Dr. Wallace is now exploring the root of the mitochondrial tree. In the March 2000 American Journal of Human Genetics, he and colleagues identify the Vasikela Kung of the northwestern Kalahari desert in southern Africa as the population that lies nearest to the root of the human mtDNA tree. Another population that seems almost equally old is that of the Biaka pygmies of Central Africa.
The 7 European & American Daughters of Eve
Prof. Sykes and Oxford University researchers in England have identified seven ancestral matriarchal groups from which all Europeans appear to be descended. Every European can trace his or her evolutionary history back to the seven ancestral mother groups, also referred to as the Seven European Daughters of Eve. Sykes et al obtained buccal cells from 6,000 individuals and analyzed the samples using the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis. It is known that mtDNA mutates at a very slow rate, such as 1 mutation in every 10,000 generations or 20,000 years. So they figured that the women would have lived between 8,000 and 45,000 years ago. What is amazing is that all seven of the genetic groups appear to be descended from the Lara clan, one of three clans that still exist today in Africa. This is called the African Eve theory. It was proposed in the late 1980’s by Allan Wilson, Mark Stoneking and others. The African Eve theory states that all humans share a common African ancestor. Migration routes of the 7 daughters are at this site: http://www.oxfordancestors.com As of 2002, there are believed to be 36 distinct genetic groups worldwide.
From Patrick Guinness, “In mtDNA, there are a maximum of 14 mutations between all humans (so far). From the middle of them, there are 26 mutations between humans and neanderthals, and more when you look at the great apes. The experts say that we and neanderthals had an ancestor ~250,000 years ago.”
The Seven European Daughters of Eve matriarchal groups correspond to Dr. Wallace’s lineages above, and were given names by Prof. Sykes:
- Helena: (Greek for “light”) This clan’s descendants are the most numerous in Europe, having started 20,000 years ago from a hunting family in the Dordogne region of the ice-capped Pyrenees in southern France. As the climate warmed, Helena’s descendants trekked northward to what is now England, some 12,000 years ago. Members of this group are now present in all European countries.
- Jasmine: (Persian for “flower”) Her people had a relatively happy life in Syria 10,000 years ago, where they farmed wheat and raised domestic animals. Jasmine’s descendants arrived in Europe too late to experience the hardships of the Ice Age. Her clan brought agriculture into Europe.
- Katrine: (Greek for “pure”) lived 15,000 years ago near Venice. Her clan ventured north, but many are still to be found in the Alps. The 5000 year old IceMan was one of her descendants. Today most of Katrine’s clan live in the Alps.
- Tara: (Gaelic for “rock”) This clan settled in Tuscany in Northern Italy about 17,000 years ago when the hills were thick with forests. After the Ice Age, her clan moved into France and trekked across the dry land that was to become the English Channel into Ireland.
- Ursula: (Latin for “she-bear”) lived about 45,000 years ago in Northern Greece. She was slender and graceful and hunted with stone tools. Her clan spread across Europe including Britain and France.
- Valda: (Scandinavian for “ruler”) Originally from the hills of northern Spain, Valda and her immediate descendants lived 17,000 years ago and shared the land with Ursula’s clan. They spread out after the Ice Age, some of her clan becoming the Saami or Lapps of northern Finland and Norway.
- Xenia: (Greek for “hospitable”) lived 25,000 years ago on the plains beneath the Caucasus Mountains on the eastern edge of the Black Sea. As the Ice Age ended her clan spread to Europe and across Asia to America. [As Dr. Wallace discovered, the X pattern is a rare European lineage and is also among the northern Native Americans such as the Ojibwa and Sioux.]27 Step Daughters of Eve
The 27 Step Daughters of Eve
Oxford geneticist Bryan Sykes, author of The Seven Daughters Of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry just might have what it takes to become another Carl Sagan or Louis Leakey – that rare scientist with both the scientific skills and genius for self-promotion needed to make himself a household name.
Most importantly, though, Sykes has grasped a simple fact about population genetics that resounds emotionally with the average person, yet has largely eluded most learned commentators. Namely, genes are the stuff of genealogy. Each individual’s genes are descended from some people, but not from some other people. Thus, Sykes discovered, people often feel a sense of family pride and loyalty to others, living and dead, with whom they share some DNA.
Further, if you read between his lines, you can readily understand why – despite all the propaganda that “race does not exist” – humanity will never get over its obsession with race: Race is Family. A racial group is an extremely extended family that is inbred to some degree.
In fact, people are so interested in tracing their family connections that Sykes has gone into business for himself. He started a for-profit firm OxfordAncestors.com. “Discover your ancestral mother,” he advertises. For $220 he’ll trace your DNA (actually, a particular set of your specialized mitochondrial DNA) back to one of the seven Stone Age women who are the ancestors in the all-female line of 95% of all white Europeans.
BUT, If you happen to be from a non-European race, well, Sykes has got 27 other matrilineal clans sketchily worked out for you. Still, the Eurocentric, cashocentric Sykes tends to treat those non-Caucasian ancient mothers as if they were The Twenty-Seven Stepdaughters of Eve.
Specific mitochondrial haplogroups are typically found in different regions of the world, and this is due to unique population histories. In the process of spreading around the world, many populations—with their special mitochondrial haplogroups—became isolated, and specific haplogroups concentrated in geographic regions. Today, we have identified certain haplogroups that originated in Africa, Europe, Asia, the islands of the Pacific, the Americas, and even particular ethnic groups. Of course, haplogroups that are specific to one region are sometimes found in another, but this is due to recent migration.
A, B, C, & D: Haplogroups A, B, C, & D. Native American mtDNA Haplogroups. Also see mtDNA Haplogroup X.
F: Mitochondrial haplogroup F Information.
The Evidence of mtDNA Haplogroup F in a European Population and its Ethnohistoric Implications
H: Mitochondrial haplogroup H is a predominantly European haplogroup that participated in a population expansion beginning approximately 20,000 years ago. Today, about 30% of all mitochondrial lineages in Europe are classified as haplogroup H. It is rather uniformly distributed throughout Europe suggesting a major role in the peopling of Europe, and descendant lineages of the original haplogroup H appear in the Near East as a result of migration. Future work will better resolve the distribution and historical characteristics of this haplogroup. Bryan Sykes in his Seven Daughters of Eve book named this mtDNA haplogroup Helena.
HV: Mitochondrial haplogroup HV is a primarily European haplogroup that underwent an expansion beginning approximately 20,000 years ago. It is more prevalent in western Europe than in eastern Europe, and descendant lineages of the original haplogroup HV appear in the Near East as a result of more recent migration. One of the dominant mitochondrial haplogroups in Europe, haplogroup HV pre-dates the occurrence of farming in Europe. Future work will better resolve the distribution and historical characteristics of this haplogroup.
I: Principally a European haplogroup, haplogroup I is detected at very low frequency across west Eurasia with slightly greater representation in northern and western Europe. Given its wide, but sparse, distribution, it is likely that it was present in those populations that first colonized Europe. This hypothesis is supported by the estimate its age—approximately 30,000 years. Bonnie Schrack in her mtDNA Haplogroup I project named this mtDNA haplogroup Iris.
J*: The mitochondrial haplogroup J contains several sub-lineages. The original haplogroup J originated in the Near East approximately 50,000 years ago. Within Europe, sub-lineages of haplogroup J have distinct and interesting distributions. Haplogroup J* — the root lineage of haplogroup J — is found distributed throughout Europe, but at a relatively low frequency. Haplogroup J* is generally considered one of the prominent lineages that was part of the Neolithic spread of agriculture into Europe from the Near East beginning approximately 10,000 years ago. Bryan Sykes in his Seven Daughters of Eve book named this mtDNA haplogroup Jasmine.
J1b1: The mitochondrial haplogroup J contains several sub-lineages. The original haplogroup J originated in the Near East approximately 50,000 years ago. Within Europe, sub-lineages of haplogroup J have distinct and interesting distributions. Haplogroup J1b is found distributed in the Near East and southern Iberia, and may have been part of the original colonization wave of Neolithic settlers moving around the Mediterranean 6000 years ago or perhaps a lineage of Phoenician traders. Within haplogroup J1b, a derivative lineage haplogroup J1b1 has been found in Britain and another sub-lineage detected in Italy. Further research will better establish the relationship of these two geographically distant, yet evolutionarily related, haplogroups. Bryan Sykes in his Seven Daughters of Eve book named this mtDNA haplogroup Jasmine.
K: The mitochondrial super-haplogroup U encompasses haplogroups U1-U7 and haplogroup K. Haplogroup K is found through Europe, and contains multiple closely related lineages indicating a recent population expansion. The origin of haplogroup K dates to approximately 16,000 years ago, and it has been suggested that individuals with this haplogroup took part in the pre-Neolithic expansion following the Last Glacial Maximum. Bryan Sykes in his Seven Daughters of Eve book named this mtDNA haplogroup Katrine.
L1: Haplogroup L1 is found in West and Central sub-Saharan Africa. Some of its branches (L1d, L1k, L1a, L1f) were recently re-classified into haplogroup L0 as L0d, L0k, L0a and L0f. Haplogroup L1 arose with Mitochondrial Eve and haplogroup L0 is an offshoot. The descendants of haplogroup L1 are also African haplogroups L2 and L3, the latter of which gave rise to all non-African haplogroups. Haplogroup L1 is believed to have first appeared in Africa approximately 150,000 to 170,000 years ago.
L2: Haplogroup L2 is native to sub-Saharan Africa, where it is present in approximately one third of all people. It is believed to have arisen approximately 70,000 years ago from the line of haplogroup L1.
L3: Haplogroup L3 is confined to Africa and emigrant African populations. It is most common in East Africa. However, L3 is also the haplogroup from which the macro-haplogroups M and N are believed to have arisen. These two haplogroups are ancestral to all haplogroups outside Africa, and are believed to represent the initial migration by modern humans out of Africa.
M: Haplogroup M cluster has been characterized as generally of east Eurasia—a geographic region that includes south Asia, east Asia, and Australasia. One of the two deep roots of the mitochondrial tree of haplogroups found in Asia, haplogroup M dates to approximately 70,000 years ago. Interestingly, one of the sub-haplogroups of the M cluster, haplogroup M1, is found primarily in northern Africa, suggesting either a very early divergence from the root of haplogroup M or even migration back to Africa after the original dispersal into Eurasia. Future work will further document the historical distribution of this root haplogroup and closely related haplogroups within the M cluster.
N: Haplogroup N. The N superhaplogroup has been characterized as pan-Eurasian. Haplogroup N is one of the two major trunks emerging from the original African root, and dates to approximately 65,000 years ago. Interestingly, several sub-haplogroups of the N cluster—haplogroup N1 and derivative lineages—have been detected in the Near East, suggesting either early divergence near the root of haplogroup N or subsequent migrations back towards western Eurasia following the original dispersal into east Eurasia. Future work will further document the historical distribution of this root haplogroup and closely related haplogroups within the N cluster.
N1c: N1c specific mitochondrial haplogroups are typically found in different regions of the world, and this is due to unique population histories. In the process of spreading around the world, many populations—with their special mitochondrial haplogroups—became isolated, and specific haplogroups concentrated in geographic regions. Today, we have identified certain haplogroups that originated in Africa, Europe, Asia, the islands of the Pacific, the Americas, and even particular ethnic groups. Of course, haplogroups that are specific to one region are sometimes found in another, but this is due to recent migration.
T: Haplogroup T is believed to have lived around 17,000 years ago in Nothern Italy. Tara’s people would have come from the Near East, and her descendents spread all over Europe. Bryan Sykes in his Seven Daughters of Eve book named this mtDNA haplogroup Tara.
U2: Mitochondrial haplogroup U2.
Cyndi Rutledge’s mtDNA Haplogroup U2 Project
U5: The mitochondrial super-haplogroup U encompasses haplogroups U1-U7 and haplogroup K. Haplogroup U5, with its own multiple lineages nested within, is the oldest European-specific haplogroup, and its origin dates to approximately 50,000 years ago. Most likely arising in the Near East, and spreading into Europe in a very early expansion, the presence of haplogroup U5 in Europe pre-dates the expansion of agriculture in Europe. Haplogroup U5a1—a lineage within haplogroup U5—arose in Europe approximately 30,000 years ago, and is mainly found in northwest Europe. In the context of its rather ancient origin, the modern distribution of haplogroup U5a1 suggests that individuals bearing this haplogroup were part the initial expansion tracking the retreat of ice sheets from Europe. Bryan Sykes in his Seven Daughters of Eve book named this mtDNA haplogroup Ursula.
U6: The mitochondrial super-haplogroup U encompasses haplogroups U1-U7 and haplogroup K. Bryan Sykes in his Seven Daughters of Eve book named this mtDNA haplogroup Ursula.
U7: The mitochondrial super-haplogroup U encompasses haplogroups U1-U7 and haplogroup K. Haplogroup U7 has a Near Eastern origin approximately 30,000 years ago. Within Europe, it occurs at low frequency in the Caucasus. Bryan Sykes in his Seven Daughters of Eve book named this mtDNA haplogroup Ursula.
V: Bryan Sykes in his Seven Daughters of Eve book named this mtDNA haplogroup Velda.
W: Haplogroup W is a “daughter” of N and a “sister” of R, I, X, & A.
X: Haplogroup X is found in Europe and Asia, and is believed to have migrated to the Americas about 15,000 years ago, making up a very small component of the Native American population. Bryan Sykes in his Seven Daughters of Eve book named this mtDNA haplogroup Xenia.
A great deal of work has been done on other parts of the world in the past decade and it is very clear that there are plenty more clans than just the 7 Daughters of Eve in Europe. The precise definition of what makes a clan depends on having a very good sample of different countries. The present estimate is that there are at least 30 clans in the rest of the world of equivalent standing to the seven European clans. Fourteen of them in are found in Africa, six in Eastern Asia and four in native Americans. But some parts of the world have been only very sparsely studied so far and they just don’t know what to expect. For instance, it should’t be a surprise if they find several completely new clans among native Australians.