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Neanderthal Mitochondrial DNA

  1. William Goodwin1,
  2. Igor Ovchinnikov2

Published Online: 21 DEC 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005343.pub2



How to Cite

Goodwin, W. and Ovchinnikov, I. 2007. Neanderthal Mitochondrial DNA. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK

  2. 2

    University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 21 DEC 2007

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (15 JAN 2013)


Mitochondrial deoxyribonucleic acid (mtDNA) has been successfully extracted and analysed from 13 Neanderthal specimens: Feldhofer 1 and 2 from Germany; Mezmaiskaya from Russia; Vindija 75, 77 and 80 from Croatia; Engis and Scladina from Belgium, La Chapelle-aux-Saints and Rochers de Villeneuve from France; Monte Lessini from Italy and two specimens from El Sidrón in Spain. The Neanderthals’ mtDNA pool is distinct from modern human mtDNA and forms a separate phylogenetic clade. Using mtDNA as a molecular clock, the split between the mtDNA of modern humans and Neanderthals has been dated at around 600 000 years. The Neanderthals of 30 000–40 000 years ago display a level of sequence diversity that is very similar to modern humans.


  • neanderthal;
  • ancient DNA;
  • PCR;
  • mitochondrial DNA