Y chromosome J’s tangled past in Africa.

Just something I’ve done to help me get a better grip of the history of the Y chromosome’s presence in North Africa. Firstly, I need the J tree and it’s distribution from Cruciani 2004.

j-map

And some more detailed information on the distribution in the places relevant. Most important to this are J-m267 /J1, (typical of Arabs and common in East Africa) and J-m172/ J2, (which maps the expansion of the Neolithic into Europe and apparently into Pakistan (J2e) and North Africa).

J1 is typically seen as the marker for the Arab tribes expanding into North Africa, and this accounts for somewhat more than half of the J in North Africa. However, the J1 in East Africa is lacking a alteration in the historical-Arab specific Y chromosomes, and the latest paper I have seen dates the entry of this to Africa at the Iberomaurusian-Capsian- (pre neolithic) transition-or possibly a little later- which would require an entry date about  of about 12k ago.

Cruciani’s Bedouin sample was free of  J2 - as you can see from the maps there seems to be a break in it’s distribution pattern. A look at Italy and Greece (looking for other possible source of J possibly from the Romans and Greeks) showed it at levels low enough that for the Greek and Romans to have made any impact on the J Y chr of North Africa they would had to have left way more European specific haplotypes (the highest J observed in Italy is 29%, overall it’s a lot lower) and the same is true for other middle Eastern countries- to have added any extra J2 into North Africa a lot of other non-J Y chromosomes would have to have accompanied it. The North African Y chromosomes (Lower Egypt as the prime example)  just aren’t that varied and mainly show ‘ancient in Africa’ Eurasian and African specific Y chromosomes, with J making up most of the difference, which makes Europe and the recent near East as a source for the J2 unlikely. 

The distribution of J2 and J1 in North and East Africa, and whatever near Arabian populations I can find.

From Cruciani 2004

rel-j-facts

Egyptian

From Luis 2004 in Lower Egypt and Oman.

  • Egyptian Arabs… J1 20%   J2 12%
  • Oman Arabs…..    J1  38%   J2 10%

From Lucotte 2003

  • Lower Egypt…. J1  10.5%  J2  8.6%
  • Upper Egypt….  J1  3%        J2  4.5%

From Arredi 2004

  • Lower Egypt… J1  9%,  J2 9%
  • Upper Egypt     J1  21% J2 3.5%

I’m omitting the other studies I have on file as they don’t differentiate between the two, or lack clarity on which is which.

As the other studies are either a bit vague or very small I stick to these. The average amount of J for lower Egypt seems to be 25% (average of 5 studies) with about 10% being J2. Bearing in mind about 10% of the North African J1` is pre Neolithic, about 13.5% of the Egyptian Y chr are ‘Arab’ J1-possibly. J2 from the recent Arab expansion into North Africa probably does contribute to the J2 in NE Africa, but not in the main. The argument against this is that J2 is a minority in the Palestinian Arabs and Bedoiuns , and that to get J2 up to the levels you find in Egypt you’d need to have a lot more J1 and other Eurasian male ancestry- which would make the other African/ancient EurAfrican types way less more common. J2 is also common in Persia (who also invaded Egypt), but again it isn’t dominant and you would have to expect large amounts of other Y chromosomes to have accompanied it, which has not been observed (same argument against a European origin for Egyptian J2).

If the J2 had come in with the Arabs you’d expect a very obvious overweight of J1 in the ratio-as in the Sudan. It’s not even clear if the J1 there is all ‘Arab’ in origin, as the most of the J1 in East Africa is the pre Arabic J1- which makes Hassan’s 2008 choice of description as ‘Arabic’ for all the J1 in the Sudan a little confusing. As Cruciani wrote..

According to this interpretation, the first migration, probably in Neolithic times, brought J-M267 to Ethiopia

Although, I have to say; Hassan’s calling the Sudan Copts a living record of the Egyptians is strange considering how low they were on African Y chromosomes- particularly the Egyptian m78; and that 13 of 33 samples were J1.

While large scale historic movement of Arabic tribes into the Sudan is well documented, a lot of J1 is showing up in groups like the Nubians. When you bear in mind Arab culture is very patriarchal, I can’t understand how the non-Arab groups in the Sudan seem to have about the same amount of J1 as the Arab tribes in the Hassan study. Did more Arabs move into the Sudan than North Africa or is the recent and ancient J1 just getting lumped together in these studies?

I’m sure I’ll add to this post after my regulars have corrected/added whatever info they feel is necessary, but I think mainly but not entirely the J2 in North East Africa is a result of the Neolithic expansion, as it does seem to form a neat radial pattern from Turkey/Iran which is seems to track along with the R1b/p25, which also seems to be Turkish/Iranian.

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15 responses to “Y chromosome J’s tangled past in Africa.

  1. Read long ago but always good revisiting. First impresions follow:

    J1 (M267) seems centered in Palestine and the historical Numidia (a Berber nation). Hard to see it on that light as purely Semitic only. The haplotype network in fig. 4 shows two branches: one with an apparent West Asian core and the other (largest) that might have a North African (or maybe West Asian) core. Overall it does seem of West Asian origin and Ethiopian and European samples are clearly derived in all cases.

    Btw, notice how M12 was tested separately even if today it’s acknowledged that both markers define J1.

    J2 (M172) overall might appear to correlate with Neolithic flows but J2b (M102) is terribly odd: shared by europeans and Indians but almost absent in West Asia. If Neolithic it must have been a very early double founder effect but I can perfectly think of it as Paleolithic, maybe even arriving to Europe directly from India. Sadly the haplotype network for this clade in fig. 4 does not deal with the South Asian sample, so it’s impossible to determine on this paper’s data. The central node is 75% European and 25% West Asian but that is the general pattern for the whole haplogroup, so not really informative.

    As for J2a, this paper is only so much informative because the maps only deal with one subclade: J2a4b (M62) and a derived subclade of this one J2a4b1 (M92). Both appear to have a basic Neolithic-looking distribution but the latter has a remote “founder effect” in Gujarat.

    For the rest of J2a, some subclades were tested for:
    - J2a4h2 (M158): found in South and Central Asia only.
    - J2a4a (M47): found in Iraq, Turkey, Georgia, Pakistan and Central Asia.
    - J2a4c (M68): found at low levels among Iraqi, Indians and Central Asians.

    There is no reference to J2a4h1, which, at least by number of sublcades at ISOGG, would appear to be the second most important J2a subclade after the already mentioned J2a4b. If it has any correlation with the distribution of J2a4h2 (South and Central Asia), we’d be before an interesting puzzle also for J2a (similar to that of J2b, I guess).

    Firstly, I need the J tree and it’s distribution from Cruciani 2004.

    Notice please that that tree is obsolete: most J2 subclades are J2a, though there is one that belongs to J2b and even another to J1.

    [Re. J1] the latest paper I have seen dates the entry of this to Africa at the Iberomaurusian-Capsian- (pre neolithic) transition-or possibly a little later- which would require an entry date about of about 12k ago.

    Looks promising to me.

    Bearing in mind about 10% of the North African J1` is pre Neolithic, about 13.5% of the Egyptian Y chr are ‘Arab’ J1-possibly.

    I find that figure incredibly high: Egypt was always a very densely populated area and invading Arab nomads were just a little bunch. If that figure is close to real, must include earlier flows, like those of Semitic nomads into Pharaonic Egypt, including of course the Hyksos. Still hard to believe such a big figure is all of historical times.

    The haplotype structure at fig. 4 shows that most J1 is “Afroasiatic”, so to say, and only a distinct branch is “Asian-only” (even if it has offshots in Europe and Ethiopia). Most of that branch (the area grayed in fig.4) appears to have a North African ancestor, though such a small node can be confusing (but the same for the apparent West Asian central nodes, which are equally small in size).

    While large scale historic movement of Arabic tribes into the Sudan is well documented…

    Psah. Arabization played a major role there too: you learned some Arabic, became Muslim and soon your descendants were fully Arab. Most “Arabs” flowing to Sudan anyhow probably arrived from Egypt (logically).

    When you bear in mind Arab culture is very patriarchal, I can’t understand how the non-Arab groups in the Sudan seem to have about the same amount of J1 as the Arab tribes in the Hassan study. Did more Arabs move into the Sudan than North Africa or is the recent and ancient J1 just getting lumped together in these studies?

    You are onto something here but unsure exactly what.

    Anyhow some facts on the Arabization of Sudan:

    Sudan (known historically as Nubia) was a Christian area (was forced to convert by Byzantium). They fought against the Muslim rulers of Egypt in the time of the Crusades, suffering several invasions. The Mamluks finally vassalized Nobatia (northernmost Sudan) c. 1290. A few decades later they place a Muslim monarch in the throne of Dongola (between Nobatia and Khartoum). Alwa (around Khartoum) would remain Christian and independent till c. 1500.

    My African history manual also suggests that “Arab nomads” mixed with the natives in Kordofan, founding the Fung kingdom in the 15th century.

    Overall the process seems very unclearly participated by “Arab nomads” and much more clearly a matter of Egyptian military-political influence. When the Ottomans conquered Egypt, many Mamluks (riginally from the northern Caucasus mostly: “Circassians”) found refuge in Sudan too.

  2. “I think mainly but not entirely the J2 in North East Africa is a result of the Neolithic expansion”.

    What’s more J2 seems to be associated with the Mediterranean, probably carried by Neolithic boating technology. But the derived J-M102 and J-M92 have some connection with India. The coastal J-M92 is easily explained but the other requires more than boats. Perhaps merchants? Or just farming?

  3. Thanks for the help- a link to the latest J tree would be helpful too.

    That J2 hotspot in NA/Iberia is bugging me a bit. I’m going to have to have another dig into it.

  4. a link to the latest J tree would be helpful too

    Well, you have the “official” general reference for all human Y-DNA: ISOGG – a must have in your bookmarks.

  5. The coastal J-M92 is easily explained but the other requires more than boats. Perhaps merchants? Or just farming?

    The Neolithic explanation is the “easy” one. But not necesarily the correct one. J is an old haplogroup and J1, J2a and J2b are just a little more recent. I think it’s pretty safe to consider that J and its major subclades expanded (branched out, diversified) not too far from c. 30,000 BCE (my estimates). This does not exclude Neolithic and historical flows but we should not rush to them as the default explanation for anything with a loose West Asian connection.

    IMO J2b present distribution could well have originated deep in the Paleolithic and would be parallel in Europe to the spread of I2a and I2b (though these have no direct connection to South Asia). It could also have been parallel to the actual spread of J1 into North Africa.

    Other West Eurasian/Mediterranean Y-DNA clades that expanded apparently in a similar timeline are E1b1 and its derived E1b1b (but not E1b1a that seems to have expanded only more recently). And R/R1/R1b/R1b1 (but not yet, it seems, West European R1b1b2a, which is noticeably younger).

    You don’t have to agree with my age estimates but they do suggest that these modern large lienages that we are looking for pattern in Neolithic or even historical times, are actually much older (3-5 times older) and, while may have flowed in Neolithic/historical times somewhat, their basic structure was probably estabilished already in the depths of Paleolithic.

  6. j2 are of neolithic eastern european farmers
    j1 last neolithic of armenian origin
    ,j2 transition from balkan to north africa
    (I no think that J2 or J1 in north africa have an arab rule)

    • J1 in North Africa is strongly related to the Arab expansion.
      By examining the haplotypes of J1e found in North Africa and arabian peninsula, you will find a big relatedness.
      see Ydna arabworld project under FTDNA.

  7. J-M267 is older than any J2 sub groups, so it is reasonable that its presence in Europe and part of the NE Africa predates any possible movement of sedentary farmers out of Asia Minor or the Middle East. J-M267 was spread mostly by use of the Mediterranean Sea. The farmers, I don’t accept the Neolithic Demic Movement of Near Easterners into Europe, were overlanders moving from the Near East to Anatolia to the Balkans to Central Europe. It is in Central Europe that most of the old archeological finds of agricultural communities have been found in Europe not the Mediterranean countries where E and J higher in frequency. The Mediterranean, sorry Greece, Italy, parts of Yugoslavia and Spain are not very good for agriculture being mountainous and stoney. The Central European riverine basins are more highly suitable. The Neolithic Demic diffusion complies with the putative beliefs of a pre habitation of Europe by true European Whites and the invasion of Europe sometime later by Caucasoid Browns from the Middle East. Sorry don’t buy that revamped Nazi and Nordicist crap.

    J-M267 is Africa is complicated due to the muslim invasions of the 7th century overlaying movements of people out of the Middle East at other preveding times. Certainly the Galilee motif/Sana’a motif found in North Africans, and Europeans is due to the muslim invasions. The other J-M267 came into North Africa from NE Africa and the Middle East many thousands of years before the birth of Muhammad.
    According to Tofanelli’s report, no motif is found exclusively in any people, ethnic group, geography or even haplogroup as they can be found in J2 and I haplogroups, rendering those motifs unusable for genetic and geneological purposes. I don’t quite agree. There has been a lot of mixing, so motifs can be found in many people as the Cohen modal is found in Middle Easterners, North Africans and Europeans but it is still a major modal in Jewish Cohens as is the Galilee modal in Arabic speaking people.
    Egyptians are not a good source of people to study J-M267 as they are mostly of Middle Eastern origin.

    Tofanelli’s study was interesting showing as I suspected all the time, that J-M267 is more diverse in Europe, Asia Minor and Ethiopia than in most Africans or Asians. Diversity does not correlate with frequency.

  8. J – now that I look at other studies the haplogroup J seen in Sudan has lower diversity than that seen in other parts of Africa including Egypt (Moderate) and Ethiopia (Highly Diverse) Sudanese J had actually little diversity. Somewhat Surprising.

    • I think the J in the Sudan is the result of the Capsian populaiton expansion from the near East, it has a date in Africa of about 10-11k.

  9. ” When you bear in mind Arab culture is very patriarchal, I can’t understand how the non-Arab groups in the Sudan seem to have about the same amount of J1 as the Arab tribes in the Hassan study. ,,

    The usage of the term ( Arab ) is confusing in Sudan . of All the Sudanese groups , the Nubian and the so called Arabs of northern Sudan are the most similar groups , culturally and physically .

    The only difference is that they speak two different languages . however , the Arabic spoken by these tribes has borrowed a lot of its vocabulary from Nubian language especially names of agricultural instruments and many household items .

    I wasn’t surprised to see the similarities between northern Arabs of Sudan ( referred to as Gaaleen in Hassan et al ) and Nubians .
    By the way , in today’s racist Sudan , generally the northern Arabic speakers identify with their Nubian neighbors even more than they do with their southern Arabic speaking nomads of central Sudan ( Arakeen in Hassan et al ) .

  10. J-L24 (J2a4h) is an important subgroup of J2
    It has a wide distribution in the world.
    It is found
    - in India (particularly among Syrian-Jewish of Kerala)
    - in Iran
    - in the middle East :Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia (Particularly in Al-Ahsaa and Njad regions),
    in Emirates, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia (around 2% of the Tunisian population belongs to J-L24),
    Europe and the Americas.
    It seems to have a strong presnece among the three Monotheist religions(Jewish, Christians and Muslims)

    Albeit this wide distribution, there is still not scientific DNA research article
    taking in account this clade.
    You can find the J-L24 project here

    http://www.ftdna.com/public/j-l24-y-dna

    and J2-arab project: concerns all participants who belong to any clade of J2
    and who has a paternal ancestry from an arab country:

    http://www.ftdna.com/public/j2-arab

  11. So if I follow These studies :
    The J1 Arab Semitic tribes that settled in North Africa and who Arabized the Berbers were mostly concentrated in Algeria , Tunisia and Lybian (Tunisia : 31% Algeria : 35%) .
    They werent numberous at all in Morocco , and were a minority in Egypt (20% of J found) too, Although I think its logical , Egypt and Morocco had always been more inhabitted than Lybia , Tunisia and Algeria . Although Berber groups of Algeria are still genetically very Berber , only Arabic speaking groups are somehow mixed with Arab J1 Haplogroup.

    • The J1 Arab Semitic tribes that settled in North Africa

      Just to confuse everyone, a lot of the J1 is neolithic and pre-neolithic (Capsian). Still trying to figure out what is what.

  12. “They werent numberous at all in Morocco , and were a minority in Egypt (20% of J found) too, Although I think its logical , Egypt and Morocco had always been more inhabitted than Lybia , Tunisia and Algeria”
    It is not true that Egypt and Morocco had been more always inhabitted than Tunisia!
    The height percentage of J1 in Lybia, Tunisia and Algeria compared to Egypt and Morocco can be explained by the mass migration of nomad tribes (Benou Hilal and Benou Salim) afterwards the settlment of Fatimids in Egypt.

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