Eupedia Genetics

Eupedia Home > Genetics > Haplogroups (home) > Haplogroup Q

Haplogroup Q (Y-DNA)

Version française

Geographic distribution

Haplogroup Q is found predominantly in Central Siberia, Central Asia and among Native Americans. Approximately 90% of pre-Columbian Native Americans belonged to haplogroup Q, and all descend from the branch Q1a2a1 (L54), including various subclades of Q1a2a1a1 (M3) and Q1a2a1a2 (Z780). In Europe haplogroup Q is found chiefly in southern Sweden (5%), among Ashkenazi Jews (5%), and is various isolated pockets in central and Eastern Europe such as the Rhône-Alpes region of France, southern Sicily, southern Croatia, northern Serbia, parts of Poland and Ukraine. Šarić et al. (2013) also found 6.1% of haplogroup Q out of 412 samples from the island of Hvar in southern Croatia (accompanied by 2% of East Asian mtDNA haplogroup F).

Distribution of haplogroup Q in Europe

Distribution of haplogroup Q in Europe


  • Q1a (L472, MEH2) : found among the Koryaks of eastern Siberia
    • Q1a1 (F1096)
      • Q1a1a (F746)
        • Q1a1a1 (M120) : observed in Mongolia, Japan and India
      • Q1a1b (M25) : observed in Mongolia, Siberia, northern India, the Middle East, Italy and Ireland
        • Q1a1b1 (L712): found in Central & Eastern Europe (possibly Hunnic)
          • Q1a1b1a (L713)
    • Q1a2 (L56, M346): found in Kazakhstan, Russia, Armenia and Hungary (possibly Hunnic)
      • Q1a2a (L53): found among the Mongols
        • Q1a2a1 (L54)
          • Q1a2a1a (CTS11969)
            • Q1a2a1a1 (M3): the main subclade of Native Americans
            • Q1a2a1a2 (L804): found in Germany, Scandinavia and Britain (possibly Hunnic)
              • Q1a2a1a2a (L807): observed in Britain
            • Q1a2a1b (Z780): found among Native Americans, notably in Mexico
            • Q1a2a1c (L330): the main subclade of the Mongols, also found among the Kazakhs and Uzbeks, as well as in Ukraine, Turkey and Greece (probably Mongolian and Turkic)
      • Q1a2b (L940): found in Central Asia, Afghanistan, India, Russia, Georgia, Hungary, Poland and Germany
        • Q1a2b1 (L527): found almost exclusively in Scandinavia and places settled by the Vikings
        • Q1a2b2 (L938): observed in Anatolia, Lithuania, Britain and Portugal
          • Q1a2b2a (L939): observed in Britain
      • Q1a2c (M323)
  • Q1b (L275): found among the Tatars of Russia, in Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan
    • Q1b1 (M378): observed in Kazakhstan, India and Germany
      • Q1b1a (L245): found in the Middle East, among the Jews, in Central Europe and in Sicily
        • Q1b1a1 (L272.1): found in Sicily (probably Phoenician)

Click to enlarge Phylogenetic tree of haplogroup Q1a (Y-DNA) - Eupedia

Phylogenetic tree of haplogroup Q1b (Y-DNA) - Eupedia

Origins & History

Haplogroup Q is thought to have originated in Central Asia or North Asia during of shortly after the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, 26,000 to 19,000 years ago). Q descends from haplogroup P, which is also the ancestor of haplogroups R1a and R1b. Haplogroup Q quickly split into two main branches: Q1a and Q1b. The northern Q1a tribes expanded over Siberia as the climate warmed up after the LGM. Some Q1a crossed the still frozen Bering Strait to the American continent some time between 16,500 and 13,000 years ago. Q1b tribes stayed in Central Asia and later migrated south towards the Middle East.

Siberian & American Q1a

In Europe, haplogroup Q1a is believed to have been brought by the Huns, the Mongols and the Turks, who all originated in the Altai region and around modern Mongolia. Haplogroup Q has been identified in Iron Age remains from Hunnic sites in Mongolia by Petkovski et al. (2006) and in Xinjiang by Kang et al. (2013). Modern Mongols belong to various subclades of Q1a, including by order of frequency Q1a2a1c (L330), Q1a1a1 (M120), Q1a1b (M25) and Q1a2a* (L53).

Q1a is also the main paternal lineage of Native Americans. The testing of the genome of 12,600 year-old boy (known as Anzick-1) from Clovis culture in the USA confirmed that haplogroup Q1a2a1 (L54) was already present on the American continent before the end of the Last Glaciation. The vast maority of modern Native Americans belong to the Q1a2a1a1 (M3) subclade. As this subclade is exclusive to the American continent and the Anzick boy was negative for the M3 mutation, it is likely that M3 appeared after Q1a2a1 reached America.

The Huns in Sweden ?

Götaland and Gotland in southern Sweden now have the highest frequency of haplogroup Q in Europe (5%) and almost all of it belong to the Q1a2b1 (L527) subclade. The Romans reported that the Huns consisted of a small ruling elite and their armies comprised mostly of Germanic warriors. Gotland and Götaland is the presumed homeland of the ancient Goths. In the 1st century CE, some Goths migrated from Sweden to Poland, then in the 2nd century settled on the northern shores of the Black Sea around modern Moldova. The Huns conquered the Goths in the Pontic Steppe in the 4th century, forcing some of them to flee the Dnieper region and settled in the Eastern Roman Empire (Balkans). It would not be improbable that some Goths and Huns moved back to southern Sweden, either before invading the Roman Empire, or after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, displaced by the Slavic migrations to Central Europe. After all, even ancient people kept the nostalgia of their ancestral homeland and knew exactly where their ancestors a few hundreds years earlier came from.

Central Asian & Indo-Iranian Q1b

While Q1a is more Mongolian, Siberian and Native American, Q1b (L275) appears to have originated in Central Asia and migrated early to South Asia and the Middle East. The highest frequency of Q1b in Europe is found among Ashkenazi Jews (5%) and Sephardic Jews (2%), suggesting that Q1b was present in the Levant before the Jewish disapora 2,000 years ago. Q1b is also found in Lebanon (2%), and in isolated places settled by the Phoenicians in southern Europe (Crete, Sicily, south-west Iberia). This means that Q1b must have been present in the Levant at latest around 1200 BCE, a very long time before the Hunnic migrations. One hypothesis is that Q1b reached the Middle East alongside haplogroup R1a-Z93 with the Indo-Iranian migrations from Central Asia during the Late Bronze Age.

Q1b may almost certainly not one of the original lineages of Proto-Indo-European speakers of the Pontic-Caspian Steppe since it is almost completely absent from Balto-Slavic and Germanic countries. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to assume that Q1b was indigenous to Central Asia and was absorbed by the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-Europeans there during the Bronze Age Andronovo culture, then spread with the Indo-Aryans to India, Iran and the Near East. Q1b probably settled in the Levant at the same time as R1a-Z93, as both lineages are found among the Jews and the Lebanese and in places historically colonised by the Phoenicians. Autosomal analyses have confirmed that all Levantine people (Jews, Lebanese, Palestinians, Syrians) possess about 0.5% of Northeast Asian (Mongoloid) admixture. Since these populations lack Mongoloid mtDNA, the presence of Northeast Asian admixture can only be explained by the 2% of Q1b among Levantine men, the only paternal lineage of Mongoloid origin in the region.

Famous individuals

J. Robert Oppenheimer

According to commercial tests conducted by other members of the Jewish Oppenheimer family, the American theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967) belonged to haplogroup Q1b. Oppenheimer played a major role in the Manhattan Project and is considered one of the fathers of the atomic bomb.

Deepak Chopra in November 2006, speaking at Yahoo (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Deepak Chopra (b. 1947) is an Indian American author, public speaker, alternative medicine advocate, and a prominent figure in the New Age movement. He was revealed to belong to haplogroup Q1b-L275 by the PBS television series Finding Your Roots.

Tony Kushner (photo by The Laura Flanders Show - CC BY 3.0)

Tony Kushner (b. 1956) is an American playwright and screenwriter. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1993 for his play Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. He co-authored with Eric Roth the screenplay for the 2005 film Munich, and he wrote the screenplay for the 2012 film Lincoln, both critically acclaimed movies, for which he received Academy Award nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay. For his work, he received a National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama in 2013. The PBS television series Finding Your Roots mentioned that he carries a Y-haplogroup common among Asians and Native Americans and found in 6% of the Jews, which can only be haplogroup Q. All Jewish Q fall under the Q1b branch.

Read this article in other languages


Ask your questions and discuss about haplogroups on the Forum

Copyright © 2004-2017 All Rights Reserved.