U198 Y-DNA Project
SOME THINGS WE KNOW:
R-U198 is rather uncommon. Even in countries like England it does not seem to comprise more than one or two percent of the male population
By far the highest concentration of observed R-U198 to date is in men of English ancestry. Even allowing for the undoubted DNA sampling bias which favours the British Isles, the concentration in England seems obvious. NB This does not mean that R-U198 necessarily originated in England
There is a distinct lack of R-U198 in populations with a Gaelic origin or culture. For example, within the British Isles R-U198 seems mainly confined to those of English or Lowland Scots extraction
It is apparent from an examination of Scandinavian Y-DNA projects that R-U198 is conspicuous by its absence (as of May ’10). In marked contrast, the un-related “R-M198” (a sub-group of a completely different haplogroup, R1a) is present in significant numbers
R-U198 exists in continental Europe and may (or may not) have originated there. (It is young enough to have originated in England after the ice age was long past). By May ’10 our project contained only five members actually resident in continental Europe. One lives in Normandie, France and claims Norman ancestry. Another lives in Belgium and is of Flemish ancestry.
Two members live in the Netherlands. The fifth member is Czech but suspects he may have ancestry from Alsace.
For a DNA project we seem to have a significant proportion of members still resident in the UK. (Often genealogical projects have a much stronger US membership bias). We do not yet know the significance of this but perhaps it suggests our R-U198 ancestors were under less economic pressure to migrate than certain other groups. An exception is R-U198 amongst Ulster-Scots who migrated to America in the 18th Century.
The U198 mutation originated in a man who was already carrying the U106 mutation. U198 is “downstream” of U106
SOME THINGS WE DO NOT KNOW:
How “old” is R-U198? We can estimate the likely “Time to most recent common ancestor” but this is fraught with difficulties and highly unreliable. It seems we last shared a common direct-line paternal ancestor around 2,000-3,000 years ago.
Using a variance calculator kindly provided by
the current best estimate, based on around one hundred 67-marker haplotypes, is that the current membership last shared a common direct patrilineal ancestor around 1,900 years (63 generations) ago.
The U198 “mutation” must of course be at least as old, and possibly significantly older than this particular forefather
Where did R-U198 originate? We don’t know. It now appears that R1b in general spread very rapidly (and relatively recently) Westwards across Europe so the likely point of origin of R-U198 may lie anywhere on a track from South-Eastern Europe to Britain. As specific lines (e.g. R-U152, R-U106) of the R1b family arose and proliferated they probably travelled together so it is perhaps naďve to try to identify such haplogroups with specific populations
What are the proportions of R-U198 in modern continental European nations? We are nowhere near to having enough data to make even an educated guess. The population of the European Union alone is half a billion people of which 250 million have Y-chromosomes and at this time, outside of the UK, we know only five of them. I trust that puts things into perspective
© J.F. Sloan 15th April 2009
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