Human Genome News -  page 19
Home    Back

This page is an extract from the Genographic web site tracking my ancestors, it does not necessarely relate to other individuals.

It is for educational purposes only, and is not displayed here for commercial use.

-- When humans first ventured out of Africa
-- My Ancestral Journey
-- Introduction to My Story
-- Branch: P305  Age: More than 100,000 years old   Location of Origin: Africa
-- Branch: M42   Age: About 80,000 Years Ago   Location of Origin: East Africa
-- Branch: M168  Age: About 70,000 years ago   Location of Origin: East Africa
-- Branch: P143  Age: About 60,000 years old   Location of Origin: Southwest Asia
-- Branch: M89   Age: About 55,000 Years Old   Location of Origin: Southwest Asia
-- Branch: M578  Age: About 50,000 Years Old   Location of Origin: Southwest Asia
-- Branch: P128  Age: About 45,000 years ago   Location of Origin: South Asia
-- Branch: M526  Age: About 42,000 Years Old   Location of Origin: South or Southeast Asia
-- Branch: M45   Age: Around 35,000 Years Ago   Location of Origin: Central Asia or South Asia
-- Branch: M207  Age: About 30,000 Years Ago   Location of Origin: Central Asia
-- Branch: P231  Age: 25,000 – 30,000 Years Ago   Location of Origin: Central Asia
-- Branch: M343  Age: 17,000 – 22,000 Years Ago   Location of Origin: South Asia or West Asia

A haplogroup is a major branch on either the maternal or paternal tree of mankind.    Haplogroups are associated with early human migrations. Today these can be associated with a geographic region or regions.   Though maternal and paternal haplogroups may have similar naming systems, their definitions are different.

Haplogroups: L4, L5, L6, E, DE, F

From Northeast Africa to the Fertile Crescent

This route took humans on an out-of-Africa migration into the lands that would become the Fertile Crescent.   Though at first they were nomads, they eventually became some of the earliest farmers.   The creation and growth of agriculture led to cultural changes that have been linked to the development of art, textiles, religion, and other hallmarks of human civilization.

Haplogroups: H, I, J, K, L, N, R, U, W, X, J, G

From Northeast Africa to the Grasslands of Asia

Groups on this path traveled across northeast Africa to Asia. In Asia, they lived a nomadic lifestyle on open grass savannas. These early modern humans met and mixed with earlier hominids like the Neanderthals and Denisovans, and traces of hominid DNA can still be found in people today.

Haplogroups: A, N, U, W, Q, R, P

From Northeast Africa to Asia

People travelling this route journeyed out of Africa to the lands between Central and South Asia. The first people to live in these lands were hunters of megafauna like the woolly mammoth. These lands came to be a crossroads for migrating peoples, merchants, and others. Today, their culture reflects this diversity.

Haplogroups: B4, B4'5, U, W, R, Q, L

North to Central Asia

This migration took humans north into Central Asia. Hunters of megafauna such as woolly mammoths on the open steppe, they followed their prey with the seasons. Though the big game later became extinct, descendants of these early inhabitants still live as nomadic herders in the same lands.

Haplogroups: H, U, W, R

From Central Asia Into Europe

This migration brought early humans into western and Central Asia, where they then turned west and crossed the grasslands of southern Russia into Europe. There, they encountered Neanderthals and practiced a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. The subsequent interbreeding between Neanderthals and early modern humans has resulted in traces of Neanderthal DNA in many people today.

 When humans first ventured out of Africa some 60,000 years ago, they left genetic footprints still visible today. By mapping the appearance and frequency of genetic markers in modern peoples, we create a picture of when and where ancient humans moved around the world. These great migrations eventually led the descendants of a small group of Africans to occupy even the farthest reaches of the Earth.

Our species is an African one: Africa is where we first evolved, and where we have spent the majority of our time on Earth. The earliest fossils of recognizably modern Homo sapiens appear in the fossil record at Omo Kibish in Ethiopia, around 200,000 years ago. Although earlier fossils may be found over the coming years, this is our best understanding of when and approximately where we originated.

According to the genetic and paleontological record, we only started to leave Africa between 60,000 and 70,000 years ago. What set this in motion is uncertain, but we think it has something to do with major climatic shifts that were happening around that time—a sudden cooling in the Earth’s climate driven by the onset of one of the worst parts of the last Ice Age.   This cold snap would have made life difficult for our African ancestors, and the genetic evidence points to a sharp reduction in population size around this time.   In fact, the human population likely dropped to fewer than 10,000. We were holding on by a thread.

Once the climate started to improve, after 70,000 years ago, we came back from this near-extinction event.   The population expanded, and some intrepid explorers ventured beyond Africa.   The earliest people to colonize the Eurasian landmass likely did so across the Bab-al-Mandab Strait separating present-day Yemen from Djibouti.   These early beachcombers expanded rapidly along the coast to India, and reached Southeast Asia and Australia by 50,000 years ago.   The first great foray of our species beyond Africa had led us all the way across the globe.

Slightly later, a little after 50,000 years ago, a second group appears to have set out on an inland trek, leaving behind the certainties of life in the tropics to head out into the Middle East and southern Central Asia.   From these base camps, they were poised to colonize the northern latitudes of Asia, Europe, and beyond.

Around 20,000 years ago a small group of these Asian hunters headed into the face of the storm, entering the East Asian Arctic during the Last Glacial Maximum.   At this time the great ice sheets covering the far north had literally sucked up much of the Earth’s moisture in their vast expanses of white wasteland, dropping sea levels by more than 300 feet.   This exposed a land bridge that connected the Old World to the New, joining Asia to the Americas.   In crossing it, the hunters had made the final great leap of the human journey.   By 15,000 years ago they had penetrated the land south of the ice, and within 1,000 years they had made it all the way to the tip of South America. Some may have even made the journey by sea.

The story doesn’t end there, of course.   The rise of agriculture around 10,000 years ago—and the population explosion it created—has left a dramatic impact on the human gene pool.   The rise of empires, the astounding oceangoing voyages of the Polynesians, even the extraordinary increase in global migration over the past 500 years could all leave traces in our DNA.   There are many human journey questions waiting to be asked and answered.   What stories are waiting to be told in your own DNA? Learn more about The Development of Agriculture

 My Ancestral Journey

The origin of our species lies in Africa: It’s where humans first evolved, and where our species has spent the majority of its time on Earth. We have since migrated to every corner of the globe, a journey that is written in our DNA.

With the DNA sample you sent us, we ran a comprehensive analysis to identify thousands of genetic markers—breadcrumbs—in your DNA, which are passed down from generation to generation. By looking at the order in which these markers occurred over time, we can follow the breadcrumbs and trace the journey of your ancestors across the globe. Furthermore, with these markers we have created a human family tree. Everyone alive today falls on a particular branch of this tree. We have examined your markers to determine which branch you belong to. The results of our analysis—your personal journey—are outlined below.

To Understand My Results
My Deep Ancestry
(1,000 Years - 100,000 Years Ago)
paternal Line
My paternal haplogroup is shared by 30.1% of all participants in the project

Modern humans started to leave Africa between 60,000 and 70,000 years ago. They traveled in groups, taking different paths and arriving at different destinations. These journeys can be traced through DNA “markers” that form the human genetic tree. Based on these personal markers, each person alive today can be assigned to a specific haplogroup, which identifies their branch on the tree.

As a first-phase participant of the Genographic Project, analysis of only one side of your story is available. With Geno 2.0 Next Generation, you can receive both maternal and paternal information.

 Introduction to My Story

We will now take you back through the stories of your distant ancestors and show how the movements of their descendants gave rise to your lineage.

Each segment on the map above represents the migratory path of successive groups that eventually coalesced to form your branch of the tree. We start with the marker for your oldest ancestor, and walk forward to more recent times, showing at each step the line of your ancestors who lived up to that point.

What is a marker? Each of us carries DNA that is a combination of genes passed from both our mother and father, giving us traits that range from eye color and height to athleticism and disease susceptibility. As part of this process, the Y-chromosome is passed directly from father to son, unchanged, from generation to generation down a purely male line. Mitochondrial DNA, on the other hand, is passed from mothers to their children, but only their daughters pass it on to the next generation. It traces a purely maternal line.

The DNA is passed on unchanged, unless a mutation—a random, naturally occurring, usually harmless change—occurs. The mutation, known as a marker, acts as a beacon; it can be mapped through generations because it will be passed down for thousands of years.

When geneticists identify such a marker, they try to figure out when it first occurred, and in which geographic region of the world. Each marker is essentially the beginning of a new lineage on the family tree of the human race. Tracking the lineages provides a picture of how small tribes of modern humans in Africa tens of thousands of years ago diversified and spread to populate the world.

By looking at the markers you carry, we can trace your lineage, ancestor by ancestor, to reveal the path they traveled as they moved out of Africa. Our story begins with your earliest ancestor. Who were they, where did they live, and what is their story? Click “Next” to begin.

 Branch: P305   Age: More than 100,000 years old   Location of Origin: Africa

The common direct paternal ancestor of all men alive today was born in Africa between 300,000 and 150,000 years ago. Dubbed “Y-chromosome Adam” by the popular press, he was neither the first human male nor the only man alive in his time. He was, though, the only male whose Y-chromosome lineage is still around today. All men, including your direct paternal ancestors, trace their ancestry to one of this man’s descendants. The oldest Y-chromosome lineages in existence, belonging to the A00 branch of the tree, are found only in African populations.

Around 100,000 years ago the mutation named P305 occurred in the Y chromosome of a man in Africa. This is one of the oldest known mutations that is not shared by all men. Therefore, it marks one of the early splits in the human Y-chromosome tree, which itself marks one of the earliest branching points in modern human evolution. The man who first carried this mutation lived in Africa and is the ancestor to more than 99.9% of paternal lineages today. In fact, men who do not carry this mutation are so rare that its importance in human history was discovered only in the past two years.

As P305-bearing populations migrated around the globe, they picked up additional markers on their Y chromosomes. Today, there are no known P305-bearing individuals without these additional markers.

 Branch: M42   Age: About 80,000 Years Ago   Location of Origin: East Africa

Around 80,000 years ago, the BT branch of the Y-chromosome tree was born, defined by many genetic markers, including M42. The common ancestor of most men living today, some of this man’s descendants would begin the journey out of Africa to the Middle East and India. Some small groups from this line would eventually reach the Americas, while other groups would settle in Europe, and some would remain near their ancestral homeland in Africa.

Individuals from this line whose ancestors stayed in Africa often practice cultural traditions that resemble those of the distant past. For example, they often live in traditional hunter-gatherer societies. These include the Mbuti and Biaka Pygmies of central Africa, as well as Tanzania’s Hadza.
Point of Interest

The M42 branch is shared by almost all men alive today, both in Africa and around the world.

 Branch: M168   Age: About 70,000 years ago   Location of Origin: East Africa

When humans left Africa, they migrated across the globe in a web of paths that spread out like the branches of a tree, each limb of migration identifiable by a marker in our DNA. For male lineages, the M168 branch was one of the first to leave the African homeland.

The man who gave rise to the first genetic marker in your lineage probably lived in northeast Africa in the region of the Rift Valley, perhaps in present-day Ethiopia, Kenya, or Tanzania. Scientists put the most likely date for when he lived at around 70,000 years ago. His descendants became the only lineage to survive outside of Africa, making him the common ancestor of every non-African man living today.

Your nomadic ancestors would have followed the good weather and the animals they hunted, although the exact route they followed remains to be determined. In addition to a favorable change in climate, around this same time there was a great leap forward in modern humans’ intellectual capacity. Many scientists believe that the emergence of language gave us a huge advantage over other early humanlike species. Improved tools and weapons, the ability to plan ahead and cooperate with one another, and an increased capacity to exploit resources in ways we hadn’t been able to earlier allowed modern humans to rapidly migrate to new territories, exploit new resources, and replace other hominids such as the Neanderthals.
Point of Interest

This male branch is one of the first to leave the African homeland.

 Branch: P143   Age: About 60,000 years old   Location of Origin: Southwest Asia

This mutation is one of the oldest thought to have occurred outside of Africa and therefore marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of modern humans. Moving along the coastline, members of this lineage were some of the earliest settlers in Asia, Southeast Asia, and Australia.

But why would man have first ventured out of the familiar African hunting grounds and into unexplored lands? The first migrants likely ventured across the Bab-al Mandeb strait, a narrow body of water at the southern end of the Red Sea, crossing into the Arabian Peninsula and soon after developing mutation P143—perhaps 60,000 years ago. These beachcombers would make their way rapidly to India and Southeast Asia, following the coastline in a gradual march eastward. By 50,000 years ago, they had reached Australia. These were the ancestors of some of today’s Australian Aborigines.

It is also likely that a fluctuation in climate may have contributed to your ancestors’ exodus out of Africa. The African ice age was characterized by drought rather than by cold. Around 50,000 years ago, though, the ice sheets of the Northern Hemisphere began to melt, introducing a short period of warmer temperatures and moister climate in Africa and the Middle East. Parts of the inhospitable Sahara briefly became habitable. As the drought-ridden desert changed to a savanna, the animals hunted by your ancestors expanded their range and began moving through the newly emerging green corridor of grasslands.

 Branch: M89   Age: About 55,000 Years Old   Location of Origin: Southwest Asia

The next male ancestor in your ancestral lineage is the man who gave rise to M89, a marker found in 90 to 95 percent of all non-Africans. This man was likely born around 55,000 years ago in Middle East.

While many of the descendants of M89 remained in the Middle East, others continued to follow the great herds of wild game through what is now modern-day Iran, then north to the Caucasus and the steppes of Central Asia. These semiarid, grass-covered plains would eventually form an ancient “superhighway” stretching from France to Korea. A smaller group continued moving north from the Middle East to Anatolia and the Balkans, trading familiar grasslands for forests and high country.
Photos From This Region

A schoolgirl poses in Panwila, Sri Lanka. The island has two major ethnic groups (Sinhalese and Tamils) and two main religions (Buddhism and Hinduism).

Photograph by Ciaran Clancy, My Shot
Photo: Portrait of a schoolgirl in Panwila, Central Province, Sri Lanka

Indian children celebrate Holi, a Hindu celebration. Colored powders and liquids mimic flames—and herald the coming of spring.

 Branch: M578   Age: About 50,000 Years Old   Location of Origin: Southwest Asia

After settling in Southwest Asia for several millennia, humans began to expand in various directions, including east and south around the Indian Ocean, but also north toward Anatolia and the Black and Caspian Seas. The first man to acquire mutation M578 was among those that stayed in Southwest Asia before moving on.

Fast-forwarding to about 40,000 years ago, the climate shifted once again and became colder and more arid. Drought hit Africa and the Middle East and the grasslands reverted to desert, and for the next 20,000 years, the Saharan Gateway was effectively closed. With the desert impassable, your ancestors had two options: remain in the Middle East, or move on. Retreat back to the home continent was not an option.

 Branch: P128   Age: About 45,000 years ago   Location of Origin: South Asia

The next male ancestor in your ancestral lineage is the man who gave rise to P128, a marker found in more than half of all non-Africans alive today. This man was born around 45,000 years ago in south Central Asia and was likely part of the second wave of migrants to move east from Southwest Asia.

Some of the descendants of P128 migrated to the southeast and northeast, picking up additional markers on their Y chromosomes. This lineage is the parent of several major branches on the Y-chromosome tree: O, the most common lineage in East Asia; R, the major European and Central Asian Y-chromosome lineage; and Q, the major Y-chromosome lineage in the Americas. These descendant branches went on to settle the rest of Asia, the Americas, and Europe. Still many others traveled to Southeast Asia, and some descendants of P128 individuals moved across the waters south and east and are most commonly seen in Oceanian and Australian Aboriginal populations.

 Branch: M526   Age: About 42,000 Years Old   Location of Origin: South or Southeast Asia

The man who first carried mutation M526 was part of the second wave of settlers that migrated around the Indian Ocean and settled in Southeast Asia. This mutation is shared by men from haplogroups M, N, O, P, Q, R, and S; these are groups common in East Asia, Southeast Asia, Oceania, and the Americas.

 Branch: M45   Age: Around 35,000 Years Ago   Location of Origin: Central Asia or South Asia

This paternal ancestor traveled with groups to the open savannas between Central and South Asia during the Paleolithic. These big-game hunters were the parents to two of the most widespread male lineages in modern populations, one that is responsible for the majority of pre-Columbian lineages in the Americas (haplogroup Q)—among others from Asia and Europe—and one that spread farther north and west into Asia and produced the highest frequency lineages in European populations (haplogroup R).

Today, members of this lineage who do not belong to a descendant branch (haplogroups Q or R) are rare, and geneticists have found them most often in India. These populations include such diverse groups as the Saora (23 percent), the Bhumij (13 percent), and Muslims from Manipur (33 percent).
Point of Interest

Known as the Central Asian Clan, this branch gave rise to many distinct lineages that spent the next 30,000 years gradually populating much of the planet.

 Branch: M207   Age: About 30,000 Years Ago   Location of Origin: Central Asia

M207 was born in Central Asia around 30,000 years ago. His descendants would go on to settle in Europe, South Asia and the Middle East over the following 20,000 years. Today, most western European men belong to one branch—R-M342—that descended from this lineage. While it appears to have been one of the earliest lineages to settle in Europe more than 25,000 years ago, more recent population expansions associated with the post-glacial repopulation of northern Europe after the end of the last ice age, as well as the spread of agriculture during the Neolithic, also contributed to its high frequency in Ireland, the UK, France and Spain.

One descendant lineage—R-L62—is common in Eastern Europe and India, and was likely spread in part through the migration of Indo-European steppe nomads over the past 5,000 years.

 Branch: P231   Age: 25,000 – 30,000 Years Ago   Location of Origin: Central Asia

The Paleolithic ancestor who founded this lineage lived a nomadic lifestyle. His descendants include two major descendant branches that today account for most European men and many others from Central Asia, West Asia, and South Asia.

 Branch: M343   Age: 17,000 – 22,000 Years Ago   Location of Origin: South Asia or West Asia

The first members of this lineage lived as hunter-gatherers on the open savannas that stretched from Korea to Central Europe. They took part in the advances in hunting technology that allowed for population growth and expansions.

When the Earth entered a cooling phase, most from this line sheltered in refugia to the southeast of Europe and in West Asia. It was from these refugia that their populations rapidly expanded when the ice once more receded. Some traveled west across Europe.   Others moved back toward their distant ancestors’ homelands in Africa, passing through the Levant region.   Through these movements and the population boom triggered by the Neolithic Revolution, this lineage and its descendant lineages came to dominate Europe.

Today, it has a wide distribution.   In Africa, geneticists have found this lineage in
Northern Africa (6 percent) and central Sahel (23 percent).    Its frequency in Europe is at times high and at other times moderate.    It represents about 7 percent of Russian male lineages, about 13 percent of male lineages in the Balkans, about 21 percent of Eastern European male lineages, 55 to 58 percent of Western European lineages, and about 43 percent of Central European male lineages.    In Asia, most men of this lineage are found in West Asia (6 percent) and South Asia (5 percent).    However, trace frequencies of around 0.5 percent from this lineage are present in East Asia.

Russian Emperor Nicholas II belonged to this lineage.



Home     Return    Top