I Haplogroup mtDNA

The mtDNA Haplogroup I Project
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mtDNA Haplogroup I

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Descendants of 'Iris'

Hello! We welcome everyone with mtDNA test results in the Family Tree DNA system, confirming that they belong to
Haplogroup I. Prior to joining, please arrange to have mtDNA testing at FTDNA that shows assignment to Haplogroup I. MtDNA testing by other companies does not transfer to FTDNA because the data is incomplete and has many gaps.

Haplogroup I is a West Eurasian haplogroup. It is relatively rare and one of the older mtDNA haplogroups in Europe. It is a downstream branch of the older macro-haplogroup N through N1a1b.

In areas where it occurs, Haplogroup I is typically found at a frequency range of 2% to 4%. There are some locations with higher rates, including a small set of isolated populations that exceed 10%. These highest frequencies occur among: (a) the Lemkos in the Carpathian Mountains at 11.3%,1 (b) the inhabitants of Krk Island in the Adriatic Sea at 11.3%,1 and (c) two Cushitic tribes: the Rendilles and Elmolos at 15-20%, currently inhabiting an area of northern Kenya.2 (See references below.)

Research indicates that, in ancient times, Haplogroup I occurred at higher-than-usual levels among certain populations of Vikings and Danes. The average frequency rate was 13% from the Iron Age to Medieval times. 3,4 (See references below.)

During the past decade, the mtDNA tree for Haplogroup I has undergone vast development with many new subclades discovered. Participation of our project members contributed significantly to this research. However, no official updates have been published to the mtDNA tree (PhyloTree) since 2016. We hope an update will be made sooner rather than later. Since 2016, evidence has accumulated for many new subclades.

hope that this project will be useful in the study of the history, migrations, and connections of the various branches.  *Links to research articles can be found near the end of this page. Also please don't miss out on our project page entitled "Results" (see link at the top of the page).


Your Privacy
Be assured that your mtDNA test results are NEVER made public by joining this or any other FTDNA project. A very limited set of data CAN be voluntarily made viewable, but only if you change a setting in your account (which is otherwise defaulted as private). Our project NEVER shares your name, email, account profile, ancestor names, or family tree with anyone.


Making the Most of Your Full-Sequence Results
In many cases, our project will be able to group you into a proposed or anticipated subclade that has not yet been formally identified
. When you join this project -- and periodically, thereafter, as the structure of the haplogroup grows -- we will place you in the most refined subclade that we can. To do this, it is necessary for administrators to see your Coding Region variants. If you would like to have this type of analysis, you can follow these steps: In your FTDNA Account Settings please go to Project Preferences where you can enable administrators to see your your test data. Go to the last option on the page for Coding Region Sharing and move the button for it to the right. This will make it possible for us to evaluate your results (to look for a potential new subclade branch and to communicate with you privately about the results). The data is only viewable on password-protected administrative pages. We never share the data with anyone else, and you can opt out any time.


Description of Project Website: 
In addition to project pages for "Overview," "Background" (this page), "Results," "Goals," and "News," the p
roject has two additional features:
(1) Members' DNA Results (Sorted by Specific Subclades):  IF you have chosen to be included on this page (through a setting in your project preferences), it does NOT list your name, but does include a very limited portion of HVR1/HVR2 data for comparison purposes and also lists the most distant-known direct maternal ancestor (if entered). Members who choose to be included on the list are grouped according to their most refined subclade. Some subclade labels on the page are based on the PhyloTree5 (official mtDNA tree, last updated in 2016, which is recognized by FTDNA), and other subclade designations on the page reflect subclades proposed by the company YFull on its mtDNA tree (the "MTree") which is continually updated. In time, some of those MTree subclades will likely be officially recognized, and certain ones are selected to be included on our project pages. 
(2) Map of Our mtDNA Lines: The mapping tool for our project allows you to view the earliest known origins of various subclades on a world map. You can select options to view "All" or any subgroup for display on the map. This feature gives indications of the known historical locations for each of the subclades. As our Project grows and as more refined subclades are identified, this feature will become increasingly meaningful.


Your Matrilineal Ancestor

f you have knowledge of your maternal ancestry, we would appreciate it if you would fill in data (especially the geographical location) of your earliest known direct maternal ancestor. This ancestor will be female in the line of your mother's mother's mother's mother... as far back as you know. To enter this data:

(1) On your FTDNA page, hover your mouse in the upper right near your name and go to "Account Settings."

(2) Along the row of options near the top of the page, click on "Genealogy."

(3) Next, click on a small link for "Earliest Known Ancestors."

(4) Enter information for your earliest known direct maternal ancestor. The data that you enter -- preferably name, birth year (or approximate year), and earliest known location -- will appear in your entry on our Members' Results page if you have chosen to be included through your Project Preferences. If known, please also select the country of origin of your mtDNA line, which is valuable for the study of your branch. (If there is room on the line with your ancestor's name, it's helpful to see her country listed on that line too.)

(5) On the right side of the data-entry page for your earliest direct maternal ancetor (for the project's Mapping feature), please add the earliest known country (including the town or village, if known) of your direct maternal ancestry.  This location is intended to reflect the earliest known origin of your mtDNA line.  For example, if this female ancestor was born in the United States, but her maternal line is known to have come from England, then you would enter England.

(6) Save your information.


Our Project Website Banner
The tree shown in the banner at the top of the page represents the global mtDNA tree with its many branches. The smaller inset photo is an Iris flower, representing the shared ancestor of our branch. This clan mother of Haplogroup I is commonly referred to as "Iris" and is an ancestor that we all share.


As of 2012, there are two different reference sequences used for comparing and reporting mutational differences. These are the rCRS (revised Cambridge Reference Sequence) and the RSRS (Reconstructed Sapiens Reference Sequence). If you find that your results do not exactly match a list of your subclade's defining mutations, it may be due to the presentation of rCRS vs. RSRS mutations. FTDNA provides the option to see either one, but defaults to RSRS, on your personal mtDNA Results page, as well as on our members' Results page. If you choose the option for rCRS values to be displayed, that should clear up any confusion. If not let us know.
Here is an article by Roberta Estes explaining the two reference sequences:
CRS and the RSRS


Additional Project Pages: 
At the top of this page, you will find links to additional project pages. Please don't miss the Results page of the project, which is especially informative!


Reference Links and Quotations:

1 Nikitin, A.; Kochkin, I.; June, C.; Willis, C.; McBain, I.; Yideiko, M.;  Mitochondrial DNA Sequence Variation in the Boyko, Hutsul, and Lemko Populations of the Carpathian Highlands. Human Biology: The International Journal of Population Genetics and Anthropology, 81 (1), pp. 43-58. BioOne. http://faculty.gvsu.edu/nikitin/HumBiol_09.pdf. (Published 2009 / Article accessed: August 14, 2014)

p. 43: "Genetic studies of the distribution of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroups in human populations residing within the Carpathian Mountain range have been scarce. We present an analysis of mtDNA haplogroup composition of the Boykos, Hutsuls, and Lemkos, three population groups of the Carpathian highlands...." p. 49:  "The Lemko sample also contained the highest frequency of haplogroup I (11.3%) in Europe, identical to that of the population of Krk Island (Croatia) in the Adriatic Sea (Pericic et al. 2005)."


2 National Geographic, "Your Deep Ancestry" - "Maternal Line" - "Branch: I," database, Dr. Spencer Wells, The Genographic Project (https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com ) accessed August 14, 2014), mtDNA Haplogroup I. (August 14, 2014 / Account needed to view data.)

"Today, this lineage occurs in low frequency in populations throughout western Asia and Europe: Pakistan (8.7 percent), Iran (5 percent), Denmark (6 percent), and Scotland (4 percent). In Europe, recurrent migratory events likely reduced its numbers through competition, yet it is found in most European countries, often a[t] frequencies between 1 and 4 percent. In Africa, this haplogroup has been recently identified in small populations from northern Kenya (Rendille and Elmolo) in frequencies between 15 and 20%."


3 Melchior, L.; Kivisild, T.; Lynnerup, N.; Dissing,J. (May 28, 2008). Evidence of Authentic DNA from Danish Viking Age Skeletons Untouched by Humans for 1,000 Years. PLoS ONE 3 (5): e2214. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2386972/ (May 6, 2013)

"Among present day Scandinavians Hg I constitutes <2% [55], [56], however, we have previously observed a markedly higher frequency (10–20%) of Hg I in Danish Iron Age and Viking Age population samples (TableS3) [16], [21]. With the observation of Hg I for subject G6 this trend is also seen for the Viking population sample from Galgedil. Interestingly, Hg I shows a low frequency (1 out of 114 subjects) among other ancient populations in Italy, Spain, Great Britain, and early central European farmers [11], [12], [43], [57]." (Melchior 2008)


4  Hofreiter, L.; Lynnerup, N.; Siegismund, H.; Kivisild, T.; Dissing, J. (July 30, 2010). Genetic Diversity among Ancient Nordic Populations. PLoSONE 5 (7): e11898. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2912848/ (May 6, 2013)

"The overall occurrence of haplogroups did not deviate from extant Scandinavians, however, haplogroup I was significantly more frequent among the ancient Danes (average 13%) than among extant Danes and Scandinavians (~2.5%)..."

"We have previously observed a high frequency of Hg I's among Iron Age villagers (Bøgebjerggård) and individuals from the early Christian cemetery, Kongemarken [16], [17]. Thistrend was also found for the additional sites reported here, Simonsborg, Galgedil and Riisby. The overall frequency of Hg I among the individuals from the Iron Age to the Medieval Age is 13% (7/53) compared to 2.5% for modern Danes [35]. The higher frequencies of Hg I can not be ascribed to maternal kinship, since only two individuals share the same common motif (K2and K7 at Kongemarken). Except for Skovgaarde (no Hg I's observed) frequencies range between 9% and 29% and there seems to be no trend in relation to time." (Hofreiter 2010)


5 van Oven M, Kayser, M. (2009). Updated comprehensive phylogenetic tree of global human mitochondrial DNA variation. Hum Mutat 30(2):E386-E394. http://www.phylotree.org.doi:10.1002/humu.20


6 YFull. (2019). MTree [Regularly updated tree of mtDNA subclades]. https://www.yfull.com/mtree/I/


Additional Research Articles that Discuss the Ancient History of our Haplogroup:

Mitogenomes From Two Uncommon Haplogroups Mark Late Glacial/Postglacial Expansions From the Near East and Neolithic Dispersals Within Europe

The Arabian Cradle: Mitochondrial Relicts of the First Steps Along the Southern Route Out of Africa


mtDNA Data of an Egyptian Mummy Who Qualifies to Join Our Project!
MitoSearch Account Page of an Egyptian Mummy (born 402 B.C.) who belongs to mtDNA Haplogroup I2

Martha Jane (Schliesser) Hicks 2013/2014/2015/2019/2020
Creative Commons License
mtDNA Haplogroup I Project: Background by Martha Jane (Schliesser) Hicks is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.