November 16, 2008

Y chromosomes and mtDNA from Soqotra

UPDATE (18/11): see a related post on the age of the new mtDNA lineages [end update]

Soqotra is an island in the Indian Ocean which belongs to Yemen. What is most interesting -to me- about this paper, is that 71.4% of the Y-chromosomes belong to haplogroup J*(xJ1, J2) which is found at trace frequencies elsewhere. Interestingly, haplogroup J2 is not found in this isolated region, while haplogroup J1 is found at a frequency of 14.3%.

The authors write:
For the perspective of the Y-chromosome data, a high
frequency of haplogroup J1 in Soqotra is consistent with
a gradient of this haplogroup in the Arabian Peninsula
(Cadenas et al., 2008). These authors estimated ages for
J1 in Arabia (9.7 +/ 2.4 in Yemen, 7.4 +/- 2.3 in Qatar and
6.4 +/- 1.4 KYBP in UAE), consistent with a Neolithic
expansion from the north (where Y-chromosome STR diversity
is higher). However, we report a much higher frequency
of J* (lack of M267 and M172) in Soqotra. Since
this lineage was not found by Cadenas et al. (2008) in
the Arabian Peninsula, this raises the possibility of an
earlier input for these lineages or more probably very
strong genetic drift of a low frequency Arabian lineage
in the Y-chromosome gene pool of Soqotra.
The early dates from Cadenas et al. are due to the use of an evolutionary mutation rate, and thus need to be downgraded to about ~1,000BC onwards, coinciding (within wide confidence intervals) with the formation of the earliest Arabian kingdoms. It seems probable that J*(xJ1, J2) was commoner in the past, and contributed to the population of Soqotra, but this population was later overwhelmed by the expansion of J1-carriers who dominate the Arabian peninsula to this day.

It is unfortunate that apparently many J2 downstream markers were typed even though there is no J2 on the island, whereas haplogroup E, occurring at a frequency of 9.5% was not further resolved. This underscores the need for a more flexible typing stratgy; at this level it is not clear whether this E came to the island from Africa or from Arabia.

American Journal of Physical Anthropology doi: 10.1002/ajpa.20960

Out of Arabia - The settlement of Island Soqotra as revealed by mitochondrial and Y chromosome genetic diversity

Viktor Cerny et al.


The Soqotra archipelago is one of the most isolated landmasses in the world, situated at the mouth of the Gulf of Aden between the Horn of Africa and southern Arabia. The main island of Soqotra lies not far from the proposed southern migration route of anatomically modern humans out of Africa 60,000 years ago (kya), suggesting the island may harbor traces of that first dispersal. Nothing is known about the timing and origin of the first Soqotri settlers. The oldest historical visitors to the island in the 15th century reported only the presence of an ancient population. We collected samples throughout the island and analyzed mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosomal variation. We found little African influence among the indigenous people of the island. Although the island population likely experienced founder effects, links to the Arabian Peninsula or southwestern Asia can still be found. In comparison with datasets from neighboring regions, the Soqotri population shows evidence of long-term isolation and autochthonous evolution of several mitochondrial haplogroups. Specifically, we identified two high-frequency founder lineages that have not been detected in any other populations and classified them as a new R0a1a1 subclade. Recent expansion of the novel lineages is consistent with a Holocene settlement of the island ~6 kya.



Ebizur said...

I recall that Firasat et al. (2007) have reported finding haplogroup J*(xJ1, J2) Y-DNA in 3.0% of a large sample of Pakistanis. It has also been reported as singletons in samples of Burusho (Firasat et al.), Kumyk Turks of Dagestan (Yunusbaev et al. 2006), and Turkey (Cinnioglu et al. 2004).

Where else has haplogroup J*(xJ1, J2) been found?

Sam said...

The early dates from Cadenas et al. are due to the use of an evolutionary mutation rate, and thus need to be downgraded to about ~1,000BC onwards coinciding (within wide confidence intervals) with the formation of the earliest Arabian kingdoms

1000 BC is around the date of Northern Semitic influence (change of politicial system & adapting the Abjad), even the language became West Semitic.

There was an older Semitic (or Proto-Semitic) layer that spoke a language related to South East Semitic language (Modern Arabian), Archaeology shows an older culture in the Ubar region, the Semitic languages spoken today in that region are very distant from West Semitic & truly belong in the East Semitic family.

1st Millenia BC
Sabaeans (Tribes in the edge of the desert in North Yemen)

1st Millenia AD
Himyarites (Sabaeans + Older layer of people in Central Yemen highlands & plains)


(J*) were these people from the same clan/village?

What are the E? (some of it should be V12), because Socotra is very close to the Sea faring Somalians

terryt said...

"The main island of Soqotra lies not far from the proposed southern migration route of anatomically modern humans out of Africa 60,000 years ago (kya)".

Why on earth did they bother mentioning that? If anything the results of their work, especially if more recent dating holds up, actually casts doubt on the validity of the southern migration route.

Mutargim said...

Does it mean that Soqotrans are the earliest population of the island of Socotra, and they are of the Semitic wave that had came from the East Africa directly to Socotra, not from Arabia?
And what time it could have been happened?

Anonymous said...

The Study shows Socotra has little to do with East Africa, L3 african was absent and the 9% E could be Greek E-V13 because Greek presence was recorded on the islands.

Quote from Arab Historian Yaqut al-Hammadi mentioning that some of the medieval Socotrans were non-mixed Greeks

The Masih, son of Maryam appeared -- peace be upon him -- and the Greeks who stayed there adopted Christianity and remain Christians until the present time. GOD knows that there is no other place in the Universe except Socotra Island where there would live a population of Greeks which would retain its lineage without having anybody else mix with it.

Mutargim said...

Not today's East Africa, of course, but the the firs oldest human population of East Africa who have gone out to populate the Earth.
There are quite interesting textes by Yaqut, al-Hamdani as well as Marco Polo, Ahmad Ibn Majid or the unknown author of "Periplus of the Erythraean Sea". Some people say that Soqotra is Atlantis.
Sure, there were a nomber of visiting people of different origins through ages coming to Soqotra and even living here for some time.
Hjwever, the thruth is that today the native population of Soqotra is speaking jne of the oldest Semitic languages of the world closely related to Classic Arabic, Akkadian, Hebrew and athers of that ancient kind thich are @
"written languages" now. But Soqotri (as well as Mahri &
"akhawaati-ha")has no ABC and is living spoken one!
Abowe this Soqotrans themselves are strongly opposing the idea that they are "intermingled people" on this island - and this Y-chromosome studi sows - they are right!

P.A.L said...

It´s very informative! Thank you for all that datas. I read with pleasure as I learned that i have haplogroup J*... United States Marijuana Party said...

Hi! I am totally annoyed with National Geographic Genographic Project because my Test Kit
showed J1
when I first took it,
and then recently I was looking at it online and they

When I contacted them they suggested I contact Family Tree dna and they suggested I pay twice as much money to take a NEW test.

I THINK THAT IS A "BAIT AND SWITCH" ILLEGAL ADVERTISING SCAM. They NEVER gave ANY valid reason for changing me from J1 to J*.

What are the criteria to be a native Mitochondrial dna woman of Socotra?
Cris Ericson

Anonymous said...

Very good note. There is a connection between "the bood and the language" indeed, but some peoples had barrowed their recent language from other peoples in previous times, as we know.
First, befor Demitic languege emerged there was Pra-Semitic, and befor this Semito-Hamitic, and befor that Nostratic (Pra-Semito-Hamitic-Indo-European).
It seems, that all the Earth population wad come out of Africa ca. 50.000 years ago. The question is: what kind of language did they speak?
Second, the Soqotran people (Siqaatra) are speaking their original oldest live language which is 100% Semitic (like Classic Arabic of the times of Imrul Qays). But wether they came from Africa within a branch of Semitic waves of migration, or they came from the Arabia even from the North (Soqotri language has some features close to Arameic) - is not known.
Third, Soqotram folk tales have some popular stories similar to Old Egyptian and European (even German and Russian). And, as the scientiscts of folklore say, folklore subjects may be much older than the language os the people.
And forth, first proved human migration to Socotra took place befor 1.4 mln. years at least in Oldowan era (in 2008 the Oldowan stone tools made in Socotra were found by the Russian expedition)

Mutargim said...

Correction: Semitic, Proto-Semitic, Proto-Semito-Hamitic, Proto-Semito-Hamitic-Indo-European.

Mutargim said...

Above this, according to Abu Zeyd al-Sirafi (X c.), al-Hamdani and Yaqut there was a Greek colony on Socotra: Alexander had sent a force componed from the people of Stagir - according to the Aristotle's advice - to seaze the island for its aloe. Houever, till now no material evidence of Greek presence on Socotra was found.

Anonymous said...

there is no J2 of greek in the island, as for the ancient greek as e this was 1000 years before alexander. if greek came to island in time of alexander there should be J2.

since 75% of J in the island is J non j1 non j2 and 25% J1 this means that j birthed J1 on this island and that j1 went to the arabic peninsula to populate it. there are few J non j1 non j2 in oman and saudia. this means that J1 came to arabia from the south not from the caucasus of the north.

Mutargim said...

In fact, I expected a "margine way" of Semitic migration from the Corn of Africa to Socotra and then - with the sommer Monsoon - to Arabia: the terretory of Mahra and Oman, because the language of Socotrans is of the same rrare origin as Mahri and others in al-Mahra and Shehri and others in Oman. But hte main stream of the Semitic migration should have been come out of Africa to the Arabia through Bab-el-Mandab or/and Sinai peninsula: because Classic Arabic could not emerge from Soqotri (Proto-Soqotri), as well as Arameic, Hebrew and other big ancient languages. But Soqotri has features of Arabic, Arameic and Hebrew at the same time - and it is now - till now! - spoken alive.
These days there is a 2nd poetry competition for the title "Poet of Socotra" in Soqotri style and language.