The complete mitogenome of a 500-year-old Inca child mummy.

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Gómez-Carballa, Alberto; Catelli, Laura; Pardo-Seco, Jacobo; Martinón-Torres, Federico; Roewer, Lutz; Vullo, Carlos; Salas, Antonio
Year of Publication: 2015
Journal: Sci Rep
Volume: 5
Pagination: 16462
Date Published: 2015
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 2045-2322

In 1985, a frozen mummy was found in Cerro Aconcagua (Argentina). Archaeological studies identified the mummy as a seven-year-old Inca sacrifice victim who lived >500 years ago, at the time of the expansion of the Inca Empire towards the southern cone. The sequence of its entire mitogenome was obtained. After querying a large worldwide database of mitogenomes (>28,000) we found that the Inca haplotype belonged to a branch of haplogroup C1b (C1bi) that has not yet been identified in modern Native Americans. The expansion of C1b into the Americas, as estimated using 203 C1b mitogenomes, dates to the initial Paleoindian settlements (~18.3 thousand years ago [kya]); however, its internal variation differs between Mesoamerica and South America. By querying large databases of control region haplotypes (>150,000), we found only a few C1bi members in Peru and Bolivia (e.g. Aymaras), including one haplotype retrieved from ancient DNA of an individual belonging to the Wari Empire (Peruvian Andes). Overall, the results suggest that the profile of the mummy represents a very rare sub-clade that arose 14.3 (5-23.6) kya and could have been more frequent in the past. A Peruvian Inca origin for present-day C1bi haplotypes would satisfy both the genetic and paleo-anthropological findings.

DOI: 10.1038/srep16462
Alternate Journal: Sci Rep