Aboriginal Australians represent one of the longest continuous cultural complex populations known. Archaeological evidence indicates that Australia and New Guinea were initially settled ~50,000 years ago. However, little is known about the processes underlying the enormous linguistic and phenotypic diversity within Australia. Authors [see attached] report the DNA sequence of 111 mitochondrial genomes (mitogenomes) from historical Aboriginal Australian hair samples –– whose origins enabled the authors to re-construct Australian phylogeographic history before the time of European settlement.
Compared with the haploid genome (of ~3 billion DNA base-pairs, bp) in humans, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is a piece of cake to sequence: mitochondrial DNA exists as closed circular molecules containing precisely 16,569 DNA bp, with each such molecule normally containing a full set of the mitochondrial genes. Each human mitochondrion contains, on average, about five such mtDNA molecules with a range between one and 15.
Striking geographic patterns, and deep splits, across the major mitochondrial haplogroups imply that the settlement of Australia comprised a single, rapid migration along the east and west coasts, which then reached southern Australia by 49,000–45,000 years ago. After continent-wide colonization, strong regional patterns developed and these have survived despite substantial climatic and cultural change during the late
Pleistocene (2.59 million to 11,700 years ago) and Holocene epochs (11,700 years ago until present-day). Quite amazingly –– authors found evidence for the continuous presence of populations in discrete geographic areas, dating back to around 50,000 years ago, consistent with the distinguished Aboriginal Australian cultural attachment to their country.
Nature 13 April 2o17; 544: 180–184
Anyone interested in human mitochondrial whole genome sequencing can contact me. The input is ng level of gDNA.:) Xiang