We ALL are of AFRICAN-Descent!
Published on Sep 23, 2014
The Genographic Project traces the human journey through time and space, from our origins in the heart of Africa to the ends of the world. Cutting edge science, coupled with a cast of New Yorkers, each with their own unique genetic history.
Your Ancestral Journey
The origin of our species lies in Africa: It’s where we first evolved and where we’ve spent the majority of our time on Earth. We have since migrated to every corner of the globe, a journey that is written in our DNA.
With the sample you sent us, we ran a comprehensive analysis to identify thousands of genetic markers—breadcrumbs—in your DNA, which are passed down from generation to generation. By looking at the order in which these markers occurred over time, we can trace the journey of your ancestors out of Africa. Furthermore, with these markers we have created a human family tree. Everyone alive today falls on a particular branch of this family tree. We have examined your markers to determine which branch you belong to. The results of our analysis—your personal journey—are outlined below.
Your Hominin Ancestry
(60,000 Years Ago and Older)
When our ancestors first migrated out of Africa around 60,000 years ago, they were not alone. At that time, at least two other species of hominin—our cousins—walked the Eurasian landmass: Neanderthals and Denisovans. As our modern human ancestors migrated through Eurasia, they encountered these hominin cousins and interbred, resulting in a small amount of Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA being introduced into the modern human gene pool.
Most non-Africans are about 2 percent Neanderthal and slightly less than 2 percent Denisovan. Both percentages are calculated using a sophisticated analytical method that looks at parts of your DNA that you share with these hominin populations. The science around this calculation is very new. Thanks to participation from citizens like you, we continue to learn more and refine this method. For this reason, your result may change slightly over time as our accuracy and understanding improves.
Your Deep Ancestry
(1,000 Years – 100,000 Years Ago)
Introduction to Your Story
We will now take you back through the stories of your distant ancestors and show how the movements of their descendants gave rise to your lineage.
Each segment on the map above represents the migratory path of successive groups that eventually coalesced to form your branch of the tree. We start with the marker for your oldest ancestor, and walk forward to more recent times, showing at each step the line of your ancestors who lived up to that point.
What is a marker? Each of us carries DNA that is a combination of genes passed from both our mother and father, giving us traits that range from eye color and height to athleticism and disease susceptibility. As part of this process, the Y-chromosome is passed directly from father to son, unchanged, from generation to generation down a purely male line. Mitochondrial DNA, on the other hand, is passed from mothers to their children, but only their daughters pass it on to the next generation. It traces a purely maternal line.
The DNA is passed on unchanged, unless a mutation—a random, naturally occurring, usually harmless change—occurs. The mutation, known as a marker, acts as a beacon; it can be mapped through generations because it will be passed down for thousands of years.
When geneticists identify such a marker, they try to figure out when it first occurred, and in which geographic region of the world. Each marker is essentially the beginning of a new lineage on the family tree of the human race. Tracking the lineages provides a picture of how small tribes of modern humans in Africa tens of thousands of years ago diversified and spread to populate the world.
By looking at the markers you carry, we can trace your lineage, ancestor by ancestor, to reveal the path they traveled as they moved out of Africa. Our story begins with your earliest ancestor. Who were they, where did they live, and what is their story?
Your Maternal Line
Age: 67,000 Years Ago
Location of Origin: East Africa
This woman’s descendants would eventually account for both out-of-Africa maternal lineages, significant population migrations in Africa, and even take part in the Atlantic Slave Trade related dispersals from Africa.
The common direct maternal ancestor to all women alive today was born in East Africa around 180,000 years ago. Dubbed “Mitochondrial Eve” by the popular press, she represents the root of the human family tree. Eve gave rise to two descendant lineages known as L0 and L1’2’3’4’5’6, characterized by a different set of genetic mutations their members carry.
Current genetic data indicates that indigenous people belonging to these groups are found exclusively in Africa. This means that, because all humans have a common female ancestor, and because the genetic data shows that Africans are the oldest groups on the planet, we know our species originated there.
Eventually, L1’2’3’4’5’6 gave rise to L3 in East Africa. It is a similar story: an individual underwent a mutation to her mitochondrial DNA, which was passed onto her children. The children were successful, and their descendants ultimately broke away from L1’2’3’4’5’6, eventually separating into a new group called L3.
While L3 individuals are found all over Africa, L3 is important for its movements north. Your L3 ancestors were significant because they are the first modern humans to have left Africa, representing the deepest branches of the tree found outside of that continent.
From there, members of this group went in a few different directions. Many stayed on in Africa, dispersing to the west and south. Some L3 lineages are predominant in many Bantu-speaking groups who originated in west-central Africa, later dispersing throughout the continent and spreading this L3 lineage from Mali to South Africa. Today, L3 is also found in many African-Americans.
Other L3 individuals, your ancestors, kept moving northward, eventually leaving the African continent completely. These people gave rise to two important macro-haplogroups (M and N) that went on to populate the rest of the world.
Why would humans have first ventured out of the familiar African hunting grounds and into unexplored lands? It is likely that a fluctuation in climate may have provided the impetus for your ancestors’ exodus out of Africa.
The African Ice Age was characterized by drought rather than by cold. Around 50,000 years ago the ice sheets of northern Europe began to melt, introducing a period of warmer temperatures and moister climate in Africa. Parts of the inhospitable Sahara briefly became habitable. As the drought-ridden desert changed to savanna, the animals your ancestors hunted expanded their range and began moving through the newly emerging green corridor of grasslands. Your nomadic ancestors followed the good weather and plentiful game northward across this Saharan Gateway, although the exact route they followed remains to be determined.
Age: About 60,000 Years Ago
Location of Origin: East Africa or Asia
Your next ancestor is the woman whose descendants formed haplogroup N. Haplogroup N comprises one of two groups that were created by the descendants of L3.
One of these two groups of individuals moved north rather than east and left the African continent across the Sinai Peninsula, in present-day Egypt. Also faced with the harsh desert conditions of the Sahara, these people likely followed the Nile basin, which would have proved a reliable water and food supply in spite of the surrounding desert and its frequent sandstorms.
Descendants of these migrants eventually formed haplogroup N. Early members of this group lived in the eastern Mediterranean region and western Asia, where they likely coexisted for a time with other hominids such as Neanderthals. Excavations in Israel’s Kebara Cave (Mount Carmel) have unearthed Neanderthal skeletons as recent as 60,000 years old, indicating that there was both geographic and temporal overlap of these two hominids. This likely accounts for the presence of Neanderthal DNA in people living outside of Africa.
Some members bearing mutations specific to haplogroup N formed many groups of their own which went on to populate much of the rest of the globe. These descendants are found throughout Asia, Europe, India, and the Americas. However, because almost all of the mitochondrial lineages found in the Near East and Europe descend from N, it is considered a western Eurasian haplogroup.
After several thousand years in the Near East, members of your group began moving into unexplored nearby territories, following large herds of migrating game across vast plains. These groups broke into several directions and made their way into territories surrounding the Near East.
Today, haplogroup N individuals who headed west are prevalent in Turkey and the eastern Mediterranean, they are found further east in parts of Central Asia and the Indus Valley of Pakistan and India. And members of your haplogroup who headed north out of the Levant across the Caucasus Mountains have remained in southeastern Europe and the Balkans. Importantly, descendants of these people eventually went on to populate the rest of Europe, and today comprise the most frequent mitochondrial lineages found there.
Ann Curry of the Today Show belongs to this lineage.
Age: About 55,000 Years Ago
Location of Origin: West Asia
After several thousand years in the Near East, individuals belonging to a new group called haplogroup R began to move out and explore the surrounding areas. Some moved south, migrating back into northern Africa. Others went west across Anatolia (present-day Turkey) and north across the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia and southern Russia. Still others headed east into the Middle East, and on to Central Asia. All of these individuals had one thing in common: they shared a female ancestor from the N clan, a recent descendant of the migration out of Africa.
The story of haplogroup R is complicated, however, because these individuals can be found almost everywhere, and because their origin is quite ancient. In fact, the ancestor of haplogroup R lived relatively soon after humans moved out of Africa during the second wave, and her descendants undertook many of the same migrations as her own group, N.
Because the two groups lived side by side for thousands of years, it is likely that the migrations radiating out from the Near East comprised individuals from both of these groups. They simply moved together, bringing their N and R lineages to the same places around the same times. The tapestry of genetic lines became quickly entangled, and geneticists are currently working to unravel the different stories of haplogroups N and R, since they are found in many of the same far-reaching places.
Age: Around 47,000 Years Ago
Location of Origin: West Asia
Descending from the R group, a woman gave rise to people who now constitute haplogroup U. Because of the great genetic diversity found in haplogroup U, it is likely that this woman lived around 47,000 years ago.
Her descendants gave rise to several different subgroups, some of which exhibit very specific geographic homelands. The very old age of these subgroups has led to a wide distribution; today they harbor specific European, northern African, and Indian components, and are found in Arabia, the northern Caucasus Mountains, and throughout the Near East.
One interesting subgroup is U6, which branched off from haplogroup R while still in the Middle East, moved southward, and today is found in parts of northern Africa. Today, U6 individuals are found in around ten percent of people living in North Africa.
Other members of the larger haplogroup U descend from a group that moved northward out of the Near East. These women crossed the rugged Caucasus Mountains in southern Russia, and moved on to the steppes of the Black Sea. These individuals represent movements from the Black Sea steppes west into regions that comprise the present-day Baltic States and western Eurasia. This grassland then served as the home base for subsequent movements north and west.
Today, this line is part of populations in Europe, West Asia (including Arabia), North Africa, India, and the North Caucasus Mountains. In Europe, this lineage averages 7 percent of the population. In Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, etc.) it is between 9 and 16 percent of the population. In England, it is about 12 percent of the population. Toward the Mediterranean, this line is between 10 and 12 percent of the population in Croatia and Greece.
Heatmap for U
This next step in your journey is a map showing the frequency of your haplogroup (or the closest haplogroup in your path that we have frequency information for) in indigenous populations from around the world, providing a more detailed look at where your more recent ancestors settled in their migratory journey. What do we mean by recent? It’s difficult to say, as it could vary from a few hundred years ago to a few thousand years ago depending on how much scientists currently know about your particular haplogroup. As we test more individuals and receive more information worldwide, this information will grow and change.
The colors on the map represent the percentage frequency of your haplogroup in populations from different geographic regions—red indicates high concentrations, and light yellow and grey indicate low concentrations. The geographic region with the highest frequency isn’t necessarily the place where the haplogroup originated, although this is sometimes the case.
The map of U shows that it is widespread in western Eurasia and North Africa. This spread began with the expansion of haplogroup U bearing populations out of West Asia during the Upper Paleolithic, prior to 12,000 years ago. It was the earliest lineage to reach Europe and is still one of the most common lines there today.
Does this mean you’re related to people in the areas highlighted on your map? Distantly, yes! We are all connected through our ancient ancestry. In order for us to learn more ancestry information about where haplogroups settled in more recent times, please choose to contribute your results to science (check the checkbox during Login or from the Account Settings tab of your Profile), and fill out your ancestry information in the Profile section of the site. Also be sure to tell your own story in the Our Story section.
Your Paternal Line
Age: More than 100,000 years old
Location of Origin: Africa
The common direct paternal ancestor of all men alive today was born in Africa between 300,000 and 150,000 years ago. Dubbed “Y- chromosome Adam” by the popular press, he was neither the first human male nor the only man alive in his time. He was, though, the only male whose Y-chromosome lineage is still around today. All men, including your direct paternal ancestors, trace their ancestry to one of this man’s descendants. The oldest Y-chromosome lineages in existence, belonging to the A00 branch of the tree, are found only in African populations.
Around 100,000 years ago the mutation named P305 occurred in the Y chromosome of a man in Africa. This is one of the oldest known mutations that is not shared by all men. Therefore, it marks one of the early splits in the human Y-chromosome tree, which itself marks one of the earliest branching points in modern human evolution. The man who first carried this mutation lived in Africa and is the ancestor to more than 99.9% of paternal lineages today. In fact, men who do not carry this mutation are so rare that its importance in human history was discovered only in the past two years.
As P305-bearing populations migrated around the globe, they picked up additional markers on their Y chromosomes. Today, there are no known P305-bearing individuals without these additional markers.
Age: About 80,000 Years Ago
Location of Origin: East Africa
Around 80,000 years ago, the BT branch of the Y-chromosome tree was born, defined by many genetic markers, including M42. The common ancestor of most men living today, some of this man’s descendants would begin the journey out of Africa to the Middle East and India. Some small groups from this line would eventually reach the Americas, while other groups would settle in Europe, and some would remain near their ancestral homeland in Africa.
Individuals from this line whose ancestors stayed in Africa often practice cultural traditions that resemble those of the distant past. For example, they often live in traditional hunter-gatherer societies. These include the Mbuti and Biaka Pygmies of central Africa, as well as Tanzania’s Hadza.
Age: About 70,000 years ago
Location of Origin: East Africa
When humans left Africa, they migrated across the globe in a web of paths that spread out like the branches of a tree, each limb of migration identifiable by a marker in our DNA. For male lineages, the M168 branch was one of the first to leave the African homeland.
The man who gave rise to the first genetic marker in your lineage probably lived in northeast Africa in the region of the Rift Valley, perhaps in present-day Ethiopia, Kenya, or Tanzania. Scientists put the most likely date for when he lived at around 70,000 years ago. His descendants became the only lineage to survive outside of Africa, making him the common ancestor of every non-African man living today.
Your nomadic ancestors would have followed the good weather and the animals they hunted, although the exact route they followed remains to be determined. In addition to a favorable change in climate, around this same time there was a great leap forward in modern humans’ intellectual capacity. Many scientists believe that the emergence of language gave us a huge advantage over other early humanlike species. Improved tools and weapons, the ability to plan ahead and cooperate with one another, and an increased capacity to exploit resources in ways we hadn’t been able to earlier allowed modern humans to rapidly migrate to new territories, exploit new resources, and replace other hominids such as the Neanderthals.
Age: About 60,000 years old
Location of Origin: Southwest Asia
This mutation is one of the oldest thought to have occurred outside of Africa and therefore marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of modern humans. Moving along the coastline, members of this lineage were some of the earliest settlers in Asia, Southeast Asia, and Australia.
But why would man have first ventured out of the familiar African hunting grounds and into unexplored lands? The first migrants likely ventured across the Bab-al Mandeb strait, a narrow body of water at the southern end of the Red Sea, crossing into the Arabian Peninsula and soon after developing mutation P143—perhaps 60,000 years ago. These beachcombers would make their way rapidly to India and Southeast Asia, following the coastline in a gradual march eastward. By 50,000 years ago, they had reached Australia. These were the ancestors of some of today’s Australian Aborigines.
It is also likely that a fluctuation in climate may have contributed to your ancestors’ exodus out of Africa. The African ice age was characterized by drought rather than by cold. Around 50,000 years ago, though, the ice sheets of the Northern Hemisphere began to melt, introducing a short period of warmer temperatures and moister climate in Africa and the Middle East. Parts of the inhospitable Sahara briefly became habitable. As the drought-ridden desert changed to a savanna, the animals hunted by your ancestors expanded their range and began moving through the newly emerging green corridor of grasslands.
Age: About 55,000 Years Old
Location of Origin: Southwest Asia
The next male ancestor in your ancestral lineage is the man who gave rise to M89, a marker found in 90 to 95 percent of all non- Africans. This man was likely born around 55,000 years ago in Middle East.
While many of the descendants of M89 remained in the Middle East, others continued to follow the great herds of wild game through what is now modern-day Iran, then north to the Caucasus and the steppes of Central Asia. These semiarid, grass-covered plains would eventually form an ancient “superhighway” stretching from France to Korea. A smaller group continued moving north from the Middle East to Anatolia and the Balkans, trading familiar grasslands for forests and high country.
Age: About 50,000 Years Old
Location of Origin: Southwest Asia
After settling in Southwest Asia for several millennia, humans began to expand in various directions, including east and south around the Indian Ocean, but also north toward Anatolia and the Black and Caspian Seas. The first man to acquire mutation M578 was among those that stayed in Southwest Asia before moving on.
Fast-forwarding to about 40,000 years ago, the climate shifted once again and became colder and more arid. Drought hit Africa and the Middle East and the grasslands reverted to desert, and for the next 20,000 years, the Saharan Gateway was effectively closed. With the desert impassable, your ancestors had two options: remain in the Middle East, or move on. Retreat back to the home continent was not an option.
Age: 18,900 – 44,500 Years Ago
Location of Origin: South Asia or West Asia
Geneticists have found this branch and its descendant lineages in North Africa, where it is 69 percent of male lineages in Tunisia, about 30 percent of male lineages in Egypt, and about 27 percent of male lineages in Sudan. In South Asia, it is 29 percent of male lineages in Pakistan, around 14 percent of male lineages in India, and about 19 percent of male lineages in Sri Lanka.
In Europe, this lineage is most common in Italy (30 percent), Spain (20 percent), and Portugal (18 percent).
Today, descendants of this line appear in the highest frequencies in the Middle East, North Africa, and Ethiopia, and at a much lower frequency in Europe, where it is observed exclusively in the Mediterranean area. Approximately 20 percent of the males in southern Italy carry the marker, along with 10 percent of men in southern Spain.
Age: 7,500 – 34,000 Years Ago
Location of Origin: West Asia
This man lived at the end of the Upper Paleolithic in the time of Kebaran culture. His people were among the wide traveling hunter- gatherers who were some of the earliest groups to collect and use cereal grains. The fertile land of the Levant and increasing utilization of grains set the stage in this region for the Neolithic Revolution.
The Neolithic Revolution pushed this man’s lineage to dominance in West Asia and triggered a population boom that helped descendants of this line expand across Eurasia. Over time, the many empires that rose and fell in West Asia carried successive waves of descendants across their Levant homeland and into new lands. This line is present in modern populations in Central Asia, Europe, and South Asia.
Today, the highest frequencies of this line remain in West Asia where it is about 67 percent of male lineages in Saudi Arabia, 47 percent of male lineages in Oman, and 46 percent of male lineages in Jordan. In Central Asia, it is around 9 percent of the male population in Azerbaijan and Afghanistan. It is about 4 percent of male lineages in Kazakhstan and about 2 percent of male lineages in Uzbekistan. In Europe, it is around 8 percent of the male population in Italy and Spain. It is between 3 and 4 percent of the male population in Germany. In South Asia, it is present at lower frequencies of around 1 percent in India and Sri Lanka, but it is about 6 percent of male lineages in Pakistan.
Age: To Be Determined
Location of Origin: West Asia
For most of their history, members of this lineage have remained in their West Asian homeland. More recently, some groups from this line have traveled to Europe and Central Asia.
Today, in Europe, it is present at trace frequencies of less than 1 percent in most populations. However, it is 1 to 2 percent of the male population in Spain and between 2 and 3 percent of the male population in Portugal. In Central Asia, it is 1 percent of male lineages in the Avars and Dargins of Dagestan. It is about 7 percent of Circassians’ male lineages.
In West Asia, it is about 8 percent of Kurdish populations. It is between 11 and 13 percent of male lineages among the Druze. It is about 33 percent of the Saudi Arabian male population. It is about 20 percent of Jewish Diaspora population groups.
Note: This branch is not accompanied by a major movement on the map, and research on this branch is continuing.
Heatmap for P58
This next step in your journey is a map showing the frequency of your haplogroup (or the closest haplogroup in your path that we have frequency information for) in indigenous populations from around the world, providing a more detailed look at where some of your more recent ancestors settled in their migratory journey. What do we mean by recent? It’s difficult to say, as it could vary from a few hundred years ago to a few thousand years ago, depending on how much scientists currently know about your particular haplogroup. As we test more individuals and receive more information worldwide, this information will grow and change.
The colors on the map represent the varying percentage frequencies of your haplogroup in populations from different geographic regions—red indicates high concentrations, and light yellow and grey indicate low concentrations. The geographic region with the highest frequency isn’t necessarily the place where the haplogroup originated, although this is sometimes the case.
You may find that your map shows a wide distribution for your haplogroup, with large portions of the world highlighted, or unusual places far from where you live. Does this mean you’re related to people in all of those places? Distantly, yes! We are all connected through our ancient ancestry.
In order for us to learn more ancestry information about where haplogroups settled in more recent times, please choose to contribute your results to science (check the checkbox during Login or from the Account Settings tab of your Profile), and fill out your ancestry information in the Profile section of the site. Also be sure to tell your own story in the Our Story section.
Your Regional Ancestry
(Present to 10,000 Years Ago)
We are all more than the sum of our parts, but the results below offer some of the most dramatic and fascinating information in your Geno 2.0 test. In this section, we display your affiliations with a set of nine world regions. This information is determined from your entire genome so we’re able to see both parents’ information, going back six generations. Your percentages reflect both recent influences and ancient genetic patterns in your DNA due to migrations as groups from different regions mixed over thousands of years. Your ancestors also mixed with ancient, now extinct hominid cousins like Neanderthals in Europe and the Middle East or the Denisovans in Asia. If you have a very mixed background, the pattern can get complicated quickly! Use the reference population matches below to help understand your particular result.
This component of your ancestry is found at highest frequencies in southern Europe and the Levant—people from Sardinia, Italy, Greece, Lebanon, Egypt and Tunisia in our reference populations. While not limited to these groups, it is found at lower frequencies throughout the rest of Europe, the Middle East, Central and South Asia. This component is likely the signal of the Neolithic population expansion from the Middle East, beginning around 8,000 years ago, likely from the western part of the Fertile Crescent.
This component of your ancestry is found at highest frequencies in India and neighboring populations, including Tajikistan and Iran in our reference dataset. It is also found at lower frequencies in Europe and North Africa. As with the Mediterranean component, it was likely spread during the Neolithic expansion, perhaps from the eastern part of the Fertile Crescent. Individuals with heavy European influence in their ancestry will show traces of this because all Europeans have mixed with people from Southwest Asia over tens of thousands of years.
This component of your ancestry is found at highest frequency in northern European populations—people from the UK, Denmark, Finland, Russia and Germany in our reference populations. While not limited to these groups, it is found at lower frequencies throughout the rest of Europe. This component is likely the signal of the earliest hunter-gatherer inhabitants of Europe, who were the last to make the transition to agriculture as it moved in from the Middle East during the Neolithic period around 8,000 years ago.
Note: In some cases regional percentages may not total 100%.
What Your Results Mean
We compared your DNA results to the reference populations we currently have in our database and estimated which of these populations were most similar to you in terms of the genetic markers you carry. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you belong to these groups, but that these groups were a similar genetic match, and can therefore be used as a guide to help determine why you have a certain result.
Remember, this is a mixture of recent (past six generations) and ancient patterns established over thousands of years, so you may see surprising matches. Read each of the population descriptions below to better interpret your particular results.
Your First Reference Population: Georgian
This reference population is based on samples collected from people living in the Republic of Georgia, in the Caucasus Mountains. Georgia was settled from the Middle East, largely during the Neolithic period as agriculture spread from it’s homeland in the Fertile Crescent into surrounding regions over the past 10,000 years. The 61% Mediterranean and 31% Southwest Asian components reflect this close connection to the Middle East. The 7% Northern European component likely reflects connections to ancient eastern European populations living north of the Caucasus.
Your Second Reference Population: Lebanese
This reference population is based on samples collected from the native population of Lebanon. As some ancient populations migrated from Africa, they passed first through Southwest Asia en route to the rest of Eurasia. Some populations stayed in the Middle East and southwestern Asia, over time developing unique genetic patterns. The 66% Mediterranean and 26% Southwest Asian components found in our reference Lebanese population reflect these ancient patterns. The 5% Northern European percentage is representative of some interaction with European populations, either via populations to the west or from migrations through the steppe zone to the east. The Silk Road also may have served to disperse east Asian genetic patterns further to the west. Finally, the 2% sub-Saharan African component reflects the relatively close proximity of Lebanon to Africa, and may have been increased by the Arab slave trade during the 8th-19th centuries.
Adopted from my results at: https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com
Adopted from: https://www.familytreedna.com