Haplogroup U5

Maternal Haplogroup U5 (mtDNA)


Based on our Haplogroup, U5.

Haplogroup U5 is found throughout Europe with an average frequency ranging from 5% to 12% in most regions. U5a is most common in north-east Europe and U5b in northern Spain. Nearly half of all Sami and one fifth of Finnish maternal lineages belong to U5. Other high frequencies are observed among the Mordovians (16%), the Chuvash (14.5%) and the Tatars (10.5%) in the Volga-Ural region of Russia, the Estonians (13%), the Lithuanians (11.5%) and the Latvians in the Baltic, the Dargins (13.5%), Avars (13%) and the Chechens (10%) in the Northeast Caucasus, the Basques (12%), the Cantabrians (11%) and the Catalans (10%) in northern Spain, the Bretons (10.5%) in France, the Sardinians (10%) in Italy, the Slovaks (11%), the Croatians (10.5%), the Poles (10%), the Czechs (10%), the Ukrainians (10%) and the Slavic Russians (10%). Overall, U5 is generally found in population with high percentages of Y-haplogroups I1, I2, and R1a, three lineages already found in Mesolithic Europeans. The highest percentages are observed in populations associated predominantly with Y-haplogroup N1c1 (the Finns and the Sami), although N1c1 is originally an East Asian lineage that spread over Siberia and Northeast Europe and assimilated indigenous U5 maternal lineages.

U5 is rarer in South Caucasus (3.5%), Iran (3%), Turkey (3%), Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt (all around 1.5%). It is only found at trace frequencies (<1%) in Jordan and the Arabian peninsula. In North Africa, U5 peaks in Morocco (4%), followed by Libya (3.5%), Tunisia and Algeria (both 2%).

U5 is also found in Central Asia and Siberia, where it was brought chiefly by the Indo-European migrations. U5 is most common in Tajikistan (7.5%), followed by Uzebekistan (3.5%), Turkmenistan (2.5%), Kyrgyzstan (2.5%), Kazakhstan (2.5%), among the Altaians (2%) and the Buryats (2%), and further east as far as Mongolia (1%).

The age of haplogroup U5 is uncertain at present. It could have arisen as recently as 35,000 years ago, or as early was 50,000 years ago. U5 appear to have been a major maternal lineage among the Paleolithic European hunter-gatherers (known as Cro-Magnons), and even the dominant lineage during the European Mesolithic. In two papers published two months apart, Posth et al. 2016 and Fu et al. 2016 reported the resultts of over 70 complete human mitochondrial genomes ranging from 45,000 to 7,000 years ago. The oldest U5 samples all dated from the Gravettian culture (c. 32,000 to 22,000 years before present), while the older Aurignacian samples belonged to mt-haplogroups M, N, R* and U2. Among the 16 Gravettian samples that yieled reliable results, six belonged to U5 - the others belonging mostly to U2, as well as isolated samples of M, U* and U8c. Two Italian Epigravettian samples, one from the Paglicci Cave in Apulia (18,500 ybp), and another one from Villabruna in Veneto (14,000 ybp), belonged to U5b2b, as did two slightly more recent Epipaleolithic samples from the Rhône valley in France. U5b1 samples were found in Epipalaeolithic Germany, Switzerland (U5b1h in the Grotte du Bichon) and France. More 80% of the numerous Mesolithic European mtDNA tested to date belonged to various subclades of U5. Overall, it appears that U5 arrived in Europe with the Gravettian tool makers, and that it particularly prospered from the end of the glacial period (from 11,700 years ago) until the arrival of Neolithic farmers from the Near East (between 8,500 and 6,000 years ago).