Neolithic mitochondrial haplogroup H genomes and the genetic origins of Europeans

Paul Brotherton, Wolfgang Haak, Jennifer Templeton, Guido Brandt, Julien Soubrier, Christina Jane Adler, Stephen M. Richards, Clio Der Sarkissian, Robert Ganslmeier, Susanne Friederich, Veit Dresely, Mannis Van Oven, Rosalie Kenyon, Mark B. Van Der Hoek, Jonas Korlach, Khai Luong, Simon Y.W. Ho, Lluis Quintana-Murci, Doron M. Behar, Harald MellerKurt W. Alt, Alan Cooper, Syama Adhikarla, Arun Kumar Ganesh Prasad, Ramasamy Pitchappan, Arun Varatharajan Santhakumari, Elena Balanovska, Oleg Balanovsky, Jaume Bertranpetit, David Comas, Begoña Martínez-Cruz, Marta Melé, Andrew C. Clarke, Elizabeth A. Matisoo-Smith, Matthew C. Dulik, Jill B. Gaieski, Amanda C. Owings, Theodore G. Schurr, Miguel G. Vilar, Angela Hobbs, Himla Soodyall, Asif Javed, Laxmi Parida, Daniel E. Platt, Ajay K. Royyuru, Li Jin, Shilin Li, Matthew E. Kaplan, Nirav C. Merchant, R. John Mitchell, Colin Renfrew, Daniela R. Lacerda, Fabrício R. Santos, David F. Soria Hernanz, R. Spencer Wells, Pandikumar Swamikrishnan, Chris Tyler-Smith, Pedro Paulo Vieira, Janet S. Ziegle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Scopus citations


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 (US)
Article number1764
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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