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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

R1b1b2a1: Neolithic or what?


I found at Dienekes the reference of a new paper on R1b1b2, focused on demonstrating (quite forcibly) that the lineage is Neolithic and not Paleolithic. Dienekes is, of course, happy that they chose to use his favorite (but rather disliked in the field) molecular clock methodology: the one based on the pedigree mutation rate, which make all haplogroups look extremely recent.

Patricia Balaresque et al. A Predominantly Neolithic Origin for European Paternal Haplogroups. PLoS Biology 2010. Open access. I'm provding a link to PubMed Central because at the time of writing this the original link remained broken.

I am not really happy: the pedigree rate can't be used for ages older than 5000 years (and all dates reported in this paper are clearly older) and, anyhow, the highly hypothetical molecular clock methodologies are anything but helpful when they become the main theme of a "research" paper.

I am not happy either because instead of using the already known SNP-based phylogeny of the haplogroup, they choose to treat the whole haplogroup as a single amorphous clade, when it is clearly structured. This isn't very helpful either.

Finally I am not happy either because they treat (again) the process of Neolithic spread in Europe as a single phenomenon, when it is in fact a complex array of various cultures, notably two different main vectors: one via the Morava-Danube and another via the Mediterranean coast. Both with origins not in Anatolia directly but in the Balcans. They ignore all these archaeological facts rather insultingly.

However for those who like to dig in the raw data, instead of just jumping to the too often biased and misleading conclusions, the paper still has some interest.

Notably I found figure 3 (haplotype structure) quite interesting. Here you have it with a crucial annotation for better understanding:

Click to expand

The crucial annotation is of course marking (with a dark red line) what is not part of R1b1b2a1, which is, as you can see a single branch of the star-like structure, but, unlike the others, is clearly not part of the fundamentally European haplogroup R1b1b2a1. Part of it is at the root of R1b1b2 and R1b1b2a but the rest of sub-branches must be derived, representing a distinct process centered in Turkey and nearby areas.

I dwelt on this matter in a previous post, so I'm not going to go all over it again here. Just for a quick reference a copy of the graph I posted then, showing major haplotypes and their relation with the various layers of the haplogroup:

Click to expand. Based on Alonso-2005.
DYS are 19-390-391-392-393.

As you can easily see most of the Turkish diversity belongs to the R1b1b2(xR1b1b2a1) part of the haplogroup structure. And sure I don't doubt that Anatolia or somewhere nearby is at the ultimate origin of R1b1b2. But there is a sharp distinction between that and what we find in Europe, which almost exclusively belongs to R1b1b2a1, a very specific sublineage.

And a sublineage that is very much ramified in a star-like structure, implying rapid demic expansion. When? That is not really the crucial issue as I see it. "Where?" should be the first question and a question that no paper has yet dealt with from the viewpoint of R1b1b2a1 on its own right.

In the past the lack of knowledge of the structure of the haplogroup may have served as excuse but not anymore. In fact any self-respecting geneticist should look at that SNP-based structure before dealing with STR-based haplotypes and take good notice of the distinctions.

And, if not, why not to include R1b1b1 (Central Asian) or even R1b1a (Italy and Africa mostly) and other R1b*? It is an arbitrary choice, poorly justified.

But, well, what do we get from this data set after we scrap off the extreme bias? For those who enjoy dealing with haplotypes in detail there is a long list in the supplementary material, which duly processed may provide very useful information.

I have not the time nor the resources to do that, so I have done something much simpler but also very informative: count the haplotypes by region as defined in figure 3 (above). Sadly France (incl. Basques), Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, England (incl. Cornwall) and Ireland are all dumped together in the category "other" ("West Europe" hereafter). Unlike the authors I do make the important distinction of what is R1b1b2a1 and what is not.

Follows the number of haplotypes by region and phylogenetic category (manual count so subject to minor error maybe):

R1b1b2(xR1b1b2a1):
  • Turkey: 37
  • West Europe: 20
  • Iberia: 8
  • Balcans: 2
  • Italy: none
R1b1b2a1:
  • West Europe: 198
  • Iberia: 90
  • Turkey: 13
  • Italy: 11
  • Balcans: 6
What does this say? That even between perfectly comparable regions such as Turkey, Italy and Iberia, the highest diversity for R1b1b2a1 is in the West. If you look again at figure 3 you'll notice that most Turkish haplotypes of this clade are derived from European ones, what implies back-migration after the formation and spread of R1b1b2a1, which must have happened in Western or Central Europe.

When did this happen? I am not sure but I have some things clear:

The structure of R1b1b2 does not correspond at all with what one would expect from a demic spread from the Balcans (not Anatolia directly) through two clearly distinct pathways, one to the Danube and Central Europe and the other through Italy to SE France and Iberia. Neither the Balcans nor Italy look particularly central nor we see two differentiated founder effects but only one.

Also the distribution of R1b1b2a1 in a cline that is, as the authors of this paper shamelessly admit, totally the inverse of what one could expect of a demic spread from SE Europe.

The structure of R1b1b2a1 in fact strongly suggests a spread from somewhere in the region described as "Other" and or Iberia, i.e. in Magdalenian Europe. This is in full agreement with the generally accepted theory that R1b1b2a1 spread from the Franco Cantabrian region after the Last Glacial Maximum, along with Magdalenian culture. It could have other explanations (Epipaleolithic flows, older Upper Paleolithic cultural dispersals like Gravettian or Aurignacian) but it just cannot fit within a Neolithic frame. No way!

How did it back-migrate to Anatolia? Possibly with the people who carried the rock art fashion to southern Turkey (Beldibi), which may have an offshoot also at Egypt, where some R1b1b2 is also found, as well as related haplogroup R1b1a. The exact process is still somewhat uncertain anyhow.

Sadly enough the authors have missed an opportunity to analyze the regional structure of this haplogroup in Europe. Hopefully someone else will eventually do it, helping to clarify the matter. The raw data is anyhow there for whoever wants to do it.


Update: a much more realistic geographic analysis of the diversity at the two different phylogenetic levels (by Aargiedude) can be found at this new post.

42 comments:

waggg said...

I'm no expert at all, but don't you think the "european" Lactase persistence mutation (T13910) fits well with R1s and particularly with R1b1s (even with the African R1b1a, actually) and their mtDNA companions whatever they were, exactly.

http://www.buildinghistory.org/distantpast/images/LactasePfrom13910T.jpg

If it does, it probably have implications on the ancient nature of this population.

Maju said...

It doesn't fit bad in fact. However I don't think it was generated by some Neolithic wave as such, otherwise it'd be more common in SE Europe or West Asia.

Actually there was a study that found that real Neolithic Europeans (in Central Europe) did not have the LP allele.

I think it has one of either two explanations:

1. Random mutation (like Rh- or whatever other nonsense mutation) later exploited in Neolithic times. This is not as odd as it may look: all adaptative mutations began as nonsense random ones... until they were found an utility.

... or...

2. Magdalenians actually domesticated the horse first of all and exploited its milk before Neolithic proper arrived. This was once a much debated matter but has fallen out of favor lately. However many Magdalenian age sculptures show what look like reins on hose heads.

There was also some archaeological study that found traces of milk in containers of either Switzerland or Austria dated again to before the official Neolithic start point (8th milennium BCE, I think).

So yeah, they look related (or with mtDNA H maybe too) but what looks more like that map is not a haplogroup but the area of Magdalenian influence. Otherwise Scandinavia would be less intense, while Italy and maybe North Africa would be more instead.

And what about the Karachi area? Uh?

Ken said...

According to this GNXP comment the distribution fits right into a theoretical model.

Maju said...

Well, I'm already heatedly (and exhaustingly) discussing with Vincent at Dienekes'. I don't need another front. Enjoy.

Maju said...

But Joe Walker makes a common sense comment above (#5) that is relevant for the caveat of Waggg:

If most Western Europeans are descended from Middle Eastern farmers then doesn't it seem odd that celiac disease is very common in Western and Northern European populations such as the Irish? I find it difficult to believe that an inability to process wheat gluten would be common in Middle Eastern farmers.

^^

terryt said...

I'm inclined to agree with you and others who claim a pre-Neolithic arrival of R1b1b2 in Europe. After all it survives in considerable numbrs at the western geographic extreme.

We can easily extract the relative dates for diversification but we have difficulty assigning specific dates. In fact I suspect we might be able to get some idea by considering it's survival along the Atlantic coast from early times. I'd guess the P312 SNP (R1b1b2a1a2) is older than the formation of the English Channel, 8-10,000 years ago. This isolated the haplogroups and allowed fixation into the Basque R1b1b2a1a2b and the Western Irish R1b1b2a1a2f (for example).

If you look at the SNPs since that separation you may be able to extend the results back. Not accurate I know, but could be an interesting excercise.

German Dziebel said...

I also agree with your interpretation, Luis. I still don't get how come you and others can't see the same situation between the New World and the Old World. I hope you finally can see for yourself that genetic papers tend to get things in reverse from what's actually happened. They do so using such misleading measurements as diversity levels and molecular clock, instead of more realistic ones such as haplogroup frequency and geographic range.

Maju said...

Terry: not sure what you mean exactly but, as someone posted somewhere else: first thing is to get SW Europe and not just sample it but find SNPS and understand at least the basic structure under R1b1b2a1, which nowadays still has blanks.

You can't discuss prehistory or even history in Europe while ignoring France and surroundings.

...

German:

They are two different things: here the phylogeny is mostly clear and the discussion is about the timeframe. In America also the phylogeny is clear but you want to change it to your convenience. You're trying to cheat science and that's a no-no.

German Dziebel said...

"You're trying to cheat science and that's a no-no."

I'm a scientist and sometimes we need to do painful surgeries. The phylogeny is indeed very clear if you remove a bias against America.

Maju said...

Don't hallucinate. What bias other than yours?

German Dziebel said...

You just witnessed how a genetics paper got migrations on reverse. You don't believe your own eyes, I suppose.

Maju said...

No.

First there is no discrepancy between the authors and me on the ultimate sense of the migration. I agree that R1b1b2 is probably of Anatolian origin and that the European branch is derived.

What I disagree is that it matters at all because the important demic expansion happened only at the R1b1b2a1 stage, as it's obvious for the trained and I have exposed here. They should have been careful and dealt first with the SNP-based phylogeny and only then use STR methods to fill in the blanks. That would have been a good and informative work.

I also disagree with their almost total reliance on the molecular clock conjecture (and worse: in a version of it), that is a very confusing and misleading fashion among too many geneticists and aficionados. Because the MC methods have never been sufficiently demonstrated and nevertheless they dare to present them as if that was hard science, something like radiocarbon dating (which has been demonstrated once and again and is very accurate).

I also wish we had a C14 of genetics but nope.

Ken said...

The Irish also have larger teeth than other Europeans.

terryt said...

"not sure what you mean exactly"

How many SNPs between P312 and the defining M153 defining mutation? If there are several the number may be usable as some sort of MC because it separates M153 from L21.

"You can't discuss prehistory or even history in Europe while ignoring France and surroundings".

Yes. France is most important.

"understand at least the basic structure under R1b1b2a1, which nowadays still has blanks".

I've put up an observation or two at Dienekes. Obviously based on the situation as we can understand it through the information we have.

German Dziebel said...

"First there is no discrepancy between the authors and me on the ultimate sense of the migration. I agree that R1b1b2 is probably of Anatolian origin and that the European branch is derived."

Then how did it leapfrog from Anatolia to West Europe? Another mysterious coastal route?

terryt said...

"If there are several the number may be usable as some sort of MC because it separates M153 from L21".

Sorry. I've just followed your link to the SNP-based structure and see there's only one or two SNPs involved. Insufficient to use as a MC. Does suggest that the split between M153 and L21 is relatively recent though.

"Then how did it leapfrog from Anatolia to West Europe?"

In the form of R1b1b2a, R1b1b2a1, then R1b1b2a1a whereupon it slit into two: a northern and southern variety. The above haplogroups are now not common so presumably they have been drifted out, by later migrations through the region between Anatolia and Western Europe. However I approve of the comment:

"Another mysterious coastal route?"

The fact that major haplogroups in Australia (Y-hap C, mtDNA N) are minor haplogroups in India, and that major haplogroups in India (Y-hap F, mtDNA M) are minor haplogroups in Australia requires some explaining. Especially if we are to accept the great southern coastal migration as being anything other than a gross oversimplification of what actually happened. Simple drift or founder effect cannot adequately explain the difference, in my opinion.

To me it seems reasonable to take it that mtDNA N arrived first in Australia, and filled the continent up. Members of mtDNA M present in Australia arrived later, rather than being a remnant population 'drifted out'.

Likewise for India. MtDNA M, as the major line, probably arrived first and filled up the subcontinent. MtDNA N, especially in the form of R, arrived later.

Y-haps: C is the most common Y-hap line in Australia. But C is very uncommon in India. And C's presence there can most easily be explained as being immigrant, rather than being a remnant population 'drifted out'.

When we look at F in Australia we find only downstream K-derived haplogroups. Drifted out from the original population? More like a second lot of immigrants.

German Dziebel said...

This is a very intriguing observation, Terry. In the Americas, mtDNA haplogroup A seems to be a newcomer in South America, while X doesn't stretch past North America. Both are related as members of macrohaplogroup N. Y-DNA Q is pervasive from the Subarctic to South America, while C is only found in North America (although like mtDNA X pretty broadly and diffusely).

What surprises me is that mtDNA M and N and Y-DNA C and F everywhere coexist outside of Africa and Europe, especially in such "refugia" as India, Australia and America. I doubt, therefore, that one is older than the other. It's rather both clades are equally old in those areas, it's just one dominated the other one way or the other, which resulted in the depletion of, say, more M in Australia and more N in India. And, as you know, my theory is that Europe and Africa are the colonized areas.

German Dziebel said...

"In the form of R1b1b2a, R1b1b2a1, then R1b1b2a1a whereupon it slit into two: a northern and southern variety."

(I'm looking at Fig. 3 of the paper.) But the modal R1b1b2 is found throughout Europe and is most frequent in Western/Central Europe (blue and especially white, which is a mixed bag). Then you have the increasing branch length (bottleneck) and diversity (re-expansion) in strictly localized and derived haplotypes in Turkey. What gives, Terry? Frankly, I thought that was Luis's point.

Maju said...

We can't know the actual number of SNPs: it would require massive complete squencing of the Y chromosome along huge worldwide samples. Maybe technically possible but practically impossible.

The known SNP count may be a quick reference but is not good enough, specially for short phylogenetic distances.

Maju said...

But the modal R1b1b2 is found throughout Europe and is most frequent in Western/Central Europe (blue and especially white, which is a mixed bag).

The modal (central cake) is already R1b1b2a1 and even largely R1b1b2a1a. It is, of course, part of R1b1b2 and of R1b and of R and of P and of F... but that's not the matter.

German Dziebel said...

"The modal (central cake) is already R1b1b2a1 and even largely R1b1b2a1a."

The figure in the paper itself is tagged as R1b1b2. "Reduced median network of microsatellite haplotypes within haplogroup R1b1b2." So the modal haplotype accounts for the source of this whole clade. Its geographic distribution and frequencies directly contradict the paper's main conclusion.

Maju said...

No, modal just means most common. And, trust me: it is shared by R1b1b2a1 and R1b1b2a1a, as you can see in the second graph of this post, but not by the upstream clades.

German Dziebel said...

"No, modal just means most common."

So, the chances that the most common type is the earliest and that the population having it at highest frequencies is also the oldest are pretty high, aren't they?

terryt said...

I'm sure you'll both find this Wiki entry interesting, especially the diagram of subclades (if you haven't already seen it):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplogroup_R1b_(Y-DNA)

"No, modal just means most common."

The term 'modal' includes all the downstream mutations, so the undifferentiated haplogroup (modal, with no downstream mutations) need not be the most common. Members of the modal haplogroup with downstream mutations can 'drift out' (as Maju would say) its parent Y-hap in some regions. And in some cases the basal haplogroup has been drifted out completely, and is no longer with us. So, even though 'the modal haplotype accounts for the source of this whole clade' its present distribution may not reflect its place of origin. But could be its oldest surviving population. I think Maju would agree with this.

"What surprises me is that mtDNA M and N and Y-DNA C and F everywhere coexist outside of Africa and Europe, especially in such 'refugia' as India, Australia and America".

They could easily have arrived in each region at different times though. Your comments regarding America help illustrate the possibility:

"In the Americas, mtDNA haplogroup A seems to be a newcomer in South America"

Yes. And possibly North America as well.

"while X doesn't stretch past North America. Both are related as members of macrohaplogroup N".

The fact they are related is irrelevant. They obviously didn't both come in together, so probably didn't live anywhere near each other before they arrived in America. I actually suspect mtDNA X is one of the earliest to America, but that's not important here.

"Y-DNA Q is pervasive from the Subarctic to South America"

And probably is the first Y-hap into America, although it's possible it replaced earlier ones.

"while C is only found in North America".

And is probably a later immigrant across the Bering Strait. It wasn't able to spread far south, although I suspect it's associated with the Na-Dene languages.

"it's just one dominated the other one way or the other, which resulted in the depletion of, say, more M in Australia and more N in India".

I'm sure that explanation is inadequate. It's far more likely different haplogroups arrived in each separate region independently, rather than each region being populated just once and subsequently different haplogroups were drifted out almost completely in each different region.

German Dziebel said...

"They could easily have arrived in each region at different times though."

Your last two comments about the worldwide distributions make sense, Terry. I'll think about it more. My other concern at this point is that in the vast majority of studies about "the peopling of America" argue for one single migration that accounts for both M and N (mtDNA) and C and Q (Y-DNA) lineages. Plus haplogroup B (part of R, part of N) in the Americas doesn't show an "intrusive" character. Although C lineages in North America are most frequent among the Na-Dene, they are found at low frequencies in other, widely separated, populations such as the Inuits, the Siouans and the Muskogeans, which may suggest antiquity. If you're right about mtDNA X being the earliest lineage in America, you should be able to say exactly the same thing about Y-DNA C.

However, you should consider looking at the genetic picture from an "out of America" angle. The extent of linguistic diversity in the Americas vs. Africa and my extensive kinship data make out of Africa and into the Americas unlikely. A good exercise would be to reverse a few mutations between Africa and non-Africa and between the Old World and the New World to get at a different phylogeny and see how it fits with linguistic and kinship data.

German Dziebel said...

"So, even though 'the modal haplotype accounts for the source of this whole clade' its present distribution may not reflect its place of origin. But could be its oldest surviving population. I think Maju would agree with this."

Yes, this is possible.

Maju said...

So, the chances that the most common type is the earliest and that the population having it at highest frequencies is also the oldest are pretty high, aren't they?.

No.

A common clade will also commonly cause its own founder effects and have best chances of winning drift "competitions". So commonalty as such is not a good measure. And in fact reduces diversity.

In this particular case (R1b1b2a1) the modal is also the core of the spread (you can see that in the graphs posted here) but that doesn't hold true for upstream levels (everything up to R1b) because the mere sheer numbers of European R1b1b2a1 within R1b make this modal also the modal of R1b as whole.

Maju said...

Modal is a haplotype, not a haplogroup. These are different things measured by different means and that have different meanings. A haplotype can perfectly cross the haplogroup barriers, as is clearly the case with the modal of R1b1b2a1. That's why you can never know haplogroup assignment before you carry the appropriate SNP tests. The STR haplotype (highly mutable) can only indicate a probability but should always be checked against SNPs.

terryt said...

"A common clade will also commonly cause its own founder effects and have best chances of winning drift 'competitions'".

And that's why I have so much trouble taking the connection between India and Australia very seriously. The most common clade (both Y-hap and mtDNA) in each region is the least common in the other. Surely whatever was the most common clade in India should have won any drift competition on any journey to Australia through, or along the coast of, SE Asia.

Maju said...

I have never battled for any Indian-Australian connection. Not directly at least.

terryt said...

"Although C lineages in North America are most frequent among the Na-Dene, they are found at low frequencies in other, widely separated, populations such as the Inuits, the Siouans and the Muskogeans, which may suggest antiquity".

Not necessarily antiquity. I think we tend to assume that 'tribes' are more closed genetic units than what they actually are. Women especially can transfer between different social groups but so can men. C's spread to the non-Na-Dene-speaking groups is not necessarily proof that they pre-date that group's arrival.

"If you're right about mtDNA X being the earliest lineage in America, you should be able to say exactly the same thing about Y-DNA C".

Again not necessarily. As far as I'm aware its distribution is more eastern so I suspect it became isolated there at an early date. Other migrations bypassed it.

terryt said...

"I have never battled for any Indian-Australian connection. Not directly at least".

Haven't you always argued that Australians came via India?

terryt said...

"The extent of linguistic diversity in the Americas vs. Africa and my extensive kinship data make out of Africa and into the Americas unlikely".

But languages can easily be replaced. Perhaps the linguistic diversity in America is a product of isolation, as it appears to be in New Guinea? And kinship systems can break down with extensive disruption through migration, which we know has happened in Africa, and many parts of eurasia.

German Dziebel said...

"But languages can easily be replaced. Perhaps the linguistic diversity in America is a product of isolation, as it appears to be in New Guinea? And kinship systems can break down with extensive disruption through migration, which we know has happened in Africa, and many parts of eurasia."

Terry, these are speculations driven mostly by the tradition not to take linguistic and cultural evidence seriously when it comes to prehistory. Of course, kinship systems break down with migration: that's why African kinship systems, as mostly broken down, indicate a migration into Africa. Language do get replaced but there's no reason to believe they are more prone to replacement than neutral genes( compare Ket, Burushaski - their languages preserve a trace of their uniqueness, while their genes are mostly from their neighbors), plus there's no reason to believe that in Africa and Europe languages were replaced at a much higher rate than in America and Oceania. The isolation factor is the strongest for an autochthonous population.

If you read Portuguese, there's a good article criticizing out of AFrica from the point of view of "tribal" genetics. Neel JV (1991) Estrutura populacional dos amerindios e algumas interpretaqoes sobre evoluqao humana. The article is oldish, no doubt, but it has a lot to say about the weaknesses of a bottleneck approach to explaining the separation of African and non-African genetic lineages.

terryt said...

"Language do get replaced but there's no reason to believe they are more prone to replacement than neutral genes( compare Ket, Burushaski - their languages preserve a trace of their uniqueness, while their genes are mostly from their neighbors)"

I strongly suspect that languages are much more easily replaced than genes. As to the two examples you give I suspect isolation has been the main factor in their survival. Besides which we don't know for sure that it wasn't the last addition of their neighbours' genes that brought in their current language.

"there's a good article criticizing out of AFrica"

I'm more than happy to be suspicious of the simple OoA as its usually portrayed. I'm sure many genes of pre-existing outside Africa populations remain in the modern human genome. But I'm reasonably convinced that the modern haplogroups derive from Africa, rather than from America, so there was some expansion from Africa that replaced previous haplogroups around the world.

Maju said...

Every single Eurasian population seems to have passed by South Asia. That doesn't mean they took a helicopter in Delhi and landed in Canberra when they moved to Australia. They obviously went through SE Asia.

...

I'm going to delete every single post from now on that discusses "Out of America". If you two guys want to discuss that, create your own forum or blogs, which can be done with little effort and 100% for free.

German Dziebel said...

"I'm going to delete every single post from now on that discusses "Out of America". If you two guys want to discuss that, create your own forum or blogs, which can be done with little effort and 100% for free."

"Please, be reasonably respectful when making comments. Leherensuge does not tolerate in particular sexism, racism nor homophobia. The author reserves the right to delete any abusive comment."

Maju said...

Should I add: "try to stay on topic?"

I'm really fed up with your attitude of hijacking any meaningful discussion to promote your agenda. You can promote your ideas but I am not willing to lend you Leherensuge for that purpose. Create your own blog or whatever.

I think it's a form of abuse. Any reader has some diffuse right to expect that the comments are more or less connected to the central thread. And that includes me, who also read every single comment in this blog.

This discussion is about R1b1b2. Focus on it or move on.

German Dziebel said...

"I'm really fed up with your attitude of hijacking any meaningful discussion to promote your agenda."

I'm the only multidisciplinary professional for the thousands of Internet miles around. I don't hijack discussions, I take them to a different level. Out of America is no more an agenda than out of Africa. They are both theories or hypotheses. They have their strengths and weaknesses. Your whole website is an exercise in privatizing science. As I advised you many times, go get a degree in at least one of the fields that you blog about first. I hope you're not planning to start giving out suggestions as to how treat for cancer.

Maju said...

I'm the only multidisciplinary professional for the thousands of Internet miles around. I don't hijack discussions, I take them to a different level.

Hahaha! How arrogant from you. Pack your damn degrees in humanities and your snobbish attitude and get lost.

Out of America is no more an agenda than out of Africa.

Sure, sure... whatever your majesty Napoleon says. It's obvious that the Earth is flat and pigs fly... sure...

zohrab said...

My paternal line is Armenian, but I am R1b1b2a1 ( see http://manucharian.netfirms.com/zohgenes.html ). So either R1b1b2a1 originated somewhere around Armenia or there really was a back-migration of Phrygians from the Balkans to Armenia (as Herodotus implied).

Maju said...

Armenia has a surprisingly high diversity for R1b1b2 and its subclades. More than Turkey.

However, I estimate, based on haplotypes that R1b1b2a1 is only 45/238 R1b (cf. Alonso 2005), with 13 haplotypes. 13/45=0.29, which is still a quite high diversity (but I'm using only DYS 393 for such identification and some are surely wrong - see Argiedude's comments at this related post).

Of these 45, 17 belong to the modal haplotype, which clearly backmigrated to Anatolia upon the star-like explosion in Europe, and is also somewhat common in Turkey. Next is a haplotype unique to Armenia, with 7 members and then another shared with Turks only with 5 Armenian members. These two are probably mis-identified R1b1b2(xR1b1b2a1). The rest are scattered (that's why such a high diversity) with one or two members each. Of these a few have a Turkish connection or are again exclusive of Armenia (but notice that the Turkish sample is quite smaller), but three haplotypes seem of West European origin. I wonder if they may be erratics back-migrated to Armenia in the Middle Ages, in the crusades or the Genovese hegemony over Trebisond - but I really don't know.

Whatever the case, I do posit that some R1b1b2a1 back-migrated to Anatolia (and by extension to Armenia, maybe with those Phrygian colonists you mention) at some point, as it's quite apparent from the graph at this post.

When? If we assume a Paleolithic age for R1b1b2a1, which for me is quite reasonable, then probably with the process of diffusion of the rock art, first to Anatolia (Beldibi) and then to Egypt.