Saturday, August 22, 2015

Part 1: Looking For mtDNA Diversity in West Eurasia

All useful Links can be found hereAnalysis of West Eurasian mtDNA

Below is a tree showing the relationship between the 6 maternal lineages that combined reach a frequency of 80%+ in most of West Eurasia and are very rare elsewhere. The 6 lineages are: R0, R2'JT, U, N1, N2, X. I also added subclades of those lineages which are able to be identified with low coverage mtDNA testing. Click on the image to enlarge.

It can be confusing how in a region as big as West Eurasia everyone could be so related maternally. Each one of those 6 haplogroups are over 40,000 years old, therefore one would propose there must be differences within those haplogroups between differnt West Eurasians.

So, what I've done is analysed 1,000s of mtDNA samples from West Eurasia to find diversity.

Locations of my samples: Map of mtDNA samples
To look at the raw mtDNA data yourself: Haplotypes
Studies where I got my data: References 
Frequencies of Haplogroups: Haplogroup Frequencies.

Almost all my samples were tested at such low coverage that I could only dissever the subclade of 5 haplogroups U, R2'JT, R0(xH), HV(xH), and N1. For the majority of West Eurasian mtDNAs it was impossible to find diversity.

In each one of those 5 haplogroups stark differences between Europe and West Asia appeared. To display these differences I made spreadsheets of the frequencies of U, JT, and N1 subclades in West Asian and European populations.

Europe/West Asia JT+N1

Europe/West Asia U

I also made a spreadsheet showing the frequency of typical West Asian and typical European subclades of R2'JT, R0, U, and N1.

West Asian vs European mtDNA Frequencies

70%+ of West Asian/European mtDNA in the 5 haplogroups that can find a deep subclade with low coverage belong to subclades exclusive to their region(West Asia, Europe). It's very consistent.

Frequency of "Steppe" mtDNA

For fun I wanted  see what the maternal-relationship between Bronze age "Steppe" people(Yamnaya, Catacomb) is with modern/ancient West Eurasians. In my next post I'll discuss more about the possible ancestors of West Eurasian mtDNA.

There are 10 subclades that can be identified with low coverage mtDNA testing that were popular in Bronze age "Steppe" people. I made a spreadsheet showing the combined-frequency of those subclades in modern and ancient West Eurasians.

Frequency of Steppe mtDNA

Something that stood out to me is that 4/8 of Bronze age Armenian mtDNA falls under typical "Steppe" subclades. Autosomal DNA and Y DNA(R1b-Z2103) also confirm some-type of relationship between Bronze age Armenia and Steppe.

Among modern people "Steppe mtDNA" peaks in the Volga/Ural region of Russia and next in North Europe. "Steppe mtDNA" is  least popular in Iberia and West Asia. This is consistent with autosomal DNA.


  1. Nice job, wow!
    Can you pin down U5b2a2, where does this line come from and how old is it?

    1. U5b2a2 is my haplogroup, do you have it to?

      U5b2a2 constantly pops up in North Europe(In my Data: Germany, Poland, BeloRussia, Norway, Sweden) and is non-existent elsewhere(except for two from the Lebanon). U5b2a2 was popular in Mesolithic/Neolithic Germany(and probably other unsampled parts of Europe).

      My guess is it colonized Central/North Europe after the Ice age. And that it was later absorbed by Neolithic immigrants from Anatolia and then Bronze age immigrants from the "Steppe". We need full-sequence U5b2a2 samples from all over Europe to understand its history. We don't have that yet, so all we can do is guess.

    2. This is my group as well. This is so interesting to learn.

  2. Make some spatial maps of the steppe mtDNA.

  3. Hi Krefter, Excellent idea.
    The most amazing of BA Armenian mtDNA was the I5c of RISE408. He was J2b2
    Another case of such mtDNA was in Mezhovskaya culture in Ural region.
    This I5c is rare in modern people. Only some Europeans do have it. It is certainly related to IE movements.
    But his ancestral I5 was found in Minoan civilization (non IE ) samples.

  4. Btw, you should put a break at the end of the text before the image links. It'll make the page look better if you have spaces between the text and the top of the images.

  5. Replies
    1. Can you send your data to I can use all the data I can get,

  6. Krefter,
    hi! you have indeed a cool looking website here :), my question or query is how many % will U mtdna and its Sub-groups will show combined in S Asia ? do you think it will be close to 50 % or rather low?.

    1. I have not gathered exact percentages or looked at South Asian mtDNA in detail yet. There's a lot of U2, I think like 30%. There's also signifcant U7, which looks like a continuation of the high U7 in Iran. Sometime in the next few weeks or at the most month, I'll make a post on solely Asian(East, North, South, SouthEast, Americas) mtDNA.

  7. Nice work! Thank you! Wish H6a1 was considered for "Steppe" ancestry as H6a1 is both Yamnaya & Corded Ware, Okunev Culture. And H6a2 is Poltavka. H6 is Catacomb Culture.jv