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« The Genographic Project » is a five-year research partnership led by National Geographic (Genographic) and IBM researchers to analyze historical patterns in DNA from participants around the world to better understand our human genetic roots. Below are results from the laboratory analysis of my Y-chromosome.

Y-DNA tests permit you to identify your ethnic and geographical origins, both recent and far distant on your direct male descending line.

My Haplogroup is R1a1 (M17) Y-DNA - which is dominant in Russian and Slavic population, in North India, some Norwegians (near-historic migrations from northern Russia, esp. Indo-European expansion).

The genetic markers that define my ancestral history reach back roughly 60,000 years to the first common marker of all non-African men, M168, and follow my lineage to present day, ending with M17, the defining marker of haplogroup R1a1.

The map shows highlights of my ancestors' route. Members of haplogroup R1a1 carry the following Y-chromosome markers:

M168 > M89 > М9 > М45 > M207 > M173 > М17

map for haplogroup  R1a1 M17 Y-DNA Today a large concentration—around 40 percent—of the men living in the Czech Republic across the steppes to Siberia, and south throughout Central Asia are members of haplogroup R1a1. In India, around 35 percent of the men in Hindi-speaking populations belong to this group. The M17 marker is found in only five to ten percent of Middle Eastern men. The marker is also found in relatively high frequency—around 35 percent—amongmen living on the eastern side of present-day Iran.

My Ancestral Journey: What We Know Now :

Marker M168: My Earliest Ancestor

Fast Facts
Time of Emergence: Roughly 50,000 years ago
Place of Origin: Africa
Climate: Temporary retreat of Ice Age; Africa moves from drought to warmer temperatures and moister conditions.
Estimated Number of Homo sapiens: Approximately 10,000
Tools and Skills: Stone tools; earliest evidence of art and advanced conceptual skills.

Skeletal and archaeological evidence suggest that anatomically modern humans evolved in Africa around 200,000 years ago, and began moving out of Africa to colonize the rest of the world around 60,000 years ago.

The man who gave rise to the first genetic marker in my lineage probably lived in northeast Africa in the region of the Rift Valley, perhaps in present-day Ethiopia , Kenya, or Tanzania, some 31,000 to 79,000 years ago. Scientists put the most likely date for when he lived at around 50,000 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.

Marker M89: Moving Through the Middle East.

Fast Facts
Time of Emergence: 45,000 years ago
Place: Northern Africa or the Middle East
Climate: Middle East: Semiarid grass plains
Estimated Number of Homo sapiens: Tens of thousands
Tools and Skills: Stone, ivory, wood tools
The next male ancestor in my 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 45,000 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. My 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.

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

Marker М9: The Eurasian Clan Spreads Wide and Far

Fast Facts
Time of Emergence: 40,000 years ago
Place: Iran or southern Central Asia
Estimated Number of Homo sapiens: Tens of thousands
Tools and Skills: Upper Paleolithic

My next ancestor, a man born around 40,000 years ago in Iran or southern Central Asia, gave rise to a genetic marker known as M9, which marked a new lineage diverging from the M89 Middle Eastern Clan. His descendants, of which I am one, spent the next 30,000 years populating much of the planet.

This large lineage, known as the Eurasian Clan, dispersed gradually over thousands of years. Seasoned hunters followed the herds ever eastward, along the vast super highway of Eurasian steppe. Eventually their path was blocked by the massive mountain ranges of south Central Asia—the Hindu Kush, the Tian Shan, and the Himalayas.

The three mountain ranges meet in a region known as the "Pamir Knot," located in present-day Tajikistan. Here the tribes of hunters split into two groups. Some moved north into Central Asia, others moved south into what is now Pakistan and the Indian subcontinent. These different migration routes through the Pamir Knot region gave rise to separate lineages.

Most people native to the Northern Hemisphere trace their roots to the Eurasian Clan. Nearly all North Americans and East Asians are descended from the man described above, as are most Europeans and many Indians.

Marker М45: The Journey Through Central Asia
Fast Facts
Time of Emergence: 35,000
Place of Origin: Central Asia
Climate: Glaciers expanding over much of Europe
Estimated Number of Homo sapiens: Approximately 100,000
Tools and Skills: Upper Paleolithic

The next marker of my genetic heritage, M45, arose around 35,000 years ago, in a man born in Central Asia. He was part of the M9 Eurasian Clan that had moved to the north of the mountainous Hindu Kush and onto the game-rich steppes of present-day Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and southern Siberia.

Although big game was plentiful, the environment on the Eurasian steppes became increasing hostile as the glaciers of the Ice Age began to expand once again. The reduction in rainfall may have induced desertlike conditions on the southern steppes, forcing your ancestors to follow the herds of game north.

To exist in such harsh conditions, they learned to build portable animal-skin shelters and to create weaponry and hunting techniques that would prove successful against the much larger animals they encountered in the colder climates.

They compensated for the lack of stone they traditionally used to make weapons by developing smaller points and blades—microliths—that could be mounted to bone or wood handles and used effectively. Their tool kit also included bone needles for sewing animal-skin clothing that would both keep them warm and allow them the range of movement needed to hunt the reindeer and mammoth that kept them fed.

My ancestors' resourcefulness and ability to adapt was critical to survival during the last ice age in Siberia, a region where no other hominid species is known to have lived.

The M45 Central Asian Clan gave rise to many more; the man who was its source is the common ancestor of most Europeans and nearly all Native American men.

Marker M207: Leaving Central Asia

Fast Facts
Time of Emergence: 30,000
Place of Origin: Central Asia
Climate: Glaciers expanding over much of Europe and western Eurasia
Estimated Number of Homo sapiens: Approximately 100,000
Tools and Skills: Upper Paleolithic

After spending considerable time in Central Asia, refining skills to survive in harsh new conditions and exploit new resources, a group from the Central Asian Clan began to head west towards the European subcontinent.

An individual in this clan carried the new M207 mutation on his Y chromosome. His descendants ultimately split into two distinct groups, with one continuing onto the European subcontinent, and the other group turning south and eventually making it as far as India.

My lineage falls within the first haplogroup, R1, and gave rise to the first modern humans to move into Europe and eventually colonize the continent.

Marker M173: Colonizing Europe—The First Modern Europeans

Fast Facts
Time of Emergence: Around 30,000 years ago
Place: Central Asia
Climate: Ice Age
Estimated Number of Homo sapiens: Approximately 100,000
Tools and Skills: Upper Paleolithic

As my ancestors continued to move west, a man born around 30,000 years ago in Central Asia gave rise to a lineage defined by the genetic marker M173. His descendants were part of the first large wave of humans to reach Europe.
During this period, the Eurasian steppelands extended from present-day Germany, and possibly France, to Korea and China. The climate fostered a land rich in resources and opened a window into Europe.

My ancestors' arrival in Europe heralded the end of the era of the Neandertals, a hominid species that inhabited Europe and parts of western Asia from about 29,000 to 230,000 years ago. Better communication skills, weapons, and resourcefulness probably enabled your ancestors to outcompete Neandertals for scarce resources.

The large number of archaeological sites found in Europe from around 30,000 years ago indicates that there was an increase in population size.

Around 20,000 years ago, the climate window shut again, and expanding ice sheets forced your ancestors to move south to Spain, Italy, and the Balkans. As the ice retreated and temperatures became warmer, beginning about 12,000 years ago, many descendants of M173 moved north again to repopulate places that had become inhospitable during the Ice Age.

Not surprisingly, today the number of descendants of the man who gave rise to marker M173 remains very high in Western Europe. It is particularly concentrated in northern France and the British Isles where it was carried by ancestors who had weathered the Ice Age in Spain.

Marker М17: The Indo-Europeans of the Steppes of Asia

Fast Facts
Time of Emergence: 10,000 to 15,000 years ago
Place of Birth: Ukraine or southern Russia
Climate: Glaciers are retreating
Estimated Number of Homo sapiens: A few million
Tools and Skills: Possibly the first people to domesticate the horse

My genetic trail ends with a marker that arose between 10,000 to 15,000 years ago when a man of European origin was born on the grassy steppes in the region of present-day Ukraine or southern Russia.

His descendents became the nomadic steppe dwellers who eventually spread as far afield as India and Iceland. Archaeologists speculate that these people were the first to domesticate the horse, which would have eased their distant migrations.

In addition to genetic and archaeological evidence, the spread of languages can also be used to trace prehistoric migration patterns.

My ancestors, descendants of the Indo-European clan, may be responsible for the birth and spread of Indo-European languages. The world's most widely spoken language family, Indo-European tongues include English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, several Indian languages such as Bengali and Hindi, and numerous others. Many of the Indo-European languages share similar words for animals, plants, tools, and weapons.

Some linguists believe that the Kurgans, nomadic horsemen roaming the steppes of southern Russia and the Ukraine, were the first to speak and spread a Proto-Indo-European language, some 5,000 to 10,000 years ago. Genetic data and the distribution of Indo-European speakers suggest the Kurgans, named after their distinctive burial mounds, may have been descendents of M17.

Today a large concentration—around 40 percent—of the men living from the Czech Republic across the steppes to Siberia, and south throughout Central Asia are descendants of this clan. In India, around 35 percent of the men in Hindi-speaking populations carry the M17 marker, whereas the frequency in neighboring communities of Dravidian speakers is only about ten percent. This distribution adds weight to linguistic and archaeological evidence suggesting that a large migration from the Asian steppes into India occurred within the last 10,000 years.

The M17 marker is found in only five to ten percent of Middle Eastern men. This is true even in Iranian populations where Farsi, a major Indo-European language, is spoken. Despite the low frequency, the distribution of men carrying the M17 marker in Iran provides a striking example of how climate conditions, the spread of language, and the ability to identify specific markers can combine to tell the story of the migration patterns of individual genetic lineages. In the western part of the country, descendants of the Indo-European Clan are few, encompassing perhaps five to ten percent of the men. However, on the eastern side, around 35 percent of the men carry the M17 marker. This distribution suggests that the great Iranian deserts presented a formidable barrier and prevented much interaction between the two groups.

This is where my genetic trail, as we know it today, ends. However as additional data are collected and analyzed, more will be learned about our place in the history of the men and women who first populated the Earth. This story will be updated as time progress. (This story was written by National Geographic- and have small adjustment for my Haplogroup R1a1)


migration map for R1a1a
R1a migration map. My haplogroup R1a1a.

migration map for R1a1a
Map with places to which relatives of my ancestors have spread- locations Y-DNA 12/12 match most distant known ancestor’s location.
12/12 marker test match gives a 90% likelihood of the most recent common male ancestor being within 23 generations- about 400 years ago.