Patterns of mtDNA Diversity in Northwestern North America

The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroups of 54 full-blooded modern and 64 ancient Native Americans from northwestern North America were determined. The control regions of 10 modern and 30 ancient individuals were sequenced and compared. Within the Northwest, the frequency distribution for haplogroup A is geographically structured, with haplogroup A decreasing with distance from the Pacific Coast. The haplogroup A distribution suggests that a prehistoric population intrusion from the subarctic and coastal region occurred on the Columbia Plateau in prehistoric times. Overall, the mtDNA pattern in the Northwest suggests significant amounts of gene flow among Northwest Coast, Columbia Plateau, and Great Basin populations.