mtDNA haplogroup U4 project (Ulrike)- Background



Welcome to the mitochondrial DNA haplogroup U4 project! Haplogroup U4 (Ulrike) is a small Indo-European haplogroup that is particularly prevalent in Finland and Russia. It is found at low frequencies throughout Europe, North America and Asia. We have project members living in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Macedonia, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Virgin Islands, West Indies, USA. 

Description of Ulrike from Bryan Sykes
The clan of Ulrike (German for Mistress of All) is not among the original "Seven Daughters of Eve" clans, but with just under 2% of Europeans among its members, it has a claim to being included among the numerically important clans. Ulrike lived about 18,000 years ago in the cold refuges of the Ukraine at the northern limits of human habitation. Though Ulrike's descendants are nowhere common, the clan is found today mainly in the east and north of Europe with particularly high concentrations in Scandinavia and the Baltic states. (Source:


The project is open to everyone who has taken a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) test with Family Tree DNA, the Genographic Project or one of the FTDNA partners (e.g., IGENEA, DNA Worldwide), and whose results show that they belong to haplogroup U4 or one of its subclades. There is no fee to join the project, and no additional testing is required.

If you have tested with the Genographic Project you will first need to transfer your results to the Family Tree DNA database. Results can be transferred using this direct link on the FTDNA website. Geno 1.0 HVR1 results are included on the U4 project's results page. Geno 2.0 tests selected SNPs from across the entire mt genome, but does not sequence the entire hypervariable region - the sections that are used for low-resolution genealogical matches. Geno 2.0 results cannot therefore be displayed on the results page and cannot be used for genealogical matching purposes.

If you have tested with any other company you will have to retest with Family Tree DNA if you wish to participate in the U4 Project. This blog post explains more about the various mtDNA tests offered by the different testing companies. The International Society of Genetic Genealogy have a chart on their website showing the differences in the mtDNA tests offered by the various companies which can be seen here

Please provide details of your most distant known ancestor on your direct maternal line (your mother, your mother's mother, your mother's mother and so on). Click here to see a chart on the ISOGG website which shows the path of mtDNA transmission. There is also a useful animated video on the SMGF website which can be seen by clicking here.  You can enter the information via the My Account/Most Distant Ancestors menu on your FTDNA personal page. Please provide the full name, year of birth and location of your most distant known ancestor on your direct maternal line. As we are an international project with members from many different countries please avoid the use of local abbreviations (eg, US state abbreviations, UK Chapman county codes) for clarity. 

If you have taken the full mitochondrial sequence (FMS) test (also known as the mega or full genomic sequence (FGS) test) please consider sharing your coding region results with the project administrators so that we can help you with your results. The coding region results are not shown on the project's results page and will not be made public, and by default they are also hidden from the project administrators. The coding region results allow us to check your subclade assignment against the latest version of the mtDNA tree on Phylotree. We can often provide a more detailed classification than that provided by FTDNA. FTDNA is currently using Build 14 of Phylotree. Some U4 subclades in Build 14 are not yet recognised by FTDNA.  All U4 project results have been updated to conform with the most recent Phylotree build (Build 16).  

To share your coding region results with the project administrators, please log into your FTDNA account, select My Account and click on Results Display Settings. In the section "Show My mtDNA Coding Region Mutations to Administrators of these Projects", make sure that you have indicated "Yes" for the U4 project. For instructions see also the article by Rebekah Canada on Your Privacy and Showing Your mtDNA Coding Region Results.

Join the U4 mtDNA Project - in other languages

Currently, we have our "Join Request" in six languages (English, Русский, Deutsch, Français, Español and Italiano). Click here to see these translations.


The privacy of project members is respected at all times. The U4 administrators strictly adhere to the Group Administrator Guidelines for Family Tree DNA Projects and the ISOGG Project Administrator Guidelines. See also the Family Tree DNA Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and the Learning Center pages on DNA Group Projects.

Geographical projects

We encourage all our project members to join the appropriate geographical project wherever possible. A full list of geographical projects can be found in the ISOGG Wiki. There is no limit on the number of projects you can join at Family Tree DNA, but admission to a project is subject to approval by the project administrators.


We encourage all our members to join the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG). It is free to join and all members receive a free monthly e-mail newsletter. You will also be informed of events of interest in your locality. Further information can be found on the ISOGG website and in the ISOGG Wiki.

Useful links

The U4 haplogroup blog
Haplogroup U4 group on Facebook
 - an active discussion list
The Yahoo U4 haplogroup mailing list
Haplogroup U group on GenealogyWise

PhyloTree's mtDNA global tree
Ian Logan's haplogroup U4 webpage
An interactive map showing the mtDNA peopling of the world

ISOGG Wiki mitochondrial DNA Portal
ISOGG Wiki list of mtDNA tools

The Meaning of Your Mutations  (a custom report by Ann Turner, M.D., for Ron Scott - hg U4b2a1a)

mtDNACommunity - a Community for sharing full mitochondrial sequence DNA results
Roberta Estes' blog post on the mtDNACommunity

Ron Scott's phylogenetic tree for U4a (not updated since 2011)
Ron Scott's phylogenetic tree for U4b (not updated since 2011)
Ron Scott's phylogenetic tree for U4c (not updated since 2011)
Ron Scott's phylogenetic tree for U4d (not updated since 2011)

Scientific papers of particular relevance to haplogroup U4

Der Sarkissian C, Balanovsky O, Brandt G, Khartanovich V, Buzhilova A, et al. (2013) Ancient DNA Reveals Prehistoric Gene-Flow from Siberia in the Complex Human Population History of North East Europe. PLoS Genetics 9(2): e1003296. (Full article available online.)
Melchior L, Lynnerup N, Siegismund HR, Kivisild T, Dissing J (2010). Genetic Diversity among Ancient Nordic Populations. PLoS ONE 5(7): e11898. (Full article available online.)
Malyarchuk B, Grzybowski T, Derenko M, Perkova M, Vanecek T, Lazur J, Gomolcak P, Tsybovsky I. Mitochondrial DNA phylogeny in Eastern and Western Slavs. Molecular Biology and Evolution 2008 25(8):1651-1658. (Full article available online.)
Soares P, Acchili A, Semino O, Davies W, Macaulay v, Bandelt h, Torroni A, Richards M (2010). The Archaeogenetics of Europe. Current Biology 23 February 2010 (Vol. 20, Issue 4, pp. R174-R183). The authors provide an age estimate of U4 at 20.8 thousand years based on an analysis of the complete mtDNA genome sequences of 956 West Eurasian samples. They state: "It has been argued that several lineages that are most prominent in eastern Europe, in particular within U4, may be the result of expansions from an eastern refuge, perhaps in the Ukraine." (Full article available online)
Samara Rubinstein, Matthew C. Duuk, Omer Gokcumen, Sergey Zhadanov, Ludmila Osipova, Maggie Cocca, Nishi Mehta, Marina Gubina, Olga Posukh, Theodore G Schurr. Russian Old Believers: genetic consequences of their persecution and exile, as shown by mitochondrial DNA evidence (Report). Human Biology June 01, 2008. (Report available online.)
Kristiina Tambets. Dissertationes Biologicae Universitatis Tartuensis. Towards the understanding of post-glacial spread of human mitochondrial DNA haplogroups in Europe and beyond: a phylogeographic approach. Council of the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Tartu, Estonia, 2004. (Thesis available online.)
B. A. Malyarchuk. Differentiation of the Mitochondrial Subhaplogroup U4 in the Populations of Eastern Europe, Ural, and Western Siberia: Implication to the Genetic History of the Uralic Populations. Russian Journal of Genetics November 2004, Volume 40, Number 11. (Abstract and preview available online.)
Olga A. Derbeneva, Elena B. Starikovskaya, Douglas C. Wallace, and Rem I. Sukernik. Traces of Early Eurasians in the Mansi of Northwest Siberia Revealed by Mitochondrial DNA Analysis. American Journal of Human Genetics 2002 April; 70(4): 1009–1014. (Full article available online.)

Other scientific papers of interest

Hans-Jürgen Bandelt, Anita Kloss-Brandstätter, Martin B Richards, Yong-Gang Yao and Ian Logan. The case for the continuing use of the revised Cambridge Reference Sequence (rCRS) and the standardization of notation in human mitochondrial DNA studiesJournal of Human Genetics (5 December 2013). 
Doron M. Behar, Mannis van Oven, Saharon Rosset et al (2012). A "Copernican" Reassessment of the Human Mitochondrial DNA Tree from its Root. American Journal of Human Genetics, Volume 90, Issue 4, 6 April 2012, pp675–684. A number of U4 sequences from Family Tree DNA customers were used in this paper.
Melchior L, Lynnerup N, Siegismund HR, Kivisild T, Dissing J (2010). Genetic Diversity among Ancient Nordic Populations. PLoS ONE 5(7): e11898. An ancient DNA study which found a U4 sample amongst the Neolithic Bell Beaker people along with a later Bronze age U4 sample.
Helena Malmström, M. Thomas P. Gilbert, Mark G. Thomas et al. Ancient DNA Reveals Lack of Continuity between Neolithic Hunter-Gatherers and Contemporary Scandinavians. Current Biology 2009 9(2): 1758-1762. (Abstract only available online.) A discussion can be found on Dienekes' Anthropology Blog. The article is also discussed on the GenomeWeb website. Eight U4 samples were included in the study.
B. Bramanti, M. G. Thomas, W. Haak et al. Genetic Discontinuity Between Local Hunter-Gatherers and Central Europe’s First Farmers. By (3 September 2009) Science [DOI: 10.1126/science.1176869] (Abstract only available online.) The article is reviewed on Dienekes Anthropology Blog. Dienekes comments: "Pre-farming populations seem to have been dominated by mtDNA haplogroup U". He quotes from the paper: "it is intriguing to note that 82% of our 22 hunter-gatherer individuals carried clade U (fourteen U5, two U4, and two unspecified U-types". The two U4 samples were from Bad Duerrenberg, Germany (c. 6850 BC) and Spiginas, Lithuania (c. 6350 BC). The paper states that "U4 types show frequencies between 1% and 5% in most parts of Europe, with Western Europe at the lower end of this range, and northeastern Europe and central Asia showing percentages in excess of 7%".
A. Achilli, C. Rengo, V. Battaglia et al. Saami and Berbers—An Unexpected Mitochondrial DNA Link. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 2005, Volume 76, Issue 5, Pages 883-886. (Full article available online)
O. A. Derbeneva, E. B. Starikovskaya, N. V. Volodko, D. C. Wallace and R. I. Sukernik. Mitochondrial DNA variation in the Kets and Nganasans and its implications for the initial peopling of Northern Eurasia. Russian Journal of Genetics, Vol. 38, No. 11, 2002, pp.1316–1321. Translated from Genetika, Vol. 38, No. 11, 2002, pp.1554–1560. (Abstract and preview available online.)


DNA and Social Networking, by Debbie Kennett, The History Press, 2011.
The Seven Daughters of Eve
, by Bryan Sykes, 2001. Hardcover: Bantam Press, London, 2001. Paperback : Corgi Books, 2002. US edition: W. W. Norton and Company, New York, 2001.
The Real Eve: Modern Man's Journey Out of Africa by Stephen Oppenheimer. 2003. Hardcover: Carroll & Graf, New York, 2003. Paperback: Caroll & Graf, 2004.

Genealogical resources:

The Female Line: Researching Your Female Ancestors. By Margaret Ward. Paperback. Newbury, Berkshire, England: Countryside Books, 2003. A step by step guide to researching the female relatives within your family tree. Topics include the problems of name, women in the eyes of the law, and the historical roles of women both in the home and at work.
Who was your mother's mother's mother's mother? Researching matrilineal lines. An online lecture by Julie Helen Otto, a genealogist with the New England Historic Genealogical Society in America.


The mtDNA Haplogroup U4 Project is an independent genealogical research study run by volunteer administrators. The project receives no funding, and participants are responsible for the costs of their own tests. The project was organised as a co-operative effort among those who wish to explore genetic testing to advance their knowledge of deep and recent family backgrounds.

Member information and data obtained from the Haplogroup U4 Project must be attributed to the project, administrators, and Family Tree DNA. Please notify administrators when using data for public or private research.

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General Fund

Current balance: $165.00

Type Amount Date Donor Note KitNum Donation Type
Credit $50.00 6/12/2015       Individual
Credit $25.00 12/30/2010 Robert Frangenberg     Individual
Debit $155.00 3/24/2010 D6945 Multi Kit Order 176512 Unknown
Credit $20.00 3/23/2010 William Evans     Unknown
Credit $25.00 1/6/2010 Jim Bullock     Individual
Credit $25.00 12/29/2009 Margaret Billington     Individual
Credit $25.00 12/1/2009 Kym Edwards     Unknown
Credit $40.00 11/20/2009 Ron Scott For our knowledge of U4 phylogeny.   Individual
Credit $30.00 9/19/2009 Linda Heron Hope this helps!!   Unknown
Credit $30.00 9/18/2009 F. Kathrin Warthen For or towards the "SISTERS"   Individual
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Project Stats

Statistic Type Count
Big Y 43
Combined GEDCOMs Uploaded 150
DISTINCT mtDNA Haplogroups 40
DISTINCT Y-DNA Confirmed Haplogroups 125
DISTINCT Y-DNA Predicted Haplogroups 0
Family Finder 373
Genographic 2.0 Transfers 76
Maternal Ancestor Information 680
mtDNA 762
mtDNA Full Sequence 386
mtDNA Plus 593
mtDNA Subgroups 62
Paternal Ancestor Information 575
Predicted Y-DNA Haplogroups 90
Total Members 813
Unpredicted Y-DNA Haplogroups 0
Unreturned Kits 15
Y-DNA Deep Clade (After 2008) 86
Y-DNA Deep Clade (Prior to 2008) 51
Y-DNA Subgroups 0
Y-DNA111 107
Y-DNA12 355
Y-DNA25 328
Y-DNA37 324
Y-DNA67 240