Mitochondrial DNA variation in two South Siberian Aboriginal populations: implications for the genetic history of North Asia

Hum Biol. 2000 Dec;72(6):945-73.


The mtDNAs of 76 individuals representing the aboriginal populations of South Siberia, the Tuvinians and Buryats, were subjected to restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis and control region hypervariable segment I (HVS-I) sequencing, and the resulting data were combined with those available for other Siberian and East Asian populations and subjected to statistical and phylogenetic analysis. This analysis showed that the majority of the Tuvinian and Buryat mtDNAs (94.4% and 92.5%, respectively) belong to haplogroups A, B, C, D, E, F, and M*, which are characteristic of Mongoloid populations. Furthermore, the Tuvinians and Buryats harbor four Asian- and Native American-specific haplogroups (A-D) with frequencies (72.2% and 55%, respectively) exceeding those reported previously for Mongolians, Chinese, and Tibetans. They represent, therefore, the populations that are most closely related to New World indigenous groups. Despite their geographical proximity, the Tuvinians and Buryats shared no HVS-I sequences in common, although individually they shared such sequences with a variety of other Siberian and East Asian populations. In addition, phylogenetic and principal component analyses data of mtDNA sequences show that the Tuvinians clustered more closely with Turkic-speaking Yakuts, whereas the Mongolic-speaking Buryats clustered closer to Korean populations. Furthermore, HVS-I sequences, comprising one-fourth of the Buryat lineages and characterized by the only C-to-T transition at nucleotide position 16223, were identified as different RFLP haplotypes (B, C, D, E, M*, and H). This finding appears to indicate the putative ancestral state of the 16223T HVS-I sequences to Mongoloid macrohaplogroup M, at least. Finally, the results of nucleotide diversity analysis in East Asian and Siberian populations suggest that Central and East Asia were the source areas from which the genetically heterogeneous Tuvinians and Buryats first emerged.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • American Indian or Alaska Native / genetics
  • Asian People / genetics*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Haplotypes / genetics
  • Humans
  • Phylogeny*
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length*
  • Siberia


  • DNA, Mitochondrial