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If you belong to mHG U5, learn more about the specific version of U5 you carry by ordering an mtDNAwiki Report for just $7.

mHG U5 is a European-specific subclade of West Eurasian mHG U. It is two layers and eight mutations separated from pan-Eurasian mHG R.


mHG U5 originated in Europe roughly 30,000 years ago (my estimate). 15,000 years separate U5 from U. Intermediates between U5 and U may have settled in Europe before U5’s birth. If not in Europe U5’s ancestors would have been somewhere in Asia. Modern mtDNA indicates that around, 40,000-60,000 years ago, various daughters of African mHG L3 were “rapidly” colonizing Asia and Europe. mHG U and also early forms of U5 were one part of this bigger phenomenon.

Modern U5 isn’t simply a leftover from the U5 which was around 30,000 years ago. mHG U5 has taken part in many expansions and migrations since that time. Both modern & ancient mtDNA show that mHG U5’s history can be broken down into three stages.

Stage 1, 30ky-40ky.

U5’s ancestors arrive in Europe from Asia (before that Africa) around 40ky. Then after that mHG U5 is born somewhere in Europe about 30ky.

This early arrival for U5 into Europe isn’t theoretical. It is confirmed by ancient DNA. Thanks to recent advances in science, geneticists are sequencing DNA from hundred of human remains. This includes DNA from some Upper Paleolithic humans.

The earliest mtDNA sequences from Europe dating 40-45ky belong to pan-Eurasian mHG R*. But mtDNA sequences dating 40ky-30ky belong mostly to mHG U and some belong to mHG U5. mHG U5 sequences dating around 30ky have been found in two archaeology sites deep in Europe; Dolni Vestonice in the Czech Republic and Goyet in Belgium.

Stage 2, 15ky-20ky.

This is the most important stage in mHG U5’s history. The foundations for modern mHG U5 were built. U5 blossomed into the five subclades all modern U5 belongs to; U5b1, U5b2, U5b3, U5a1, and U5a2. mHG U5 spread to every corner of Europe. mHG U5 also became the most popular mHG in Europe.

The date for stage 2, 15ky-20ky, coincides with the end of the Last Ice age, a time when humans (and other mammals) resettled the northern parts of the world which before that time were inhospitable. This age of expansion & resettlement into virgin land could be the cause for these mHG U5 expansions.

Like with Stage 1, Stage 2 is also supported by ancient DNA. Few mtDNA samples dating to Stage 2 (15ky-20ky) have been sequenced. But many mtDNA samples from western Europe dating 10ky-12ky have been sequenced. A large majority belong to U5. And all the U5 sequences belong to U5b1, U5b2, or U5a2, 3 of the 5 mHGs which based on modern mtDNA I think expanded a couple millennia earlier. But they don’t belong to any popular modern subclades. They belonged to very basal forms of U5b1, U5b2, and U5a2.

Stage 3; 15ky-8ky.

It was during this period that most of the modern popular subclades formed. The same is true for most mHGs. Unlike, in stage 2, only a fraction of the mHG U5 expansions which occurred during this period affected large regions. Most were local expansions which only affected the region the mHG was born in during the Paleolithic or Mesolithic period.

One exception is U5a1. A good number of its expansions from after 10ky affected all of Europe and not just Europe but also the Middle East, Siberia, and South Asia. The people who made these U5a1 subclades were proto-Indo European speakers from eastern Europe who between 2800 and 1500 BC had settled in places stretching from Ireland to India.

U5 Phylogenetic trees.

Below are phylogenetic trees for U5a1, U5a2, U5b1, and U5b2. Each mHG originated in Europe about 20,000 years ago. By 15,000 years ago, they had spread to every corner of the continent. Since then different subclades U5a1, U5a2, U5b1, and U5b2 have emerged in different regions. I label each mHG according to the region it is specific to.

Orange: All of Europe. Present in every part of Europe.
Blue: North & East Europe. Includes locations such as Scandinavia, Latvia, and Poland.
Light Green: North Europe. Anywhere in the northern edges of Europe such as Britain, Scandinavia, and Finland.
Purple: East Europe. Includes locations such as Russia, Bulgaria, and Hungary.
Yellow: Atlantic zone. Includes the British Isles, France, and Spain.
Peach: Iberia. Only in Iberia.