Haplogroup J1 (J1-M267)

Haplogroup J1 (Y-DNA, J1-M267)

Haplogroup J1, which is also known as M267, is a subclade of Y-DNA haplogroup J-P209 (Haplogroup J). Haplogroup J1 separated from haplogroup J approximately 31.500 years ago (YFull, 2015). Today, haplogroup J1 is mostly seen in Caucasia, Mesopotamia, Levant and Arabian Peninsula, but it is also present moderately or slightly in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, Europe, Central Asia and Indian subcontinent.


According to the study of Chiaroni et al. (2010), the highest haplotype diversity is found in Taurus (a mountain complex in southern Turkey) and Zagros (a mountain range in the west of Iran). The study of Cinnioğlu et al. (2004) also displays that Turkey has a rich diversity of haplogroup J1, but it is not certain whether the J1 diversity of Turkey is due to the historical secondary migrations between 3500 BCE and 1900 AD, or actually being the origin place of haplogroup J1. All these studies are not enough to find the origin place of haplogroup J1. It is usually supposed that the expansion of haplogroup J1 might have started with the beginning of rain-fed agriculture and semi-nomadic herders throughout the Fertile Crescent during the Neolithic age. Recent studies also display that the expansion of haplogroup J1 is convenient with the beginning of Neolithic age and domestication, which is considered to occur in the West Asia between 10.000–8.000 BC.

Today, it is possible to see some ancient lineages (SNPs) of haplogroup J1 in Europe, Central Asia or Caucasia such as PF7264, L92, L817, Z1828 and ZS241 whereas those lineages are absent in Mesopotamia, Levant or Arabian Peninsula, which means that the first expansion of P58 or L620 SNPs started 8700 years ago. According to the theory, the first migration wave of P58 started northwards and eastwards with J1-L817 lineage, which separated from J1-P58 around 8700 years ago in Caucasia or East Europe, and spread through Europe. Today it is nearly impossible to see such European lineages of haplogroup J1 among Semitic people in Levant, Mesopotamia and Arabian peninsula whereas those European lineages are mostly available in Caucasia, Turkey, Iran and Central Asia, which also shows that there is a historical link between Asia Minor, Central Asia and East Europe in the ancient history and postclassical era as well as Neolithic periods.

J1-FGC11, which is the most common lineage among Bedouins and other Semitic people such as Jewish and Arabs, might be also related to the herding culture rather than agriculture because it is mostly seen in non-arable lands such as Arabia, Yemen and Ethiopia etc. Bedouins share a common culture of herding camels and goats. And the FGC11 lineage, which separated from the Z1884 lineage around 2600 BC, seems to adopt Semitic languages in the Levant, Arabia and Yemen whereas the other ancient lineages such as L817, ZS241, YSC76, Z640, PF7264, Z1828 and PF7257 that are older than FGC11 also spread and isolated in Caucasia, or integrated in herding communities of Europe, Iran and Central Asia with time. In this sense, it is wrong to call haplogroup J1 as Semitic in origin. On the other hand, the subclade L93, which is common to Yemenites and southern Arabians, seems to be more ancient than the subclade FGC11. These two subclades might be supposed to be the Semitic branch of haplogroup J1.


Two ancient Y-DNA samples of haplogroup J1-M267 were found in Pontic Steppes, which is bounded by the East European forest steppe to the north,  and extends to the western shore of the Caspian Sea from the west of Ukraine. The ancient J1-M267 samples in Russia were traced back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D. when Sarmatians were powerful in the Eastern Europe (Афанасьев, 2015). These ancient findings display that haplogroup J1 was present among Sarmatians, who were a large confederation of steppe people during the classical antiquity flourishing from the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD.


In Arabic countries, it is not possible to see a subclade diversity of haplogroup J1 though there is a great amount of haplogroup J1, which is comprised of mostly FGC11 and some L93. It is usually thought that the FGC11 lineage formed among early Arabic people and Phoenicians after they migrated from Mesopotamia, and they were Arabized in the late periods of Neolithic Era. However, the L93 lineage, which is mostly seen among the Arabs of Yemen, might be more ancient than the FGC11 lineage in Arabic people. Most of Arabic people, especially Yemenites and Saudis, who are usually of haplogroup J1, mostly derive from the FGC11 lineage around 4600 years ago (2600 BCE) or L93 in the south. According to the researches of Al-Zahery (2011) and Abu-Amero (2009), the frequency of haplogroup J1 is higher among the people of southern Mesopotamia with the proportion of 81% than the people of Saudi Arabia who have the J1 proportion of 42%. It displays that there had been an expansion of haplogroup J1 from Mesopotamia to Arabia and Yemen in Neolithic period. According to the study of Abu-Amero et al. (2009), J1 samples of Saudi Arabia, who are of the same lineage, is compatible with a Neolithic arrival to Arabia via the Levant or Mesopotamia.

Today, most of Arabic people do not only have haplogroup J1, but also they have other haplogroups such as E1b1, J2, G, L, Q, R1a, R1b, T, B, H and K. In fact, most of Arabs are genetically descendants of historical people between 3600 BC and 1500 AD. In ancient history (3600 BC – 500 AD), Sumers, Elamites, Hurrians, Phoenicians, Assyrians, Babylonians and Iranians contributed to the genetics of Arabic people with various lineages of y-haplogroups. In Postclassical Era (500 – 1500 AD), Turkic people, who also had several lineages of G, J, N, Q, R, migrated massively to the West Asia from Central Asia, also integrated among Abbasids as a military class from the beginning of 800’s, and built states such as Tulunids, Ikhshidids, Zengids, Seljuks and Mamluks with time, and most of Turks were assimilated among Arabic society. Historically, it is also known that Ottoman Empire, which governed the North Africa and Arabia between 1500-1900’s, also distributed its military to the castles of those areas where Turkish soldiers melted and integrated among Arabic populations in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Levant, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Sudan and Algeria. Today, it is still possible to see people with Turkish surnames among Arabic populations in North Africa (especially Tunisians, Libyans, Algerians) and Arabia. It is also known that Egypt had been governed by Turkic people till 1882 (Ottoman period) since 868 (Tulunid period). It is possible that a small proportion of haplogroup and subclade diversity arrived in those regions as a result of historical events.

J1-M267 diversities found in Saudi Arabia are of the same range. A few various lineages of J1 through Arabian peninsula can be also as a result of successive arrivals of J1 y-chromosomes from different source regions in historical periods (Abu-Amero 2009).


It is usually supposed that haplogroup J1 might be related to the expansion of domesticated animals such as sheep, goats and camels. In this sense, most lineages of haplogroup J1 might have started from Eastern Turkey and South Azerbaijan where goats and sheep were first domesticated in 9000 BC. And possibly the first migration occurred to Mesopotamia and Caucasia from the line of Turkey-Azerbaijan.

ARABIAN PENINSULA: The first migration, possibly the J1-L93 lineage, might have been from Levant to Yemen between 6000-8000 BC. And a second migration was occurred by the J1-FGC11 lineage around 2000 BC. These subclades possibly composed Semitic people with the participation of haplogroup E1b1, which was the most ancient residents of Southern Arabia and Northern Africa.

EASTERN EUROPE: The first migration of haplogroup J1 to East Europe might be related to the prehistorical periods such as Neolithic age between 9000-7000 BC. The first migrations of haplogroup J1 possibly brought domesticated animals to Europe throughout Caucasus or Central Asia. However, the ancient history and postclassical era were also effective in the expansion of haplogroup J1 from Eastern Europe to Central and West Europe. During the crusades of medieval period, Europeans might have also brought and took away several subclades of haplogroup J1 as well. However, the present studies display that the subclades are more ancient than medieval ages. And it is possible to see ancient J1 samples among Sarmatians through 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D. as well.

CENTRAL ASIA: The first migration of haplogroup J1 to Central Asia might have been around 8000-6000 BC. In Altyndepe, a Bronze Age (BMAC) site in Turkmenistan, archaeological researches display that carts were initially pulled by oxen or bulls, and camels were domesticated within the BMAC. A model of a cart drawn by a camel of 2200 BC was found in Altyn-Depe (Kirtcho 2009). Today, it is also possible to see various subclades of haplogroup J1 among Oghuz tribes of Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Turkey, who historically subsisted on sheep and goats with a semi-nomadic life, and later migrated to West Asia from Aral-Caspian steppes during the invasion of Kimeks and later Mongols from the east between 11th and 12th century. Therefore, it is thought that Oghuz Turks also brought various subclades of haplogroup J1 from Central Asia to Turkey, Levant and Iran in Medieval period (Oghuz Turks Project, FTDNA).


Haplogroup J1 is mostly seen in Dagestan (Caucasia), Iraq (South Mesopotamia), Yemen, Levant, and moderately or slightly in Europe, North Africa, West Asia (Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkey) and Central Asia. However, the highest diversity of haplogroup J1 is mostly seen in Asia Minor, but it is not sure whether that diversity is structured by recent historical events or not. Maybe ancient Y-DNA samples from Turkey can disclose this in future.

Country Frequency (%) Reference
 Dagestan (Kubachis)  99  Balanovsky (2011)
 Dagestan (Kaitaks)  85  Balanovsky (2011)
 Iraq (South)  81  Al-Zahery (2011)
 Yemen  72,5  Abu-Amero (2009)
 Dagestan (Dargins)  70  Balanovsky (2011)
 Dagestan (Avars)  59  Balanovsky (2011)
 Caucasia (Lezghins)  44,4  Balanovsky (2011)
 Saudi Arabia  42  Abu-Amero (2009)
 Oman  38  Abu-Amero (2009)
 UAE (Arabs)  35  Abu-Amero (2009)
 Palestinia  33,7  Al-Zahery (2011)
 Ethiopia (Amhara)  31,2  Sengupta (2006)
 Iraq  31  Al-Zahery (2011)
 Jordan  31  Abu-Amero (2009)
 Chechenya  25  Balanovsky (2011)
 Algeria (Arabs)  22  Arredi (2004)
 Egypt (South)  20,6  Arredi (2004)
 Lebanon  20  Abu-Amero (2009)
 Egypt  19  Abu-Amero (2009)
 Dagestan (Chechens)  16  Balanovsky (2011)
 Azerbaijan (Turks)  15,2  Di Giacomo (2004)
 Lebanon (Druzes)  15,2  Flores (2005)
 Iran  11,3  Abu-Amero (2009)
 Afghanistan (Turkmens)  9,5  Cristofaro (2013)
 Turkey  9  Cinnioğlu (2004)
 Jordan (Dead Sea)  8,8  Flores (2005)
 Albania  5  Battaglia (2009)
 Caucasia (Circassians)  5  Balanovsky (2011)
 Iran (Azerbaijani Turks)  5  Grugni (2012)
 Greece  3,7  King (2008)
 Pakistan  3,4  Abu-Amero (2009)
 Somalia  2,5  Abu-Amero (2009)
 Ethiopia (Oromo)  2,5  Sengupta (2006)
 Chuvash  2,3  Трофимова (2007)
 Afghanistan (Uzbeks)  2  Cristofaro (2013)
 Mongolia (Mongolians)  1,3  Cristofaro (2013)
 Sudan (Nilothic)  0  Hassan (2008)


J1-M267 formed somewhere in West Asia nearly 30.000 years ago. Later, it separated into two subclades, Z2213 (J1a) and Y6304 (J1b) almost 19000 years ago. Today the Z2223 and F1614 SNPs of J1-Y6304 (J1b) are mostly seen among Europeans. The subclades of J1-Z2213 are seen in both Europe and Asia.

J1-Z1828 (ZS1842, ZS3042) is one of the most ancient SNP’s which is mostly apparent in East Europe and Caucasia. Today, most of J1-Z1828 samples are seen among Chechnya and Russia. It seems that the Z1828 might have originated somewhere in North Caucasus. It is not possible to see this SNP among Arabic people of Levant, Yemen and Arabia as well as North Africa. It is apparent that J1-Z1828, which formed 18500 years ago, is related to East Europe and Caucasia.

J1a1 (J1-FGC6064, M365) formed nearly 14600 years ago. According to a research (Oliveira, 2014), it is possible to see this lineage around the Caspian Sea, Northern Iran, Eastern Turkey, and Western Europe. Today, J1a1 is also one of the common subclades of J1 in Brazil and Portugal.

J1-P56 (PF7263, PF7264) formed nearly 14300 years ago. Today, it is mostly seen among Europeans in East/Central Europe, and moderately among original Turkic people (Oghuz tribes) in Turkey, Iran and Azerbaijan. In this sense, a few P56 samples in Yemen could be related to recent historic migrations from Turkey to Yemen during the Ottoman or Seljuk period or before that because this lineage is not common among other Arabic people, and it is not seen in Arabia, Levant and North Africa as well. In this sense, historical periods can be effective for the expansion of J1-P56.

J1-L817 (L816, L818, S4924) [J1a2b3] formed nearly 8700 years ago by separating from the main branch of J1-P58. It’s one of the Eurasian subclades of haplogroup J1 because it is possible to see this lineage from China to Portugal. However, J1-L817 is more common in East European countries such as Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Romania and Hungary.

J1-L93 (L92) formed nearly 7900 years ago. It is mostly seen among Semitic people of Yemen, Oman and Saudi Arabia. It might be supposed that the subclade J1-L93 might be the most ancient Semitic lineage in Yemen.

J1-ZS231 (Y3081, ZS231, ZS227) formed 5300 years ago. This lineage is mainly apparent in both East Europe and West Asia. This lineage is very low among North Africans and Semitic people, but a few samples of J1-ZS231 or J1-ZS227 in Egypt might be related to recent historical events during the Islamic and Ottoman periods. It’s also possible to see this lineage slightly among Mongolians. Also, J1-ZS227 is one of the most common subclades among Ashkenazi people of East Europe, and it is also present slightly among West Asian ethnicities, which makes us think whether this might be due to historical events related to Khazar Khaganate in the part of West Asia.


J1-YSC76 (J-YSC0000076) formed nearly 4600 years ago (2600 BC). YSC76 has so many subclades; therefore, today, it is possible to see this lineage and its subclades among several ethnicities in Europe and West Asia. J1-YSC76 might have spread from West Asia to Europe and Central Asia during Early Bronze Age.

J1-Z640 formed nearly 4600 years ago, and today it is one of the most common J1 lineages in West Asia and Europe. It is possible to see this lineage and its subclades among various ethnicities, which means that this lineage also started to expand during the Bronze Age.

J1-FGC11 also formed nearly 4600 years ago. This lineage might have spread from Mesopotamia or Levant to Arabia, Yemen, Sudan and Ethiopia during both Bronze Age and Iron Age. J1-FGC11 is known to be Semitic lineage as it is the most common lineage of haplogroup J1 among Semitic people (especially Arabs). The late expansion of J1-FGC11 during the Islamic period might have been to North African countries such as Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Libya. It is also possible to see J1-FGC11 among Jewish people or Hebrew speaking people.


Resource: Haplogroup J1http://www.haplogroups.org/haplogroup-j1-y-dna-m267


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About Ilhan Cengiz

Ilhan Cengiz is a historian, and a researcher on genetics (Y-DNA and mtDNA haplogroups, autosomal DNA) , and interested in genetic history, genealogy, prehistory and linguistics.