Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Y-DNA & mtDNA data from Eritrea forthcoming

For a while now, a friend has been mentioning a forthcoming uniparental study on Eritrea to me and just recently he got his hands on its abstract (I'm not sharing all of it but just some of it):

"Eritrea is strategically located at the eastern part of the African Sahel belt over what is believed to be the original scene of modern humans’ evolution and dispersal. The country’s peculiarity is also reflected in the presence of nine ethno-linguistic populations that speak Cushitic, Semitic and Eastern Sudanic languages, makes it all interesting in addressing some of the significant questions pertaining to history of human expansion within and beyond the African landscape. Major Y chromosome haplogroups A (24.73%), B (7.52%), E (46.24%) and J (21.51%) were detected in all Eritrean samples. Further high-resolution analysis of the macrohaplogroups resulted in high frequency of A-M13, E-V32 and J-P58 with different proportions found in the populations analyzed to indicate the prehistoric and historic demography of the populations."

I'll hold back on any comments until we get the full-paper but I must say... I'm extremely excited at the idea of comprehensive mtDNA data for ethnic groups like Afars, Sahos and Tigres.

Reference List:


  1. Interesting.

    There was a study published a couple of years ago with a low number of Eritrean samples from various ethnic groups and the results were quite similar to this study. It also noted the same haplogroups as being dominant.

  2. The frequency of A & B, traditional Nilotic type markers is interesting. I assume that J1 is more prevalent in the Semitic speaking groups or those along the coast. Certain groups in neighboring groups in Sudan and Ethiopia also have high rates of the same type of J-P58 haplogroup. Overall, looks like a blend of Cushitic, Nilotic, and Semitic haplogroups similar to neighboring Ethiopia.

  3. Do you think that the ENF in Somalis is mostly maternal considering the fact that 'west asian' y-dna is completely dominated by E?

    1. Nope, I don't. Mostly because the second most common Somali Y-DNA marker is T-M70:


      In fact, it practically finds it worldwide peak, if I recall correctly, in Northwestern Somalis (Trombetta et al.'s "Djiboutians" were 75% T) and maintains a 20-30% frequency in most other datasets I've seen. Then there's a 1-4% frequency for J1 which maybe owed to more recent minor input or may also, to some extent, be a throwback to some old diversity before genetic drift caused Somalis to be over-represented by E-V32 and T-M70, likely the same case with A-M13 (occurs at a rate of 1-3%, I'd say).

      So no... We had both male and female West Eurasian ancestors.

  4. Any luck ever gaining access to this paper?

    I'm keenly interested in seeing if there's any ancient Nilotic relics to be found, my maternal eastern sudanic grandfather's B-M60(M-181) and my rare maternal L3x2b -- I've found public verifiable data for both with signatures, markers and the like on either side of the Redsea; Saudi Arabia and Yemen particularly. Although what I've found so far seems very anciently connected, I'm curious to know if there's any relatively recent (post neolithic) traces of genetic continuity between populations of the northern (Kunama,Nara) and southern branch (Turkana,Bari..) of Eastern-Sudanic speakers -- the linguistic unity of this branch has been estimated to be preneolthic, some estimate an Eastern Sudanic unity from at least the 5th millennium BC (Clark, 1984).

    I seem to always have issues requesting permission from the University of Khartoum's site, I'm not even sure if the admin still services the site -- have you ever had any luck?

    Thanks for the post

  5. Has the full paper of a comprehensive mtDNA data for ethnic groups like Afars, Sahos and Tigres been published?