The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Date estimates for major mitochondrial haplogroups in Yemen


1Department of Anthropology, University of Florida, Gainesville, 2Archaeogenetics Laboratory, Institute of Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague, The Czech Republic, 3Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Sana’a, Sana’a, Yemen

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Yemen occupies a key location as the first stop for anatomically modern humans on a theoretical southern migration route out of Africa. If modern humans did pass through Yemen during the first migrations out of Africa and if they left modern-day descendants, we would expect to see deep divergences in the Yemeni mitochondrial gene tree. Alternatively, if modern humans passed through Yemen but did not leave modern-day descendants or if Yemen was not on the path of these ancient migrations, we would expect more recent dates to be associated with Yemeni mitochondrial haplogroups.

Using 44 previously sequenced mitochondrial genomes as well as 24 newly sequenced mitochondrial genomes from samples collected throughout Yemen, several methods were used to estimate divergence dates of major Yemeni haplogroups including L2, M, R0a and HV. Specifically, phylogenetic trees were generated using MrBayes and maximum likelihood methods. Bayesian and ρ statistic based methods were used to estimate dates of Yemeni haplogroups and these dates were compared with each other, previously published dates for these haplogroups, approximate dates of climatic change that might be expected to correlate with population expansions, and estimates based on archaeological and paleontological evidence for the first migrations out of Africa. These comparisons are intended to cover the range of possible haplogroup divergence dates with respect to the history of early modern humans in southern Arabia.

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