Complete human mtDNA genome sequences from Vietnam and the phylogeography of Mainland Southeast Asia

Sci Rep. 2018 Aug 3;8(1):11651. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-29989-0.


Vietnam is an important crossroads within Mainland Southeast Asia (MSEA) and a gateway to Island Southeast Asia, and as such exhibits high levels of ethnolinguistic diversity. However, comparatively few studies have been undertaken of the genetic diversity of Vietnamese populations. In order to gain comprehensive insights into MSEA mtDNA phylogeography, we sequenced 609 complete mtDNA genomes from individuals belonging to five language families (Austroasiatic, Tai-Kadai, Hmong-Mien, Sino-Tibetan and Austronesian) and analyzed them in comparison with sequences from other MSEA countries and Taiwan. Within Vietnam, we identified 399 haplotypes belonging to 135 haplogroups; among the five language families, the sequences from Austronesian groups differ the most from the other groups. Phylogenetic analysis revealed 111 novel Vietnamese mtDNA lineages. Bayesian estimates of coalescence times and associated 95% HPD for these show a peak of mtDNA diversification around 2.5-3 kya, which coincides with the Dong Son culture, and thus may be associated with the agriculturally-driven expansion of this culture. Networks of major MSEA haplogroups emphasize the overall distinctiveness of sequences from Taiwan, in keeping with previous studies that suggested at most a minor impact of the Austronesian expansion from Taiwan on MSEA. We also see evidence for population expansions across MSEA geographic regions and language families.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asia, Southeastern
  • Asian People / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Human, Y / genetics
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Ethnicity / genetics
  • Genetics, Population*
  • Haplotypes
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / genetics
  • Phylogeny
  • Phylogeography*
  • Taiwan
  • Whole Genome Sequencing


  • DNA, Mitochondrial