Monday, September 24, 2012

European mtDNA Haplogroups U and H

Though my very specific U5b1b1* subclade markers localized my own deep genetic ancestral motherline root to Sweden, the chart in this link at Eupedia (Distribution of European mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroups by region in percentage) shows that, generally, the broader U and U5 mtDNA haplogroups (both to which my own subclade belongs) both have their highest distribution frequency in Finland.

While the highest distribution frequency for U5 is in Finland, the predominant mtDNA haplogroup overall in Finland is haplogroup H, just like in other European countries. In an earlier post I reported that my relatively rare ancestral motherline mtDNA haplogroup U5 (11% of modern Europeans) has its origins in the indigenous hunter-gatherer population of Scandinavia. Following later migrations across Europe of cultures originating in Western Asia, the predominant mtDNA haplogroup in Scandinavia and in other European countries became as they are in modern historical times:

Albania - H
Austria - H
Basques - H
Belgium - H
Bosnia-Herzegovina - H
Bulgaria - H
Croatia - H
Czech Republic - H
Denmark - H
England - H
Estonia - H
Finland - H
France - H
Germany - H
Greece - H
Hungary - H
Iceland - H
Ireland - H
Italy - H
Latvia - H
Lithuania - H
Macedonia - H
Netherlands - H
Norway - H
Poland - H
Portugal - H
Romania - H
Russia - H
Scotland - H
Serbia - H
Slovenia - H
Spain - H
Sweden - H
Switzerland - H
Ukraine - H
Wales - H 

So, we can see that in modern times, mtDNA haplogroup H is the predominant ancestral genetic motherline to many Europeans and to those of European ancestry. Haplogroup H is known in Brian Sykes' book, The Seven Daughters of Eve, as Clan Helena. Since about one half of all Europeans (and those of European descent) are of mtDNA haplogroup H, here is a link to read more about Clan Helena - Haplogroup H

Haplogroup H was carried to Europe by migrations c. 20-25,000 years ago, with several independent studies concluding that haplogroup H probably evolved in West Asia c. 30,000 years ago.

The only geographical regions where haplogroup U (Clan Ursula) predominates in frequency over haplogroup H (Clan Helena) are:

Adygey - in the northern foothills of the North Caucasus Mountains
Bashkirs- Volga-Ural, a region located around the Ural Mountains
Volga-Finnic - eastern Finns

These 3 predominantly haplogroup U regions represent the extant indigenous peoples of Russia (of the Caucasus and Volga-Ural regions) as well.

Gail Tonnesen/FTDNA U5 Project scientist writes:

Haplogroup U is estimated to have lived in the Near East or Southwest Asia some 55,000 years ago, about 15,000 years after modern humans expanded out of Africa. U5 probably expanded into Europe with the first modern humans some 47,000 years ago.

So, the working timeline among scientists is that U5 was present in Europe by around 47,000 years ago (coming from the Near East/Middle East/Anatolia through Russia), while haplogroup H came into Europe about 20-25,000 years ago (from West Asia which includes the Near/Middle East).

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