Mitochondrial DNA variation, genetic structure and demographic history of Iranian populations

Document Type: Original article


1 Animal biosystematics, shahid beheshti university, faculty of biological sciences, Shahid beheshti university, Tehran, Iran

2 phd of Animal Physiology, Department of Zoology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran


In order to survey the evolutionary history and impact of historical events on the genetic structure of Iranian people, the HV2 region of 141 mtDNA sequences related to six Iranian populations were analyzed. Slight and non-significant FST distances among the Central-western Persian speaking populations of Iran testify to the common origin of these populations from one proto-population. Mismatch distribution suggests that this proto-Iranian population started to colonize Iran about 30000 years ago which is almost consistent with the timing of arrival and colonization of western Asia by the anatomically modern human. Star-like haplotype network structures, significant and negative Tajima’s D (D=-2.08, Ph=0.428) observed in Mashhad may indicated the presence of inbreeding, drift or bottleneck events. The application of Monmonier’s maximum differences algorithm revealed a geographic zone of genetic discontinuity between the Arab people of Khuzestan and rest of Iranian populations. Geographical factors, in cooperation with cultural/linguistic differences, are the main reasons for this differentiation. The lack of a sharp geographical or ethno-linguistic structure for mtDNA HV2 sequence diversity was statistically supported by AMOVA and Mantel (r=0.19, P<0.05) tests.


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