The native peoples of Gorno Altai in southern Siberia represent a genetically diverse population and have been of great interest to anthropological genetics. In particular, the southern Altaian population is argued to be the best candidate for the New World ancestral population. In this study we sampled Altai-Kizhi from the southern Altaian village of Mendur- Sokkon, analyzed mtDNA RFLP markers and HVS-I sequences, and compared the results to other published mtDNA data from Derenko et al. (2003) and Shields et al. (1993) encompassing the same region. Because each independent study uses different sampling techniques in characterizing gene pools, in this paper we explore the accuracy and reliability of evolutionary studies on human populations. All the major Native American haplogroups (A, B, C, and D) were identified in the Mendur-Sokkon sample, including a single individual belonging to haplogroup X. The most common mtDNA lineages are C (35.7%) and D (13.3%), which is consistent with the haplogroup profiles of neighboring Siberian groups. The Mendur-Sokkon sample exhibits depressed HVS-I diversity values and neutrality test scores, which starkly differs from the Derenko et al. (2003) data set and more closely resembles the results for neighboring south Siberian groups. Furthermore, the multidimensional scaling plot of DA genetic distances does not cluster the Altai samples, showing different genetic affinities with various Asian groups. The findings underscore the importance of sampling strategy in the reconstruction of evolutionary history at the population level.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/eric_devor/1/