Genomic Landscape of the Mitochondrial Genome in the United Arab Emirates Native Population

Genes (Basel). 2020 Aug 1;11(8):876. doi: 10.3390/genes11080876.


In order to assess the genomic landscape of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) mitogenome, we sequenced and analyzed the complete genomes of 232 Emirate females mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) within and compared those to Africa. We investigated the prevalence of haplogroups, genetic variation, heteroplasmy, and demography among the UAE native population with diverse ethnicity and relatively high degree of consanguinity. We identified 968 mtDNA variants and high-resolution 15 haplogroups. Our results show that the UAE population received enough gene flow from Africa represented by the haplogroups L, U6, and M1, and that 16.8% of the population has an eastern provenance, depicted by the U haplogroup and the M Indian haplogroup (12%), whereas western Eurasian and Asian haplogroups (R, J, and K) represent 11 to 15%. Interestingly, we found an ancient migration present through the descendant of L (N1 and X) and other sub-haplogroups (L2a1d and L4) and (L3x1b), which is one of the oldest evolutionary histories outside of Africa. Our demographic analysis shows no population structure among populations, with low diversity and no population differentiation. In addition, we show that the transmission of mtDNA in the UAE population is under purifying selection with hints of diversifying selection on ATP8 gene. Last, our results show a population bottleneck, which coincides with the Western European contact (1400 ybp). Our study of the UAE mitogenomes suggest that several maternal lineage migratory episodes liking African-Asian corridors occurred since the first modern human emerges out of Africa.

Keywords: Mitochondrial DNA; Selection; demography; heteroplasmy; next generation sequencing; single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Female
  • Genome, Mitochondrial*
  • Haplotypes
  • Human Migration
  • Humans
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Selection, Genetic
  • United Arab Emirates