Study of the T16189C variant and mitochondrial lineages in Tunisian and overall Mediterranean region

The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variant T16189C has been investigated in several metabolic diseases. In this study, we aimed to estimate the frequency of the T16189C variant in Tunisian and other Mediterranean populations and to evaluate the impact of this variant on the phylogeny of Mediterranean populations. Blood sample of 240 unrelated Tunisian subjects were recruited from several Tunisian localities. The hypervariable region 1 of the mtDNA were amplified and sequenced. Additional sequences (N = 4921) from Mediterranean populations were compiled from previous studies. The average frequency of T16189C variant in Tunisia (29%) is similar to that observed in North African and Near Eastern populations. Our findings showed positive correlation of the T16189C variant with Sub-Saharan and North African lineages, while a negative correlation was found with the Eurasian haplogroups, reaching its maximum with the Eurasian haplogroup H. The principal component analyses showed a high internal heterogeneity between Tunisian localities. At the Mediterranean scale, Tunisians are closer to North African (Algerian and Moroccan) and Near Eastern populations (Syrians and Palestinians) than to Europeans.