Mitochondrial DNA haplotypes for dummies.

Mitochondrial DNA is a DNA that is only inherited from mother to child, and it tracks back to the most recent common female ancestor of all humans (Mitochondrial Eve). I have collected a few items from all over the net to explain the age of the haplotypes, their relationships and population affinities.

Mitochondrial DNA family tree..

Ages of the major Haplotypes.

These are the estimated dates, some of the oldest could be as much as 17,000 years out, the youngest a couple of thousand. It also varies from study to study.

  • L0                            170,000 years   African,  Mitochondrial EVE    
  • L1                            142,000 years   African 
  • L2                              92,000 years   African
  • L3                            100,000 years   African, out of Africa haplogroup.
  • N                               63,300 years   Europe                                                  (100k, my estimate)
  • M                               64,800 years    S W Asia into Asia, East Africa  (100k, my estimate)
  •                               32,300 years    Asia
  • R                                61,000 years   Near East
  • HV                             50,000 years    Europe
  • H                               40,000 years    Europe into the near East
  •                               13,600 years     Europe
  • T J                              50,000 years
  • J                                 34,400 years   Near East into Europe
  • T                                11,000 years   Near East into Europe
  • U                                51,700 years   Eurasia, now mostly in North Africa
  • CZ                              47,000 years   Eurasia
  •                                28,300 years    Asia into America
  • D                                33,300 years    Asia into America
  • K                                 15,000 years   Europe
  •                                 30,000 years     Eurasia
  •                                       ?                 South Asia and Pacific 
  • G                                      ?                  East Asia
  •                                50,000 years    South East Asia and Pacific
  • Z                                       ?                Central Asia
  •                                       ?                Aborigines
  • W                                      ?                 Northern Eurasia, rare in S E Asia
  • X                                30,000 years    Europe into America
  • Y                                        ?                Asia

Anyone reading the dates will notice they are all over the place. This is mainly because they are very very vague estimates, and I wouldn’t give you tuppence for their actual accuracy. However, saying that, some of the work on M1 in North Africa seems to show a passably close match for the population movements, generally not showing more than  10% out now. However, the date for H, which is one of the later mutations , is likely over 40k old, as the 28k old Pagalicci Co Magnon remains are type  H, and H5 is estimated at 45k old. If you consider this, it makes the OOA date at 40k so often seen in print pretty impossible, and suggests the estimates for groups like M and N are probably much older than I’ve put down here.

Going out on a very small limb, I’ll suggest that the OOA date is probably a lot closer to 100,000 to 120,000 years old, and that L3 was the only only haplotype to leave Africa, This is suggested by the fact neither N nor M have an apparent origin in Africa, which means L3 has to have made it into Asia. This would make my guesstimate for N and M more like 100k. Which isn’t as outrageous as it first seems, as one M type in SE Asia was dated to 87,000 years old, and Cavalli Sforza dates the separation of Africans from non Africans to about 146,000 years ago, and another genetics study has come up with 120,000 years.

Maps of known distribution and movements…

Ignore that haplotype X seems to come over from Asia on this map. There’s no evidence at all that it did, and it’s a daughter clade of the haplotype X you find in Western Europe, so it probably came over the Atlantic.

And a closer look at Europe

And Africa.

And the Americas.

As yet, I am unable to find a map for Asia.

2 responses to “Mitochondrial DNA haplotypes for dummies.

  1. Hi 🙂

    Congratulate for good web.
    Could You tell me from where You took Europe mtDNA map?
    I interesting with the rest of countries 🙂

    Kaz 😉

  2. I have a question–I participated in the Genographic project by National Geographic, and the results are Haplogroup X. I am confused, since every family tree has my ancestors coming from England. Does this mean that one ancestor traveled over from Asia many, many years ago? Thanks for helping me! Annie

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