Genetic Haplogroups
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Genetic Haplogroups

My intent here is to provide some direction in helping to ensure that the Lindsay Surname DNA Project participants obtain the most extensive assessment and interpretation of their DNA results as possible.

It is important to note that population genetics, supported by the explosive growth in genetic information and associated technologies, is also emerging as a powerful tool for unraveling human history and also providing yet another level of understanding of our genealogical heritage from what is termed as "deep ancestry".

Genetic studies have demonstrated how the slowly evolving biallelic markers are used to define distinct genealogical groups [haplogroups (hg)], whereas rapidly evolving microsatellites are used to distinguish more closely related chromosomes within haplogroups. Together, the two sets of markers identify well defined haplotypes, which have proven powerful tools in identifying relationships among populations.5  

Identification of genetic changes associated with these transitions (cultural) requires that the source populations be distinguished with respect to some genetic marker. There are numerous candidate source populations for the British Isles from the pre-Anglo-Saxon British to the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Scandinavians, and Normans.3

Population genetics studies have traditionally made use of mitochondrial and autosomal DNA testing to arrive at their "deep ancestry" conclusions. More recently, attention has also focused on Y-chromosome variation to provide additional insight.

Although it does not provide the total picture, there are methods available for genealogical inference using only Y-chromosome data.3,4   Ambiguities, nomenclature  and inaccuracies in data analysis, however, have posed an obstacle in the interpretation of the standalone Y chromosome "haplogroup" data by the neophyte genealogist who is trying to use this information.  

Over the years, population geneticists have established geographic/regional modal haplotypes, as subsets of haplogroups, defined and documented in their studies.  This genetic identification of individual groups of people that have inhabited a specific geographic region can be very helpful at times in genealogical studies that have become a bit open-ended.

Atlantic Modal Haplotype - subset of HG1

It would appear that the population genetic study by Emmeline W. Hill, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland and Mark A. Jobling, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK, et al in March 2000and the second study by Agnar Helgason, University of Oxford, et al in July 2000 provided much of the data used in determining what was to eventually become the Atlantic Modal Haplotype.

Geneticist James F. Wilson, et al, stated in their paper5 that the Y chromosome complements of Basque and Celtic-speaking populations are strikingly similar.  Haplotype 1.15 is also identified as modal in the Basques and constitutes 41% of the sample, rising to 56% for the cluster of one-step neighbors. Wilson's paper (April 2001)5 appears to be the first to coin the term and to make a reference to the Atlantic Modal Haplotype (AMH) in defining this population group.  The AMH references the fact that most of the people of this haplogroup were found on the Atlantic coast of Europe.  It is important to note that James Wilson cited the above references 1 & 2, and the data they collected, in his study report.

Although it does not provide the total assessment needed to "prove" that you belong to the AMH, genetic studies5 have established the most prevalent values exhibited by individuals found to belong to the AMH, for the six Y chromosome STR markers listed in the table below.

Atlantic Modal Haplotype5

Y Chromosome STR Marker

Most Common Value

   DYS19 (DYS394)












If your values for the six Y-chromosome STR markers above match the "most common values" found in this study5, it is very likely, but not absolute, that you are descended from the Atlantic Modal Haplotype.  To add further proof of one's descent from the Atlantic Modal Haplotype, and using James F. Wilson's model5, you would need to be tested for the balance of the Haplogroup 1 (HG1) markers which includes the unique event polymorphism (UEP) genotypes in the sY81, SRY4064, YAP, SRY10831, M13, M9, Tat, M20, SRY+465, 92R7, and M17.


Cited References:

1Y-chromosome Variation and Irish Origins, Emmeline W. Hill, Department of Genetics, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland; Mark A. Jobling, Department of Genetics, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK; et al; Nature, March 23, 2000, pp 351-352.

2Estimating Scandinavian and Gaelic Ancestry in the Male Settlers of Iceland”; Agnar Helgason, Institutes of Biological Anthropology, University of Oxford; Bryan Sykes, Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford; Emmeline W. Hill, Department of Genetics, Trinity College, Dublin; et al; received May 8, 2000; accepted for publication July 14, 2000; American Journal of Human Genetics, Volume 67, pp 697-717.

3 Genealogical and Evolutionary Inference With the Human Y Chromosome, Stumpf M.P., Goldstein D.B., et al, published Science magazine, March 2001.

4Human Migrations and Population Structure: What We Know and Why It Matters, Goldstein D.B., et al, published Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics, Sep 2002, Vol. 3, pp. 129-152

5 Genetic Evidence For Different Male and Female Roles During Cultural Transitions in the British Isles, James F. Wilson, et al, published Proceedings National Academy of Science, U S A., April 24, 2001.

Haplogroup 2 (HG2)

        details to be added soon


Haplogroup 3 (HG3)

        details to be added soon


Other Recommended Haplogroup Reference Sources

Dr. Dennis Garvey, Professor, Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington, and a fellow member of the Genealogy-DNA Forum, has created several very informative web pages which provides his findings, views and assessments of the many facets of dealing with haplogroup determination.  Click on Dennis Garvey to also view his thoughts and findings on this subject.


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