Tracing past human male movements in northern/eastern Africa and western Eurasia: New clues from Y-chromosomal haplogroups E-M78 and J-M12

Fulvio Cruciani, Roberta La Fratta, Beniamino Trombetta, Piero Santolamazza, Daniele Sellitto, Eliane Beraud Colomb, Jean Michel Dugoujon, Federica Crivellaro, Tamara Benincasa, Roberto Pascone, Pedro Moral, Elizabeth Watson, Bela Melegh, Guido Barbujani, Silvia Fuselli, Giuseppe Vona, Boris Zagradisnik, Guenter Assum, Radim Brdicka, Andrey I. KozlovGeorgi D. Efremov, Alfredo Coppa, Andrea Novelletto, Rosaria Scozzari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

108 Citations (Scopus)


Detailed population data were obtained on the distribution of novel biallelic markers that finely dissect the human Y-chromosome haplogroup E-M78. Among 6,501 Y chromosomes sampled in 81 human populations worldwide, we found 517 E-M78 chromosomes and assigned them to 10 subhaplogroups. Eleven microsatellite loci were used to further evaluate subhaplogroup internal diversification. The geographic and quantitative analyses of haplogroup and microsatellite diversity is strongly suggestive of a northeastern African origin of E-M78, with a corridor for bidirectional migrations between northeastern and eastern Africa (at least 2 episodes between 23.9-17.3 ky and 18.0-5.9 ky ago), trans-Mediterranean migrations directly from northern Africa to Europe (mainly in the last 13.0 ky), and flow from northeastern Africa to western Asia between 20.0 and 6.8 ky ago. A single clade within E-M78 (E-V13) highlights a range expansion in the Bronze Age of southeastern Europe, which is also detected by haplogroup J-M12. Phylogeography pattern of molecular radiation and coalescence estimates for both haplogroups are similar and reveal that the genetic landscape of this region is, to a large extent, the consequence of a recent population growth in situ rather than the result of a mere flow of western Asian migrants in the early Neolithic. Our results not only provide a refinement of previous evolutionary hypotheses but also well-defined time frames for past human movements both in northern/eastern Africa and western Eurasia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1300-1311
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular biology and evolution
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2007



  • African populations
  • Bronze Age
  • European populations
  • Human migrations
  • Y-chromosome haplogroups
  • Y-chromosome phylogeography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

Cite this

Cruciani, F., La Fratta, R., Trombetta, B., Santolamazza, P., Sellitto, D., Colomb, E. B., Dugoujon, J. M., Crivellaro, F., Benincasa, T., Pascone, R., Moral, P., Watson, E., Melegh, B., Barbujani, G., Fuselli, S., Vona, G., Zagradisnik, B., Assum, G., Brdicka, R., ... Scozzari, R. (2007). Tracing past human male movements in northern/eastern Africa and western Eurasia: New clues from Y-chromosomal haplogroups E-M78 and J-M12. Molecular biology and evolution, 24(6), 1300-1311.