Neolithic mitochondrial Haplogroup H genomes and the genetic origins of Europeans

Paul Brotherton, Wolfgang Haak, Jennifer Templeton, Guido Brandt, Julien Soubrier, Christina Adler, S Richards, Clio Der Sarkissian, Robert Ganslmeier, Susanne Friederich, Veit Dresely, Mannis van Oven, Rosalie Kenyon, Mark Van der Hoek, Jonas Korlach, Khai Luong, Simon Ho, Lluís Quintana-Murci, Doron Behar, Harald MellerKurt Alt, Alan Cooper

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    154 Citations (Scopus)


    Haplogroup H dominates present-day Western European mitochondrial DNA variability (>40%), yet was less common (∼19%) among Early Neolithic farmers (∼5450 BC) and virtually absent in Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. Here we investigate this major component of the maternal population history of modern Europeans and sequence 39 complete haplogroup H mitochondrial genomes from ancient human remains. We then compare this 'real-time' genetic data with cultural changes taking place between the Early Neolithic (∼5450 BC) and Bronze Age (∼2200 BC) in Central Europe. Our results reveal that the current diversity and distribution of haplogroup H were largely established by the Mid Neolithic (∼4000 BC), but with substantial genetic contributions from subsequent pan-European cultures such as the Bell Beakers expanding out of Iberia in the Late Neolithic (∼2800 BC). Dated haplogroup H genomes allow us to reconstruct the recent evolutionary history of haplogroup H and reveal a mutation rate 45% higher than current estimates for human mitochondria.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1764
    Number of pages11
    JournalNature Communications
    Issue number1764
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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