The mitochondrial DNAs (mtDNAs) of 91 Tharus from Nepal were screened for restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) using six highly informative restriction endonucleases. One pattern (morph) was found for BamHI, two for HpaI and HincII, three for HaeII, four for AvaII, and six for MspI. Two of the AvaII and four of the MspI morphs were "new" (not previously described). Virtually all of the "old" morphs found in the Tharus were previously observed in Orientals. The Oriental HaeII morph (HaeII-5) previously observed at a frequency of 5% was present in 25% of the Tharus. Of the 13 Tharu mtDNA types (defined by the six restriction endonuclease morphs) observed, five had previously been described ("old" types), all in Orientals. Three of these were unique for Orientals. All of the remaining eight "new" Tharu mtDNAs were all closely related to Oriental mtDNAs. Two of the "old" Tharu mtDNA types included the HpaI/HincII morph 1, a morph possibly indicative of the earliest human mtDNA types. From these data we have concluded that the Tharu mtDNAs are closely related to those of other Oriental populations. Further, our data support the hypothesis that human mtDNAs radiated from Asia.