Y-dna haplotypes and the Indo-European
The Y-dna haplogroups most associated with Indo-European languages
are I and R.
I (I-M170) was the Y-dna native to the Balkan refuge from the period
prior to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), and may have been in Europe for as long as 25,000
years. It is related to the J haplotypes found in the Middle East.
As the ice retreated, some I people migrated north towards
Scandinavia, where I1 (I-M253) differentiated from Balkan I2
(I-M423). Today, the I haplogroups are found in the Balkans, Scandinavia, and
The R haplotypes originated in western Asia circa 20,000 bc. The
variant R1b (R-M343) is most often found in western Europe.
R1b people travelled from west Asia to western Europe by taking
a northerly route past the Balkans prior to the LGM. They then spent
the LGM in the Franco-Cantabrian refuge (southern France and
northern Spain). When the ice retreated, the R1b people then
migrated north toward the Lowlands and Britain.
R1a (R-M420), now found from Poland to India, was native to the
steppes of Ukraine and southern Russia. After the LGM, the R1a people migrated
northwest to European Russia as well as south towards Afghanistan and,
later, Iran and northern India.
Having adopted agriculture and the domestication of animals from
their neighbors in Greece and Anatolia, the population of the Balkan
I people (who, I believe, may represent the Proto-Indo-Europeans)
increased dramatically and they became more influential and
powerful. Their culture (and PIE language) was adopted by the
northern I people and neighboring R populations through a mixture of
cultural borrowing and farmer expansion. As their expansion
progressed, the I haplogroup was slowly overwhelmed by the R, to the
point that I now remains a dominant haplogroup only in its original
Balkan and Scandinavian homelands.
Early R1b PIE people (proto-Celts and Italics) and R1a people (proto-Indo-Iranian
and proto-Balto-Slavic) became powerful in their own right. The original Balkan I people became the
Illyrians, Daco-Thracians, and the Greeks. The original Scandinavian
I people became the Germanics.
Other Y haplogroups that have strongly influenced European
populations include these:
N (N-M231) was native to the Siberian refuge. When the ice
retreated, the N people migrated north into the taiga forests of
Siberia and northern Russia. It is today characteristic of the
Finnic, Ugric, and Samoyedic people, and extends from Finland through much of north-central
J1 (J-M267) is found in the Arabian peninsula and parts of north
Africa. J2 (J-M172) hails from Mesopotamia and Anatolia, and is also
found in Italy, Greece, and Albania, and other Mediterranean areas.
J is a close relative of I.
E is found primarily in Africa, with E-M215 common in north Africa.
A branch (E-V13), is common in Kosovo, Albania, and Greece.
The C3 (C-M217) haplotype is characteristic of the Mongolic, Turkic,
and Tungusic people. Their home is likely the area of Mongolia and
Manchuria. Now it extends well into Kazakhstan today, as well as the
Na-dene people of North America.
© C. George Boeree 2013