Laboratory of Genetics Immunology and Human Pathology

Tunis, Tunisia

Laboratory of Genetics Immunology and Human Pathology

Tunis, Tunisia

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Fernandes V.,University of Porto | Fernandes V.,University of Leeds | Alshamali F.,Dubai Police General Headquarters | Alves M.,University of Porto | And 14 more authors.
American Journal of Human Genetics | Year: 2012

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. © 2012 The American Society of Human Genetics.


Musilova E.,Charles University | Fernandes V.,University of Porto | Fernandes V.,University of Leeds | Silva N.M.,University of Porto | And 9 more authors.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology | Year: 2011

Archaeological studies have revealed cultural connections between the two sides of the Red Sea dating to prehistory. The issue has still not been properly addressed, however, by archaeogenetics. We focus our attention here on the mitochondrial haplogroup HV1 that is present in both the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa. The internal variation of 38 complete mitochondrial DNA sequences (20 of them presented here for the first time) affiliated into this haplogroup testify to its emergence during the late glacial maximum, most probably in the Near East, with subsequent dispersion via population expansions when climatic conditions improved. Detailed phylogeography of HV1 sequences shows that more recent demographic upheavals likely contributed to their spread from West Arabia to East Africa, a finding concordant with archaeological records suggesting intensive maritime trade in the Red Sea from the sixth millennium BC onwards. Closer genetic exchanges are apparent between the Horn of Africa and Yemen, while Egyptian HV1 haplotypes seem to be more similar to the Near Eastern ones. Copyright © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


Cerny V.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Mulligan C.J.,University of Florida | Fernandes V.,University of Porto | Silva N.M.,University of Porto | And 7 more authors.
Molecular Biology and Evolution | Year: 2011

Widespread interest in the first successful Out of Africa dispersal of modern humans ∼60-80 thousand years ago via a southern migration route has overshadowed the study of later periods of South Arabian prehistory. In this work, we show that the post-Last Glacial Maximum period of the past 20,000 years, during which climatic conditions were becoming more hospitable, has been a significant time in the formation of the extant genetic composition and population structure of this region. This conclusion is supported by the internal diversification displayed in the highly resolved phylogenetic tree of 89 whole mitochondrial genomes (71 being newly presented here) for haplogroup R0a - the most frequent and widespread haplogroup in Arabia. Additionally, two geographically specific clades (R0a1a1a and R0a2f1) have been identified in non-Arabic speaking peoples such as the Soqotri and Mahri living in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula where a past refugium was identified by independent archaeological studies. Estimates of time to the most recent common ancestor of these lineages match the earliest archaeological evidence for seafaring activity in the peninsula in the sixth millennium BC. © 2010 The Author.

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