GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2003-01 > 1042577474
From: "Annie, The WritingTeacher" <>
Subject: [DNA] Interesting facts about mtDNA U5 the oldest mtDNA in Europe and Cro-Magnons
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 12:51:14 -0800
The oldest mtDNA in Europe is U5. It had a common ancestor with its sister
group, U6. The age of U5 is estimated at 50,000 but could be as old as
60,500 years. Where did U5 come from, as it's the first in Europe and
evolved in Europe. The first place scientists find U5 in Europe is in
Cyrenaica, and artifacts are found in Iberia. Syke's book says it shows up
45,000-50,000 years ago in Delphi, Greece.
It has a common ancestor with the Berber U6, found in a third of Moroccans,
which is its ultimate starting point before it arrived in the Middle East
and then went on into Europe. U6 in N. Africa is close to U5 in Europe, and
U6 is close in age to U5. The female who was the ancestor of U5 and U6 lived
in what today is Morocco and Algeria. U5 and U6 cluster with other Europeans
and not with Sub-Saharan Africans. Today, U6 comprises a third of the
Mozabite Berbers. There was gene flow between N. Africa and the Middle East.
The ancestor of U5 and U6 lived in the Maghreb in N. Africa. U5 is found
almost exclusively in Europe today.
U6 is found today in the Canary Islands, Iberia, N. Africa and Portugal. U5
is dominant in Scandinavia, particularly Finland, along with V and U4 there
also. A large proportion of Canary Islander are U6. The medieval Guanches of
the Canary Islands also had U6. There was a lot of interbreeding in
paleolithic times between U5 and U6. The Berbers are high in U6 mtDNA today.
Whereas U5 today is found all over Europe and is the oldest European mtDNA,
and is found more in Scandinavia, particularly Finland.
But not all Berbers are U6. The largest cluster of Berbers from N. Africa is
H, especially in the city of Mzab. But when you test the Berbers with H, you
find a sequence 16213 that has been found so far only in Europe, possibly
suggesting a European origin for the H sequences in this N. African
indigenous population of Berbers. They have numerous people with red hair
and freckles, speaking Berber languages. The Kabyl of Algeria also have this
trait. So did back migration to Africa take place in paleolithic times also?
Another common haplotype 16148-16343 belongs to the Berbers who have U3, a
common haplogroup in the Middle East (Iraq) and also in Europe. And mtDNA U
is found there, unrelated to U6, native to N. Africa. J is there, but J
comes from Syria and Turkey. Some gene flow did come from further south in
Africa, because a few Berbers are L3b, L2
and L3a, but sub-Saharan gene flow is only 14% among the Berbers of Morocco
and the people of the Canary Islands in modern times.
So what this studyh shows is that European and Middle Easter sequences in
the Berbers came from Europe within the last 10,000 years. Countries most
likely--Sicily, Malta, and Spain. Throw in another monkey wrench. People
from the Nile Valley migrated to Morocco in ancient times adding more mtDNA
diversity. So waht adoes it show? That U5 is the first echo out of Africa
into Europe, but that it shows up as the first Europeans in two places,
Delphi and Spain around 50,000 years ago.
The source of this information is V. Macaulay, et al's article, "The
Emerging Tree of West Eurasian mtDNAs: A Synthesis of Control Region
Sequences nad RFLPs," American Journal of Human Genetics: 64:232-249, 1999.
So U5 turns out to be the most ancient mtDNA in Europe (50,000 years to
60,500) and U6 in N. Africa. What's interesting is that U5 and U6 are
"sister mtDNA groups" with a common ancestor in N. Africa. Each mtDNA group
has a sister group. For example H and V are sister groups, with a common
ancestor. And J and T are sister groups. U and K are sister groups. Each
sister group has a common ancestor that had in its signature both J and T or
H and V or U and K, etc.
Why the Deep Genetic Split Between Two European Groups of mtDNAs?
There's also a deep genetic split between some of the European groups. For
example X is split deeply from H by certain transitions such as 16223T
instead of 16223C in some, but not all X mtDNAs. There's a deep genetic
split between (H, I, J, and K) and T, U, V, W, and X). What kind of event
took place in paleolithic times to cause this huge split between these
European groups? Did the split take place before or after arrival in Europe?
Was it the isolation of the Ice age that caused it?
Were the two groups separated, for example, in different parts of the world?
It doesn't seem so, because H I J and K are in one group, and H lived in
paleolithic times in France and Spain, whereas I lived in the Middle East or
Central Asia and J and K lived in Syria and also later, K lived in the Alps
(from 17,000 years ago)...but also is found in the Middle East and all over
Europe. So what split the two groups?
Look at the other group (T, U V, W and X). Well, X usually is grouped with I
and W, and is found rarely in Europe and heavily in the Middle East and
Caucasus, especially in Georgia. T is all over the British Isles, but also
in the Arabian Peninsula and the Middle East.
U is found all over N. Africa, Europe, and the Middle East and is the oldest
in Europe. and W and X, some in Europe, but most in the Middle East, N.
India, and Caucasus, except for the X that went to the new World via the
Central Asia through Siberia route, and is found among certain Native
American tribes like the Ojibwa and Sioux, Lakota, and a few other tribes.
What do you think caused the split between (T U V, W and X) and (H I J and
According to "Morphological Evolution in Prehistoric Skeletal Remains," in
the book, Archeogenetics, (Mc Donald Institute Monographs), who were the
Cro-Magnons? Their common ancestors were U6 from N. Africa and U5 from
Europe. They had broad faces, were tall, slender, and long boned. Skeletal
remains from caves in Spain such as Longar show they are most closely
related to today's Swedes. The mtDNA studies on the Cro-Magnon fossils from
the prehistoric Basques show they are slightly different from today's
Basques, but today's Basques are similar to medieval Basques. The
paleolithic samples showed they were closer to modern Swedes than to modern
Basques. The Pico Ramos caves and other prehistoric Basque area samples
showed the paleolithics were closer to one another than to anyone modern,
but Basque populations ancient and modern did group together. mtDNA J was
absent from the Longar site cave of Paleolithic Cro-Magnon samples, but the
predominant prehistoric mtDNA was H, a high amount of H as if that's the
dominant population there 22,000 years ago.
Other mtDNAs were identified--U, T and X. Interestingly, some other mtDNA
haplogroups showed up that didn't fit in anything modern. Those just
disappeared 22,000 years ago or so. Either they didn't survive to reproduce
or they had only sons.
Fascinating....Even 20,000 years ago, H was still the dominant type in
Europe as it is today--47% of Europeans are H. What was it about that group
that had so many daughters survive to modern times, and what was it that
made the other mtDNA groups smaller in size, at least in Europe?
H is only 6% of the Middle East today, but is the dominant type in the
Caucasus at a smaller number than in Europe. Was it something in the water
of the Pyranees? Or the food supply that didn't elsewhere in Europe at the
time of the last maximum Ice Age?