Context of maternal lineages in the Greater Southwest

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65 Scopus citations


We present mitochondrial haplogroup characterizations of the prehistoric Anasazi of the United States (US) Southwest. These data are part of a long-term project to characterize ancient Great Basin and US Southwest samples for mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) diversity. Three restriction site polymorphisms (RSPs) and one length polymorphism identify four common Native American matrilines (A, B, C, and D). The Anasazi (n = 27) are shown to have a moderate frequency of haplogroup A (22%), a high frequency of haplogroup B (56%), and a low frequency of C (15%). Haplogroup D has not yet been detected among the Anasazi. In comparison to modern Native American groups from the US Southwest, the Anasazi are shown to have a distribution of haplogroups similar to the frequency pattern exhibited by modern Pueblo groups. A principal component analysis also clusters the Anasazi with some modern (Pueblo) Southwestern populations, and away from other modern (Athapaskan speaking) Southwestern populations. The Anasazi are also shown to have a significantly different distribution of the four haplogroups as compared to the eastern Great Basin Great Salt Lake Fremont (n = 32), although both groups cluster together in a principal component analysis. The context of our data suggests substantial stability within the US Southwest, even in the face of the serious cultural and biological disruption caused by colonization of the region by European settlers. We conclude that although sample numbers are fairly low, ancient DNA (aDNA) data are useful for assessing long-term populational affinities and for discerning regional population structure. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-101
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000


  • Anasazi
  • Ancient DNA
  • Fremont
  • mtDNA haplo-groups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology


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