Human Y chromosome haplogroup J1-M267 is a common male lineage in West Asia. One high-frequency region—encompassing the Arabian Peninsula, southern Mesopotamia, and the southern Levant—resides ~ 2000 km away from the other one found in the Caucasus. The region between them, although has a lower frequency, nevertheless demonstrates high genetic diversity. Studies associate this haplogroup with the spread of farming from the Fertile Crescent to Europe, the spread of mobile pastoralism in the desert regions of the Arabian Peninsula, the history of the Jews, and the spread of Islam. Here, we study past human male demography in West Asia with 172 high-coverage whole Y chromosome sequences and 889 genotyped samples of haplogroup J1-M267. We show that this haplogroup evolved ~ 20,000 years ago somewhere in northwestern Iran, the Caucasus, the Armenian Highland, and northern Mesopotamia. The major branch—J1a1a1-P58—evolved during the early Holocene ~ 9500 years ago somewhere in the Arabian Peninsula, the Levant, and southern Mesopotamia. Haplogroup J1-M267 expanded during the Chalcolithic, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age. Most probably, the spread of Afro-Asiatic languages, the spread of mobile pastoralism in the arid zones, or both of these events together explain the distribution of haplogroup J1-M267 we see today in the southern regions of West Asia.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank all the DNA donors who participated in this study. This work was supported by Estonian Research Council (Grant Number IUT24-1 to H.S., M.K., B.Y., E.M., D.M.B., M.M., S.R., and R.V.); European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (Project Number 2014-2020.4.01.16-0125 to H.S., L.S., M.K., R.F., B.Y., D.M.B., M.M.); Estonian Research Council (Grant Number PUT1339 to A.K.). Fourteen high-coverage genomes from the 1000 Genomes Project panel were generated at the New York Genome Center with funds provided by the National Human Genome Research Institute (Grant Number 3UM1HG008901-03S1) and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences at the National Institutes of Health.
© 2021, The Author(s).
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