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Haplogroup J1 (Y-DNA)

Haplogroup J1 (Y-DNA) - Eupedia

Author: Maciamo.


Haplogroup J1 is a Middle Eastern haplogroup, which probably originated in eastern Anatolia, near Lake Van in central Kurdistan. Eastern Anatolia being the region where goats, sheep and cattle were first domesticated in the Middle East, haplogroup J1 is almost certainly linked to the expansion of pastoralist lifestyle throughout the Middle East and Europe.

Geographic distribution

Distribution of haplogroup J1 in Europe, the Middle East & North Africa

Distribution map of haplogroup J1

Frequencies og haplogroup J1 in Europe and West Asia tend to vary considerably from one regional community to the next. The highest local percentages in Europe are found in Greece, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal and hardly ever exceed 5% of the population. However Italy, France and Spain also have areas where J1 appears completely absent. Even in northern Europe, where the nation-wide frequencies are below 0.5%, very localised pockets of J1 have been observed in Scotland, England, Belgium, Germany and Poland. Larger sample sizes are needed to get a clearer picture of the distribution of J1 in Europe.

Surpisingly, even in the Caucasus and in Anatolia, the region where this haplogroup is thought to have originated, there are wide discrepancies between regions. For example, the Kubachi and Dargins from Dagestan in the Northeast Caucasus have over 80% of J1 lineages, while in their Ingush neighbours, 200 km to the north, it barely reaches 3%. East Anatolia around Lake Van sees over 30% of J1, whereas south-west Anatolia has only 2%. Even within Kurdistan frequencies vary greatly. The small sample sizes for each region is surely to blame.

In Arabic countries, J1 climaxes among the Marsh Arabs of South Iraq (81%), the Sudanese Arabs (73%), the Yemeni (72%), the Bedouins (63%), the Qatari (58%), the Saudi (40%), the Omani (38%) and the Palestinian Arabs (38%). High percentages are also observed in the United Arab Emirates (35%), coastal Algeria (35%), Jordan (31%), Syria (30%), Tunisia (30%), Egypt (21%) and Lebanon (20%). Most of the Arabic J1 belongs to the J1c3 variety.


Phylogenetic tree of haplogroup J1 (Y-DNA) - Eupedia The above tree was created mostly with the data from the Haplogroup J Project at Family Tree DNA, with some additional deep subclades from Victar Josef Mas' phylogenetic tree.

J1 can be divided in two main groups: the very large J1-P58 subclade, and the other branches of J1.

J1-P58 (J1b2 on the ISOGG tree, formerly known as J1c3) is by far the most widespread subclade of J1. It is a typically Semitic haplogroup, making up most of the population of the Arabian peninsula, where it accounts for approximately 40% to 75% of male lineages. The dominant lineage in the Arabian peninsula is J1-L147.1. The numerous subclades downstream of L858 represent the tremendous expansion of J1 lineages linked to the propagation of Islam and the Arabic language from Saudi Arabia from the 7th century CE.

L147.1 is also the Cohen Modal Haplotype. Roughly half of all Cohanim belong to the L147.1 subclade. In the Hebrew Bible the common ancestor of all Cohens is identified as Aaron, the brother of Moses.

J1-P58 is thought to have expanded from eastern Anatolia to the Levant, Taurus and Zagros mountains and the Arabian peninsula at the end of the last Ice Age (12,000 years ago) with the seasonal migrations of pastoralists. Arabic speakers recolonised the Arabian peninsula in the Bronze Age from the north-west of the peninsula, close to modern Jordan. The rise of Islam in the 7th century CE played a major part in the re-expansion of J1 from Arabia throughout the Middle East, as well as to North Africa, and to a lower extent to Sicily and southern Spain.

  • J1-L147.1 is the main Arabic cluster as well as the Cohanim haplotype (YCAII=22-22) among Jews.
    • J1-L444 is a small Arabic subclade defined by DYS531=12.
    • Both L616 (aka L615) and L859 share an STR value for DYS485 around 14.
    • J1-Z640 (aka Z641 or Z644) is mostly a European subclade, although it has been found also in Turkey and in the Arabian peninsula. Z640+ members typically have DYS561=14. Its subclade L174.1 can be identifed by the STR value DYS594=11.
    • J1-L1253 corresponds to DYS557>18. It appears to be limited to Britain and Ireland.
    • J1-L823 corresponds to DYS452=30.
    • J1-L1279 corresponds to DYS497=16.
  • J1-L817 is a major Jewish cluster, also defined by L818 and DYS392=13. Some members belong to its subclade L816.
  • J1-L93 (aka L92.1) and J1-L386 are both defined by DYS446=13. L93 has a DYS641 value smaller or equal to 10. L386 can be identified by YCAIIa=17.

Other subclades of J1 are less well studied due to their much lower frequencies. Most of the J1 in the Caucasus, Anatolia and Europe is of the non-J1-P58 variety. Other types of J1 most probably spread to Europe during the Neolithic. J1 is particularly common in mountainous regions of Europe (with the notable exception of the Alps and the Carpathians), like Greece, Albania, Italy, central France, and the most rugged parts of Iberia (Asturias, Cantabria, Castile-La Mancha) as well as those with the highest density of Neolithic settlements (Portugal and Andalusia).

As of early 2013:

  • J1-Z2223 matches the STR value DYS446=12. It has been found in Anatolia, Germany and in the British Isles.
  • J1-M365.1 has been only found in very low frequencies in Western Europe (Western Iberia, French Pyrenees, Belgium and England) and northern Iran. It may have been a minor lineage of Neolithic farmers/stockbreeders.
  • J1-L136 lineages negative for P56 or P58 are generally restricted to Europe. L136* is found in Eastern, Central and Mediterranean Europe. It also probably has a Neolithic origin.
    • J1-P56 is a minor Arabic cluster found on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia and Yemen. It can be identified by the STR value DYS641=11.
  • J1-Z1828 is defined by the STR values DYS436=11 and DYS388<15. This is the second most common top level subclade after J1-P58. It is particularly frequent around the Taurus and Zagros mountains and in the Caucasus, but has also been found at low frequencies in western Turkey, Greece, South Italy, Central Europe, France, and the British Isles. The L1189 subclade seems to be mostly European, while the Z1842 subclade is chiefly restricted to the Caucasus, Zagros and Taurus.
  • J1-M62 is an isolated lineage found in a Crimean Tatar of Uzbekistan (probably a private SNP).

Z2223, M365.1, L136 and Z1828 could all have been minor lineages accompanying the main Neolithic haplogroup G2a. That would explain their very wide geographic distribution and low frequency outside their region of origin.

Like haplogroup G, J1 might have been of the principal lineages to bring domesticated animals to Europe. Both G and J1 reach their maximal frequencies in the Caucasus, some ethnic groups being almost exclusively J1 (Kubachis, Kaitaks, Dargins, Avars), while others have extremely high levels of G (Shapsugs, North Ossetians). Most of the ethnic groups in the North Caucasus have between 20 and 40% of each haplogroup, which are by far their two dominant haplogroups. In the South Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan), haplogroup J2 comes into the admixture and is in fact slightly higher than either J1 or G. Most of the Caucasian J1 is at present J1*, meaning that at present no common SNP has been identified that could form a new subclade. Armenia stands out of the lot by having a substantial J1c3d minority (at least one third of all J1, i.e. roughly 4% of the population).


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