European Journal of Human Genetics (2010) 18, 348–353; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2009.166; published online 14 October 2009

The emergence of Y-chromosome haplogroup J1e among Arabic-speaking populations

Jacques Chiaroni1, Roy J King2, Natalie M Myres3, Brenna M Henn4, Axel Ducourneau1, Michael J Mitchell5, Gilles Boetsch1, Issa Sheikha6, Alice A Lin2, Mahnoosh Nik-Ahd2, Jabeen Ahmad2, Francesca Lattanzi7, Rene J Herrera8, Muntaser E Ibrahim9, Aaron Brody10, Ornella Semino11, Toomas Kivisild12 and Peter A Underhill2

  1. 1UMR6578 (Université de la Méditerranée, CNRS, EFS) Anthropologie bio-culturelle, Faculté de médecine de Marseille, Marseille, France
  2. 2Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
  3. 3Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
  4. 423andMe, Inc., Mountain View, CA, USA
  5. 5Génétique moléculaire de la spermatogenèse, Inserm UMR 910, Faculté de médecine, Marseille, France
  6. 6Blood Center, University Hospital of Damas, Damascus, Syria
  7. 7Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA
  8. 8Department of Human and Molecular Genetics, College of Medicine, Florida International University, Miami, FL, USA
  9. 9Department of Molecular Biology, Institute of Endemic Diseases, University of Khartoum, Sudan
  10. 10Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA, USA
  11. 11Dipartimento di Genetica e Microbiologia, Università di Pavia, Pavia, Italy
  12. 12Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Correspondence: Dr J Chiaroni, UMR6578 (Université de la Méditerranéen CNRS, EFS) Anthropologie bio-culturelle, Faculté de médecine de Marseille, France. Tel: +33 4911 89581; Fax: +33 4911 89598; E-mail:

Received 7 May 2009; Revised 21 July 2009; Accepted 2 August 2009; Published online 14 October 2009.



Haplogroup J1 is a prevalent Y-chromosome lineage within the Near East. We report the frequency and YSTR diversity data for its major sub-clade (J1e). The overall expansion time estimated from 453 chromosomes is 10000 years. Moreover, the previously described J1 (DYS388=13) chromosomes, frequently found in the Caucasus and eastern Anatolian populations, were ancestral to J1e and displayed an expansion time of 9000 years. For J1e, the Zagros/Taurus mountain region displays the highest haplotype diversity, although the J1e frequency increases toward the peripheral Arabian Peninsula. The southerly pattern of decreasing expansion time estimates is consistent with the serial drift and founder effect processes. The first such migration is predicted to have occurred at the onset of the Neolithic, and accordingly J1e parallels the establishment of rain-fed agriculture and semi-nomadic herders throughout the Fertile Crescent. Subsequently, J1e lineages might have been involved in episodes of the expansion of pastoralists into arid habitats coinciding with the spread of Arabic and other Semitic-speaking populations.


Y-chromosome haplogroup J1e, Neolithic, Arabic languages, pastoralism



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