The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region and flanking tRNAs were sequenced from 76 mice collected at 60 localities extending from Egypt through Turkey, Yemen, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nepal to eastern Asia. Segments of the Y chromosome and of a processed p53 pseudogene (Psip53) were amplified from many of these mice and from others collected elsewhere in Eurasia and North Africa. The 251 mtDNA types, including 54 new ones reported here, now identified from commensal house mice (Mus musculus group) by sequencing this segment can be organized into four major lineages-domesticus, musculus, castaneus, and a new lineage found in Yemen. Evolutionary tree analysis suggested the domesticus mtDNAs as the sister group to the other three commensal mtDNA lineages and the Yemeni mtDNAs as the next oldest lineage. Using this tree and the phylogeographic approach, we derived a new model for the origin and radiation of commensal house mice whose main features are an origin in west-central Asia (within the present-day range of M. domesticus) and the sequential spreading of mice first to the southern Arabian Peninsula, thence eastward and northward into south-central Asia, and later from south-central Asia to north-central Asia (and thence into most of northern Eurasia) and to southeastern Asia. Y chromosomes with and without an 18-bp deletion in the Zfy-2 gene were detected among mice from Iran and Afghanistan, while only undeleted Ys were found in Turkey, Yemen, Pakistan, and Nepal. Polymorphism for the presence of a Psip53 was observed in Georgia, Iran, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Sequencing of a 128-bp Psip53 segment from 79 commensal mice revealed 12 variable sites and implicated >/=14 alleles. The allele that appeared to be phylogenetically ancestral was widespread, and the greatest diversity was observed in Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nepal. Two mice provided evidence for a second Psip53 locus in some commensal populations.