Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2006-02 > 1138987458

From: ellen Levy <>
Subject: New Basque Study: Ancient Aldaieta Cemetery (6th Century AD)
Date: Fri, 3 Feb 2006 09:24:18 -0800 (PST)

Hi List:

As many of you, I have a particular interest in Basque
genetics. I have urged caution often on the list in
engaging in the belief that the Basques have undergone
little admixture since the Paleolithic and are thus
the best representatives of this ancient European

The newest paper by Ainhoa Alzualde seems to support
this contention. It is called, "Insights into the
'Isolation' of the Basques: MtDNA Lineages from the
Historical Site of Aldaieta (6th-7th Centuries AD),
Am. J Physical Anthro. (2006). This is an early
publication online ahead of print.

The author stresses the importance of ancient DNA
analysis in reconstructing the genetic history of
human populations. He further notes:

"The presence at Aldaeita of an mtDNA lineage
originating in Northwest Africa testifies to the
existence of contact between the Iberian Peninsula and
Northwest Africa prior to the Moorish occupation.
Both this latter discovery and the high frequency of
haplogroup J at the Aldaieta cemetery raise questions
about the generally accepted belief that, since
ancient times, the influence of other human groups has
been very scarce in the Basque Country."

More specifically, the non-Caucasian M1 haplogroup was
found, specifically from sub-group M1c, most commonly
found in groups from Northwestern Africa and the
Canary Islands and rare to non-existent in Europe.

As for J, it is found at a whooping 14.7% of the
ancient Aldaieta group, but is very low in present-day
Basques. In prehistoric post-Neolithic DNA studies,
it hovers in Basque Country at around 16.7%. The most
common haplotype is 16069-16126, the most common in
contemporary European populations, but completely
absent in contemporary Basques. The high frequency of
J, a haplogroup believed to be of Neolithic origin,
suggests a significant impact of mtDNA lineages from
the Neolithic demic diffusion on the Basques.

This study again confirms the amazing absence of
haplogroup V from the ancient Basques, in significant
contrast to contemporary Basques.

Ellen Coffman

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