Updates in the Haplogroup U4 Project

Dear U4 project members

It’s time to bring you up to date with a few developments and changes in the U4 project.

Some of you will be aware that I joined the U4 project as co-administrator back in August 2009.  At around the same time Ron Scott was appointed as a fellow co-administrator, and William Allen assumed responsibility as the group administrator.  Since then the bulk of the project administration work has been done by Ron and me. Ron was in charge of the phylogenetic analysis and I assumed responsibility for welcoming new members. However, since November 2011 Ron has not responded to any e-mails and we have also been unable to contact him via Facebook. William Allen has a lot of work and family commitments and did not have any spare time to work on the U4 project so he stepped down as administrator earlier this year. Therefore for the last two years I have effectively been running the U4 project single-handed.

Back in 2009 we had just 160 project members. The project has grown considerably since then and we now have 635 members. I am also very pleased that the project has attracted an increasing international membership, particularly in Scandinavia, Finland, Eastern Europe and the British Isles. Although the majority of our project members live in the US we now also have project members living in the following countries: Australia, Austria, the Bahamas, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Macedonia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the Virgin Islands, and the West Indies.

With the steady increase in the growth of the project it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to keep up with the workload. I had never intended to assume sole responsibility for the U4 project as I already run two other projects – the 
Cruwys/Cruse/Cruise surname DNA project and a geographical project for the English county of Devon. I am now writing to ask if any project members would be willing to offer their services to help with the running of the U4 project. I knew nothing about mtDNA when I first started out and have learnt from experience as I’ve gone along, and it would be very easy for someone else to do the same. I would be happy to share the knowledge that I've acquired. Ideally it would be best to have a number of admins. Nearly all the large haplogroup projects now have multiple admins. For anyone with mathematical skills there would also be scope for doing analysis on the ages of the various subclades and their coalescence times. If you are interested in helping out in any way please contact me by e-mail for an informal chat.

Project results page
The U4 project results page has gone through a number of changes in the last few years. Ron Scott identified a number of clusters but the naming system he used is now very out of date. I have followed the naming system used by Phylotree which now publishes the official mtDNA tree:


Phylotree is currently on Build 15, and Build 16 is imminent. FTDNA are currently still using Build 14. All U4 project results now conform with Build 15. Some of you might find that your original subclade assignment has been changed since I wrote to you about your results. If you notice any errors in your assignment do let me know. I have retained some of the clusters identified by Ron Scott but I have abandoned his naming system because it was in conflict with the updated Phylotree nomenclature. It may be that some of these new subclades will be recognised by Phylotree when it is next updated. The Genographic Project are supposed to be bringing out a big paper which will update the mtDNA tree, and I understand that FTDNA will not update their mtDNA haplogroup assignments until this paper has been published though the timeframe is not known.

FTDNA sale
You will probably have noticed that FTDNA now have a sale on which lasts until the end of the year. For those of you who have transferred Geno 2.0 results or 23andMe results to FTDNA this is a good opportunity for you to order a full sequence test in order to participate in the FTDNA genealogical matching database. The basic mtDNAPlus test was reduced in price in the summer and now costs just $49 so if you can’t afford the full sequence then this would be a good starting point instead.

The upgrade to the full sequence test is also on special offer in the sale at US $139.  Within the U4 Project 249 of our project members have now taken the full sequence test. Some of the sequences of our U4 project members were used in the 2012 paper by Dr Doron Behar et al "A Copernican 'reassessment' of the human mitochondrial DNA tree from its root":


The sale also provides a good opportunity to encourage your friends and family to take a DNA test, and perhaps some of them will be U4s like you! I've put full details of the sale prices of all the different tests on my blog:


Most distant known ancestor
While the majority of you have helpfully provided the details of your most distant known ancestor on your mtDNA line, we do still have a few project members who have not supplied this information. The ancestral details are displayed on the results page:


These details are also used for the project's maps (you need to make the appropriate selection from the drop-down menu): 


The ancestral details also appear against your name in the match lists, and will help you to make genealogical connections. It is very easy to update these details from your personal page. You will find the settings under My account/GEDCOM/FamilyTree.  As a lot of people get confused about the transmission of mtDNA you might like to refer to this chart on the ISOGG website showing the path of mtDNA in order to check that you've entered the details of the correct ancestor:


Full sequence results
Everyone who has taken the full sequence test should have received from me an explanatory e-mail with details of how you can contribute your results to GenBank for scientific research. I also provide details of the custom reports which are available from Dr Ann Turner. Note that there is now a page on the ISOGG Wiki which provides details of Dr Turner’s reports:


If for any reason you have not received an e-mail from me do get in touch.

If you have any questions about the project I would be pleased to hear from you.

Kind regards

Debbie Kennett
Group Administrator
mtDNA Haplogroup U4 Project

This letter was also sent to all U4 project members using the FTDNA bulk e-mail system. There were 27 bouncing e-mail addresses. If you are a member of the project and have not updated your contact details please ensure that you do so in order to receive future communications from Family Tree DNA and from your matches.

Mesolithic foragers showed high frequencies and diversity of haplogroups U (U2e, U4, U5a)

From John Hawkes weblog, U4 mentioned.

"Ancient DNA reveals prehistoric gene-flow from Siberia in the complex human population history of North East Europe."


Family Tree DNA summer sale

Family Tree DNA have announced their sizzling summer sale which runs until 25th June. The following tests are reduced for the duration of the sale:

- Y-DNA 37 for US $119 (£82) (Regular price would be $149 (£103) )
- Y-DNA 67 for US $199 (£138) (Regular price would be $239 (£166) )
- Y-DNA 37 + mtDNA for US $159 (£110) (Combined test would cost $238 (£164) )
- Y-DNA37 + mtDNAPlus for $189.00 (£127) (Combined test would cost US $269 (£191) )

To qualify for the sale prices kits need to be paid for by 30th June, 2010.

To see prices in other currencies you can use one of the many online currency converters such as the XE Universal Currency Converter.

If you have any family or friends who are interested in DNA testing you might like to tell them about the sale, and perhaps we might find a few more U4s too!

The special prices are only available for kits ordered through projects. There are now almost 6,000 projects at Family Tree DNA, and a full alphabetical list of projects can be found here. Even if there is no project for your surname it is usually possible to find a suitable geographical project. We have put together a list of the geographical projects which are of most relevance to U4s on the U4 project website.

If you are not familiar with the different types of DNA tests you might like to read Debbie Kennett's brief article which was published in the Berkshire Family Historian and which can now be found online here. In the meantime if you have any questions do get in touch.

FTDNA Participant Maternal Origin

Here are a few charts showing participant maternal country of origin.

First a fancy Pie Chart

Next the same data but a Bar Chart.     Its a little Easier to read.

We have over 300 members in the project, 185 participants have filled in this data.

Remember these are recent countries of origin, not ancient. England comes out ahead with 37 members, Germany 34, Ireland 24 and Poland 12. The rest are pretty low, and I assume the data is a little skewed reflecting a larger number of people testing in Western Europe than Eastern Europe but I was surprised that Germany had so many.

More on The DNA Trail

We wrote in an earlier post about The DNA Trail, a series of plays on the subject of DNA which will open in Chicago at the beginning of March. U4 project member Lina Patel, an actress and playwright, wrote one of the plays. She describes her experiences in a new article by journalist Howard Wolinksy which you can read here. You can find out more about the play and see the videos of Lina and the other playwrights talking about the process here. We wish Lina luck with the venture, and we shall look forward to hearing more about the plays in due course.

U mtDNA found in Ancient European

No mention of U4, but still quite interesting for U's in general.

"Scientists have analysed DNA extracted from the remains of a 30,000-year-old European hunter-gatherer."

Link:  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8435317.stm

New U4 discussion group

A few of us have mentioned the desire to have a U4 discussion group:


Feel free to post questions,discussions etc.. 

- Bill

Family Tree DNA winter sale

Family Tree DNA have announced their winter sale which runs from now until the end of December. If you have already tested with Family Tree DNA and know that you belong to haplogroup U4 this information will probably not be of relevance. You might however have family or friends who are interested in taking a DNA test, and perhaps you could encourage them to participate. If you have tested with a different testing company you might like to consider re-testing with Family Tree DNA to confirm your haplogroup and to increase your chances of finding a match by adding your results to the world's largest genetic genealogy database. In addition, Family Tree DNA is currently the only company which offers the full sequence mtDNA test on a commercial basis. A comparison chart showing the differences between the mtDNA tests offered by the various testing companies can be found here. Full details of the FTDNA sale are given below in the letter received by the U4 project administrators.
Dear Project Administrator,

2009 is coming to a close and we're finishing it off with an end-of-the-year promotion!

First, though, let me thank you for helping us make our recent Full Mitochondria Sequence sale a resounding success. Despite the challenging economy this was the most successful promotion in our company's history.

Our Holiday Season promotion will bring back the discount that we offered this summer for the Y-DNA37, since this has been requested by many of our project administrators.

Y-DNA37 – promotional price $119 (reg. price $149)
Y-DNA67 – promotional price $209 (reg. price $239)
mtDNAPlus – promotional price $139 (reg. price $149)
SuperDNA – promotional price $488 (reg. price $665)

Orders for the above tests need to be placed and paid for by December 31, 2009 to receive the sale price.

IMPORTANT: since this promotion will run through the months of November and December, we encourage you to spread the word starting now, as the natural tendency is for people to order at the last minute, and we will not extend it beyond 12/31/2009.

In addition here are the newly released permanent prices for the Full Mitochondria Sequence:

New kit (mtDNA Full Sequence) $279
Upgrade from HVR1 $229
Upgrade from HVR2 $209
mtDNA Full Sequence after testing Y-DNA $249

Thank you for your continued support. We appreciate your contribution to the sustained growth of the Family Tree DNA matching database, the best genealogical matching tool of its kind.

Bennett Greenspan
Family Tree DNA
The special prices for Y-DNA tests apply only to orders placed through surname or geographical projects. You can search for surname projects on the Family Tree DNA website. The geographical projects can be found here. There is a list of the geographical project of particular relevance to U4 project members on the U4 website. If you have any questions about which test to take, which project to join or DNA testing in general do please get in touch.

U4 distribution map

Here is one of the only U4 Distribution maps Ive found.  If any of you have a better one, shoot me an email. The darker the area, the more U4's there are.