View Full Version : HV1 and Red Sea Population Movements

08-10-2012, 03:45 PM
Musilová et al. 2011. Limited access study: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajpa.21522/full

Map of HV1 frequency:



Population history of the Red Sea—genetic exchanges between the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa signaled in the mitochondrial DNA HV1 haplogroup

Archaeological studies have revealed cultural connections between the two sides of the Red Sea dating to prehistory. The issue has still not been properly addressed, however, by archaeogenetics. We focus our attention here on the mitochondrial haplogroup HV1 that is present in both the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa. The internal variation of 38 complete mitochondrial DNA sequences (20 of them presented here for the first time) affiliated into this haplogroup testify to its emergence during the late glacial maximum, most probably in the Near East, with subsequent dispersion via population expansions when climatic conditions improved. Detailed phylogeography of HV1 sequences shows that more recent demographic upheavals likely contributed to their spread from West Arabia to East Africa, a finding concordant with archaeological records suggesting intensive maritime trade in the Red Sea from the sixth millennium BC onwards. Closer genetic exchanges are apparent between the Horn of Africa and Yemen, while Egyptian HV1 haplotypes seem to be more similar to the Near Eastern ones.


Archaeogenetics has started revealing the importance of the period encompassing the end of the Pleistocene and Early Holocene, when major population expansions occurred in South Arabia, leaving evidence in the form of the internal diversification of mtDNA haplogroup R0a (Černý et al.,2011). Considering the paleoclimatic data (Rose and Petraglia,2009), the post-late glacial maximum (LGM) expansion around 16 KYA seemed to be especially important within southeast parts of Yemen (such as Al Mahra and Hadramawt) known as the South Arabian refugium. This climatically favorable period, coinciding roughly with the Bölling-Allerřd interstadial, was only interrupted with the onset of the Younger Dryas ∼13.5 KYA, but was re-established in the Early Holocene when monsoon precipitation increased again some 9 KYA. Present climatic conditions started to develop from about 5 KYA onward (Parker,2009). An example of the later demographic expansion was the development of R0a1a1a and R0a2f1 lineages especially in Soqotra Island, between 6 and 3 KYA (Černý et al.,2011), chronologically matching the earliest evidence for seafaring activity in the area (Boivin et al.,2009). Naturally, some of the R0a branches emerging in the Arabian Peninsula spread to East Africa as well.

Together with R0a, HV1 lineages attain a frequency of 15.7% in Yemen (Černý et al.,2008), 18.4% in Saudi Arabia (Abu-Amero et al.,2008), 4.9% in Sudan (unpublished), 11.2% in Ethiopia (Kivisild et al.,2004), and unpublished), and 9.5% in Somalia (unpublished). There is not much information about the HV1 haplogroup, which is defined by a transversion (A to T) at position 8,014 and two substitutions at positions 15,218 and 16,067 (van Oven and Kayser,2009), except that it appeared contemporaneously with its sister clade R0a, around 20 KYA in the Near East. In this work, we focus on HV1 lineages found in Arabia, Eastern, and Northern Africa, and perform complete sequencing of 20 HV1 haplotypes to add new information to what is known on the population history of both sides of the Red Sea.

(emphasis mine)

Excerpt from Discussion:

HV1 can be interpreted as a haplogroup whose geographic spread was facilitated by migration activity across the Red Sea as part of the post-LGM expansions occurring in the West of the Arabian Peninsula. Most probably some lineages of HV1 such as HV1a3 and HV1b1 passed from South Arabia to East Africa during the periods of intense commercial network activity that might have started, as is suggested by the archaeological evidence (Boivin et al.,2009), already in the sixth millennium BC. The fact that the East African lineages are not derivative of the Arabian ones, but diverge from the root of the sub-haplogroups, seems to indicate that the migration toward Africa happened soon after the emergence of the sub-haplogroups rather than recently. This pattern is similar to the one displayed by some R0a branches such as R0a2b [10,063 (5,467–14,659) years] and R0a2g [6,094 (1,558–10,630) years], published earlier (Černý et al.,2011). Intense maritime activity led not only to the expansion of lineages from the Arabian Peninsula to East Africa but also to the settlement of Soqotra Island in the Arabian Sea (Černý et al.,2009; Černý et al.,2011). Interestingly, the flow of migrations from East Africa to the Arabian Peninsula seem to have been more recent, occurring mainly during the Arab-conducted slave trade initiated only in the seventh century AD (Richards et al.,2003; Kivisild et al.,2004). Curiously, Kivisild et al. (2004) detected a high proportion (12%) of the sub-Saharan L6 sequences in their Yemeni sample, suggesting that these sequences could be explained by an earlier gene flow across the Red Sea; this observation was not reproduced, however, in other and larger Yemeni sample sets (Černý et al.,2008; Černý et al.,2009).

It appears that Egypt received some N lineages directly from the Near East after the LGM, as is testified to by the higher match of Egyptian HV1 lineages with widespread haplotypes found in this study, as well as by genetic evidence collected earlier (Rowold et al.,2007). The close connection of HV1 between Egypt and the Near East, together with the geographical distribution of other haplogroups such as J, T, R0a, U6, H1, H3, or V show that North Africa can be genetically divided into an eastern and a western part. Although the first was influenced by Near Eastern population expansions in the end of the Pleistocene and in the Holocene, the western part seems to show mainly post-LGM population expansions of the by-that-time autochthonous lineage U6 (Pereira et al.,2010a) and of European lineages such as H1, H3, and V that probably stemmed from the Iberian refugium (Cherni et al.,2009; Ennafaa et al.,2009; Pereira et al.,2010b). The question of how far the Near Eastern influence in North Africa extends remains. According to some genetic data, the imaginary line could be detected somewhere between Libya and Algeria (Dupanloup et al.,2000). Unfortunately, Libyan mtDNA sequences are still not currently available to address these issues. Notwithstanding, the distribution of HV1 haplogroup in Arabian and African populations would very well fit these expectations.

HV1 Network (sorry for black and white, the authors chose not to spring for color):


08-11-2012, 03:30 AM
Together with R0a, HV1 lineages attain a frequency of 15.7% in Yemen (Černý et al.,2008), 18.4% in Saudi Arabia (Abu-Amero et al.,2008), 4.9% in Sudan (unpublished), 11.2% in Ethiopia (Kivisild et al.,2004), and unpublished), and 9.5% in Somalia (unpublished).

In combination, they do seem quite a good indicator of preserved maternal lineages dating back to Red sea migrations between the Horn and South West Arabia.

Yemeni Jews as a comparison scored 29.5%. (Behar 2008)


A picture of the four identified 'Near Eastern mtDNA's less prevalent in Europe. (Achilli 2007) Going off this image, R0a seems to have a more evenly distributed presence between the two African and Asian fringes than HV1.