mtDNA T2b Ancestral Journey

Gábor Balogh, 2011

T R

N

L3

L2 L1

L0

.

but this new agricultural technology proved too successful to ignore. they write: "Although the haplogroup was present during the early and middle Upper Paleolithic. these sub-lineages underwent a dramatic expansion associated with the arrival of agriculture in Europe. bringing their new technology with them. With an origin in the Near East greater than 45. While groups of hunter-gatherers and subsistence fishermen had been occupying much of Eurasia for tens of thousands of years. we find Haplogroup T*. Haplogroup JT is thought to have originated in Mesopotamia and/or the Fertile Crescent approximately 10. Its many branches are widely distributed throughout southern and western Europe with particularly high concentrations in Ireland and the west of Britain. central. and today. By then. DNA data indicate that while these new agriculturalists were incredibly successful at planting their technology in the surrounding groups. The International Society of Genetic Genealogy gives the following standardized description about mtDNA Haplogroup T and two of its main subclades: "The mitochondrial Haplogroup T is best characterized as a European lineage. and the surrounding groups quickly copied these new immigrants. around ten thousand years ago a group of modern humans living in the Fertile Crescent-present day eastern Turkey and northern Syria-began domesticating the plants. Interesting. and northwestern Europe.000 years ago. and this new cultural era is typically referred to as the Neolithic.000 years ago. What resulted were the world's first agriculturalists." Regarding subclade T2: "Haplogroup T2 is one of the older sub-lineages and may have been present in Europe as early as the Late Upper Palaeolithic." The Genographic Project states that early people with Haplogroup T were likely some of the first organized agriculturalists and pastoralists.000 years ago. they were far less successful at planting their own genetic seed. the root Haplogroup for Haplogroup T. and seeds they had been collecting. which also gave rise to haplogroup J. According to Oxford Ancestors.History of Haplogroup T – background Mitochondrial (mtDNA) Haplogroup T derives from the haplogroup JT. the major sub-lineages of Haplogroup T entered Europe around the time of the Neolithic 12.000-12. Haplogroup T "includes slightly fewer than 10% of modern Europeans." About subclade T1 they write: "The origin of Haplogroup T1 dates to at least 6. Today. Haplogroup T is generally considered one of the main genetic signatures of the Neolithic expansions.000 years ago. humans had already settled much of the surrounding areas. and that they probably comprised the group which first brought settled agriculture and pastoralism on to the European continent. Groups of individuals able to support larger populations with this reliable food source began migrating out of the Middle East. widely distributed in Europe. bringing the "Neolithic Revolution" to Europe. ." Current Distribution Haplogroup T is currently found with high concentrations around the eastern Baltic Sea. nuts. we find Haplogroup T1 distributed in populations living in southeast. Once in Europe.

mtDNA migration map: Distribution of haplogroup T2b: .

flood. A maternal line can become extinct for a number of reasons. It may have been simple luck. Haplogroups L1 and L0 likely originated in East Africa and then spread throughout the rest of the continent. characterized by a different set of mutations their members carry. Mitochondrial Eve represents the root of the human family tree.000 years ago. current genetic data indicates that indigenous people belonging to these groups are found exclusively in Africa. or she may bear only sons (who do not pass her mtDNA to the next generation). or famine. Haplogroup L1/L0: Mitochondrial Eve: The Mother of Us All Time of Emergence: Roughly 160.000 and 170." She was awarded this mythic epithet in 1987 when population geneticists discovered that all people alive on the planet today can trace their maternal lineage back to her.000 years ago. Improved tools and weapons. Which begs the question. but we can say with certainty that all of us trace our maternal lineage back to this one woman." and because the genetic data shows that Africans are the oldest groups on the planet. because all humans have a common female ancestor. "So why Eve?" Simply put. Eve was a survivor. None of these extinction events happened to Eve's line. Homo sapiens evolved in Africa around 200. and the first hominids characterized by their unique bipedal stature appeared nearly two million years before that. Yet despite humans having been around for almost 30. these lineages are found at highest frequencies in Africa's indigenous . Her descendents. moving around within Africa.I. such as the Neandertals. with a woman whom anthropologists have nicknamed "Mitochondrial Eve. we know our species originated there. all allowed modern humans to rapidly migrate to new territories. and out compete and replace other hominids. Eve is exceptional because hers is the only lineage from that distant time to survive to the present day. She may fall victim to a catastrophic event such as a volcanic eruption. But "Mitochondrial Eve" was not the first female human. exploit new resources. eventually split into two distinct groups.000 years.000 BC – 5. It is difficult to pinpoint the chain of events that Led to Eve's unique success.000 generations ago Place of Origin: East Africa Our story begins in Africa sometime between 150. or it may have been something much more. Importantly. Today. It was around this same time that modern humans' intellectual capacity underwent what author Jared Diamond coined the Great Leap Forward. the ability to plan ahead and cooperate with one another. A woman may not have children. all of which have plagued humans since the dawn of our species. These groups are referred to as L0 and L1. meaning they represent the deepest branches of the mitochondrial tree. and an increased capacity to exploit resources in ways we hadn't been able to earlier. Many anthropologists believe that the emergence of language gave us a huge advantage over other early human species. and these individuals have the most divergent genetic sequences of anybody alive today. "Eve. This means that.

Because the ancestor of L2 was herself a member of L1. L1. went on to form their own group. characterized by this signpost mutation. something important happened. and because many of her descendants have survived to the present. The descendants of this woman. Now we're starting to move down The T ancestral line. language. we can say something about the emergence of these important groups: Eve begat L1. and customs for thousands of years. the hunter-gatherer groups who have maintained their ancestors culture. after these two groups had coexisted in Africa for a few thousand years.populations. A letter in her DNA changed. At some point. and L1 begat L2. called L2. this change has become a window into the past. . The mitochondrial sequence of a woman in one of these groups. mutated.

they represent one of the predominant lineages in African-Americans.000-111.500 generations ago Place of Origin: West Africa L2 individuals are found in sub-Saharan Africa. L2 individuals are most predominant in West Africa. where they constitute the majority of female lineages. But whereas L1/L0 individuals remained predominantly in eastern and southern Africa.II. they also live in Central Africa and as far south as South Africa. collaborative sampling with indigenous groups is currently underway to help learn more about these types of questions and to possibly bridge the gap that was created during those transatlantic voyages hundreds of years ago. . Fortunately. the T ancestors broke off into a different direction. it is difficult to pinpoint where a specific L2 lineage might have arisen. Haplogroup L2: Time of Emergence: Roughly 80. Unfortunately.100 BC – 2. And because L2 individuals are found at high frequencies and widely distributed along western Africa.500-3. and like their L1 predecessors.

From there. Around 50. including the southern reaches of sub-Sahara. It is a similar story: an individual in L2 underwent a mutation to her mitochondrial DNA. representing the deepest branches of the tree found outside of that continent. Some lineages within L3 testify to a distinct expansion event in the mid-Holocene that headed south.000 years ago began haplogroup L3. which was passed onto her children. the animals expanded their range and began moving through the newly emerging green corridor of grasslands.000 years ago the ice sheets of northern Europe began to melt. Parts of the inhospitable Sahara briefly became habitable. Haplogroup L3: Time: Roughly 80.500 generations ago Out of Africa The next signpost ancestor is the woman whose birth around 80. The nomadic T ancestors followed the good weather and plentiful game northward across this Saharan Gateway. Today. and are predominant in many Bantu groups found all over Africa. As the drought-ridden desert changed to savanna. eventually separating into a new group called L3. . L3 is important for its movements north. The African Ice Age was characterized by drought rather than by cold. although the exact route they followed remains to be determined. kept moving northward. The children were successful. Other L3 individuals. and their descendants ultimately broke away from the L2 clan. These people currently make up around ten percent of the Middle Eastern population.000 BC – 2. eventually leaving the African continent completely. including the islands of Cabo Verde. members of this group went in a few different directions. While L3 individuals are found all over Africa. Why would humans have first ventured out of the familiar African hunting grounds and into unexplored lands? It is likely that a fluctuation in climate may have provided the impetus for the T ancestors' exodus out of Africa. One group of individuals headed west and is primarily restricted to Atlantic western Africa. These L3 ancestors were significant because they are the first modern humans to have left Africa. introducing a period of warmer temperatures and moister climate in Africa.III. the T ancestors. and gave rise to two important haplogroups that went on to populate the rest of the world. L3 individuals are found at high frequencies in populations across North Africa.

India.000 BC – 2. The second great wave. and the Americas. eventually making it all the way to Australia and Polynesia. The first of these groups. Europe. which would have proved a reliable water and food supply in spite of the surrounding desert and its frequent sandstorms. These people likely left the continent across the Horn of Africa near Ethiopia.000 years old. Descendants of these migrants eventually formed haplogroup N. also of L3 individuals. moved north rather than east and left the African continent across the Sinai Peninsula. where they likely coexisted for a time with other hominids such as Neandertals.200 generations ago The Incubation Period Haplogroup N comprises one of two groups that were created by the descendants of L3. The ancient members of haplogroup N spawned many sublineages. in present-day Egypt. M. Excavations in Israel's Kebara Cave (Mount Carmel) have unearthed Neanderthal skeletons as recent as 60. which spread across much of the rest of the globe and are found throughout Asia.IV. was the result of the first great wave of migration of modern humans to leave Africa. these people likely followed the Nile basin. Early members of this group lived in the eastern Mediterranean region and western Asia. and their descendants followed a coastal route eastward. Haplogroup N: Time: Roughly 70. Also faced with the harsh desert conditions of the Sahara. . indicating that there was both geographic and temporal overlap of these two hominids.

bringing their N and R lineages to the same places around the same times. individuals belonging to a new group called haplogroup R began to move out and explore the surrounding areas. N. and because their origin is quite ancient.000 BC – 2. The story of haplogroup R is complicated. The tapestry of genetic lines became quickly entangled. All of these individuals had one thing in common: they shared a female ancestor from the N clan. Some moved south. it is likely that the migrations radiating out from the Near East comprised individuals from both of these groups. .V.000 generations ago Spreading Out After several thousand years in the Near East. In fact. They simply moved together. Others went west across Anatolia (present-day Turkey) and north across the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia and southern Russia. and geneticists are currently working to unravel the different stories of haplogroups N and R. the ancestor of haplogroup R Lived relatively soon after humans moved out of Africa during the second wave. a recent descendant of the migration out of Africa. however. since they are found in many of the same farreaching places. and on to Central Asia. Still others headed east into the Middle East. because these individuals can be found almost everywhere. Haplogroup R: Time: Roughly 66. Because the two groups lived side by side for thousands of years. and her descendants undertook many of the same migrations as her own group. migrating back into northern Africa.

000 years ago. Haplogroup T: Time: Roughly 12. the Middle East. Agriculture was quickly and widely adopted. DNA data indicate that while these new agriculturalists were incredibly successful at planting their technology in the surrounding groups.000 BC – 370 generations ago Northeast Europe We finally arrive at the T clan. present-day eastern Turkey and northern Syria began domesticating the plants. and the surrounding groups quickly copied these new immigrants. Groups of individuals able to support larger populations with this reliable food source began migrating out of the Middle East. Haplogroup T has a very wide distribution. and seeds they had been collecting. T is largely considered one of the main genetic signatures of the Neolithic expansions. and this new cultural era is typically referred to as the Neolithic. a group of individuals who descend from a woman in the R branch of the tree. Interestingly. What resulted were the world's first agriculturalists. The divergent genetic lineage that constitutes haplogroup T indicates that she lived sometime around 12. While groups of hunter-gatherers and subsistence fishermen had been occupying much of Eurasia for tens of thousands of years. and Central Asia. . humans had already settled much of the surrounding areas. Although the T haplogroup was present during the early and middle Upper Paleolithic. but the lineages carried by these Neolithic expansions are found today at frequencies seldom greater than 20 percent in Europe. It is also common in eastern and northern Europe. nuts. around ten thousand years ago a group of modern humans living in the Fertile Crescent. By then. bringing their new technology with them. but this new agricultural technology proved too successful to ignore. and is present as far east as the Indus Valley bordering India and Pakistan and as far south as the Arabian Peninsula.VI. they were far Less successful at planting their own genetic seed.

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