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The present mtDNA study on human remains of fourteen archaeological sites from Cantabria, Basque Country and Navarra provided a diachronic overview from Paleolithic–Mesolithic to Late Antiquity period of some communities settled in the Cantabrian fringe. Ancient DNA studies in European human remains indicated a genetic discontinuity between the hunter–gatherers and later populations. However, some of the mtDNA lineages found in the Cantabrian fringe in Paleolithic–Mesolithic times persist in present-day populations.
The mtDNA variability observed in hunter–gatherers and farmers in Europe denoted a complex pattern for the Neolithic transition, occurring along several different routes into and across Europe. The mtDNA lineages found in the Cantabrian fringe indicated that the dispersion of Neolithic farmers had a different genetic impact in this area with respect to Central and Mediterranean regions of Europe. The differences in mtDNA variability were also apparent after the Neolithic, as shown by the genetic distance between the Chalcolithic populations from the Cantabrian fringe and the Bell Beaker Culture (BBC) populations of Central Europe.
|Annotations by Maju: red: El Mirón (new sequence), orange: other Paleolithic or Epipaleolithic sequences|
|Fig. 2. Multidimensional Scaling analysis (MDS), based on a Fst genetic matrix calculated from the frequency distribution of the mtDNA haplogroups of different populations [Neolithics (green), Chalcolithics (purple), Late Antiquity (red), present-day Near East and northern Caucasus (orange) and Europeans (black)]. Abbreviations for present-day populations in Europe: Eastern Mediterranean (MdE), Central Mediterranean (MdC), Western Mediterranean (MdW), Northeast Europe (NE), NortheCentral Europe (NC), Northwest Europe (NW), Southeast Europe (SE) and Alps (ALP). (For interpretation of the references to colour in this figure legend, the reader is referred to the web version of this article.).|