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Y-DNA haplogroup R1b

R1b Haplogroup distribution map

The R1b-M269 subclade of this haplogroup is associated with the yamna Culture and its derivation in Asia called the Afanasievo Culture.

Published works indicate that R1b was a predominant haplogroup from the late Neolithic to the early Bronze Age, notably in the Bell Beaker and Yamnaya cultures. Nearly 100% of the tested Afanasievo men belonged to the R1b1a1a (R1b-P297) subhaplogroup and at least three of them to the R1b-L23 (xM412) subclade.

R1b was detected in two male skeletons from a German Bell Beaker site dated to 2600 BC – 2500 BC at Kromsdorf, one of which tested positive for R1b-M269 but negative for its R1b-U106 subclade, while for the other skeleton the R1b-M269 test was unclear. A later Bell Beaker male skeleton from Quedlinburg, Germany dated to 2296 BC – 2206 BC tested positive for R1b-P312 (from R1b-M269) subclade.

Almost 30% of R1b in Norway and Scandinavia can be "seen" through the Celtic and Italic or rather Unetice Culture influence. Unetice can be seen as the source of future Germanic, Celtic and Italic cultures and is associated mainly with the L11 subclade of R1b. The late expanded to Scandinavia, founding the Nordic Bronze Age around 1700 BC. R1a-L664, R1b-L11, R1b-U106 (Bell Beaker) presumably reached Scandinavia around this time.

The Basque R1b-DF27 is the descendant of R1b-M269 (R1b1a1b), which was found to be common among the Yamnaya population. It could mean that around 2800 BC males from the Bell Beaker Culture or 1000 BC Celtic males were taken to the Basque community and their children spoke the Hunther-Gatherer and European Farmer Basque language instead of a centum dialect of Indo-European.

One subbranch of R1b-M269 is the R1b-P312, which is the most abundant in Western Europe and in turn, it splits into three main subbranches: R1b-U152 (frequent in Northern Italy and the Alps regions), R1b-L21 (more restricted to Ireland and the British Islands), and R1b-DF27 (predominant in the Iberian Peninsula). R1b-DF27 has a high frequency in the Iberian Peninsula reaching 40% of the Y-chromosome haplogroups both in Spain and Portugal, while it is much rarer elsewhere. It has been hypothesized that the origin of this lineage lies in the Northern part of Spain around 4000 ya (2000 BC), and it seems to have diverged shortly after into sublineages with potential geographic differentiation. Specifically R1b-L176.2 appears more frequently in the Eastern Iberia, and R1b-Z220 tends to peak in the North-Central part of the Iberian Peninsula[1].

The oldest direct observation of R1b-DF27 originates from the EBA site of Diamond Cottage, in England, dated at 2200 BC - 1400 BC. However, this individual is not directly dated, and the wide range is derived from the archaeological context. Thus, it might be the case that Cueva de los Lagos (La Rioja, Northern Spain), dated at 1600 BC - 1300 BC is older. Other Iberian EBA R1b-DF27 examples are Valdescusa (La Rioja), La Requejada (Valladolid), and Naveta des Tudons (Menorca). Currently, the only prehistoric observation of one of the main R1b-Z195 branches is R1b-L176.2 in La Almoloya, where one individual carried the derived state of R1b-Z198 (which is in the same branch as R1b-L176.2)[1].

More than 30% of modern day Armeninans belong to a haplogroup R1b-L23. Sample Kapan (RISE397; Allentoft 2015) from 1048 BC - 855 BC from territory of Armenia already carried the Y-DNA haplogroup R1b-Z2103. One man who lived around 971 BC - 832 BC from nearby Hasanlu IV site in Northern Iran belonged to Y-DNA R1b-Z2103 -> R1b-Z2105 -> R1b-L584 -> R1b-PF7580 -> R1b-FGC14598.

18.5% of Albanian males belong to the subclade R1b1b2 (R1b-M269). Most of the Albanian R1b comes from the Yamnaya dervied R1b-Z2103 (BY611) subclade.

A February 2018 study published in Nature included an analysis of three individuals ascribed to the Vučedol Culture from around 2900 BC - 2600 BC. One male carried the Y-DNA haplogroup R1b-Z2103 (R1b1a1a2a2) and mtDNA T2e, while the other carried the Y-DNA haplogroup G2a2a1a2a and mtDNA T2c2, one female carried the mtDNA haplogroup U4a[2]. In a three-way admixture model, first male approximately had aDNA of: 58% Early European Farmer, 42% Western Steppe Herder (Yamna Culture) and 0% Western European Hunter-Gatherer related ancestry, second male had: 93% EEF, 4% WSH and 3% WHG, while female had: 37% EEF, 54% WSH and 10% WHG.

In a 2019 study by Narasimhan et al. there was R1b-Z2108 (from R1b-Z2106 and R1b-Z2103) detected in a 2012 BC - 1774 BC male from the Kamennyi Ambar 5 Cemetery of Sintashta Culture, his mtDNA was J2b1d. Another male from the same cemetery but from the years 1878 BC - 1664 BC carried the R1b-M478, a lineage nowadays found mostly in Pakistan, Kazakhstan and China. Its ancestral clade R1b-Y13200 is also found in Latvia and Norway, this Y-DNA haplogroup was brotherly to R1b-M269.

Some of the oldest samples descendent from R1b-M269 and R1b-L23 came from the following places and cultures:

  1. 3300 BC - Luzhki, Russia (Yamna Culture)
  2. 2910 BC - Ekaterinovka, Russia (Yamna Culture)
  3. 2884 BC - Beli Manastir, Croatia (Vucedol Culture)
  4. 2570 BC - Samborzec, Poland (Bell Beaker Culture)
  5. 2500 BC - Veselinovo, Bulgaria (Ezero Culture)
  6. 2200 BC - Tiraspol, Moldova (Catacomb Culture)

In modern Iran the amount of R1b-L23 decreases from North-West to South-East: 23.1% in West Azerbaijan Province, 23.5% in Lorestan, 18.8% in Gilan, 11.4% in Fars, 4.3% in Golestan, 6.1% in Hormozgan, 2.9% in Yazd. The amount of R1b-M412 (R1b1a2a1a) in Iran is following: 4.3% in Yazd, 1.5% in Bandari of Hormozgan, 1.8% in Khuzestan[3].

Less Common R1b Subclades

One sample from the Varna Culture belonged to R1b-V88. Another burial from this culture from around 4600 BC - 4200 BC known as "The Golden Man", with the largest gold collection found in prehistoric Europe belonged to Y-DNA haplogroup T-M184.

Even older samples of R1b in Europe were found for example in 12000 BC Villabruna 1 (I9030) Western Hunter-Gatherer found in the Epigravettian Culture setting in the Cismon valley in Veneto, Italy belonged to R1b1a (R1b-L754)[4], in Vlasac, Serbia from around 7720 BC (VLASA32, R1b1)[5], in 7500 BC - 4000 BC males from Kunda and Narva cultures from Zvejneki, Latvia carried the R1b1b and R1b1a1a (R1b-P297, brotherly to R1b-M269) haplogroups, and mtDNA U5a, U2e, U4 (45000 years old in Europe).

The R1b-V1636 (R1b1a1b) was a brotherly haplogroup to R1b-P297 (ancestor of R1b-M269; both from R1b-L389 and R1b-L754)[6]. Its descendants are nowadays found in China, Turkey, Armenia and Kuwait[7]. One Copper Age male (ART038) from Arslantepe, Turkey (Hittite Melid) already belonged to Y-DNA haplogroup R1b-V1636 (R1b1a1b). R1b-V1636 is a rare lineage that is first attested in Eneolithic samples from the North Caucasus Piedmont steppe[8]. It was widely found in the Khvalynsk II sites from 4800 BC - 4560 BC[9]

There is also a sample SA6010 from Sharakhalsun of Maikop Culture from around 3400 BC carrying R1b-Z2103 Y-DNA haplogroup and mtDNA U5a1g. The earliest such sample in Armenia comes from Kalavan EBA III from circa 2476 BC. 1700 BC male from Gjerrild, Denmark (Gjerrild 5) carried R1b-V1636 and mtDNA K2a. On aDNA PCA he clustered with samples from Sintashta, Corded Ware Culture, Bronze Age Poland and Bronze Age Ireland. Genetically he was identical to samples of RISE 431 from Poland and Kunila2 from Estonia[10].

The ancient samples of R1b-V2219 (R1b1a* from R1b-L754) starting from 6000 BC were found in Serbia, Sardinia, Germany, West Romania and Central Ukraine. A sample (I2430) from Smyadovo, Bulgaria from around 4602 BC - 4403 BC carried the Y-DNA haplogroup R1b-V88 (R1b1a2 from R1b-V2219) and mtDNA K1a26[11]. Other sample (ANI153) from Varna, Bulgaria from around 4550 BC - 4368 BC carried the Y-DNA haplogroup R1b-V88 and mtDNA U4[11]. A study from 2018 by Daniel Shriner estimated the arrival of R1b-V88 in the area of Chad to the Baggarization period (around 1650 CE) from Sudan, which was carried there by Arabs.[12]. Another 2018 study by Eugenia D'Atanasio et al. pointed to the arrival of R1b-V88 in Africa from Europe around 5000 BC - 3000 BC[13]. This arrival is further proven by the presence of the European 13910*T allele for lactase persistance in area around Chad, Algeria and Morocco[14].

The descendants of R1b-PH155 (R1b2; brotherly to R1b-L754 from Villabruna, Italy) were first discovered in three Tarim Basin Mummies (L5209, L5213, 11KBM1) from around 2000 BC[15]. Living males carrying subclades of R1b-PH155 have been found in Albania, Bahrain, Bhutan, Ladakh, Tajikistan, Turkey, Xinjiang, and Yunnan[16]. ISOGG (2017) cites two primary branches of R1b-PH155: R1b-M335 (R1b1b1) and R1b-PH200 (R1b1b2). Nowadays R1b-M335 (R1b1b1) appears in the gene pool of Southern Siberian Khakass people[17], while R1b-PH200 is mainly found in Turkey, China and Bahrain.

A list below shows the decreasing percentage of R1b in the whole male population of the following nations:

  1. Basques: 85%
  2. Irish: 81%
  3. Bretons: 80%
  4. Welsh: 74%
  5. Scots: 72%
  6. Spanish: 69%
  7. English: 67%
  8. Belgians: 61%
  9. French: 58%
  10. Portugalians: 56%
  11. Swiss: 50%
  12. Corsicans: 49%
  13. Bashkirs: 47%
  14. Germans: 44%
  15. Icelanders: 42%
  16. Danish: 33%
  17. Norwegians: 32%
  18. Austrians: 32%
  19. Czech: 28%
  20. Swedish: 22%
  21. Vlachs: 21%
  22. Hungarians: 19%
  23. Turkish: 16%
  24. Albanians: 16%
  25. Greeks: 15%
  26. Romanians: 15%
  27. Slovakians: 15%
  28. Polish: 13%
  29. Latvians: 12%
  30. Bulgarians: 11%
  31. Iranians: 10%
  32. Estonians: 8%
  33. Ukrainians: 8%
  34. Russians: 6%
  35. Lithuanians: 5%
  36. Finnish: 3%

Map used in this article was created by Maulucioni and is shared on the CC 4.0 license.

Article created on the 9th of October 2018. Updated with R1b-V1636 and R1b-V88 information on 16th of October 2022. Information about R1b1b added on 20th of November 2022. Gjerrild samples added on 12th of December 2022. New map by Maulucioni from Wikimedia Commons added on the 8th of January 2023.