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We investigated 245 white Brazilians for the presence of the 9-bp deletion in the intergenic COII/tRNALys region of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and found the deletion in 21 individuals (8.6% of the sample). Because white Brazilians are believed to be predominantly of European descent and this marker is rare in Europe, we established the geographic origin of these 21 mtDNA sequences by sequencing the hypervariable segment I of the mtDNA control region and by performing an RFLP analysis. Only 1 European mtDNA lineage was identified. On the other hand, 16 of the individuals had matrilineages of Amerindian origin and 4 had African mtDNA haplotypes. These results demonstrate that in the formation of the present-day white Brazilian population there was a significant contribution of Amerindian and African matrilineages. Although these data initially appear surprising, they agree well with the historical records of Brazilian colonization.