Journal of Human Genetics

, Volume 52, Issue 5, pp 436–447 | Cite as

Mitochondrial DNA geneflow indicates preferred usage of the Levant Corridor over the Horn of Africa passageway

  • D. J. Rowold
  • J. R. Luis
  • M. C. Terreros
  • Rene J. Herrera
Original Article


Both the Levantine Corridor and the Horn of Africa route have figured prominently in early hominid migrations from Africa to Eurasia. To gauge the importance of these two African–Asian thoroughfares in the demic movements of modern man, we surveyed the mtDNA control region variation and coding polymorphisms of 739 individuals representing ten African and Middle Eastern populations. Two of these collections, Egypt and Yemen, are geographically close to the Levant and Horn of Africa, respectively. In this analysis, we uncover genetic evidence for the preferential use of the Levantine Corridor in the Upper Paleolithic to Neolithic dispersals of haplogroups H, J*, N1b, and T1, in contrast to an overwhelming preference in favor of the Horn of Africa for the intercontinental expansion of M1 during the Middle to Upper Paleolithic. Furthermore, we also observed a higher frequency of sub-Saharan mtDNA compared to NRY lineages in the Middle Eastern collections, a pattern also seen in previous studies. In short, the results of this study suggest that several migratory episodes of maternal lineages occurred across the African–Asian corridors since the first African exodus of modern Homo sapiens sapiens.


Mitochondrial DNA NRY lineages Human phylogeny Middle East Africa 



We are grateful to B. Caeiro for the Benin sample and to M. Tahir for the Jordan sample collections used in this study. We are also indebted to Rachel Chow and Erica Shepard for their work on the RFLP analysis and to Arif Kalantar for performing the HVI and HVII sequencing analysis on the UAE populations. Lastly, we are deeply grateful to all of the people who donated blood specimens for this and other similar projects.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© The Japan Society of Human Genetics and Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. J. Rowold
    • 1
  • J. R. Luis
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. C. Terreros
    • 1
  • Rene J. Herrera
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Departamento de Xenetica, Bioquimica e Inmunoloxia, Facultade de BioloxiaUniversidade de VigoGaliciaSpain

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