Hong-Xiang Zheng, Shi Yan, Zhen-Dong Qin & Li Jin. MtDNA analysis of global populations support that major population expansions began before Neolithic Time. Nature.
Scientific Reports 2, Article number: 745 doi:10.1038/srep00745
Received 22 August 2012 Accepted 24 September 2012 Published 18 October 2012
Abstract: Agriculture resulted in extensive population growths and human activities. However, whether major human expansions started after Neolithic Time still remained controversial. With the benefit of 1000 Genome Project, we were able to analyze a total of 910 samples from 11 populations in Africa, Europe and Americas. From these random samples, we identified the expansion lineages and reconstructed the historical demographic variations. In all the three continents, we found that most major lineage expansions (11 out of 15 star lineages in Africa, all autochthonous lineages in Europe and America) coalesced before the first appearance of agriculture. Furthermore, major population expansions were estimated after Last Glacial Maximum but before Neolithic Time, also corresponding to the result of major lineage expansions. Considering results in current and previous study, global mtDNA evidence showed that rising temperature after Last Glacial Maximum offered amiable environments and might be the most important factor for prehistorical human expansions.