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The indigenous Mazahua and Otomi have inhabited the same localities in Estado de México since pre-Columbian times. Their languages, Mazahua and Otomi, belong to the Oto-Manguean linguistic family, and although they share cultural traditions and a regional history that suggest close genetic relationships and common ancestry, the historical records concerning their origin are confusing. To understand the biological relationships between Mazahua and Otomi, we analyzed mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genetic variation. We identified the mtDNA haplogroups by restriction fragment length polymorphism typing and sequenced hypervariable region 1 of the mtDNA control region in 141 Mazahua and 100 Otomi. These results showed that Otomi exhibit a higher frequency of haplogroup A than B, whereas Mazahua exhibit the opposite pattern. In the Otomi EM population the most frequent subhaplogroups are, in order of frequency, A2, B2, and C1, whereas in the Mazahua 1 population they are B2, D1, and A2. The most frequent haplotypes (Ht) of haplogroups A and B are Ht2 (A) and Ht58 (B2g1) in Mazahua 1 and Ht8 (A2), Ht22 (A2ao1), and Ht53 (B2c2b) in Otomi EM. The genetic differences between the Mazahua 1 and Otomi EM suggest a distant shared ancestry and a moderate degree of maternal admixture that has not obscured the diffference of their mtDNA patterns. These unexpected results suggest the Mazahua and Otomi probably descend from the same group but separated very early and admixed with other Mesoamerican populations before their arrival in Central Mexico. The historical evidence of conflicting relations between the Mazahua and Otomi and the almost nonexistence of marriage between them could be responsible for maintaining only a moderate degree of maternal admixture.
González-Oliver, Angélica; Garfias-Morales, Ernesto; Smith, David Glenn; and Quinto-Sánchez, Mirsha
"Mitochondrial DNA Analysis of Mazahua and Otomi Indigenous Populations from Estado de México Suggests a Distant Common Ancestry,"
3, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol89/iss3/3