More Genetic Genealogy

Earlier this week, I posted about my Neanderthal DNA, today’s post is going to be about my maternal line DNA and haplogroup.

What is a haplogroup? Haplogroups relate to our deep ancestry, this is again looking at very ancient roots (i.e., Neanderthal DNA) from tens of thousands of years ago. Haplogroups show us where we fit into the genetic tree and groups us into ancient family clans, they are generally associated with particular geographic regions and can tell us about our ancestor’s migration routes out of Africa.

All living people share a common female ancestor who lived in Africa, oh about 200,000 years ago. Males have a paternal and a maternal haplogroup. Their paternal haplogroup is inherited along a direct paternal line, i.e., your father, your father’s father, and so on. The maternal haplogroup is inherited from your direct maternal line. Females only have a maternal haplogroup. I currently only know what my maternal haplogroup (or clan) is, classified as haplogroup H. Would love to know my paternal line if my father and brother would only get tested!

Haplogroup H is the most common all over Europe, probably about 40% of the population. It is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia. Scientifically, studies suggest that this group arrived in Europe from the near east area prior to the last glacial maximum, which was the most recent time during the last glacial period, and survived in southwest Europe before undergoing an expansion after the glacial period. It still remains unclear how it became the dominant haplogroup in Europe.

This map, courtesy of FamilyTreeDNA, shows what part of the world these groups are associated with. See where H is concentrated in the European area? This all makes sense compared to my paper genealogy research.

The reference to the origination in Asia makes sense as well when looking at my DNA. Although the DNA tests I have taken through 23andme or Ancestry do not show Asian DNA, when I submitted my raw data from 23andme to Gedmatch (which is an online website service that focuses more on a person’s deep ancestry), and used the admixture calculator, it came up that I have 2.50% South Asian DNA and 2.93% West Asian DNA.

I have read somewhere that supposedly the common ancestor of my haplogroup is a woman who lived in the Caucasus/SW Asia area between 33,000 and 26,000 years ago. I have also read that H is a daughter group to N, which branched off maybe 75,000 years ago, which is a daughter group to L, which goes back 200,000 years to Africa. If this is correct, it would make sense then why my admixture test also shows that I have a very very tiny bit of DNA from that area.

One book I have on my reading list is The Seven Daughters of Eve, by Brian Sykes. The book goes into detail about how researchers have identified seven ancestral matriarchal groups from which all Europeans are descended from.

What does all of this mean? It means basically that I am of European descent, like many other women of European descent. It’s not really that useful but I find it just fascinating!

Thanks for reading!

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