The Arabian Cradle: Mitochondrial Relicts of the First Steps…

The Arabian Cradle: Mitochondrial Relicts of the First Steps along the Southern Route out of Africa

Verónica Fernandes12Farida Alshamali3Marco Alves1Marta D. Costa12Joana B. Pereira12Nuno M. Silva1Lotfi Cherni45Nourdin Harich6Viktor Cerny78Pedro Soares1Martin B. Richards2911 and Luísa Pereira11011Go To Corresponding Author 

1 Instituto de Patologia e Imunologia Molecular da Universidade do Porto, Porto 4200-465, Portugal
2 Faculty of Biological Sciences, Institute of Integrative and Comparative Biology, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
3 General Department of Forensic Sciences and Criminology, Dubai Police General Headquarters, Dubai 1493, United Arab Emirates
4 Laboratory of Genetics Immunology and Human Pathology, Faculty of Sciences of Tunis, Tunis 2092, Tunisia
5 Higher Institute of Biotechnology of Monastir, Monastir 5000, Tunisia
6 Laboratoire d’Anthropogénétique, Départment de Biologie, Université Chouaïb Doukkali, El Jadida 24000, Morocco
7 Department of Anthropology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague 128 43, Czech Republic
8 Institute for Advanced Study, Paris 75648, France
9 School of Applied Sciences, University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield, HD1 3DH, UK
10 Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade do Porto, Porto 4200-319, Portugal

Corresponding author

11 These authors contributed equally to this work


A major unanswered question regarding the dispersal of modern humans around the world concerns the geographical site of the first human steps outside of Africa. The “southern coastal route” model predicts that the early stages of the dispersal took place when people crossed the Red Sea to southern Arabia, but genetic evidence has hitherto been tenuous. We have addressed this question by analyzing the three minor west-Eurasian haplogroups, N1, N2, and X. These lineages branch directly from the first non-African founder node, the root of haplogroup N, and coalesce to the time of the first successful movement of modern humans out of Africa, ?60 thousand years (ka) ago. We sequenced complete mtDNA genomes from 85 Southwest Asian samples carrying these haplogroups and compared them with a database of 300 European examples. The results show that these minor haplogroups have a relict distribution that suggests an ancient ancestry within the Arabian Peninsula, and they most likely spread from the Gulf Oasis region toward the Near East and Europe during the pluvial period 55–24 ka ago. This pattern suggests that Arabia was indeed the first staging post in the spread of modern humans around the world. soruce


Return of Arabia to Being Full of Pastures & Rivers