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Mitochondrial haplogroup N1a phylogeography, with implication to the origin of European farmers

Malliya Gounder Palanichamy12*, Cai-Ling Zhang1, Bikash Mitra13, Boris Malyarchuk4, Miroslava Derenko4, Tapas Kumar Chaudhuri3 and Ya-Ping Zhang12*

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Bio-resources, Yunnan University, 2 North Green Lake Street, Kunming 650091, China

2 State Key Laboratory of Genetic resources and Evolution, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650223, China

3 Cellular Immunology Laboratory, Department of Zoology, University of North Bengal, Siliguri 734013, West Bengal, India

4 Institute of Biological Problems of the North, Far-East Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Magadan 685000, Russia

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BMC Evolutionary Biology 2010, 10:304  doi:10.1186/1471-2148-10-304

Published: 12 October 2010



Tracing the genetic origin of central European farmer N1a lineages can provide a unique opportunity to assess the patterns of the farming technology spread into central Europe in the human prehistory. Here, we have chosen twelve N1a samples from modern populations which are most similar with the farmer N1a types and performed the complete mitochondrial DNA genome sequencing analysis. To assess the genetic and phylogeographic relationship, we performed a detailed survey of modern published N1a types from Eurasian and African populations.


The geographic origin and expansion of farmer lineages related N1a subclades have been deduced from combined analysis of 19 complete sequences with 166 N1a haplotypes. The phylogeographic analysis revealed that the central European farmer lineages have originated from different sources: from eastern Europe, local central Europe, and from the Near East via southern Europe.


The results obtained emphasize that the arrival of central European farmer lineages did not occur via a single demic diffusion event from the Near East at the onset of the Neolithic spread of agriculture into Europe. Indeed these results indicate that the Neolithic transition process was more complex in central Europe and possibly the farmer N1a lineages were a result of a 'leapfrog' colonization process.