Saturday, November 3, 2012

Understanding Haplogroups

     A haplogroup is a population of individuals whom share a unique set of genetic markers that were derived from a common ancestor. All members of a haplogroup are descendants of a single man or woman that lived in the very very distant past. The Y-chromosome (Y-DNA) and mtDNA are the genetic structures that are associated with haplogroups. (The autosomal chromosomes are NOT associated with haplogroups.) Each mtDNA (maternal) and Y-DNA (paternal) haplogroup has a distinct set of genetic markers that define, distinguish and separate the different mtDNA and Y-DNA haplogroups. Your haplogroup, (L3e2a for example is a mtDNA subhaplogroup), is defined by unique set of DNA markers that's present on either the mtDNA or Y-DNA. Only members of the same haplogroup that you belong to have those distinct DNA markers. Every person has a mtDNA haplogroup and a Y-DNA haplogroup. In essence - a mtDNA haplogroup, such as L3e2a, represents a single woman that you are descended from who lived hundreds of thousands of years ago. 

    There are three basic mtDNA haplogroups - L, M, and N. The L haplogroup represents Mitochondrial Eve - an ancient and distant African woman.  Mitochondrial Eve is the most recent common maternal ancestor of all current living humans. By definition, all of modern humanity fits into the L Haplogroup. As Mitochondrial Eve produced daughters, grand-daughters, etc, her original mtDNA sequence was copied and changed. This eventually produced the modern haplogroups that we see today. The L haplogroup is divided into seven subhaplogroups, L0,L1,L2,L3,L4,L5,L6. These six subhaplogroups (L0,L1,L2,L4,L5,L6) are found almost exclusively in Africa. This supports the notion that modern humanity began in Africa. Eventually modern humans traveled outside of Africa. The L3 mtDNA subhaplogroup represents that transition out of Africa. The M and N haplogroups are both descended from the L3 mtDNA haplogroup. Essentially all of the other mtDNA haplogroups which are found outside of Africa (A,B,C,R,T and etc) are descended from either the M or N mtDNA haplogroups. Haplogroups can be further subdivided into more subhaplogroups based on newly discovered DNA markers.

    Similarly there are Y-DNA haplogroups with each given letters of the alphabet as well. Y-Chromosomal Adam represents the most recent common paternal ancestor of all living humans. By definition, all modern human men fit into the African Y-DNA Haplogroup known as the A Haplogroup. Haplogroup A is then split into the two major Haplogroups, B and CT, respectively. From the Y-DNA Haplogroup known as CT, the remaining African and Non-African Y-DNA haplogroups (DE, F, etc) are descended from.

    Because of people's different religious histories, marital, and social practices, certain people tend to be strongly associated with certain haplogroups. For example, the A,B,C,D, and X mtDNA haplogroups are strongly associated with Native Americans.  The R mtDNA haplogroup is present among 89% of Europeans. The Y-DNA haplogroup known as E1B1A is very strongly associated with African-American males.

    It's important to understand that two or more people within the same haplogroup are related within an anthropological time frame (thousands of years), not necessarily a genealogical time frame (one to three hundred years). Two or more people may not share a recent common ancestor, but they still may share a distant haplogroup common ancestor. Your last (recent) common ancestor and your distant (haplogroup) common ancestor are two separate individuals. For example, my mother would be my last (not distant) common ancestor. 

    By the same token, two or more people can be in the same haplogroup and be related within a genealogical time frame. An example of this is seen among Native Americans. Having crossed the Bering Straits within the last 12,000 years, many Native American groups and circles have remained fairly small and are genetically similar enough to share BOTH matching haplogroups and recent common ancestors.

    On the other hand, two or people may be in two different haplogroups, but still be related in a genealogical time frame. For example, my dad and I are in two different mtDNA haplogroups, but my dad is still my most recent common ancestor. This can be easily understood if one remembers that a haplogroup represents a single and separate distant side of a person's ancestry. A mtDNA haplogroup represents a single distant strict maternal ancestry (child -> mother -> mother's mother, etc). A Y-DNA haplogroup represents a single distant strict paternal ancestry (son -> father -> father's dad, etc)

Inferences From Haplogroup Assignments
A common practice is to make an inference about a person's ethnic composition, religion, and other socially defined information based on a person's haplogroup assignment. These inferences or conclusions are based on the frequencies of haplogroups. Basically the frequencies of certain haplogroups differs across certain populations. These frequencies exist because of the social practices, martial histories, and other social norms that many cultures exhibit.

For example - the Y-DNA haplogroup known as E1B1A7A has a very high distribution across Western Africa. The E1B1A7A has a very high frequency and presence among African-American males. This leads to a conclusion that a male who is E1B1A7A must be African-American.  This is of course is not necessarily true. The E1B1A7A also has a distribution in South American as well.

As an another example - the Y-DNA haplogroup, known as R1B1A, has a strong presence and high distribution among European men. Yet my 2nd cousin - Lewis Lamar, who is considered African-American, has the R1B1A haplogroup. The E1B1A7A haplogroup is absent in his paternal lineage.

Such inferences drawn from a haplogroup assignment are very dangeous to make. The important concept to grasp and understand is that DNA does NOT define nor store information such as person's ethnic composition or religion. Those are socially defined concepts which are NOT defined by a genetic mutation. A person can no more be said to be 100% African or European from the DNA data alone.

Other forms of collaborating evidence would be required to confirm an individual ethnic composition, religion, or any other socially defined concept.

  If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask.



  1. Hello Steve,
    Iam having trouble with the last few paragraphs. My husband is haplogroup R and I am haplogroup H. We are both culturally African-American. My brother's haplogroup is E;my paternal first cousin is L. a maternal cousin is cousin is M. How does this affect my children?

  2. Your husband is R so if you have a son, he will also be R. It just means there was a white male who started his paternal line. If you have a daughter, she will be what you are

  3. E1b1a and it’s Subclades: new E-Z365

    This was originally thought to be a West African specific haplogroup, however this has changed within the last few years. An influx of people, who identify themselves as Caucasian, are showing up with this haplogroup. This theory was eventually proven fact when the Pharaoh Ramses/ Ramesses III was determined to be E1b1a. Ramses’ father, Userkhaure-setepenre Setnakhte (or Setnakht) was the first king of the 20th dynasty and a “usurper” to the throne. Most likely he was of paternal Berber lineage.

    Clearly, he was not of sub-Saharan African origin. We know now the progenitor of the E1b1a lineage was a Caucasoid phenotype. The E1b1a haplogroup is spread among the peoples of Northern and Western Africa, but several haplotypes of Europeans, who have E1b1a, do not have Black African ancestry. These haplotypes are elder lines in the tree, and are becoming more frequent among Italian, Maltese, Spanish, Portuguese, French and British men. Many still claim this is due to the Arab slave trade, but those taken during this time were exclusively female for the ruling classes’ harems. Hence, any argument regarding a Y chromosome is null, as Y is only passed along male-to-male lines.

    This branch of the E haplogroup lineage, E-Z365, was born in North Africa about 15,000 years ago. As the Sahara dried, many of the E1b1a lineage migrated south into sub-Saharan Africa, while the Caucasoid branch (E-Z365) remained in North Africa. More recently, some of our relatives took part in the spread across much of Southern and Central Europe. This is evident by three SNPs discovered (Z148, Z191, and Z365) which do not exist in sub-Saharan Africans or their descendants.

    1. If you are a so-called white man, who is the carrier of the E1B1A haplogroup or any of it's subclades, then you are a Shemitic negro by blood-lineage, whose outward appearance is that of a so-called white man.

      You are correct in that the E1B1A (E-M2) haplogroup is not West-African. This haplogroup actually originated in North-east Africa in the land of Israel. It made it's way into Central, West, and South-west Africa after the Israelite Diaspora of 70 AD, as well as prior to the Diaspora of 70 AD, during the first Israelite exodus out of Egypt.

      The haplogroup then spread to the Americas via the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, fulfilling Scriptural Prophecy. This is why the haplogroup is predominately "African-American". So-called negroes are the True Israelites of the Scriptures, according to blood lineage.

      The regions of Italy, Spain, and Portugal also saw an influx of Israelite migrants (exiles) whose seed (sperm), was spread amongst those regions as well. The Spanish Inquisition all but erased the Israelite presence out of Spain, causing many like yourself to believe that this haplogroup is Caucasian in origin when indeed it is not.

      E1B1A is NOT a "caucasoid" haplogroup. Point blank.

      Rameses III was not an Egyptian, but an Israelite of the seed of Yaaqob (Jacob), and therefore what we would consider today to be a so-called black man.

      This also means that you are an Israelite, a child of Israel, by BLOOD LINEAGE.

      Yes, you are TRULY a Shemitic Negro, and not a white man; even though you may appear to be white outwardly. You are not an Ashkenazi Khazarian impostor, but a true Yahudim. Praise the Most High that the blood of Yaaqob (Jacob) has been preserved within you.

    2. Oh dear lord, more of this Hebrew Israelite bullshit. Get a clue nigga, you just a nigga, dig it?

    3. Did you not read that E1b1a itself was not Caucasoid, only those with certain SNPs. I'm sure this area of science is over your head though. Ramses III was not a Negroid, this is evident by his mummy, unless you are blind and cannot see

  4. So does it mean that if I am a descendant of the haplogroup E1b1a7a that I am (Y) related to everyone else who descends from it too?

    1. You're a hebrew Israelite brother. checkout this page on facebook:

    2. No, you are NOT Hebrews!!!

  5. So does it mean that if I am a descendant of the haplogroup E1b1a7a that I am (Y) related to everyone else who descends from it too?

  6. Yes it does. gets an estimation that this relation comes less than 4 200 years ago.

  7. Very useful and informative. Thank you for your very clear and easy-to-understand introduction.

  8. African R1b1 are the hiddden ones sold with Africans, but were Hebrew Semites. The Africans doing the selling couldn't always tell the difference.

  9. Question so my halogroup on my maternal side is l2 it says I have connection to the Bantu people. Then on my paternal side it says I'm rp251. But it did tell me my people crossed the red sea. So my question is this this make me descendent of israelites?

  10. Question so my halogroup on my maternal side is l2 it says I have connection to the Bantu people. Then on my paternal side it says I'm rp251. But it did tell me my people crossed the red sea. So my question is this this make me descendent of israelites?

  11. Ramses the great was not Negroid... Those of the hamitic blood line we're black but not Negroid... Negroid are a shemitic race that have a similar hue to Hamites but our genetically separate.

    1. Everyone is Negroid including white people - if you start from Adam. ..but from that point, God made a special line of people.
      2 Esdras 6:54-56. Starting from biblical times under Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, some dark people (black, negroid) were born under Ham, and some were born under Shem. Shem's dark people became Shemites/Israelites, and Ham's dark people became Hamites. It is all about tracing your paternal lineage back to biblical times, in order to claim land that was stolen by non-dark people - some say they are the Edomites.

    2. This is a scientific discussion. You voodoo mumbo-jumbo religious nonsense has no place here. Every word of every religion has been a lie. And that is the truth.