Human mitochondrial DNA haplogroup

Hypothesized world map of human migrations, with the North Pole at center. Africa, harboring the start of the migration, is at the top left and South America at the far right. Migration patterns are based on studies of mitochondrial (matrilinear) DNA. Letters represent haplogroups while colors and numbers represent thousands of years before present.
Suggested migratory route of the "Out of Africa" migration according to Mitochondrial DNA

In human genetics, a human mitochondrial DNA haplogroup is a haplogroup defined by differences in human mitochondrial DNA. Haplogroups are used to represent the major branch points on the mitochondrial phylogenetic tree. Understanding the evolutionary path of the female lineage has helped population geneticists trace the matrilineal inheritance of modern humans back to human origins in Africa and the subsequent spread around the globe.

The letter names of the haplogroups (not just mitochondrial DNA haplogroups) run from A to Z. As haplogroups were named in the order of their discovery, they (meaning the accidental dictionary ordering of the letters) do not reflect the actual genetic relationships.

The hypothetical woman at the root of all these groups (meaning just the mitochondrial DNA haplogroups) is the matrilineal most recent common ancestor (MRCA) for all currently living humans. She is commonly called Mitochondrial Eve.

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Evolutionary relationship

Human migrations and mitochondrial haplogroups.PNG

Lineage perspective

This phylogenetic tree is based on the Van Oven 2009 tree[1] and subsequent published research.

Table perspective

Phylogenetic tree of human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroups

  Mitochondrial Eve (L)    
L0 L1–6
L1 L2 L3   L4 L5 L6
  M   N  
CZ D E G Q   O A S   R   I W X Y
C Z B F R0   pre-JT P  U

Chronological development of haplogroups

European haplogroups

While Bryan Sykes claimed there were seven "daughters" – or major mitochondrial lineages – among modern Europeans, other scientists now put the number at 10–12. The additional "daughters" are generally said to include haplogroups I, M and W. A 2012 paper suggested that the haplogroups most common in modern European populations were: H, J, K, N1, T, U4, U5, V, X and W.[2]

Since a single mutation may define a haplogroup, the total number of "European mtDNA haplogroups" – even if they are defined only as those mentioned above and their descendant clades – is ultimately subjective, could theoretically number in the millions, and be continually increasing.

Haplogroup Possible time of origin Possible place of origin Highest frequencies
N 75,000 years ago Western Asia, or India
R 70,000 years ago Western Asia or India
U 60,000 years ago North-East Africa or India (South Asia)
pre-JT 55,000 years ago Middle East
JT 50,000 years ago Middle East
U5 50,000 years ago Western Asia
U6 50,000 years ago North Africa
U8 50,000 years ago Western Asia
pre-HV 50,000 years ago Near East
J 45,000 years ago India or Near East or Caucasus
HV 40,000 years ago Near East
H over 35,000 years ago Western Asia
X over 30,000 years ago north-east Europe
U5a1 30,000 years ago Europe
I 30,000 years ago Caucasus or north-east Europe
J1a 27,000 years ago Near East
W 25,000 years ago north-east Europe or north-west Asia
U4 25,000 years ago Central Asia
J1b 23,000 years ago Near East
T 17,000 years ago Mesopotamia
K 16,000 years ago Near East
V 15,000 years ago Iberia and moved to Scandinavia
H1b 13,000 years ago Europe
K1 12,000 years ago Near East
H3 10,000 years ago Western Europe (Spain)

African haplogroups


Asian haplogroups

F, C, W, M, D, N, K, U, T, A, B, C, Z, U many number variants to each section

See also


  1. van Oven M, Kayser M (February 2009). "Updated comprehensive phylogenetic tree of global human mitochondrial DNA variation". Human Mutation. 30 (2): E386–94. doi:10.1002/humu.20921. PMID 18853457.
  2. "Disuniting Uniformity: A Pied Cladistic Canvas of mtDNA haplogroup H in Eurasia"
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