An Analysis of Ancient Aztec mtDNA from Tlatelolco: Pre-Columbian Relations and the Spread of Uto-Aztecan

Andrés Reséndez, Brian M. Kemp, et. al.
Published in
The Journal of American History (2014)

The skeletal remains of 23 of 27 Post-Classic Aztec individuals from Tlatelolco, Mexico, were found to contain analyzable mtDNA. These samples were screened for the markers that define the five founding Native American haplogroups. This skeletal collection exhibited 65.2% haplogroup A, 13% haplogroup B, 4.3% haplogroup C, and 17.4% haplogroup D. No individual's mtDNA could be assigned to haplogroup X. The haplogroup frequency distribution of this Aztec sample was compared with that of other Native American populations from the Great Basin, the American Southwest, Mesoamerica, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. The haplogroup frequencies found in the Aztecs resemble those of other present-day Central and Southern Mexican and Central American populations, suggesting a great antiquity to this pattern of regional continuity. The data do not support a Central MExican origin of Uto-Aztecan. Rather, they are consistent with those of earlier mtDNA studies that suggested populations from Mesoamerica had little maternal influence on the genetic structure of groups residing in the American Southwest.