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Keywords:

  • demography;
  • migration;
  • mtDNA;
  • Y chromosome

Abstract

In this study, we describe the landscape of human demographic expansions in Eurasia using a large continental Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA dataset. Variation at these two uniparentally-inherited genetic systems retraces expansions that occurred in the past 60 ky, and shows a clear decrease of expansion ages from east to west Eurasia. To investigate the demographic events at the origin of this westward decrease of expansion ages, the estimated divergence ages between Eurasian populations are compared with the estimated expansion ages within each population. Both markers suggest that the demographic expansion diffused from east to west in Eurasia in a demic way, i.e., through migrations of individuals (and not just through diffusion of new technologies), highlighting the prominent role of eastern regions within Eurasia during Palaeolithic times. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.