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Keywords:

  • mtDNA HVS-I;
  • Native Americans;
  • Sierras Centrales;
  • Southern Cone

Abstract

We analyzed the patterns of variation of haplogroup D1 in central Argentina, including new data and published information from other populations of South America. Almost 28% (107/388) of the individuals sampled in the region belong to haplogroup D1, whereas more than 52% of them correspond to the recently described subhaplogroup D1j (Bodner et al.: Genome Res 22 (2012) 811–820), defined by the presence of additional transitions at np T152C–C16242T–T16311C to the nodal D1 motif. This lineage was found at high frequencies across a wide territory with marked geographical–ecological differences. Additionally, 12 individuals present the mutation C16187T that defines the recently named subhaplogroup D1g (Bodner et al.: Genome Res 22 (2012) 811–820), previously described in populations of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. Based on our results and additional data already published, we postulate that the most likely origin of subhaplogroup D1j is the region of Sierras Pampeanas, which occupies the center and part of the northwestern portion of Argentina. The extensive yet restricted geographical distribution, the relatively large internal diversity, and the absence or low incidence of D1j in other regions of South America suggest the existence of an ancient metapopulation covering the Sierras Pampeanas, being this lineage its genetic signature. Further support for a scenario of local origin for D1j in the Sierras Pampeanas stems from the fact that early derivatives from a putative ancestral lineage carrying the transitions T16311C–T152C have only been found in this region, supporting the hypothesis that it might represent an ancestral motif previous to the appearance of D1j-specific change C16242T. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.