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A New Branch

Researchers present the mitochondrial genome from the 2,330-year-old remains of man who lived in Southern Africa in Genome Biology and Evolution. Archaeological evidence and bone analysis indicated that the man was a marine forager and lived in the region prior to the arrival of migrating pastoralists.

The Garvan Institute of Medical Research's Vanessa Hayes and her colleagues isolated DNA from a tooth and a rib from the skeleton and sequenced and assembled the mitochondrial DNA.

By comparing the mtDNA from this 2,330-year-old man to some 525 published complete genomes, Hayes and her colleagues found that his mtDNA forms a new, early derived maternal lineage — L0d2c1c —that is, unlike its sister L0d2c1a and L0d2c1b clades, closely related to contemporary indigenous San-speakers

"From [mitochondrial] Eve, this [individual] comes from the earliest branch, which diverged around 150,000 to 170,000 years ago," Hayes tells the Sydney Morning Herald.

She and her colleagues note in their paper that additional sequencing of ancient people from southern Africa "is likely to expose additional unclassified human genome diversity.