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Thread: Is L2a1l African?

  1. #1

    Is L2a1l African?

    My maternal great-grandmother's mtDNA was L2a1l. She was Ashkenazi and her family came from Eastern Europe but she was very dark skinned and could pass as a North African Jew or Mizrachi Jew. However, 23andme says L2a1l is from Bantu people in Africa, and I have not been able to find much about this lineage other than that. So is this lineage actually from Africa?

  2. #2
    Registered Users

    Somewhat relevant: L2a1l (or a close relative) was just recently reported in an ancient Iberian sample from 3600 YBP:

    COV20126, the 3600 yBP individual from Córdoba was assigned to L2a1 l, a typical sub-Saharan haplogroup, to our knowledge never described before in ancient individuals outside Africa. The restriction of the analysis to reads showing typical aDNA molecular damage [24], confirmed the assignation of COV20126 to haplogroup L2a1 l. We followed PhyloTree ( to place COV20126 in a parsimonious phylogeny of the L2 haplogroup (electronic supplementary material, figure S5a) and confirmed its assignment to L2a1. Within this clade, the polymorphisms 16189C and 16192 T together with 534 T place COV20126 further down on the tree in subclade L2a1 l, although for a complete assignment to this subclade COV20126 is missing an A at position 143 and a C at position 195. On the same branch of the tree and differing from L2a1 l by only four substitutions, there is L2a1 k, a haplogroup that perhaps has evolved locally in Europe since 13 000 yBP [5,6]. We did not find exact matches to this ancient sequence in a database of modern haplogroup L mtDNAs (n > 2600 haplotypes). However, in present-day populations haplogroup L2a1 l is most frequent in West/West-Central Africa [41], but also in the Caribbean and USA, as a consequence of the transatlantic slave trade, [42]. Most remarkable, the sub-clade, L2a1l2a, comprising five different haplotypes, occurs only in modern DNA samples from Poland [43]. In addition, there are no members belonging to L2a1 l in present-day samples from North Africa.
    Assuming those 5 samples from Poland are Jewish (they cite a study on Ashkenazi mtDNA), it seems more likely IMO that L2a1l is a result of Iberian or North African gene flow into Jewish groups. Despite being originally African, L2a1l has apparently been found in Europe for a long time.

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  4. #3
    Junior Member

    I am LSa1l. Very interesting information.

  5. #4
    Registered Users

    I have an L2a1 ancestress from Germany, born in early 1700s. Her mitochondrial line may have been from Switzerland prior to that.

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