First Bronze Age Human Mitogenomes from Calabria (Grotta Della Monaca, Southern Italy)

Genes 2021, 12(5), 636; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12050636

Abstract: The Italian peninsula was host to a strong history of migration processes that shaped its
genomic variability since prehistoric times. During the Metal Age, Sicily and Southern Italy were
the protagonists of intense trade networks and settlements along the Mediterranean. Nonetheless,
ancient DNA studies in Southern Italy are, at present, still limited to prehistoric and Roman Apulia.
Here, we present the first mitogenomes from a Middle Bronze Age cave burial in Calabria to address
this knowledge gap. We adopted a hybridization capture approach, which enabled the recovery
of one complete and one partial mitochondrial genome. Phylogenetic analysis assigned these two
individuals to the H1e and H5 subhaplogroups, respectively. This preliminary phylogenetic analysis
supports affinities with coeval Sicilian populations, along with Linearbandkeramik and Bell Beaker
cultures maternal lineages from Central Europe and Iberia. Our work represents a starting point
which contributes to the comprehension of migrations and population dynamics in Southern Italy,
and highlights this knowledge gap yet to be filled by genomic studies.