Gary’s GENO 2.0 YDNA Results – 24Jan15

We will now take you back through the stories of Gary’s distant ancestors and show how the movements of their descendants gave rise to his lineage. These stories apply also to the other 17 “sons of Rene”.

Each segment on the map above represents the migratory path of successive groups that eventually coalesced to form Gary’s branch of the tree. We start with the marker for his oldest ancestor, and walk forward to more recent times, showing at each step the line of his ancestors who lived up to that point.

What is a marker? Each of us carries DNA that is a combination of genes passed from both our mother and father, giving us traits that range from eye color and height to athleticism and disease susceptibility. As part of this process, the Y-chromosome is passed directly from father to son, unchanged, from generation to generation down a purely male line. Mitochondrial DNA, on the other hand, is passed from mothers to their children, but only their daughters pass it on to the next generation. It traces a purely maternal line.

The DNA is passed on unchanged, unless a mutation—a random, naturally occurring, usually harmless change—occurs. The mutation, known as a marker, acts as a beacon; it can be mapped through generations because it will be passed down for thousands of years.

When geneticists identify such a marker, they try to figure out when it first occurred, and in which geographic region of the world. Each marker is essentially the beginning of a new lineage on the family tree of the human race. Tracking the lineages provides a picture of how small tribes of modern humans in Africa tens of thousands of years ago diversified and spread to populate the world.

By looking at the markers Gary carries, we can trace his lineage, ancestor by ancestor, to reveal the path they traveled as they moved out of Africa. Our story begins with his earliest ancestor. Who were they, where did they live, and what is their story?

Gary has 3.8% Neanderthal and 4.4% Denisovan. This is above average for both.


Branch: M42 aka BT

Age: About 75,000 Years Ago

Location of Origin: Africa

 The common direct paternal ancestor of all men alive today was born in Africa around 140,000 years ago. Dubbed “Y-chromosome Adam” by the popular press, he was neither the first human male nor the only man alive in his time. He was, though, the only male whose Y-chromosome lineage is still around today.  All men, including Gary’s direct paternal ancestors, trace their ancestry to one of this man’s descendants. The oldest Y-chromosome lineages in existence, belonging to the A branch of the tree, are found only in African populations.

Around 75,000 years ago, the BT branch of the Y-chromosome tree was born, defined by many genetic markers, including M42. The common ancestor of most men living today, some of this man’s descendants would begin the journey out of Africa, to India and the Middle East. Small groups would eventually reach the Americas. Others would settle in Europe, and some from this line remained near their ancestral homeland in Africa.

Individuals from this line in Africa often practice cultural traditions that resemble those of their distant ancestors. For example, they often live in traditional hunter-gatherer societies. These include the Mbuti and Biaka Pygmies of central Africa, as well as Tanzania’s Hadza.

As M42-bearing populations migrated around the globe, they picked up additional markers on their Y-chromosomes. Today, there are no known BT individuals without these additional markers.

The M42 branch is shared by almost all men alive today, both in Africa and around the world. People on this branch carry one of Africa’s—and the world’s—oldest paternal lineages. Many of its members still live near its South African point of origin.

 Branch: M168, aka father of A and B

Age: About 70,000 years ago

Location of Origin: Africa/Asia

As humans left Africa, they migrated across the globe in a web of paths that spread out like the branches of a tree, each limb of migration identifiable by a marker in our DNA. For male lineages, the M168 branch was one of the first to leave the African homeland.

Moving outward from Africa and along the coastline, members of this lineage were some of the earliest settlers in Asia, Southeast Asia, and Australia. Some from this line would even travel over the land bridge to reach the Americas.

The man who gave rise to the first genetic marker in Gary’s lineage probably lived in northeast Africa in the region of the Rift Valley, perhaps in present-day Ethiopia, Kenya, or Tanzania.  Scientists put the most likely date for when he lived at around 70,000 years ago. His descendants became the only lineage to survive outside of Africa, making him the common ancestor of every non-African man living today.

But why would man have first ventured out of the familiar African hunting grounds and into unexplored lands? The first migrants likely ventured across the Bab-al Mandeb strait, a narrow body of water at the southern end of the Red Sea, crossing into the Arabian Peninsula soon after M168 originated—perhaps 65,000 years ago. These beachcombers would make their way rapidly to India and Southeast Asia, following the coastline in a gradual march eastward.  By 50,000 years ago, they had reached Australia. These were the ancestors of today’s Australian Aborigines.

It is also likely that a fluctuation in climate may have contributed to Gary’s ancestors’ exodus out of Africa. The African ice age was characterized by drought rather than by cold. Around 50,000 years ago, though, the ice sheets of the northern hemisphere began to melt, introducing a short period of warmer temperatures and moister climate in Africa and the Middle East. Parts of the inhospitable Sahara briefly became habitable. As the drought-ridden desert changed to a savanna, the animals hunted by Gary’s ancestors expanded their range and began moving through the newly emerging green corridor of grasslands.

Gary’s nomadic ancestors followed the good weather and the animals they hunted, although the exact route they followed remains to be determined. In addition to a favorable change in climate, around this same time there was a great leap forward in modern humans’ intellectual capacity. Many scientists believe that the emergence of language gave us a huge advantage over other early human species. Improved tools and weapons, the ability to plan ahead and cooperate with one another, and an increased capacity to exploit resources in ways we hadn’t been able to earlier, all allowed modern humans to rapidly migrate to new territories, exploit new resources, and replace other hominids such as the Neanderthals.

This male branch is one of the first to leave the African homeland. The Serengeti Plain’s Maasai people still measure wealth and prestige by the cattle and other herds at the foundation of their pastoral society.

Branch: M89 or the father of G, G, H, (I,J and K)

Age: Around 50,000 Years Ago

Location of Origin: South Asia or West Asia

The next male ancestor in Gary’s ancestral lineage is the man who gave rise to M89, a marker found in 90 to 95 percent of all non-Africans. This man was born around 50,000 years ago in northern Africa or the Middle East.

The first people to leave Africa likely followed a coastal route that eventually ended in Australia. Gary’s ancestors followed the expanding grasslands and plentiful game to the Middle East and beyond, and were part of the second great wave of migration out of Africa.

Beginning about 40,000 years ago, the climate shifted once again and became colder and more arid. Drought hit Africa and the grasslands reverted to desert, and for the next 20,000 years, the Saharan Gateway was effectively closed. With the desert impassable, Gary’s ancestors had two options: remain in the Middle East, or move on. Retreat back to the home continent was not an option.

While many of the descendants of M89 remained in the Middle East, others continued to follow the great herds of wild game through what is now modern-day Iran to the vast steppes of Central Asia.

These semi-arid grass-covered plains formed an ancient “superhighway” stretching from eastern France to Korea. Gary’s ancestors, having migrated north out of Africa into the Middle East, then traveled both east and west along this Central Asian superhighway. A smaller group continued moving north from the Middle East to Anatolia and the Balkans, trading familiar grasslands for forests and high country.

Today, geneticists have found the lineage in 1 to 2 percent of Pakistani and Indian populations. However, it is about 4 percent of some Austro-Asiatic-language-family-speaking groups in India. It is about 9 percent of some Dravidian-language-family-speaking groups in India, and it is 9 to 10 percent of male lineages in Sri Lanka. In Borneo, it is about 5 percent of the population. In Malaysia, it is about 6 percent of the population.

 Branch: M170 or the father of I

Age: About 20,000 Years Ago

Location of Origin: Europe

When the last glacial maximum ended, groups containing men from this line migrated across Europe from refugia near the Balkans.

Albania’s Drin River drains a nation that is among Europe’s most homogenous. Many Albanians are descended from Bronze Age tribes collectively called the Illyrians.

Albania’s prehistoric past is coming to light in recent years. Excavations at Vashtëmi reveal one of the earliest known farming sites in all of Europe—circa 6,500 B.C. Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes National Park boasts 16 naturally terraced lakes, spectacular waterfalls, and a long human history. Japud tribes lived here circa 1000 B.C.

A Bosnian woman is well equipped for a snowy day. Bosnia’s three main ethnic groups are Bosniaks (mostly Muslims), Croats (typically Catholics), and Serbs (mainly Orthodox Christians).

Some Croatians are descended from a lineage born in a small, ice-free refugium about the time of the last glacial maximum. As the ice retreated their descendents spread through the Balkans.


Branch: M253

Age: 5,500 – 26,000 Years Ago

Location of Origin: Europe

When ice covered much of Europe, the cold and lack of food sources forced groups containing men from this lineage into refugia. It was from these refugia on the Iberian Peninsula, to the north of the Black Sea, and elsewhere, that members of this lineage emerged around 10,000 years ago.

Emerging from the refugia, groups expanded across Europe and back toward West Asia in successive waves. The highest frequencies of this lineage are in Scandinavian countries. This may be due to early founders during a time of extremely small settling population groups.

Today, this lineage is present throughout Europe. It is about 40 percent of the population of Norway. It is present in Finland at around 35 percent of male lineages. In the British Isles, it is between 10 and 22 percent of male lineages. It is between 10 and 11 percent of French and about 18 percent of German male lineages. It is about 4 percent of the male population of Spain, between 2 and 3 percent of the male population of Italy, and about 2 percent of the male population of Greece.

In West Asia, it is present in trace frequencies of less than 1 percent. However, it is about 2 percent of male lineage in Lebanon and about 4 percent of male lineages in Jordan.

Many Finns can trace their lineage to a European man born just before much of the continent was entombed by ice during the Last Glacial Maximum.

Forty percent of all Norwegians are haplogroup M253. “Founder effects” may have limited genetic diversity among a new population started with few people in a beautiful but rugged land.

Much of the European landscape was ice-covered 22,000 years ago, and its shrunken population was confined to ice-free refugia. When the ice retreated people of this lineage expanded across Europe.

The Iberian Peninsula housed an ice-free refugium for people seeking warmer climes during the Last Glacial Maximum. Their descendents are about 4 percent of all Spanish men.

Scandinavia’s Sami reindeer hunters are one of the few European peoples still practicing ancient lifestyles like the semi-nomadic one of their Ice Age ancestors.

Branch: L22

Age: To Be Determined

Location of Origin: Europe

Members of this lineage are virtually restricted to Europe and West Asia.

Today, it is present most often in Finland, where it is between 12 and 13 percent of the male population. It is over 7 percent of male lineages in Estonia. Most men in England who belong to the prior branch also belong to this one. In contrast, this line is much less common in Germany, France, and Belgium. It is between 3 and 4 percent of the male population in Croatia.

Note: This branch is not accompanied by a major movement on the map, and research on this branch is continuing.

Branch: P109

Age: To Be Determined

Location of Origin: Europe

It is most common in Croatia, where it is almost 4 percent of male lineages. It is also between 1 and 2 percent of male lineages in Sweden and Norway. However, it is rare in the male population of Finland. It is present in trace frequencies of less than 1 percent in Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and the British Isles.

Note: This branch is not accompanied by a major movement on the map, and research on this branch is continuing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *