Unraveling the complex maternal history of Southern African Khoisan populations

Authors

  • Chiara Barbieri,

    Corresponding author
    1. Max Planck Research Group on Comparative Population Linguistics, MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany.
    Current affiliation:
    1. Present Affiliation of Chiara Barbieri: Department of Evolutionary Genetics, MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany
    • Correspondence to: Chiara Barbieri, MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, Leipzig 04103, Germany. E-mail: barbieri.chiara@gmail.com (or) Brigitte Pakendorf, Institut des Sciences de l'Homme, DDL, 14 avenue Berthelot, 69363 Lyon CEDEX 07, France. E-mail: Brigitte.Pakendorf@cnrs.fr

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  • Tom Güldemann,

    1. Department of African Studies, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany
    2. Department of Linguistics, MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany
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  • Christfried Naumann,

    1. Department of African Studies, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany
    2. Department of Linguistics, MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany
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  • Linda Gerlach,

    1. Max Planck Research Group on Comparative Population Linguistics, MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany.
    Current affiliation:
    1. Present Affiliation of Linda Gerlach and Falko Berthold: Department of Linguistics, MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Department of African Studies, Humboldt University, Berlin 10099, Germany
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  • Falko Berthold,

    1. Max Planck Research Group on Comparative Population Linguistics, MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany.
    Current affiliation:
    1. Present Affiliation of Linda Gerlach and Falko Berthold: Department of Linguistics, MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Department of African Studies, Humboldt University, Berlin 10099, Germany
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  • Hirosi Nakagawa,

    1. Institute of Global Studies, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Tokyo, Japan
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  • Sununguko W. Mpoloka,

    1. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana
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  • Mark Stoneking,

    1. Department of Evolutionary Genetics, MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany
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  • Brigitte Pakendorf

    Corresponding author
    1. Max Planck Research Group on Comparative Population Linguistics, MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany.
    Current affiliation:
    1. Present Affiliation of Brigitte Pakendorf: Laboratoire Dynamique du Langage, UMR5596, CNRS and Université Lyon Lumière 2, Lyon, France
    • Correspondence to: Chiara Barbieri, MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, Leipzig 04103, Germany. E-mail: barbieri.chiara@gmail.com (or) Brigitte Pakendorf, Institut des Sciences de l'Homme, DDL, 14 avenue Berthelot, 69363 Lyon CEDEX 07, France. E-mail: Brigitte.Pakendorf@cnrs.fr

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ABSTRACT

The Khoisan populations of southern Africa are known to harbor some of the deepest-rooting lineages of human mtDNA; however, their relationships are as yet poorly understood. Here, we report the results of analyses of complete mtDNA genome sequences from nearly 700 individuals representing 26 populations of southern Africa who speak diverse Khoisan and Bantu languages. Our data reveal a multilayered history of the indigenous populations of southern Africa, who are likely to be the result of admixture of different genetic substrates, such as resident forager populations and pre-Bantu pastoralists from East Africa. We find high levels of genetic differentiation of the Khoisan populations, which can be explained by the effect of drift together with a partial uxorilocal/multilocal residence pattern. Furthermore, there is evidence of extensive contact, not only between geographically proximate groups, but also across wider areas. The results of this contact, which may have played a role in the diffusion of common cultural and linguistic features, are especially evident in the Khoisan populations of the central Kalahari. Am J Phys Anthropol 153:435–448, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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