Mitochondrial DNA polymorphisms in Carib people of Belize

Proc Biol Sci. 1997 Aug 22;264(1385):1217-24. doi: 10.1098/rspb.1997.0168.


Analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region polymorphisms in 28 Carib people of Belize, former British Honduras, revealed high levels of genetic admixture with West African populations. A previously characterized length mutation consisting of a deletion of nine base pairs in an intergenic mtDNA region was observed in two of the individuals. Phylogenetic analysis of mtDNA control region sequences associated with the mutation suggested that it arose independently in different geographical locations. Whereas in one individual the deletion reflects the Amerindian ancestry of the Caribs, in the second case it seems to be of African origin, as it occurred in conjunction with an mtDNA type found in sub-Saharan Africa. Our results agree with historical accounts on the origins of the Caribs of Belize.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara / ethnology
  • Base Sequence
  • Belize
  • Black People / genetics
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Ethnicity / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetics, Population
  • Humans
  • Indians, Central American / genetics
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Mitochondrial

Associated data

  • GENBANK/Y14253
  • GENBANK/Y14254
  • GENBANK/Y14255
  • GENBANK/Y14256
  • GENBANK/Y14257
  • GENBANK/Y14258
  • GENBANK/Y14259
  • GENBANK/Y14260
  • GENBANK/Y14261
  • GENBANK/Y14262
  • GENBANK/Y14263
  • GENBANK/Y14264
  • GENBANK/Y14265
  • GENBANK/Y14266
  • GENBANK/Y14267
  • GENBANK/Y14268
  • GENBANK/Y14269