Thursday, September 18, 2008

mtDNA Haplogroup K

This is all going much quicker than I thought it would. Well, I guess it is my DNA nd the DNA of my should be aware of how impatient I am!

Last night I got an e-mail saying my father's mtDNA results were in. These results follow his mother's mother's mother's line, and turns out he (and I by extension) belongs to haplogroup K. What does this tell me? Not much so far. I just started sifting through the information. It does tell me that this is another line where I don't belong to the most popular Western European haplogroup of H. Awesome. I have a serious need to be different. Of course, this will make it more difficult to connect with DNA family. Oh well. I love a good challenge.

What else...Katie Couric belongs to haplogroup K, as does Oesti, the Tyrolean Iceman, which is interesting because my family's always kinda been interested in him, since he was found on the Austro-Italian border shortly before we traveled there for the first time.

Haplogroup K is also found in large numbers in the Ashkenazi Jewish population. This doesn't mean that if you're a K, you have Jewish roots. But it's an interesting angle. According to Wikipedia, it is common in non-Jews from Ireland, the Alps, and Great Britain. In my family, K belongs to a German line I'm following (Helen Stutzman, Helen Haase, Meta Ricklefs, Meta Tiedemann, Meta Buckmann, and possibly Lucia Borger. Obviously, it goes way further back than that. Bu that's he extent of my non-DNA genealogical research into my father's maternal branch.

The way mtDNA works is that certain mutations in your DNA place you into certain haplogroups. So, K members have six basic mutations - 16311C, 16519C, 73G, 263G and 315.1C. Then there are subclades, or subgroups, within the haplogroup. Ashkenazi Jews have certain markers. More than a few K subclades have the 146C and 152C mutation as well. My father has all of these. So far, though, i my limited research, he also has 2 other mutations, one, 309.1C which I think I saw someone else had, and 16153A, which I haven't been able to find in anybody else. The good thing about this is that you have to be an exact mtDNA match to be anywhere close to being related (and I'm talking close as in thousands of years, not tens of thousands of years). The bad thing is it makes the search harder.

I also realized that my father's test results were HVR 1 plus HVR 2 results, which means more markers were tested, which means you have a better chance of findng what subclade you belong to. When I tested as haplogroup T for the National Geographic Genographic project, I only got HVR 1 results, so I may actually get new information back when I get my results (of course the impatient one's results come in last!)


  1. I have a very similar dna pattern. My grandmother was from northern ireland, but we seem to share the same markers. Interesting. It is rare. She was very intelligent, extremely fair skinned, but dark eyes.

  2. maternal DNA of father does not go to his children sons or daughters. only mother maternal DNA goe to both sons and daughters bot only daughters can transfer them to daughters forever.
    so your maternal DNA is that of your mother MOTHER only.

  3. Agreed...MY personal maternal DNA is from my mother's mother's mother's line...I didn't mean to imply I belong to both haplogroup T and K...I personally belong to haplogroup T, but through my father, I can trace his mother's mother's mother's line through haplogroup K, which I don't belong to but tells me where my father's maternal German lineage comes from - I was trying to illustrate how you can trace your different lines, but thanks for clearing up any confusion other readers might have experienced by that entry!


  4. The K1 subclade found in parts of Ireland, Spain and Portugal, is an exact match for Behar's subjects from North Africa, who are absolutely Jewish. There appears to have been one or more women that somehow began a matrilineal line out of Spain to the UK, perhaps around 1500 before Jews were officially let back in.

  5. hi can you clarify if K2b1a subclade would have Jewish Ancestry? My family is researching this but I find little info on that subclade, thanks :)

    1. I'm not well versed on that subclade - I would look up "genetic genealogy blog" or "genetic genealogist" and see if you can find a blogger more specialized in that - even if they don't know the answer, they might be able to point you in the right direction - good luck!

    2. I recently did the 23andMe test and it came back as mtDNA K2b1a. I'm not finding much info...

  6. Hi:) My maternal line is also K, It was interesting to find your site:)

    Best Regards Laila from Sweden

  7. I have been told I am K2 only no reference to subclades etc. Does anyone know what this means