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This haplogroup is quite controversial today with opposing views on it's origin(s). One side sees it as Central Asia and another sees it as India. There is quite the debate in the scientific community. There are also few subclades of this group, which is a stark contrast to many in R1b.

R1a1 is supposedly the haplogroup that domesticated the horse and spread the Indo-European languages. Quite the accomplishments.

I myself have ancestry from Poland (a stronghold of R1a's) but my closest match on at 67 markers is from India with a GD of 14. Despite the timeframe for MRCA, I contacted this person and found out that he was confused about having his closest match from Poland. Since then and we have become great friends - very very distant cousins - that both live in the US.

I originally didn't think too much about a distant connection to India, until I was in a Polish deli and as I started speaking Polish to the clerk, when a lady nearby looked at me and told the clerk that I didn't LOOK Polish. I told her that I was indeed Polish. Or was I? My genealogical research has only gotten me back to my great grand father in Poland, but I don't know much about him but his name.

My lower resolution 12 marker matches are all over Europe -England, Germany, Poland, Greece, Italy, Denmark, Norway and France and there may be what could be a remnant migration route. But what about India? The highest percentages of matches or near matches at low resolution are from Pakistan, Tajikistan and India. But low resolution may be well outside of a genealogical timeframe and maybe just hints at the past.

I'll post a paper I published in the Journal of the Polish Genealogical Society of America Rodziny. Its for newbies to genetic genealogy and follows my decision making process and route of genetic and historical discovery.

I invite anyone to provide comments and especially wish to hear from other R1a1's. My journey so far into genetic genealogy takes up a good portion of my spare time as a biologist, but has made me feel more confident, outgoing and outreaching than ever before. I've enjoyed the GG presentations I've given at conferences and hope that more people will test to discover their ancient past and potential lost relatives.

Robert Sliwinski

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Replies to This Discussion


I don't know anything about this haplogroup or the controversy--I just happened upon your post reading the messages in this group, but I would suspect that your genes came into Poland from the Mongol invasion, or a later Hungarian immigrant to/invader of Poland (Mongols definitely invaded Hungary). The Mongols were mighty early horsemen ;-).

Hi Teresa,

Thanks for reading my post. The Mongols were indeed great horsemen and advanced upon riding techniques like no other group - I saw a documentary about the gentleman that re-created the style of riding and shooting his bow in rapid fire as the Mongol warriors developed. But the influence of the domestication of the horse was originally started in central asia (over 4000 years ago) west of Mongolia. As R1a spread throughout central asia on horseback (and chariot) other early cultures adopted the domesticated horse including the early Mongols. R1a is very widespread, due to the horse, from the edges in the UK based on viking expansions, to dispersal to Mongolia and parts of China and also south to India.

However, the Mongols were of a different haplogroup - mainly haplogroup C. Mongols definitely had a stronghold in Hungary as their language today gives away (I think Altaic). There is an ethnic group in Poland known as Tartars that have Eastern ancestors that stayed.

Others have said that I may have Gypsy ancestry because of the distant association with India. However, the gypsies that migrated into Europe are also a different haplogroup - F.

Human migration is a complicated story, but it has been fascinating to learn about. My maternal side is more clear with direct ties to Poland being H2a2, but there are potential matches all over Europe. I'm still working that out. Genetic genealogy is both challenging and fun. : ) Have you tested yet?

Just recently a paper by Underhill et. al 2009 entitled "Separating the post Glacial coancestry of European and Asian Y-chromosomes within haplogroup R1a" was published in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

Wikipedia has also been updated on R1a as well based on this new information on new subclades of R1a.

Based on Underhill et. al (2009)R1a1 is now R1a1a. The main two subclades are R1a1a* and R1a1a7. R1a1a7 is positive for M458 an SNP that separate it from the rest of R1a1a. It is significant because M458 is a European marker and the epicenter is Poland. I've ordered the M458 test to see if I am positive or not. I encourage those R1a1's out there to see if you have that marker since it may provide a better idea of geographic origin than before (through FTDNA). The paper also pointed out that R1a1a influence into India was not from Europe since the M458 marker is rare in India.

If I'm correct, there are 2 new R1a groupings from Poland with much discussion. Please take a look at
Thanks Jennifer, I'll look into it.



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