Haplogroup N1a (mtDNA)

Haplogroup N1a (mtDNA)

In human genetics Haplogroup N1a is a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup.

N1a is a rare haplogroup as it currently appears in only .18%-.2% of regional populations. It is widely distributed throughout Eurasia and Northern Africa and is divided into the European, Central Asian, and African/South Asian branches based on specific genetic markers. Exact origins and migration patterns of this haplogroup are still unknown and a subject of some debate.

Neolithic farmers

N1a became particularly prominent when Wolfgang Haak et al. studies on 7500 year old skeletons in Central Europe revealed that 25% of the Neolithic European population might have belonged to the N1a haplogroup. The skeletons were found to be members of the Linear Pottery Culture which is credited with being the first farming culture in Europe. [http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/310/5750/1016]

The study was a major development in the debate on the origin of European populations. [http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;312/5782/1875a]

The answer to the debate was: "The discovery of mitochondrial type N1a in Central European Neolithic skeletons at a high frequency enabled us to answer the question of whether the modern population is maternally descended from the early farmers instead of addressing the traditional question of the origin of early European farmers"

Generally two competing scenarios exist for event around that time:
# Renfrew NDT - Anatolian hypothesis
# Alinei Paleolithic Continuity Theory. Both conceptions were formed before the Haak discovery. The high frequency old paleolithic mtDNA are more understandable in light of the Paleolithic Continuity Theory. The N haplogroup is 80-60 ky old.

"Our finding lends weight to a proposed Paleolithic ancestry for modern Europeans" [Ancient DNA from the First European Farmers in 7500-Year-Old Neolithic Sites; Science 11 November 2005:Vol. 310. no. 5750, pp. 1016 - 1018DOI: 10.1126/science.1118725Wolfgang Haak, Peter Forster, Barbara Bramanti, Shuichi Matsumura, Guido Brandt, Marc Tänzer, Richard Villems, Colin Renfrew, Detlef Gronenborn, Kurt Werner Alt, Joachim Burger]


*Haak, Wolfgang, et al. "Ancient DNA from the First European Farmers in 7500-Year-Old Neolithic Sites" Science, vol. 310, pg. 1016 (2005)
*Balter, Michael "Ancient DNA Yields Clues to the Puzzle of European Origins" Science, vol. 310, pg. 964 (2005)

See also

*Human mitochondrial genetics
*Haplogroup I (mtDNA)

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