Single, rapid coastal settlement of Asia revealed by analysis of complete mitochondrial genomes

Science. 2005 May 13;308(5724):1034-6. doi: 10.1126/science.1109792.


A recent dispersal of modern humans out of Africa is now widely accepted, but the routes taken across Eurasia are still disputed. We show that mitochondrial DNA variation in isolated "relict" populations in southeast Asia supports the view that there was only a single dispersal from Africa, most likely via a southern coastal route, through India and onward into southeast Asia and Australasia. There was an early offshoot, leading ultimately to the settlement of the Near East and Europe, but the main dispersal from India to Australia approximately 65,000 years ago was rapid, most likely taking only a few thousand years.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Australasia
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Ethnic Groups / genetics*
  • Europe
  • Founder Effect
  • Genetic Drift
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genetics, Population
  • Genome, Human*
  • Haplotypes
  • History, Ancient
  • Humans
  • India
  • Malaysia
  • Mitochondria / genetics*
  • Mutation
  • Phylogeny
  • Population Dynamics*
  • Time


  • DNA, Mitochondrial