Aboriginal Australian mitochondrial genome variation - An increased understanding of population antiquity and diversity

Nano Nagle, Mannis Van Oven, Stephen Wilcox, Sheila Van Holst Pellekaan, Chris Tyler-Smith, Yali Xue, Kaye N. Ballantyne, Leah Wilcox, Luka Papac, Karen Cooke, Roland A.H. Van Oorschot, Peter McAllister, Lesley Williams, Manfred Kayser, R. John Mitchell, Syama Adhikarla, Christina J. Adler, Elena Balanovska, Oleg Balanovsky, Jaume BertranpetitAndrew C. Clarke, David Comas, Alan Cooper, Clio S.I. Der Sarkissian, Matthew C. Dulik, Jill B. Gaieski, Arun Kumar, Ganesh Prasad, Wolfgang Haak, Marc Haber, Angela Hobbs, Asif Javed, Li Jin, Matthew E. Kaplan, Shilin Li, Begona Martinez-Cruz, Elizabeth A. Matisoo-Smith, Marta Mele, Nirav C. Merchant, Amanda C. Owings, Laxmi Parida, Ramasamy Pitchappan, Daniel E. Platt, Lluis Quintana-Murci, Colin Renfrew, Ajay K. Royyuru, Arun Varatharajan Santhakumari, Fabricio R. Santos, Theodore G. Schurr, Himla Soodyall, David F. Soria Hernanz, Pandikumar Swamikrishnan, Miguel G. Vilar, R. Spencer Wells, Pierre A. Zalloua, Janet S. Ziegle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Aboriginal Australians represent one of the oldest continuous cultures outside Africa, with evidence indicating that their ancestors arrived in the ancient landmass of Sahul (present-day New Guinea and Australia) ∼55 thousand years ago. Genetic studies, though limited, have demonstrated both the uniqueness and antiquity of Aboriginal Australian genomes. We have further resolved known Aboriginal Australian mitochondrial haplogroups and discovered novel indigenous lineages by sequencing the mitogenomes of 127 contemporary Aboriginal Australians. In particular, the more common haplogroups observed in our dataset included M42a, M42c, S, P5 and P12, followed by rarer haplogroups M15, M16, N13, O, P3, P6 and P8. We propose some major phylogenetic rearrangements, such as in haplogroup P where we delinked P4a and P4b and redefined them as P4 (New Guinean) and P11 (Australian), respectively. Haplogroup P2b was identified as a novel clade potentially restricted to Torres Strait Islanders. Nearly all Aboriginal Australian mitochondrial haplogroups detected appear to be ancient, with no evidence of later introgression during the Holocene. Our findings greatly increase knowledge about the geographic distribution and phylogenetic structure of mitochondrial lineages that have survived in contemporary descendants of Australia's first settlers.

Original languageBritish English
Article number43041
JournalScientific Reports
StatePublished - 13 Mar 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Aboriginal Australian mitochondrial genome variation - An increased understanding of population antiquity and diversity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this