In human mitochondrial
, Haplogroup U
is a human mitochondrial DNA
Haplogroup U (named 'Europa clan' by Stephen Oppenheimer
) descends from a
woman, in the Haplogroup R
branch of the phylogenetic tree, who lived around 55,000 years ago.
Her descendants gave birth to several different subgroups, some of
which exhibit specific geographic homelands. The old age has led to
a wide distribution of the descendant subgroups that harbor
specific European, northern African, Indian, Arab, northern
Caucasus Mountains and the Near East clades.
Haplogroup U is subdivided into Haplogroups U1-U8. Haplogroup K
is a subclade of U8.
Haplogroup U1 (named 'Una' by Bryan
) seems to appear mostly in the Middle East, however low
frequency results appear scattered throughout Europe particularly
in the Mediterranean. U1a in particular is found from India to
Europe, but is extremely rare among the northern and Atlantic
fringes of Europe including the British Isles and Scandinavia.
Several examples in Tuscany have been noted. In India U1a has been
found in the Kerala region and the west. U1b has a similar spread
but is rarer than U1a. Some examples of U1b have been found among
Jewish diaspora. U1a and U1b appear in equal frequency in eastern
Haplogroup U2 (named 'Uta' by Bryan
) is most common in South Asia but also found in low
frequency in Central and West Asia, as well as in Europe.
Haplogroup U3 (named 'Uma' by Bryan
) is defined by the HVR1 transition
A16343G. It is found at low
levels throughout Europe
(about 1% of the
population), the Near East
(about 2.5% of
the population), and Central Asia
U3 is present at higher levels among populations in the Caucasus
(about 6%) and among Lithuanian Romani,
Polish Romani, and Spanish Romani
Haplogroup U4 (named 'Ulrike' by Bryan
) has its origin in the Upper Palaeolithic, dating to
approximately 25,000 years ago. It is widely distributed in Europe,
and has been implicated in the expansion of modern humans into
Europe occurring before the Last Glacial Maximum.
Among the oldest mtDNA haplogroups found in European remains of
is U5. The age of U5 is
estimated at 50,000 but could be as old as 60,500 years.
Approximately 11% of total Europeans and 10% of European-Americans
are in haplogroup U5.
The presence of haplogroup U5 in Europe pre-dates the expansion of
agriculture in Europe. Bryan Sykes'
popular book The Seven
Daughters of Eve calculated that it arose 45,000-50,000
years ago in Delphi, Greece and named
the originator of haplogroup U5 Ursula.
details related to location and age are speculative. Barbujani and
Bertorelle estimate the age of haplogroup U5 as about 52,000 years
ago, being the oldest subclade of haplogroup U,.
U5 has been found in human remains dating from the Mesolithic in
England, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Russia.
Haplogroup U5 and its subclades U5a and U5b form the highest
population concentrations in the far north, in Sami
, and Estonians
, but it is spread widely at lower levels
throughout Europe. This distribution, and the age of the
haplogroup, indicate individuals from this haplogroup were part of
the initial expansion tracking the retreat of ice sheets from
Haplogroup U5 is found also in small frequencies and at much lower
diversity in the Near East and parts of Africa, suggesting
back-migration of people from northern Europe to the south.
Mitochondrial haplogroup U5a has also been associated with HIV
infected individuals displaying accelerated
progression to AIDS
- U5b3: The subclade is found primary on the
island of Sardinia.
Haplogroup U6 (named 'Ulla' by Bryan
) is a group of people who descend from a woman in the
branch of the
phylogenetic tree. It is common (around 10% of the people) in
North Africa (with a maximum of 29% in
Algerian Berbers) and the Canary Islands (18%). It is also found in the Iberian
peninsula, where it
has the highest diversity (10 out of 19 sublineages are only found
in this region and not in Africa), Eastern Africa and occasionally
in other locations.
In spite of the highest diversity of Iberian U6, Maca-Meyer argues
for an East African origin of this clade based on the highest
diversity of subclade U6a in that region, where it would have
arrived from West Asia. She estimates the age of U6 between 25,000
and 66,000 years BP.
U6 has three main subclades:
- U6a: it is the most widespread (from Canary
Islands and Iberian Peninsula to Syria, Ethiopia and Kenya) and has
highest diversity in Eastern Africa. Estimated age: 24-27,500 BP.
It has one major subclade:
- U6a1: with similar distribution to U6a.
Estimated age: 15-20,000 BP.
- U6b: shows a more patched and western
distribution. In the Iberian peninsula U6b is more frequent in the
North (while U6a is in the South). It has also been found in low
amounts in Morocco, Algeria, Senegal and Nigeria. Estimated age:
8,500-24,500 BP. It has one subclade:
- U6b1: found only in the Iberian peninsula and
the Canary Islands. Estimated age: c. 6000 BP.
- U6c: only found in Morocco and Canary Islands.
Estimated age: 6,000-17,500 BP.
U6a and U6b share a common basal mutation (16219) that is not
present in U6c.
Many European populations lack Haplogroup U7 (named 'Ulaana' by
), but its frequency climbs
over 4% in the Near East and up to 5% in Pakistan, reaching nearly
10% level in Iranians. In India, haplogroup U7 frequency peaks at
over 12% in Gujarat, the westernmost state of India, while for the
whole of India its frequency stays around 2%. Expansion times and
haplotype diversities for the Indian and Near and Middle Eastern U7
mtDNAs are strikingly similar. The possible homeland of this
haplogroup spans Indian Gujarat and Iran because from there its
frequency declines steeply both to the east and to the west. If the
origin were in Iran rather than in India, then its equally high
frequency as well as diversity in Gujarat favors a scenario whereby
U7 has been introduced to the coastal western India either very
early, or by multiple founders.
- U8a: The Basques
have the most ancestral phylogeny in
Europe for the mitochondrial haplogroup U8a, a rare subgroup of U8,
placing the Basque origin of this lineage in the Upper
Palaeolithic. The lack of U8a lineages in Africa suggests that
their ancestors may have originated from West Asia.
- U8b: This clade has been found in Italy and
by Bryan Sykes
) makes up a sizeable
fraction of European and West Asian mtDNA lineages. It is now known
it is actually a subclade of haplogroup U8, and is believed to have
first arisen in northeastern Italy. Haplogroup UK shows some
evidence of being highly protective against AIDS progression.
This phylogenetic tree of haplogroup U subclades is based on the
paper by Mannis van Oven and Manfred Kayser Updated
comprehensive phylogenetic tree of global human mitochondrial DNA
and subsequent published research.
- The Fifth Daughter of Europa at
- The Genographic Project at National
- A. González et al. The mitochondrial lineage U8a
reveals a Paleolithic settlement in the Basque country. BMC
- mtDNA Haplogroup U1a page at cagetti.com
- M. Metspalu et al. Most of the extant mtDNA
boundaries in South and Southwest Asia were likely shaped during
the initial settlement of Eurasia by anatomically modern
humans. BMC Genetics, 2004.
- FTDNA mtDNA U2 Haplogroup project.
- Blackwell Synergy - Cookie Absent
- Barbujani G, Bertorelle G. "Genetics and the population history
of Europe." Proceedings of the National Academy of
- H. Chandler, Bryan Sykes and João Zilhão, Using ancient DNA to
examine genetic continuity at the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition
in Portugal, in P. Arias, R. Ontanon and C. Garcia-Monco (eds.),
Actas del III Congreso del Neolitico en la Peninsula
Iberica (2005), pp. 781-86; B. Bramanti et al, Genetic
Discontinuity Between Local Hunter-Gatherers and Central Europe’s
First Farmers, Science, (published online September 3,
2009): DOI: 10.1126/science.1176869; U5 was found in Cheddar Man,
England, by Bryan Sykes.
- Mitochondrial DNA haplogroups influence AIDS
- N. Maca-Mayer, Mitochondrial DNA transit
between West Asia and North Africa inferred from U6
phylogeography. BMC Genetics, 2003
- Haplogroup U
- Haplogroup U1
- Haplogroup U2
- Haplogroup U4
- Haplogroup U5
- Haplogroup U6
- Haplogroup U7
- Haplogroup U8