Jul 11, 2017

The maternal genetic history of the Angolan Namib Desert: a key region for understanding the peopling of southern Africa

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Sandra OliveiraJorge Rocha


Southern Angola is a poorly studied region, inhabited by populations that have been associated with different migratory movements into southern Africa. Besides the long-standing presence of indigenous Kx'a-speaking foragers and the more recent arrival of Bantu-speaking pastoralists, ethnographic and linguistic studies have suggested that other pre-Bantu communities were also present in the Namib desert, including peripatetic groups like the Kwepe (formerly Kwadi speakers), Twa and Kwisi. Here we evaluate previous peopling hypotheses by analyzing the relationships between seven groups from the Namib desert (Kuvale, Himba, Tjimba, Kwisi, Twa, Kwepe) and Kunene Province (!Xun), based on newly collected linguistic data and 295 complete mtDNA genomes. We found that: i) all groups from the Namib desert have genealogically-consistent matriclanic systems that had a strong impact on their maternal genetic structure by enhancing genetic drift and population differentiation; ii) the dominant pastoral groups represented by the Kuvale and Himba were part of a Bantu proto-population that also included the ancestors of present-day Damara and Herero peoples from Namibia; iii) Tjimba are closely related to the Himba; iv) the Kwepe, Twa and Kwis...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Genetic Drift
Kx antigen
DNA, Mitochondrial

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