mtDNA variation indicates Mongolia may have been the source for the founding population for the New World

Am J Hum Genet. 1996 Jul;59(1):204-12.


mtDNA RFLP variation was analyzed in 42 Mongolians from Ulan Bator. All four founding lineage types (A [4.76%], B [2.38%], C [11.9%], and D [19.04%]) identified by Torroni and colleagues were detected. Seven of the nine founding lineage types proposed by Bailliet and colleagues and Merriwether and Ferrell were detected (A2 [4.76%], B [2.38%], C1 [11.9%], D1 [7.14%], D2 [11.9%], X6 [16.7%], and X7 [9.5%]). Sixty-four percent of these 42 individuals had "Amerindian founding lineage" haplotypes. A survey of 24 restriction sites yielded 16 polymorphic sites and 21 different haplotypes. The presence of all four of the founding lineages identified by the Torroni group (and seven of Merriwether and Ferrell's nine founding lineages), combined with Mongolia's location with respect to the Bering Strait, indicates that Mongolia is a potential location for the origin of the founders of the New World. Since lineage B, which is widely distributed in the New World, is absent in Siberia, we conclude that Mongolia or a geographic location common to both contemporary Mongolians and American aboriginals is the more likely origin of the founders of the New World.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Mitochondrial* / genetics
  • DNA, Mitochondrial* / history
  • Emigration and Immigration / history
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Founder Effect
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Haplotypes
  • History, Ancient
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American / genetics*
  • Indians, North American / history
  • Mongolia / ethnology
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length


  • DNA, Mitochondrial