Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Africans in Yorkshire? the deepest-rooting clade of the Y phylogeny within an English genealogy

By Turi E. King, Emma J. Parkin, Geoff Swinfield, Fulvio Cruciani, Rosaria Scozzari, Alexandra Rosa, Si-Keun Lim, Yali Xue, Chris Tyler-Smith and Mark A. Jobling


This is the author's final draft of the paper published as European Journal of Human Genetics, 2007, 15 (3), pp. 288-293. The final published version is available from presence of Africans in Britain has been recorded since Roman times, but has left no apparent genetic trace among modern inhabitants. Y chromosomes belonging to the deepest-rooting clade of the Y phylogeny, haplogroup A, are regarded as African-specific, and no examples have been reported from Britain or elsewhere in western Europe. We describe the presence of a haplogroup A1 chromosome in an indigenous British male; comparison with African examples suggests a western African origin. Seven out of eighteen men carrying the same rare east-Yorkshire surname as the original male also carry haplogroup A1 chromosomes, and documentary research resolves them into two genealogies with most-recent-common-ancestors living in Yorkshire in the late eighteenth century. Analysis using 77 Y-STRs (short tandem repeats) is consistent with coalescence a few generations earlier. Our findings represent the first genetic evidence of Africans among ‘indigenous’ British, and emphasise the complexity of human migration history, as well as the pitfalls of assigning geographical origin from Y-chromosomal haplotypes

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Year: 2007
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (2002). A back migration from Asia to sub-Saharan Africa is supported by high-resolution analysis of human Y-chromosome haplotypes. doi
  2. (1990). A history of British surnames. doi
  3. (2005). al: Contrasting patterns of Y chromosome and mtDNA variation in Africa: evidence for sex-biased demographic processes. doi
  4. (2000). al: Y-chromosomal diversity within Europe is clinal and influenced primarily by geography, rather than by language.
  5. (2003). al: Y-chromosome and mtDNA polymorphisms in Iraq, a crossroad of the early human dispersal and of post-Neolithic migrations. Mol Phylogenet Evol doi
  6. (2004). AM et al: Reduced genetic structure of the Iberian peninsula revealed by Y-chromosome analysis: implications for population demography. doi
  7. Calafell F et al: High resolution Y chromosome typing: 19 STRs amplified in three multiplex reactions. Forens Sci Int doi
  8. (2005). Calafell F et al: Mutation rates at Y chromosome specific microsatellites. Hum Mutat doi
  9. (2006). coancestry within surnames. Curr Biol doi
  10. (1997). de Knijff P: Estimating Y chromosome specific microsatellite mutation frequencies using deep rooting pedigrees. Hum Mol Genet doi
  11. (1999). de Knijff P: Y-chromosome-specific microsatellite mutation rates re-examined using a minisatellite, MSY1. Hum Mol Genet doi
  12. (2006). DG: Y-chromosomes and the extent of patrilineal ancestry in Irish surnames. Hum Genet doi
  13. (2005). DYS392-12 in Somali males. doi
  14. (2004). Erler A et al: A comprehensive survey of human Ychromosomal microsatellites.
  15. (2002). Ethiopians and Khoisan share the deepest clades of the human Y-chromosome phylogeny. doi
  16. (2001). In the name of the father: surnames and genetics. Trends Genet doi
  17. Irven C: Surnames and the Y chromosome. doi
  18. (2004). JM: Y-SNP typing of U.S. African American and Caucasian samples using allele-specific hybridization and primer extension. doi
  19. (2006). Jobling MA: 26-locus Y-STR typing in a Bhutanese population sample. Forens Sci Int doi
  20. (2004). Kivisild T et al: Excavating Y-chromosome haplotype strata in Anatolia. Hum Genet doi
  21. (2004). Lareu MV et al: The African diaspora: mitochondrial DNA and the Atlantic slave trade. doi
  22. Lopes A et al: Micro-phylogeographic and demographic history of Portuguese male lineages. doi
  23. (2002). Mohyuddin A et al: Y-chromosomal DNA variation in Pakistan. doi
  24. Morling N: High frequencies of Y chromosome lineages characterized by E3b1, DYS19- doi
  25. (2000). Oefner PJ et al: The genetic legacy of Paleolithic Homo sapiens sapiens in extant Europeans: a Y chromosome perspective. Science doi
  26. (2003). PA et al: Peopling of three Mediterranean islands (Corsica, Sardinia, and Sicily) inferred by Ychromosome biallelic variability. doi
  27. (2001). Pangrazio A et al: Human Y-chromosome variation in the western Mediterranean area: implications for the peopling of the region. Hum Immunol doi
  28. (2004). Paracchini S et al: A predominantly Neolithic origin for Y-chromosomal DNA variation in North Africa. doi
  29. (2004). Regueiro M et al: The Levant versus the Horn of Africa: evidence for bidirectional corridors of human migrations. doi
  30. (1997). RM: A Dictionary of English Surnames.
  31. (1999). Röhl A: Median-joining networks for inferring intraspecific phylogenies. Mol Biol Evol doi
  32. Romano V et al: Population structure in the Mediterranean basin: a Y chromosome perspective. doi
  33. (1993). The application of mitochondrial DNA typing to the study of white Caucasian genetic identification. doi
  34. (2005). The dual origin of the Malagasy in island southeast Asia and East Africa: evidence from maternal and paternal lineages. doi
  35. Tyler-Smith C: Human Evolutionary Genetics: origins, peoples and disease. doi
  36. (2006). Tyler-Smith C: Variation of 52 new Y-STR loci in the Y Chromosome Consortium worldwide panel of 76 diverse individuals. doi
  37. (2005). Verginelli F et al: Brief communication: mtDNA variation in North Cameroon: lack of Asian lineages and implications for back migration from Asia to sub-Saharan Africa. doi
  38. (2005). VF et al: Population structure of Y chromosome SNP haplogroups in the United States and forensic implications for constructing Y chromosome STR databases. Forens Sci Int doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.