Results of DNA Tests for Lynn Edwin Garn

Migrations of Maternal Ancestors Based on Mitochondrial-DNA

The following information about the migrations of my maternal ancestors is a condensation of the information provided by the DNA testing company. When I refer to my maternal ancestors, I mean my mother, her mother, and the mothers-only before her. My materal line of ancestors belong to the H3h haplogroup of DNA, which traces its roots back along the path discussed below.


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. A unique piece of DNA known as mitochondrial-DNA or mt-DNA appears within each cell but outside the nucleus of the cell. Whereas the nucleus contains genetic material from both parents, the mt-DNA outside the nucleus has only DNA material from the mother.

The mt-DNA is passed directly from mothers to her children, both male and female, unchanged, unless a mutation, a random, naturally occurring, usually harmless change, occurs. The mutation, known as a "marker," acts as a beacon that can be mapped through generations because it will be passed down without change for thousands of years. Each of us has many of these markers that can be used to determine relationships among different ethnic groups and races of peoples as well as the approximate dates when the markers first appeared in the genetic tree.

When geneticists identify such a marker, they use an established analytical process to establish when it first occurred, and in which geographic region of the world. Each marker is essentially the beginning of a new lineage or "Branch" 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. Note that since males do not pass mt-DNA to their children, all mt-DNA tests reveal the maternal line of ancestors of the person being tested.

The analysis of my mt-DNA markers reveals the path my ancestors took as they moved out of Africa and the places they went on their journey to eventually settle in Europe. It starts with the earliest ancestors and moves forward in time to the most recent ancestors.

The common direct maternal ancestor of all people alive today is believed to have been born in East Africa around 180,000 years ago. She was not the first human female nor the only female alive in his time. But she was the only female whose direct lineage is present in people living today. This common maternal ancestor has been called "Mitochondrial Eve" because she represents the root of the human family tree. Eve gave rise to two descendant lineages known as L0 and L1'2'3'4'5'6, characterized by a different set of genetic mutations their members carry.

According to the DNA testing company, current genetic data indicates that indigenous people belonging to these groups are found exclusively in Africa. This means that, because all humans have a common female ancestor, and because the genetic data shows that Africans are the oldest groups on the planet, we know our species originated there.

Eventually, L1'2'3'4'5'6 gave rise to L3 in East Africa when an individual underwent a mutation to her mitochondrial DNA, which was passed onto her children. The children were successful, and their descendants ultimately broke away from L1'2'3'4'5'6, eventually separating into a new group called L3, the branch that my ancestors belong to.

Although Branch L3 individuals are found all over Africa, Branch L3 is important for its movements north. Branch L3 is also significant because the first modern humans to leave Africa were from L3 making it one of the deepest branches of the tree found outside of Africa.

Members of Branch L3 went in a few different directions. Many stayed on in Africa, dispersing to the west and south. Today, L3 is also found in many African-Americans. Other L3 individuals, my ancestors, kept moving northward, eventually leaving the African continent completely around 60,000 to 70,000 years ago. These people gave rise to two important haplogroups that went on to populate the rest of the world.

The ancestors discussed below are grouped by DNA types that have branched off from the orginal type as time passed. Along the way, different branches of my tree will be discussed with the best estimates of when they first appeared and where their population was centered. The different branches have been given different names. The time when the different branches appeared does not seem to have any relationship to the alphabetical order of the names of the different branches.

Branch: L3

This branch of my mt-DNA is believed to have been located in East Africa around 70,000 years ago. The map provided by the DNA testing company suggested the region where it was centered was near Western Ethiopia. The GPS coordinates of this location are approximately 7.536764N, 34.841308E. Descendants of this branch account for two out-of-Africa lineages, population migrations in Africa, and even part of the Atlantic Slave Trade related dispersals from Africa.

Branch: N

Branch N is believed to have originated around 60,000 years ago. The map provided by the DNA testing company places the origin in Saudi Arabia, near the Red Sea and midway between Mecca and border with Jordan. The GPS coordinates of this location are approximately 25.878994N, 37.609862E. Branch N is one of two groups that make up descendants of Branch L3.They moved north and left the African continent across the Sinai Peninsula, in present-day Egypt.

Descendants of these migrants eventually formed haplogroup N. Early members of this group lived in the eastern Mediterranean region and western Asia, where they likely coexisted for a time with other hominids such as Neanderthals. Excavations in Israel's Kebara Cave (Mount Carmel) have unearthed Neanderthal skeletons as recent as 60,000 years old, indicating that there was both geographic and temporal overlap of these two hominids in this region.

After several thousand years in the Near East, members of this group began moving into unexplored nearby territories, following large herds of migrating game across vast plains. Branch N formed many groups of their own which went on to populate much of the rest of the globe. These descendants are found throughout Asia, Europe, India, and the Americas. However, because almost all of the mitochondrial lineages found in the Near East and Europe descend from N, it is considered a western Eurasian haplogroup.

Today, haplogroup N individuals who headed west are prevalent in Turkey and the eastern Mediterranean, they are found further east in parts of Central Asia and the Indus Valley of Pakistan and India. And members of your haplogroup who headed north out of the Eastern Mediterranean across the Caucasus Mountains have remained in southeastern Europe and the Balkans. Importantly, descendants of these people eventually went on to populate the rest of Europe, and today comprise the most frequent mitochondrial lineages found there. Ann Curry of the Today Show belongs to this lineage.

Branch: R

Branch R is believed to have first appeared around 55,000 years ago in or near Northern Iraq. The GPS coordinates of this location are approximately 35.746512N, 44.809569E. After several thousand years in the Near East, individuals belonging to a new group called haplogroup R began to move out and explore the surrounding areas. Some moved south, migrating back into northern Africa. Others went west across present-day Turkey and north across the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia and southern Russia. Still others headed east into the Middle East, and on to Central Asia.

The story of haplogroup R is complicated, however, because these individuals can be found almost everywhere, and because their origin is quite ancient. In fact, the ancestor of haplogroup R lived relatively soon after humans moved out of Africa during the second wave, and her descendants undertook many of the same migrations as her own group, N.

Because the two groups lived side by side for thousands of years, it is likely that the migrations radiating out from the Near East comprised individuals from both of these groups. They simply moved together, bringing their N and R lineages to the same places around the same times. The genetic lines became quickly entangled, and geneticists are currently working to unravel the different stories of haplogroups N and R, since they are found in many of the same far-reaching places. 75% to 95% of Europeans come from the R Branch.

Branch: R0

Branch R0 is believed to have first appeared around 41,000 years ago near the border between present day Turkey and Syria and near the Mediterranean Sea. he GPS coordinates of this location are approximately 36.809285N, 37.075194E. Some members of this branch moved across West Asia into Central Asia and then into present day India. Others moved south, heading back into the African homeland from where their ancestors had recently departed. Later, members of this lineage moved north across the Caucasus Mountains and west across Turkey into Europe. These were the people known as Cro-Magnon Man. Their arrival in Europe around 30,000 initiated the end of the era of the Neanderthals that had inhabited Europe and parts of western Asia from about 230,000 to 29,000 years ago. Better communication skills, weapons, and resourcefulness probably enabled them to outcompete Neanderthals for scarce resources.

Today, members of this lineage are present around the Red Sea and widely throughout the region. While this genetic lineage is common in Ethiopia and Somalia, individuals from this group are present at highest frequency in Arabia. Those living in East Africa are the likely result of more recent migrations back into the continent.

Branch: HV

Branch HV is believed to have first appeared 22,350 ± 7,745 Years ago in West Asia near where the borders of present-day Poland, Lithuania and Belarus meet. The GPS coordinates of this location are approximately 53.014783N, 21.958006E. Descending from haplogroup R were a group of individuals who formed a western Eurasian lineage. The descendants of pre-HV live in high frequencies in the Anatolian-Caucasus region and Iran. While members of this group can also be found near the Pakistan-India border, their presence is considered the result of a subsequent migration eastward of individuals out of the Near East.

Descendants from these western Eurasian lineages used the Near East as a home base of sorts, radiating from that region to populate much of the rest of the world. Their descendants comprise all of the western Eurasian genetic lineages, and about half of the eastern Eurasian mt-DNA gene pool. Some individuals moved across the Middle East into Central Asia and the Hindus Valley near western India. Some moved south, heading back into the African homeland from where their ancestors had come.

Descendants of pre-HV split off and formed their own group, called HV. This group, largely because of a brutal climate change, gave rise to the two most prevalent female lineages found in Western Europe.

Although other members of the pre-HV branches moved across Central Asia, to India, and even back into Africa, my branch remained in the Near East and formed a new group, characterized by a unique set of mutations, called haplogroup HV. Branch HV is found throughout the Near East, including present-day Turkey and the Caucasus Mountains of southern Russia and the Republic of Georgia. It is also found in parts of East Africa, particularly in Ethiopia, where its presence there indicates recent Near Eastern gene flow, believed to be the result of the Arab slave trade over the last two millennia.

Today, members of this line are part of the populations of Europe, West Asia (including Anatolia), and the Caucasus Mountains of South Russia and the Republic of Georgia. This lineage accounts for around 21 percent of maternal lineages in Armenia. It is about 8 percent of those in Turkey and about 5 percent of those in Croatia. Across much of Europe, this line is present at low frequencies of around 1 percent. This lineage accounts for about 7 percent of the population of both India in South Asia and the United Arab Emirates in West Asia

Branch: H

Branch H is believed to have first appeared around 28,000 years ago near where the borders of present-day Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic meet. The GPS coordinates of this location are approximately 50.958427N, 14.750975E. A wave of migration into western Europe associated with this and other branches marked the appearance and spread of what archaeologists call the Aurignacian culture, a culture distinguished by significant innovations in methods of manufacturing tools, standardization of tools, and use of a broader set of tool types, such as end-scrapers for preparing animal skins and tools for woodworking.

Around 15,000 to 20,000 years ago, climate change brought colder temperatures and a drier global climate, making living conditions near impossible for much of the northern hemisphere. As a result, Europeans migrated south to the warmer climates of the Iberian Peninsula, Italy, and the Balkans, where they waited out the cold spell. Their population sizes were drastically reduced. It is believed that much of the genetic diversity that had previously existed in Europe was lost.

Beginning about 15,000 years ago, after the ice sheets caused by the climate change had begun their retreat, humans moved north again and recolonized western Europe. By far the most frequent mitochondrial lineage carried by these expanding groups was haplogroup H. Because of the population growth that quickly followed this expansion, haplogroup H is the dominant haplogroup of mt-DNA among Europeans.

Today haplogroup H makes up 40 to 60 percent of the gene pool of most European populations. In Rome and Athens, for example, the frequency of H is around 40 percent of the entire population, and it exhibits similar frequencies throughout western Europe. Moving eastward the frequencies of H gradually decreases, clearly illustrating the migratory path these settlers followed as they left the Iberian Peninsula after the ice sheets had receded. Haplogroup H is found at around 25 percent in Turkey and around 20 percent in the Caucasus Mountains.

While haplogroup H is considered the Western European lineage due to its high frequency there, it is also found much further east. Today it comprises around 20 percent of southwest Asian lineages, about 15 percent of people living in Central Asia, and around five percent in northern Asia.

The highest percentage of this line in Europe is in Ireland, where it makes up 61 percent of the population. French queen Marie Antoinette of "Let them eat cake" fame and Renaissance astronomer Nicholas Copernicus were members of this lineage.

Branch: H3

Branch H3 is believed to have first appeared 16,430 ± 1,970 Years ago in Europe. The GPS coordinates of this location are approximately 50.958427N, 14.750975E, near where Branch H, above, is believed to have originated. When the glaciers receded after the last ice-age in Europe, this line expanded north from southern France and Spain.

Today, this lineage is present most often in Portugal where it is about 10 percent of maternal lineages. It is between 4 and 8 percent of maternal lineages in the British Isles. It is about 5 percent of the population of France. It is about 5 percent of maternal lineages in Croatia. It is also part of some Jewish Diaspora groups.

American singer Jimmy Buffett belongs to this lineage. So we are somehow distantly related to Jimmy Buffet.