the major issues of Indo-European cultural studies. With over 700 entries, written by seventeen leading specialists, the Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture is an essential reference work for all scholars and students in this field. In addition, its detailed indexing and clear layout and organization will ensure that readers find it easy to use. Outstanding Academic Book
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During the migrations and population increases and decline in health accompanying the Eighth-Sixth millennia B.C. farming revolution spread of the new mutant falciparum malaria from Greece and Italy crossed the flow of genes from Africa northward, as indicated by porotic hyperostosis increase (abnormal hemoglobins and anemia) and Negroid traits (nose breadth, prognathism). Disease selection shaped slightly Negroid and paedomorphic Dynastic Upper Egyptians. Lower Egyptians share Eastern Mediterranean traits and population growth and communication steadily lessens contrast between groups down to the XXX Dynasty.
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The aim of the present study was to estimate the relative contribution of cytochrome P450 isoforms (P450s), including P450s of the CYP2C subfamily, to the metabolism of caffeine in human liver. The experiments were carried out in vitro using cDNA-expressed P450s, liver microsomes and specific P450 inhibitors. The obtained results show that (1) apart from the 3-N-demethylation of caffeine – a CYP1A2 marker reaction and the main oxidation pathway of caffeine in man – 1-N-demethylation is also specifically catalyzed by CYP1A2 (not reported previously); (2) 7-N-demethylation is catalyzed non-specifically, mainly by CYP1A2 and, to a smaller extent, by CYP2C8/9 and CYP3A4 (and not by CYP2E1, as suggested previously); (3) C-8-hydroxylation preferentially involves CYP1A2 and CYP3A4 and, to a smaller degree, CYP2C8/9 and CYP2E1 (and not only CYP3A, as suggested previously) at a concentration of 100 μM corresponding to the maximum therapeutic concentration in humans. At a higher caffeine concentration, the contribution of CYP1A2 to this reaction decreases in favour of CYP2C8/9. The obtained data show for the first time the contribution of CYP2C isoforms to the metabolism of caffeine in human liver and suggest that apart from 3-N-demethylation, 1-N-demethylation may also be used for testing CYP1A2 activity. Moreover, they indicate that the C-8-hydroxylation is not exclusively catalyzed by CYP3A4.
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Whether present-day European genetic variation and its distribution patterns can be attributed primarily to the initial peopling of Europe by anatomically modern humans during the Paleolithic, or to latter Near Eastern Neolithic input is still the subject of debate. Southeastern Europe has been a crossroads for several cultures since Paleolithic times and the Balkans, specifically, would have been part of the route used by Neolithic farmers to enter Europe. Given its geographic location in the heart of the Balkan Peninsula at the intersection of Central and Southeastern Europe, Serbia represents a key geographical location that may provide insight to elucidate the interactions between indigenous Paleolithic people and agricultural colonists from the Fertile Crescent. In this study, we examine, for the first time, the Y-chromosome constitution of the general Serbian population. A total of 103 individuals were sampled and their DNA analyzed for 104 Y-chromosome bi-allelic markers and 17 associated STR loci. Our results indicate that approximately 58% of Serbian Y-chromosomes (I1-M253, I2a-P37.2 and R1a1a-M198) belong to lineages believed to be pre-Neolithic. On the other hand, the signature of putative Near Eastern Neolithic lineages, including E1b1b1a1-M78, G2a-P15, J1-M267, J2-M172 and R1b1a2-M269 accounts for 39% of the Y-chromosome. Haplogroup frequency distributions in Western and Eastern Europe reveal a spotted landscape of paleolithic Y chromosomes, undermining continental-wide generalizations. Furthermore, an examination of the distribution of Y-chromosome filiations in Europe indicates extreme levels of Paleolithic lineages in a region encompassing Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, possibly the result of Neolithic migrations encroaching on Paleolithic populations against the Adriatic Sea.
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A major unanswered question regarding the dispersal of modern humans around the world concerns the geographical site of the first human steps outside of Africa. The "southern coastal route" model predicts that the early stages of the dispersal took place when people crossed the Red Sea to southern Arabia, but genetic evidence has hitherto been tenuous. We have addressed this question by analyzing the three minor west-Eurasian haplogroups, N1, N2, and X. These lineages branch directly from the first non-African founder node, the root of haplogroup N, and coalesce to the time of the first successful movement of modern humans out of Africa, ∼60 thousand years (ka) ago. We sequenced complete mtDNA genomes from 85 Southwest Asian samples carrying these haplogroups and compared them with a database of 300 European examples. The results show that these minor haplogroups have a relict distribution that suggests an ancient ancestry within the Arabian Peninsula, and they most likely spread from the Gulf Oasis region toward the Near East and Europe during the pluvial period 55-24 ka ago. This pattern suggests that Arabia was indeed the first staging post in the spread of modern humans around the world.
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We present here a new version of the Arlequin program available under three different forms: a Windows graphical version (Winarl35), a console version of Arlequin (arlecore), and a specific console version to compute summary statistics (arlsumstat). The command-line versions run under both Linux and Windows. The main innovations of the new version include enhanced outputs in XML format, the possibility to embed graphics displaying computation results directly into output files, and the implementation of a new method to detect loci under selection from genome scans. Command-line versions are designed to handle large series of files, and arlsumstat can be used to generate summary statistics from simulated data sets within an Approximate Bayesian Computation framework.
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There is currently no calibration available for the whole human mtDNA genome, incorporating both coding and control regions. Furthermore, as several authors have pointed out recently, linear molecular clocks that incorporate selectable characters are in any case problematic. We here confirm a modest effect of purifying selection on the mtDNA coding region and propose an improved molecular clock for dating human mtDNA, based on a worldwide phylogeny of > 2000 complete mtDNA genomes and calibrating against recent evidence for the divergence time of humans and chimpanzees. We focus on a time-dependent mutation rate based on the entire mtDNA genome and supported by a neutral clock based on synonymous mutations alone. We show that the corrected rate is further corroborated by archaeological dating for the settlement of the Canary Islands and Remote Oceania and also, given certain phylogeographic assumptions, by the timing of the first modern human settlement of Europe and resettlement after the Last Glacial Maximum. The corrected rate yields an age of modern human expansion in the Americas at approximately 15 kya that-unlike the uncorrected clock-matches the archaeological evidence, but continues to indicate an out-of-Africa dispersal at around 55-70 kya, 5-20 ky before any clear archaeological record, suggesting the need for archaeological research efforts focusing on this time window. We also present improved rates for the mtDNA control region, and the first comprehensive estimates of positional mutation rates for human mtDNA, which are essential for defining mutation models in phylogenetic analyses.
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It is widely accepted that the ancestors of Native Americans arrived in the New World via Beringia approximately 10 to 30 thousand years ago (kya). However, the arrival time(s), number of expansion events, and migration routes into the Western Hemisphere remain controversial because linguistic, archaeological, and genetic evidence have not yet provided coherent answers. Notably, most of the genetic evidence has been acquired from the analysis of the common pan-American mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroups. In this study, we have instead identified and analyzed mtDNAs belonging to two rare Native American haplogroups named D4h3 and X2a. Phylogeographic analyses at the highest level of molecular resolution (69 entire mitochondrial genomes) reveal that two almost concomitant paths of migration from Beringia led to the Paleo-Indian dispersal approximately 15-17 kya. Haplogroup D4h3 spread into the Americas along the Pacific coast, whereas X2a entered through the ice-free corridor between the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets. The examination of an additional 276 entire mtDNA sequences provides similar entry times for all common Native American haplogroups, thus indicating at least a dual origin for Paleo- Indians. A dual origin for the first Americans is a striking novelty from the genetic point of view, and it makes plausible a scenario positing that within a rather short period of time, there may have been several entries into the Americas from a dynamically changing Beringian source. Moreover, this implies that most probably more than one language family was carried along with the Paleo-Indians.
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Mitochondrial DNA sequences of the entire control region were analyzed in 200 unrelated individuals from Macedonia. A total of 163 different haplotypes were found as determined by 177 polymorphic sites. The probability of a random match was calculated as 1:121 (0.83%). The basic phylogenetic structure of the Macedonian population as derived from its haplogroup distribution is in agreement with other West-Eurasian populations. Upon publication, the population data are going to be available in the EMPOP database (www.empop.org) [W. Parson, A. Dür, EMPOP--a forensic mtDNA database, FSI:Genetics 1 (2) (2007) 88-92; W. Parson, A. Brandstätter, A. Alonso, N. Brandt, B. Brinkmann, A. Carracedo, et al., The EDNAP mitochondrial DNA population database (EMPOP) collaborative exercises: organisation, results and perspectives, Forensic Sci. Int. 139 (2-3) (2004) 215-226.].
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Human mitochondrial DNA is widely used as tool in many fields including evolutionary anthropology and population history, medical genetics, genetic genealogy, and forensic science. Many applications require detailed knowledge about the phylogenetic relationship of mtDNA variants. Although the phylogenetic resolution of global human mtDNA diversity has greatly improved as a result of increasing sequencing efforts of complete mtDNA genomes, an updated overall mtDNA tree is currently not available. In order to facilitate a better use of known mtDNA variation, we have constructed an updated comprehensive phylogeny of global human mtDNA variation, based on both coding- and control region mutations. This complete mtDNA tree includes previously published as well as newly identified haplogroups, is easily navigable, will be continuously and regularly updated in the future, and is online available at http://www.phylotree.org. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Article
The ancestry of modern Europeans is a subject of debate among geneticists, archaeologists, and anthropologists. A crucial question is the extent to which Europeans are descended from the first European farmers in the Neolithic Age 7500 years ago or from Paleolithic hunter-gatherers who were present in Europe since 40,000 years ago. Here we present an analysis of ancient DNA from early European farmers. We successfully extracted and sequenced intact stretches of maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from 24 out of 57 Neolithic skeletons from various locations in Germany, Austria, and Hungary. We found that 25% of the Neolithic farmers had one characteristic mtDNA type and that this type formerly was widespread among Neolithic farmers in Central Europe. Europeans today have a 150-times lower frequency (0.2%) of this mtDNA type, revealing that these first Neolithic farmers did not have a strong genetic influence on modern European female lineages. Our finding lends weight to a proposed Paleolithic ancestry for modern Europeans.