Saami and Berbers - An unexpected mitochondrial DNA link

Alessandro Achilli, Chiara Rengo, Vincenza Battaglia, Maria Pala, Anna Olivieri, Simona Fornarino, Chiara Magri, Rosaria Scozzari, Nora Babudri, A. Silvana Santachiara-Benerecetti, Hans Jürgen Bandelt, Ornella Semino, Antonio Torroni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

183 Citations (Scopus)


The sequencing of entire human mitochondrial DNAs belonging to haplogroup U reveals that this clade arose shortly after the "out of Africa" exit and rapidly radiated into numerous regionally distinct subclades. Intriguingly, the Saami of Scandinavia and the Berbers of North Africa were found to share an extremely young branch, aged merely ∼9,000 years. This unexpected finding not only confirms that the Franco-Cantabrian refuge area of southwestern Europe was the source of late-glacial expansions of hunter-gatherers that repopulated northern Europe after the Last Glacial Maximum but also reveals a direct maternal link between those European hunter-gatherer populations and the Berbers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-886
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2005
Externally publishedYes


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