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Haplogroups E1b1b1c1 (M34) and E1b1b1c1a (M84)

among Jews. Could Abraham be E1b1b1c1 or

Article · August 2010


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Dmitry Tartakovsky
Technion - Israel Institute of Technology


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The Russian Journal of Genetic Genealogy: Vol 1, №2, 2010
ISSN: 1920-2989 © All rights reserved RJGG

Haplogroups E1b1b1c1 (M34)

A.A. Aliev,
and E1b1b1c1a (M84) D.L. Tartakovsky
among Jews.
Could Abraham be E1b1b1c1
or E1b1b1c1a?


The present paper clarifies the TMRCA of the Jews of haplogroup E1b1b1c1, the origin of Jews of haplogroup
E1b1b1c1a (M84) and answers the question: «Could Abraham be E1b1b1c1 (M34) or E1b1b1c1a (M84)?».

Retrospect tives was converted to Judaism and became the

ancestor of the Jewish line of E1b1b1c1.
The problem of the origin of the Jewish carri-
ers of E1b1b1 subclades has been paid sufficient The specific structure of Jewish sample of
attention [1, 2, 3, 4], including our previous pa- haplogroup E1b1b1c1 (the vast majority of the
pers [5, 6]. Nevertheless, development of DNA haplotypes belong to one cluster) makes the
genealogy is not standing still, the number of TMRCA very sensitive to including of any new
people being tested for Y-DNA are increasing and haplotype not belonging to that cluster. In a pre-
the amount of new information is constantly vious paper [5], due to the lack of 37-marker
growing, which requires a certain correction of haplotypes, 25-marker haplotypes (the calcula-
previous conclusions. tion of which does not give enough accuracy)
were used. To improve the accuracy of the calcu-
In brief, a summary of papers [5, 6] reduces lation, for the present paper only the 37-marker
to the fact that different subclades of haplogroup haplotypes, which number significantly increased
E1b1b1 (M35) have been presented in the Middle (N=55), were used. Due to the «instability» of
East from ancient times. From these subclades, the TMRCA of the Jewish E1b1b1c1, the authors
the maximum time of the most recent common emphasize the importance of the confidence in-
ancestor (TMRCA) among Jews has E1b1b1c1 terval calculated with 95% probability.
(M34) subclade: 3375±430 years ago. It comes
at a time of settling Jews in Canaan. E1b1b1a1, Also, the origin of Jews of haplogroup
E1b1b1a2 and E1b1b1a3 subclades were included E1b1b1c1a (M84), which has the largest number
into the Jewish community in later times. It was of clusters, has not been adequately studied so
suggested that in Pre-Jewish times Canaanite far. In addition, the simultaneous presence of
carriers of E1b1b1c1 could be among such histor- E1b1b1c1 (M34) subclades among Jews and
ically evidenced people as Amorites, Hittites, Phi- Arabs contributed to the assumption of belonging
listines and Horites, and one of their representa- «Y-chromosomal Abraham» (a conditional com-
mon ancestor of the Arabs and Jews) to one of

Received: July 28 2010; accepted: July 30 2010; published: August 7 2010

these subclades. The question of the lifetime of
Correspondence: common ancestors of Jews and Arabs of haplo-
The Russian Journal of Genetic Genealogy: Vol 1, №2, 2010
ISSN: 1920-2989 © All rights reserved RJGG
groups E1b1b1c1 and E1b1b1c1a has not been Could Abraham be E1b1b1c1 (M34)?
studied yet.
To answer this question let us briefly outline
The aim of this paper is to clarify the TMRCA the current situation. According to the Bible and
of the Jews of haplogroup E1b1b1c1, the origin of the Muslim tradition, Abraham is the distant an-
Jews of haplogroup E1b1b1c1a (M84) and answer cestor of Cohens and Seyyids, and more — Jews
the question: «Could Abraham be E1b1b1c1 and Arabs. According to historians, (that general-
(M34) or E1b1b1c1a (M84)?». ly confirm the time mentioned in the Old Testa-
ment), in particular, [13, 14, 15], Abraham lived
about 4000 years ago.
The most recent common ancestors
of Jews of E1b1b1c1, E1b1b1c1a Currently there is no clear opinion about Ab-
raham’s haplogroup — the known characteristics
For our research we will use Jewish E1b1b1c1 fit just two haplogroups: J1 and J2. Y-DNA tests
haplotypes from Haplozone E-M35databases. of Jews and Arabs are largely related to haplo-
These are the haplotypes belonging to the groups J1 and J2 and revealed that Jews and
E1b1b1c1-D1 cluster [7], and one haplotype from Arabs have two common ancestors who lived
the category E1b1b1c1-Miscellaneous [8]. The about 4000 years ago: 4200±500 years for hap-
calculation according to the algorithm [9] shows logroup J1 and 4375±530 years for haplogroup
that the most recent common ancestor of the J2 [16], in other words, roughly in the period of
sample (N=55, 37 markers, the expected modal Abraham, and therefore, in the time of the divi-
haplotype in FTDNA order: sion of Arabian and Jewish genealogical lines.

15-25-13-10-18-19-11-12-12-13-12-30-16-9-9- Which of the two ancestors is true Abraham?

11-12-24-14-20-31-15-15-17-17 – 10-10-19-19- J1 or J2? The situation is complicated by the fact
15-13-16-18-33-34-13-10), lived 5650±2820 that among the Cohens and Seyyids both J1, and
years ago with the probability of 95%. J2 are presented. According to the study [17],
TMRCA of J1 Seyyids is 1300±260 years ago,
To determine the TMRCA of Jews of haplo- which, within the confidence interval, corres-
group E1b1b1c1a (M84) we used haplotypes of ponds to the lifetime of Imam Ali.
the Jewish clusters E1b1b1c1a*-A [10],
E1b1b1c1a*-B [11], E1b1b1c1a*-C [12] from However, if one looks at the haplotypes data-
Haplozone E-M35 database. Our calculation bases, one can see that the role of «Abraham’s
shows that the TMRCA of the sample (N=54, 37 haplogroup» is also eligible for haplogroups
markers, the expected modal haplotype in FTDNA E1b1b1c1 and E1b1b1c1a: the carriers of these
order: haplogroups are among both Arabs and Jews, in-
cluding as a Seyyids [18] and Cohens [19]. How-
13-24-13-10-17-17-11-12-12-13-11-31-19-9-9- ever, judging the draft, the number of
11-11-26-14-20-33-15-15-16-17 – 10-10-19-22- E1b1b1c1carriers compared to the one of J1 and
16-13-18-18-31-34-13-10) is 4100±1740 years, J2 is much smaller (1% E1b1b1c1 compared to
with 95% probability. 37% J1e, 19,6% J2a4h, 12,2% J without down-
stream subclades, 14,8% R1b1c1 and 15% of 13
As one can see, both ages exceed the time of other subclades among Cohens and 3% among
the Jewish invasion in Canaan. It means that at Seyyids). It makes an exact calculation of ance-
the time of the invasion and conversion of local stral ages complicated, but, nevertheless, the
population belonging to haplogroups E1b1b1c1 origin of Cohens is already has been widely stu-
and E1b1b1c1a into Judaism, they were two died and reported in the literature [20, 21] and is
groups of distant relatives. Rather, each of them beyond the scope of the current paper, which
were inhabitants of one town conquered the studies the origin of haplogroups E1b1b1c1 and
Jews. E1b1b1c1a among Jews. At the same time, the
problem of origin E1b1b1c1 Cohens has not been
studied yet and is interesting for genealogists.

The Russian Journal of Genetic Genealogy: Vol 1, №2, 2010
ISSN: 1920-2989 © All rights reserved RJGG
The presence of more than one such haplotype 13-24-13-10-17-18-11-12-12-13-11-30-19-9-9-
may indicate to their non-random nature. For- 11-11-27-15-20 -32-15-16-16-17-10-10-19-22-
mally, it gives reason to consider version about 17-13-18-18-32-33-13-10-10-8-15-15-7-10-10-
E1b1b1c1 or E1b1b1c1a, studied in this paper, as 8 -10-10-0-21-24-18-11-12-13-17-7-11-25-21-
the haplogroup of Abraham. 15-13-12-14-10-12-10-11) is 440±410 years
At the time of writing the paper (July 2010) in
Sharifs DNA Project and Cohen DNA Project there Obviously, for such a small sample it is pre-
were 3 haplotypes of E1b1b1c1a Seyyids and 2 maturely to draw final conclusions, but, according
haplotypes of E1b1b1c1 Cohens, as well as do- to the present data, their TMRCA does not con-
zens of Arabian and Jewish E1b1b1c1a and firm their origin from the Biblical Aaron, and the
E1b1b1c1 haplotypes [22]. Haplotypes of TMRCA of the Arabian and Jewish E1b1b1c1
E1b1b1c1 Seyyids and E1b1b1c1a Cohens are much older than Abraham’s lifetime.
not available yet (but it is not ruled out that
E1b1b1c1 Cohens are non-deep clade tested
E1b1b1c1a). Conclusions

The TMRCAs of Arabian and Jewish E1b1b1c1 1) Subclades E1b1b1c1 and E1b1b1c1a were
and E1b1b1c1a (the expected modal haplotype in included in Jewish community during the con-
FTDNA order: quest of Canaan. With 95% probability the
TMRCA of Jewish E1b1b1c1 and E1b1b1c1a are
14-25-13-10-17-18-11-12-12-13-11-31 for 5650±2820 and 4100±1740 years.
E1b1b1c1 and 13-24-13-10 - 16-17-11-12-12-
13-11-31-17-9-9-11-11-26-14-20-32-14-15-16- 2) Subclades E1b1b1c1 and E1b1b1c1a both
17-10-10-19-22 - 15-13-17-19-31-35-13-10 for found among Jews and Arabs, including a small
E1b1b1c1a) are 8080±3890 and 4080±1440 number of Cohens and Seyyids. The calculated
years ago. TMRCAs show that the most recent E1b1b1c1 an-
cestor of Arabs and Jews lived 8080±3890 years
Consequently, the Jewish and Arabian lines of ago and the most recent E1b1b1c1a ancestor of
E1b1b1c1 divided one from the other several Arabs and Jews lived 4080±1440 years ago. The
thousand years before biblical Abraham. On the most recent common ancestor of E1b1b1c1a
other hand, the common ancestor of the Jewish Seyyids lived 4080±1560 years ago, the most
and Arabian E1b1b1c1a lived in the same histori- recent common ancestor of E1b1b1c1 Cohens
cal era as the biblical Abraham. The result de- lived 440±410 years ago.
monstrates the close affinity of Jewish and Ara-
bian E1b1b1c1a. 3) TMRCA calculations show that, according to
formal characteristics, subclade E1b1b1c1 can
The TMRCA of E1b1b1c1a Seyyids (the ex- not claim to be the Abraham’s haplogroup.
pected modal haplotype in FTDNA order:
4) The most recent common ancestor of the
13-24-13-10-17-17-11-12-12-13-11-30-9-9-11- Jewish and Arabian E1b1b1c1a lived in the same
11-26-14-20-32 -14-15-16-17-11-9-9-22-16-13- historical era as the biblical Abraham, but a con-
18-20-32-34-14-10-10-8-15-15-7-10-10-8-10 - tradiction in the calculated TMRCA of Cohens and
10-0-21-23-19-11-12-13-17-7-11-26-20-13-13- Seyyids to historical data exclude haplogroup
12-15-10-12-10-11) is 4080±1560 years ago, E1b1b1c1a from the contenders for the role of
that more than thousands years over the era of «Abraham’s haplogroup». Despite this, the re-
Ali and excludes their Seyyid origin. sults indicate close relationship of Jewish and
Arabian E1b1b1c1a lines.
The TMRCA of E1b1b1c1 Cohens (the ex-
pected modal haplotype in FTDNA order:

The Russian Journal of Genetic Genealogy: Vol 1, №2, 2010
ISSN: 1920-2989 © All rights reserved RJGG

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