September 07, 2011

Guess Ötzi's Y-DNA haplogroup

All indications lead to the conclusion that results from the study of Ötzi's genome will be announced this fall. I know nothing about what was actually sequenced, but it seems that his Y-chromosome haplogroup has been determined. So far, ancient DNA has been throwing curveballs our way, with an emerging picture of "more change than expected" since prehistoric or even ancient times.

So, what do you guess will be the Iceman's haplogroup? Please vote only if you are at least somewhat familiar with Y-DNA haplogroups and their modern distribution, don't make random guesses. Also, feel free to enter your vote in the comments section, which will give you bragging rights in case you are right.

UPDATE: Poll is closed, here are the result for the 502 people who voted:

Feel free also to speculate what his admixture proportions will be in terms of Dodecad v3 ancestral components. I don't know what was actually sequenced, what format it will be released in, and how easy it will be to extract a relatively large subset of the SNPs used in v3, but it will definitely be something that I'll try to do.

Here are my guesses:

Haplogroup: R1b, a conservative choice, since that is the modal haplogroup in the region
Ancestral mix: Predominantly "Mediterranean", also the modal component, and under the assumption that more "West European" and "West Asian" was added to the region in more recent times compared to the ancient population.


Eduardo Pinto said...

Haplogroup: I2a1

If Ötzi has indeed lived around 5300 BP, this seems to be a coherent choice.

Has for the ancestral mix, very much like Sardinians, minus the North African affinity.

BTW Dienekes, would it be possible to do an analysis in which the dodecad participants could be ran against Ötzi, IBD and IBS wise?

B.M. said...

G-men formed a small group but were an enterprising kind of people, often living in the mountains.

Dienekes said...

I'm hopeful that if they compared Otzi with other populations, they would have converted his sequence to something usable. If it's only going to be only raw sequence data that need a lot of cleaning, alignment etc. I'll probably not bother.

Vincent said...

I went with G, given Ötzi's era.

And while R1b is a reasonable guess, I'd quibble with calling it "conservative": if Ötzi is R1b, he would predate the next oldest confirmed R1b ancient DNA sample by nearly 4,000 years. R1b would actually be quite stunning and, given the possibility of deriving from modern contamination, possibly controversial.

Anonymous said...

I vote for Eduardo Pinto.

Gioiello said...

I have already expressed my opinion on other forums. I am for R1b (exactly R-P312) because this would be a confirm of my theories, that of an Italian Refugium of R1b and other haplogroups, that of the expansion from the Italian Refugium to Central North Europe till the British Isles, and Oetzi could be the haplogroup ancestor of the R1b found in these places. But I have said that I would be very glad of any other haplogroup which is esteemed more recent, and this would falsify all the theories about the Mutation Rate we have discussed in these last years and I have always opposed.

AdygheChabadi said...

I chose Y-haplogroup I...Maybe he was from the Germany area?

I think Y-haplogroup I is also a very good guess besides R1b.

Insightful said...

Dienekes, the reconstruction of Ötzi is very realistic, but he does have unusually long arms for a central European. Do you think so?

pconroy said...

I guessed R1b, as he was probably part of an intrusive Copper mining community

idurar said...

'as for the ancestral mix, very much like Sardinians, minus the North African affinity.'

Depends on what you mean by "North African". If you are referring to the Northwest African ancestral component, it's still not a very satisfying one (just by checking Mozabites' results). I don't know what Dienekes thinks about it though.

Anyway, I think Ötzi would have hypothetically a mediterranean component dominating on the Dodecad v3 (I know, I am not very audacious).

Anonymous said...

I went with I.

pconroy said...


I'd expect that his skeleton actually had "unusually long arms".

Note: The Irish people have some of the longest arms - compared to height - in Europe. Is there a link here?!

Fanty said...

I dont see any "unusual" long arms.
If he has unusual long arms, then I do too.

I copied his pose in front of a mirror and my hand reaches the same part of the thigh while my elbow also is at the same place.

People are just not used to see an skinny old man naked. ;)

imipak said...

I'm not confident enough in my understanding of migrations to offer much. As far as northern Italy is concerned, R and I seem to be paleolithic and E seems to be neolithic, so those would seem to be the logical ones to pick from.

The paleolithic peoples had slightly longer heads and sloping foreheads than the neolithic farmers. Trying to tell that from an artist's impression is not going to be easy but will tell you which of the two periods to look in.

ivano said...

Not sure about long arms..but hands are huge...comparatively.

eurologist said...

I agree that R1b is the safest bet. Of course, whatever group/subgroup it is, it may have an important impact on dating.

During that time, north of the alps settlements started to move from the low-lying Loess regions to less fertile grounds and higher elevations (e.g., Cham and Horgen cultures). There seems to be some similarity with North Tyrol, the higher elevations of which then also were used for seasonal grazing, so I wouldn't be surprised if a ~20% or so Westeuropean component would be found.

eurologist said...

In the wishful thinking category, since there is almost an even bet it is L, T, G, or something along those lines, I simply hope it is R1b so perhaps we find out more on that. The other ones are just so much more difficult to interpret, and give us less information on Europe as a whole (for now).

Unknown said...

Well his mitochondrial haplogroup is closest to North America( ), but I suspect that is White folk of Utah North America. Next best candidate (red)is Spain.

I am going R1b because it is highest in North Italy, darned high in Austria, uber in Spain. And the patterns of R1b look to me like it has been in the area for a very long time.

pconroy said...


Interesting Map of K, I just checked 23andMe and I have Relatives who are mtDNA K as follows:

1. K1a - 6
2. K1a1 - 3
3. K1a1b1a - 5
4. K1a1b2a - 1
5. K1b1 - 1
6. K1b1a - 1
7. K1b1a1 - 1
8. K1c2 - 4
9. K2a - 2
10. K2a2a - 2
11. K2a6 - 2
12. K2b - 2
13. K2b1 - 2
14. K2b1a - 1

apostateimpressions said...

I would guess that the gent is of the I haplogroup, which I consider to be the indigenous Ice Age European Yhap. Frozen alps would have been inhospitable or even inaccessible to Neolithic farmers (E, J). Also, 5,500 ybp possibly just predates the spread of Bronze Age culture from the SE (possibly associated with R); in any case, BA groups presumably wouldnt have hung around in frozen alps.

Aargau said...

I'm a Zurich born Germanic J2a4h who is mt K1a4a1, so going with the dark horse pick J.

marcantonio said...

According to an interview with an austrian scientist Ötzi is G2a4!

eurologist said...

The alps aren't "frozen." There are plenty of places in the alps that have much milder climate than many parts of north-eastern Europe that saw agriculture over a thousand years before Ötzi.

The Ötztal (valley) itself (north of Ötzi's suspected home village)is quite mild: grapes and chestnut trees grow there.

Introduction of bronze was a very, very slow process in most of Europe: there was no invasion or anything of that sort that brought bronze with it.

Aargau said...

As a Zurich born Germanic with mt K1 and y J2, going with the dark horse J.

Belenos said...

The way weird admixture things are happening at the moment, I'm gonna say it'll be totally unrecorded group that appears to have diverged from all known Y's 150,000 years ago.

Of course, there is virtually no chance of this happening, but I'll look ace if it does. No I'm off to buy a lottery ticket...

Dienekes said...

According to an interview with an austrian scientist Ötzi is G2a4!


Der Frost said...

Based on his morphology (he looks Carpatid) I'll go with I.

marcantonio said...

According to an interview with an austrian scientist Ötzi is G2a4!


The source of this information is an interview with Dr. Eduard Egarter-Vigl, Head of Conservation and Assistant to research projects of the Archaeological Museum in Bozen, given in a documentary on Ötzi broadcast by 3sat on 10th august 2011. See also the following link for more info on this documentary:
But unless you speak German this link will be of no interest!

Gioiello said...

Imagine if a similar news had been given on 10 August? Had anybody spoken about it? I didn’t find anything on that program. Only this, with a little mistake: Wikipaedia says he was 1,65 high.

Der Mann aus dem Eis war 1,59 groß und zu Lebzeiten etwa 50 kg schwer. Er war zwischen 46 und 47 Jahre alt, feingliedrig gebaut, hatte Schuhgröße 38,und braune Augen. Er hatte ältere Verletzungen und Krankheitsbilder und starb an einer Verletzung durch eine Pfeilspitze. Soweit die Fakten.

But hg. G would be one of the candidate. These two Italian haplotypes are on the FTDNA hg. G project:

E11979 Savioli UMBERTO SAVIOLI 1907-1976 Italy G2a4 13 22 15 10 14-14 11 12 11 14 11 30 18 9-9 11 11 23 16 21 30 12-13-15-16 11 12 20-20 15 14 18 18 33-38 11 11 12 8 15-16 8 11 10 8 13 12 12 21-22 18 10 12 12 17 8 13 25 21 15 12 11 14 10 11 11 11
33943 Ricchiazzi Ricchiazzi Italy G2a4 14 22 15-17 10 13-14 11 12 13 13 11 29 18 9-10 11 11 22 16 21 30 14-14-14-16 11 11 20-20 15 14 18 18 33-39 11 10 11 8 16-16 8 13 10 8 12 11 12 19-19 15 10 12 12 16 8 11 22 21 13 14 11 14 10 11 11 11
Using the usual method, not mine, we can count 38 mutations, not considering the double value on DYS19:
I’d say that considering my “mutations around the modal” (it is a little bit believable that the fast mutating markers from DYS607 to CDYb have had only 1 mutation whilst others very slow mutating ones have mutated many times), these two Italian haplotypes have a Common Ancestor much before the life of Ötzi.

Pascvaks said...

R1a1a - Couldn't resist.

Gioiello said...

Sardinia gets also a high percentage of R-U152 amongst the R haplogroup and also R-M18, one of the most ancient subclade of R1b1/V88-. Don’t you remember when a phantom (who is now again furtive amongst the forums, after having left his paradise under his plants, and he isn’t the Communism) wanted to convince everyone that it was Lebanese? Perhaps he spread the news, because I looked at all the interviews from South Tyrol and nobody spoke of haplogroup G, they said “genes” not “G”.

And who spoke of this news? Marcantonio, written in Italian: the monkey clomb down a tree.

eurologist said...

the monkey clomb down a tree

I like that preterite form of to climb. ;) Reminds me of German erklimmen, erklomm, erklommen. When did you learn English - 1,500 years ago? <-- intended as humor, not as insult.

Anyway, yes. I also scoured many German and Austrian sources and could not find any reference to G2a4. Of course the fact that Eduard Egarter-Vigl is not a Geneticist may speak for it, in the sense that he could have been naive enough to break the embargo... ;)

Gioiello said...

Of course my knowledge of English has many lacks (I know a dozen of languages, and none perfectly), but I used that verb intentionally. I don’t know of course which is the effect on an English speaker, but “clomb” is to “climbed” as “marcantonio” is to “ Marcus Antonius”, like in the past “Jules” was to “Julius”.
I said that Julius (Caesar) didn’t sleep only with all the men of Rome, but also with all the women, and I gained my second banishment. But I am something, others less than nothing.

Dora Smith said...

The Y DNA results are allegedly back. Seen on Austrian TV. Not by me. G2a4.

Dienekes said...

The Y DNA results are allegedly back. Seen on Austrian TV. Not by me. G2a4.

Again, what is the source? I have a suspicion it is recycled from the comment by 'marcantonio' above.

Has anyone actually seen that documentary? Surely there are some Austrians among my readers.

matt said...

Assuming the G2a4 holds, compare to the Treilles findings.

eurologist said...

All the links I could find point back to the same "interview" by Eduard Egarter-Vigl that you can find on youtube - and no mention of the y-DNA results in that one.

I think the program was also aired in Germany (by ARD), so one would assume interested people or the media would have taken notice.

eurologist said...

"compare to the Treilles findings"

Yes, we know - G2a was European 5,000 years ago and many, many generations before then. It is also quite prevalent in Europe today (~10% in many regions in and around the alps). Which is why many of us here have suggested it as a possible candidate. The "problem" is, if it turns out to be similar to the Treilles result, it really won't answer any question - other than that 5,000 years ago, regional groups where patrilocal and may have wildly differed in their y-DNA.

McGonagall said...

Since he looks just like me (after a hard night at the bar) he must be a Scot. (I refrained from voting as I'm not up to scratch in this field.)