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Haplogroup H (mtDNA)

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Title: Haplogroup H (mtDNA)  
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Subject: Macro-haplogroup L (mtDNA), Human mitochondrial DNA haplogroup, Demographics of Norway, Sardinian people, Azores
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Haplogroup H (mtDNA)

Haplogroup H
Possible time of origin 20,000-25,000 YBP
Possible place of origin Southwest Asia[1]
Ancestor HV[1]
Descendants H* lineages, H1, H2, H3, H4, H5'36, H6, H7, H8, H9, H10, H11, H12, H13, H14, H15, H16, H18, H19, H20, H22, H23, H24, H25, H26, H28, H29, H31, H32, H33, H34, H35, H37, H38, H39, 16129(H17+H27), 16129(H21+H30)
Defining mutations G2706A, T7028C[2]

In human mitochondrial genetics, Haplogroup H is a human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup that likely originated in Southwest Asia[1] 20,000-25,000 years Before Present.


  • Origin 1
  • Distribution 2
  • Subclades 3
    • H1 3.1
    • H3 3.2
    • H5 3.3
    • H2, H6 and H8 3.4
    • H4, H7 and H13 3.5
    • H11 3.6
    • H18 3.7
    • H20 and H21 3.8
  • Tree 4
  • Genetic traits 5
  • Popular culture 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Haplogroup H is a descendant of haplogroup HV. The Cambridge Reference Sequence (CRS), which until recently was the human mitochondrial sequence to which all others were compared, belongs to haplogroup H2a2a (human mitochondrial sequences should now be compared with the ancestral Reconstructed Sapiens Reference Sequence (RSRS)).[3] Several independent studies conclude that haplogroup H probably evolved in West Asia c. 25,000 years ago. It was carried to Europe by migrations c. 20-25,000 years ago, and spread with population of the southwest of the continent.[4][5] Its arrival was roughly contemporary with the rise of the Gravettian culture. The spread of subclades H1, H3 and the sister haplogroup V reflect a second intra-European expansion from the Franco-Cantabrian region after the last glacial maximum, c. 13,000 years ago.[1][4]

In July 2008 ancient mtDNA from an individual called Paglicci 23, whose remains were dated to 25,000 years ago and excavated from Paglicci Cave (Apulia, Italy), were found to be identical to the Cambridge Reference Sequence in HVR1.[6] This once was believed to indicate haplogroup H, but researchers now recognize that CRS can also appear in U or HV.


Haplogroup H is the most common mtDNA haplogroup in Europe.[7] Haplogroup H is found in approximately 41% of native Europeans.[8][9] The haplogroup is also common in North Africa and the Middle East.[10] The majority of the European populations have an overall haplogroup H frequency of 40%–50%. Frequencies decrease in the southeast of the continent, reaching 20% in the Near East and Caucasus, 17% in Iran, and <10% in the Persian Gulf, Northern India and Central Asia.[1][11]


Among all these clades, the subhaplogroups H1 and H3 have been subject to a more detailed study and would be associated to the Magdalenian expansion from SW Europe c. 13,000 years ago:[4]


H1 encompasses an important fraction of Western European mtDNA, reaching its local peak among contemporary Basques (27.8%) and appearing at a high frequency among other Iberians and North Africans. Its frequency is above 10% in many other parts of Europe (France, Sardinia, British Isles, Alps, large portions of Eastern Europe), and above 5% in nearly all the continent.[1] Its subclade H1b is most common in eastern Europe and NW Siberia.[12] So far, the highest frequency of H1 - 61%- has been found among the Tuareg of the Fezzan region in Libya.[13][14]

Frequencies of haplogroup H1 in the world (Ottoni et al. 2010)
Region or Population H1% No. of subjects
Libyan Tuareg 61 129
Tuareg (West Sahel) 23.3 90
Berbers (Morocco) 20.2 217
Morocco 12.2 180
Berbers (Tunisia) 13.4 276
Tunisia 10.6 269
Mozabite 9.8 80
Siwas (Egypt) 1.1 184
Western Sahara 14.8 128
Mauritania 6.9 102
Senegal 0 100
Fulani (Chad-Cameroon) 0 186
Cameroon 0 142
Chad 0 77
Buduma (Niger) 0 30
Nigeria 0 69
Ethiopia 0 82
Amhara (Ethiopia) 0 90
Oromo (Ethiopia) 0 117
Sierra Leone 0 155
Guineans (Guiné Bissau) 0 372
Mali 0 83
Kikuyu (Kenya) 0 24
Benin 0 192
Central Asia 0.7 445
Pakistan 0 100
Yakuts 1.7 58
Caucasus (north) 8.8 68
Caucasus (south) 2.3 132
Northwestern Caucasus 4.7 234
Armenians 2.3 175
Daghestan 2.5 269
Georgians 1 193
Karachay-Balkars 4.4 203
Ossetians 2.4 296
Andalusia 24.3 103
Basques (Spain) 27.8 108
Catalonia 13.9 101
Galicia 17.7 266
Pasiegos (Cantabria) 23.5 51
Portugal 25.5 499
Spain (miscellaneous) 18.9 132
Italy (north) 11.5 322
Italy (center) 6.3 208
Italy (south) 8.7 206
Sardinia 17.9 106
Sicily 10 90
Finland 18 78
Volga-Ural Finnic speakers 13.6 125
Basques (France) 17.5 40
Béarnaise 14.8 27
France 12.3 106
Estonia 16.7 114
Saami 0 57
Lithuania 1.7 180
Hungary 11.3 303
Czech Republic 10.8 102
Ukraine 9.9 191
Poland 9.3 86
Russia 13.5 312
Austria 10.6 2487
Germany 6 100
Romania 9.4 360
Netherlands 8.8 34
Greece (Aegean islands) 1.6 247
Greece (mainland) 6.3 79
Macedonia 7.1 252
Albania 2.9 105
Turks 3.3 360
Balkans 5.4 111
Croatia 8.3 84
Slovaks 7.6 119
Slovak (East) 16.8 137
Slovak (West) 14.2 70
Middle East
Arabian Peninsula 0 94
Arabian Peninsula (incl. Yemen, Oman) 0.8 493
Druze 3.4 58
Dubai (United Arab Emirates) 0.4 249
Iraq 1.9 206
Jordanians 1.7 173
Lebanese 4.2 167
Syrians 0 159


H3 represents a smaller fraction of European genome than H1 but has a somewhat similar distribution with peak among Basques (13.9%), Galicians (8.3%) and Sardinians (8.5%). Its frequency decreases towards the northeast of the continent, though.[1] Studies have suggested haplogroup H3 is highly protective against AIDS progression.[15]

The remaining subclades are much less frequent:


H5 may have evolved in West Asia, where it is most frequent and diverse in the Western Caucasus, but its subclade H5a has a stronger representation in Europe, though at low levels.[16]

H2, H6 and H8

These haplogroups are somewhat common in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus.[4] They may be the most common H subclades among Central Asians and have also been found in West Asia.[12] H2a5 has been found in Basque Country, Spain.,[17] and in Norway, Ireland and Slovakia.[18]

H4, H7 and H13

These haplogroups are present in both Europe and West Asia, H13 being also found in the Caucasus. They are quite rare.[4] H4 is often found in Iberia.[17]


H11 is commonly found in Central Europe.[17]


H18 occurs on the Arabian Peninsula. [19]

H20 and H21

These haplogroups are both found in the Caucasus region.[16] H20 also appears at low levels in the Iberian Peninsula (less than 1%), Arabian Peninsula (1%) and Near East (2%).[19]


This phylogenetic tree of haplogroup H subclades is based on the paper by Mannis van Oven and Manfred Kayser Updated comprehensive phylogenetic tree of global human mitochondrial DNA variation[2] and subsequent published research.

Genetic traits

Haplogroup H was found as a risk factor for ischemic cardiomyopathy development.[20]

Popular culture

In his popular book The Seven Daughters of Eve, Bryan Sykes named the originator of this mtDNA haplogroup Helena. Stephen Oppenheimer uses the very similar name Helina in his book The Origins of the British.

See also

Evolutionary tree of human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroups

  Mitochondrial Eve (L)    
L0 L1–6
L1 L2 L3   L4 L5 L6
  M N  
CZ D E G Q   A S   R   I W X Y
C Z B F R0   pre-JT P  U


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Achilli A, Rengo C, Magri C, et al. (November 2004). "The Molecular Dissection of mtDNA Haplogroup H Confirms That the Franco-Cantabrian Glacial Refuge Was a Major Source for the European Gene Pool". American Journal of Human Genetics 75 (5): 910–8.  
  2. ^ a b van Oven M, Kayser M (February 2009). "Updated comprehensive phylogenetic tree of global human mitochondrial DNA variation". Human Mutation 30 (2): E386–94.  
  3. ^ Behar DM, van Oven M, Rosset S, Metspalu M, Loogvali E-L Silva NM, Kivisild T, Torroni A, Villems R (2012). "A "Copernican" Reassessment of the Human Mitochondrial DNA Tree from its Root". Am. J. Hum. Genet 90 (4): 675–84.  
  4. ^ a b c d e Pereira L, Richards M, Goios A, et al. (January 2005). "High-resolution mtDNA evidence for the late-glacial resettlement of Europe from an Iberian refugium". Genome Research 15 (1): 19–24.  
  5. ^ Richards M, Macaulay V, Hickey E, et al. (November 2000). "Tracing European Founder Lineages in the Near Eastern mtDNA Pool". American Journal of Human Genetics 67 (5): 1251–76.  
  6. ^ Caramelli D, Milani L, Vai S, et al. (2008). Harpending, Henry, ed. "A 25,000 Years Old Cro-Magnon mtDNA Sequence Differs from All Potentially Contaminating Modern Sequences". PLoS ONE 3 (7): e2700.  
  7. ^ Ghezzi D, Marelli C, Achilli A, et al. (June 2005). "Mitochondrial DNA haplogroup K is associated with a lower risk of Parkinson's disease in Italians". European Journal of Human Genetics 13 (6): 748–52.  
  8. ^  
  9. ^ "Maternal Ancestry". Oxford Ancestors. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  10. ^ "Haplogroup H". Atlas of the Human Journey - The Genographic Project. National Geographic. 
  11. ^ Metspalu M, Kivisild T, Metspalu E, et al. (August 2004). "Most of the extant mtDNA boundaries in South and Southwest Asia were likely shaped during the initial settlement of Eurasia by anatomically modern humans". BMC Genetics 5: 26.  
  12. ^ a b Loogväli EL, Roostalu U, Malyarchuk BA, et al. (November 2004). "Disuniting uniformity: a pied cladistic canvas of mtDNA haplogroup H in Eurasia". Molecular Biology and Evolution 21 (11): 2012–21.  
  13. ^ Ottoni et al. 2010, "Mitochondrial Haplogroup H1 in North Africa: An Early Holocene Arrival from Iberia", Plosone
  14. ^ Ottoni et al., "Table of frequencies of haplogroup H1 in the world", Plosone
  15. ^ Hendrickson SL, Hutcheson HB, Ruiz-Pesini E, et al. (November 2008). "Mitochondrial DNA Haplogroups influence AIDS Progression". AIDS 22 (18): 2429–39.  
  16. ^ a b U. Roostalu et al, Origin and expansion of haplogroup H, the dominant human mitochondrial DNA lineage in West Eurasia: the Near Eastern and Caucasian perspective, Molecular Biology and Evolution, vol. 24, no. 2 (2007), pp. 436-448.
  17. ^ a b c Alvarez-Iglesias V, Mosquera-Miguel A, Cerezo M, et al. (2009). MacAulay, Vincent, ed. "New Population and Phylogenetic Features of the Internal Variation within Mitochondrial DNA Macro-Haplogroup R0". PloS ONE 4 (4): e5112.  
  18. ^ van Oven M and Kayser M. (2009). "Updated comprehensive phylogenetic tree of global human mitochondrial DNA variation". Hum Mutat 30 (2): =E386–E394.  
  19. ^ a b Ennafaa H, Cabrera VM, Abu-Amero KK, et al. (2009). "Mitochondrial DNA haplogroup H structure in North Africa". BMC Genetics 10: 8.  
  20. ^ Fernández-Caggiano, Maria; Javier Barallobre-Barreiro; Ignacio Rego-Pérez; María G. Crespo-Leiro; María Jesus Paniagua; Zulaika Grillé; Francisco J. Blanco; Nieves Doménech (2012). "Mitochondrial Haplogroups H and J: Risk and Protective Factors for Ischemic Cardiomyopathy". PLOS One 7 (8): e44128.  

External links

  • General
    • Ian Logan's Mitochondrial DNA Site
    • Mannis van Oven's Phylotree
  • Haplogroup H
    • mtDNA Haplogroup H Project at Family Tree DNA
    • National Geographic's Spread of Haplogroup H, from National Geographic
    • mtDNA Haplogroup H article at SNPedia
    • Amelia's Helena
    • Loogväli EL, Roostalu U, Malyarchuk BA, et al. (November 2004). "Disuniting uniformity: a pied cladistic canvas of mtDNA haplogroup H in Eurasia". Molecular Biology and Evolution 21 (11): 2012–21.  
    • Genebase's Tutorials on mtDNA Haplogroup H
    • Genebase's Phylogenetic tree of mtDNA Haplogroup H
    • Genebase's Geographical distribution of mtDNA Haplogroup H
    • Haplogroup and Subcluster Frequencies for European Populations
    • Danish Demes Regional DNA Project: mtDNA Haplogroup H
    • Survey/study open to men who are in any branch of Haplogroup H
    • Survey/study open to women who are in any branch of Haplogroup H
  • Haplogroup H1
    • Hope The H1 mtDNA Haplogroup Project
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