K mtDNA Haplogroup

  • 6354 members

About us

For a quick video overview of mtDNA K, from your FTDNA Home page go to Results & Tools > mtDNA > mtDNA Journey

Useful information about mtDNA can also be found on these other sites:

An easy-to-view tree of mtDNA K is at http://www.ianlogan.co.uk/sequences_by_group/k_genbank_sequences.htm . That is a copy of the tree which FTDNA uses to assign you to a branch of mtDNA K.  Look down the side of the page to see the various branches of K.

A detailed description of where branches of mtDNA K have been found is on the web page at https://www.eupedia.com/europe/Haplogroup_K_mtDNA.shtml   That is the best place to see the frequency of mtDNA K by country.

DNA testing of skeletons found in archaeological excavations is now possible.  If you would like to see if any ancient skeletons with your type have been found, go to https://haplotree.info/maps/ancient_dna/index.php?searchcolumn=&searchfor=&ybp=500000,0   The interface to use the map is not as clear as it used to be.  Here is how to use it: 

At Select Column - Object ID, choose mtDNA; in Search For, enter your type (e.g., K1a1, K2b, etc.); then click Preview.  Click on the little men on the map for details.  Note that some of the markers may be for further branches of your type.  For example, searching for K2b also finds K2b1a4, etc. 

The following is a history of the early days of this project written by its founder William R. Hurst:

Project created January 9, 2006, with William R. Hurst as group administrator.


Anyone with mtDNA test results showing that they are in haplogroup K is encouraged to join our project. That applies to anyone who has tested with FamilyTreeDNA or has transferred from the National Geographic Society Genographic Project. No new test is required to join the project, although an upgrade with mtDNARefine is recommended if not already performed. To join us as a secondary project, use the blue JOIN button on your personal page, then click on "K" under "mt Haplogroup Projects." Then click on our project name. If you have not taken an mtDNA test, but you have a direct maternal-line relative who is in haplogroup K, you are welcome to order a test kit through our project. That would include anyone whose mother or sibling has tested as a K, or perhaps a cousin. If you are not sure, please ask first before ordering. All members are encouraged to enter their Maternal Side Most Distant Ancestor and Origin after clicking on the Plot Ancestral Locations tab on their FTDNA personal page. That name will show up on our results chart below. Members are also encouraged to upload their data to MitoSearch from the mtDNA Matches tab on your personal page. Another good place to put your results and look for others is Charles Kerchner's mtDNA Test Results Log

A new study of the mtDNA of Oetzi the Iceman mentioned above has shown that he is in the K1 subclade, but not in the lower K1a, K1b, or K1c subclades. So he would be termed a K1*. See: Rollo Paper 

January 23, 2006: The K Project is now two weeks old with 25 members. See the progress report. 

February 9, 2006: On our one-month anniversary we have 40 members. 

February 20, 2006: We have reached 50 members. 

February 21, 2006: Map of ancestors' origins in Europe added below mtDNA Results. Click on the red dots for further information. To get on the map, you have to enter coordinates under Setup Preferences. Also please add name of your most distant maternal ancestor. 

February 27, 2006: We have reached 60 members. Members' predicted subclades chart published. 

March 9, 2006: 76 members. A new survey of K entries on MitoSearch published. 

March 22, 2006: 97 members. A new supplement discussing geographical considerations of the previous MitoSearch survey published. 

March 26, 2006: 100 members. See the new progress report

April 9, 2006: On our three-month anniversary, we have 125 members. 

April 14, 2006: Another new survey of K entries on MitoSearch published. 

April 29, 2006: Genealogy-DNA mailing list thread on mtDNA mutation rates, using K Project haplotypes. 

May 25, 2006: 150 members. See the new progress report. May 30, 2006: Three phylogenetic charts of K subclades published. See discussion here

July 9, 2006: Implementation of Tom Glad's new mtDNA-Analysis Utility for the K Project, including Fluxus diagrams for subclades K1c/K1c2 and K1a1b1a. For details see announcement

July 11, 2006: Use of Tom Glad's mtDNA-Analysis Utility for HVR1/2 K entries from MitoSearch. Also revised K1a1b1a Fluxus diagram. For details see announcement

July 27, 2006: Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SGMF) adds an mtDNA database. First Report

July 28, 2006: 200 members. Progress report, with links to new charts and tables. 

August 3, 2006: New Fluxus diagram for seven Project members with full-sequence results. See discussion with link to diagram. 

August 11, 2006: Another Fluxus diagram for 36 Project members in the K1c, K1c2, K2a and K2a2a subclades. See discussion with link to diagram. 

August 19, 2006. New survey of 750 K entries on MitoSearch. 

September 2, 2006. 230 members. Ten new phylogenetic charts and a map from K entries on MitoSearch. See discussion with links to charts and map. 

October 3, 2006. 252 members. Several new items: 1. Analysis of the haplotype containing 16048A. 2. MitoSearch entry for ancestral K. 3. K charts and maps from new Sykes book data: Bar chart. Pie chart. K locations. Two K groups map. 4. Simplified K Fluxus diagram

December 2, 2006: 300 members. Progress report, with links to new charts and tables. 

January 9, 2007: 331 members. K Project is One Year Old! 

March 12, 2007. New survey of 1000 K entries on MitoSearch. 

March 14, 2007. Project member Vincent Vizachero has created a map showing the frequency of K in Europe from data in the Richards 2000 and Helgason 2001 papers. Two formats are available: PDF and PNG

March 27, 2007. 390 members. Six new Fluxus phylogentic diagrams published. For 35 Project members' full-sequence results start with FGS explanation. For subclade charts start with subclade explanation

April 5, 2007: 400 members. Progress report, with links to a new chart and 11 maps. 

May 24, 2007: 427 members. Fluxus chart for 42 members with full-sequence results: Explanation

June 15, 2007: 439 members. Subclade cladogram for 305 members with high-resolution HVR results: Discussion and link

July 1, 2007: 456 members. Analysis of new NGS Genographic Project paper on mtDNA. 

September 3, 2007: 500 members. Progress report, with links to a new chart. 

November 23, 2007: 558 members. Journal of Genetic Genealogy article on mtDNA Position 524 in K by William R. Hurst. 

December 16, 2007: 576 members. Cladogram for 116 members with FGS results. 

February 24, 2008: 851 members. New survey of 1500 K entries on MitoSearch. 

June 2, 2008: 1000 members. Progress report, with links to a new chart and a discussion of Members Subgrouping. 

November 3, 2008: 1100 members. Otzi the Iceman full-sequence report, with downloadable Supplemental Data listing 30 (of current 62) FTDNA customers/K Project members on GenBank. Otzi sequence also on MitoSearch as 4Q6JA. 

January 10, 2009: 1149 members. K Project third anniversary report

March 5, 2009: 1206 members. PhyloTree Build 3 now available with 22 new or proposed K subclades, using 32 GenBank FGS results from K Project members. 

October 8, 2009: 1413 members. FTDNA is making two major changes relating to mtDNA. First, for current customers the upgrade prices to full-sequence (FGS or Mega) tests are being drastically reduced. From the regular $400+ the new discount price for those with HVR2 results is $179. For those with only HVR1 results it is $199. Orders at these discount prices have to be placed and paid for by October 31, 2009. They will be sending an official announcement to everyone concerned in a few days, but the prices are already available on your Order Tests and Certificates tab under Standard Orders on your personal page. New technology is allowing FTDNA to process these tests in less time. We already have 320 members with FGS results, so the chances of finding FGS matches are increasing. (If you have friends or relatives who have yet to test their mtDNA, you might tell them to wait until November for a new price on the mtFullSequence test.) Second, FTDNA will be making changes next week relating to the display of mtDNA results on your personal page. If you have a heteroplasmy, that will be noted. (Yes, they will provide a link to a FAQ on heteroplasmies.) They will standardize some nomenclature. For example, I believe insertions at position 524 will be changed to 523. Also, some subclade designations will be changed for those with FGS results. For example, K1a10 will probably be assigned to many of you with 16048A now shown as just K1a. The CRS charts on your Results page will be changed to more clearly show your differences. Mitosearch will be updated to reflect the above changes and more haplogroup categories will be available. Please hold your questions on these changes until they are implemented. 

November 2, 2009: 1422 members. The FGS sale is now over, with 130 tests ordered by Project members. Outstanding! They will join with 323 Project members who already have FGS results. New regular FGS or Mega prices just listed are: HVR2toMega: $209 HVR1toMega: $229 mtFullSequence for existing customers: $249 mtFullSequence for new customers: $279 (just announced) The upgrade prices are still substantially lower than the previous regular prices. 

January 11, 2010: 1494 members. K Project fourth anniversary report

February 22, 2010: A new study by Soares, et al., entitled The Archaeogenetics of Europe has just been published and is available for free reading or download. Of special interest to us are some assertions about haplogroups U8 and K. I quote: “The most ancient mtDNA lineages in Europe belong to haplogroup U5 and U8, which appear to have originated within Europe from the root of haplogroup U (Figure 1). U8 appears to have an age of c. 50,000 years in Europe, although its subclade K appears in the Near East around 30 kya (Table 1).” The only subclade of K mentioned is K2a, which the article describes as a Neolithic immigrant to Europe, with an age of 6 to 9 kya. See Table 1 for haplogroup ages calculated several different ways. Rough estimates of a few subclade ages may be seen by downloading the PDF and zooming Figure 1, or by looking at the high quality version of the figure on the web. The article says that U8 originated in Europe, while K originated in the Near East (called Southwest Asia in Figure 1). If you look at the Google maps on our K and U8 project websites, you will see these origins reflected in the maternal origins of our project members. Figure 1 shows U8a with a European origin, while U8b – K’s nearer relative – with an origin in “Europe and Asia.” The two known U8b examples from scientific papers trace back to Italy and Jordan (the only known U8 with a Near East connection). However, the FTDNA U8b sequences, which appear to be even closer to K, have origins in Sweden and Norway.

January 10, 2011: 1943 members. K Project fifth annual report.

March 12, 2011: 2000 members. Includes members from FTDNA and other companies. 854 members have taken the full-sequence test. 

June 2, 2011: 2074 members. Article discussing possible Caucasus origin of K and the connection to U8b.

July 12, 2011: 2109 members. New Subgroups have been added based on the PhyloTree and large branches identified from HVR results. See explanations.

July 31, 2011: 2122 members. Added new Subgroup K1b1c, based on PhyloTree definition that has four fewer required mutations than FTDNA's version. Identified by mutation 94A. 

October 10, 2011: 2174 members. Article discussing new high-level subclade K3.

December 15, 2011: 2214 members. As of today, 1000 of our members have taken the full-sequence test, including 994 results received from FTDNA, two from other labs, and four tests in progress. 

December 30, 2011: 2221 members. New PhyloTree Build 13 has several new and revised K subclades. For my discussion see here.

January 10, 2012: 2231 members. K Project sixth annual report.

April 5, 2012: 2328 members. See new Behar et al. paper A "Copernican" Reassessment of the Human Mitochondrial DNA Tree from its Root. See also new PhyloTree Build 14, which, based on the paper, adds 71 new K subclades and revises seven. Your Project administrator is listed in the Acknowledgements in both documents. As discussed in the paper, credit also goes to all of you who sent your full-sequence results to GenBank and/or provided your consents for FTDNA to submit them. Not sure yet how many of the 4,265 new sequences are from K. I will gradually update the Subgroups on our website to reflect the new subclades. Much more on all this soon.

May 7, 2012: 2364 members:

As previously announced, there is a new scientific paper by Behar et al. (2012b) that transmitted 4,265 mtDNA full sequences to the GenBank database, with 4,222 of those sequences coming from FTDNA customers who had previously consented to their use for science. Of those sequences, 460 were from haplogroup K, mostly from members of our K Project. All of the sequences were simultaneously used to create new and revised subclades on Build 14 of the PhyloTree. Eventually, FTDNA will change members’ subclade designations where appropriate.

I have now created new Subgroups on the K Project website mtDNA Results tab; the total number of Subgroups now being 116. Also, each Subgroup may be selected and viewed on the Google maps tab. The greatly increased number of Subgroups allows for much better resolution of the possible maternal origins of our subclades. If you have not already done so, you should add your deepest maternal location to the map. Go to your FTDNA personal page,My Account, Personal Profile, Genealogy, Most Distant Ancestors, then underDirect Maternal click on Add Location. Please do this even if you only know thename of your country of origin.

A detailed explanation of the new and revised Subgroups and subclades may be found HERE.

Not all consented sequences were sent to GenBank. Identical sequences were not sent; neither were sequences which duplicated ones alreadyon GenBank from FTDNA. Also, the cutoff date for transmitted sequences wasabout a year ago, so if you consented or received results since then, your results were not sent. I will address the question of whose sequences from theK Project were sent in a future e-mail.

FTDNA has changed the method by which individuals may directly submit their own full sequences to GenBank.However, although the old method may not be used, the new method, under “Upload My Results” on the FTDNA mtDNAcommunity.org website, is still underconstruction. I will also discuss this in the future when details are available.

June 24, 2012: 2,434 members. There is an abstract of a major new scientific paper on the origins of haplogroups U8 and K, which will have a new phylogenetic tree of the haplogroups: Abstract More information will be provided when the paper and tree are available.

August 10, 2012: 2,500 members. Most of our members are from FTDNA, but we have some from many other testing companies. We have 1,163 members who have received their full-sequence mtDNA results, with 11 more tests on order. 1,268 members have their ancestral location pins on our Google maps, where you can select "All" or any of 118 Subgroups as discussed above. 531 members have their FMS results in the GenBank database, either by direct submission or via Dr. Behar's RSRS paper in April. 

October 2, 2012: 2,572 members. The new PhyloTree Build 15 adds six new K subclades, mostly as a result of our Project members directly submitting their full-sequence results to the GenBank database. I have added new Subgroups for five of the subclades: K1a11a1, K1a1b1f, K1a1b1g, K1a4a1g and K1a27. With only one member, I've combined the new K1a1b1b1 with its parent subclade K1a1b1b into one Subgroup. 

December 12, 2012: 2,652 members. FTDNA made several major updates and revisions to its websites today. For us, the major change was the upgrading of our subclade designations to the PhyloTree Build 14 level; that's as of last April. Our Subgroups are already at the Build 15 level, so they are a little behind. I have submitted several proposed corrections to the HelpDesk. If you see subclade designations such as K1a-C150T, that means there is a PhyloTree unlabeled branch at position 150T in subclade K1a. Most of those can be ignored. I also moved several people to the correct Subgroup if I had them misplaced, sometimes because the member had not made his or her coding-region mutations list available to me. I was not able to Subgroup what I couldn't see. 

If you look at your personal page - which has numerous changes - you will see under your mtDNA Results tab that they now default to RSRS format rather than the rCRS format, which is still used on the Project mutations list. I have suggested this be changed back.

Your mtDNA Matches list now show FMS matches with up to four differences, instead of requiring exact matches. One member went from having zero FMS matches to having 97. That's far too many. That would include matches before writing was invented, so don't expect to find genealogical records. Some of these new "matches" are in different subclades. 

January 9, 2013: 2,662 members. K Project seventh annual report.

September 21, 2013: 3,000 members, including those from all testing companies. Under About This Group, Background, scroll down to Project Stats for more information. 

October 8, 2013: 3,021 members. A major U8-K paper has just been published: A substantial prehistoric European ancestry amongst Ashkenazi maternal lineages. The paper includes a new U8-K phylogenetic tree. More later on this.