Northeastern Altai appears to be a good candidate for the ancestral homeland of the haplogroup U4b
From Dienekes Anthropology Blog:
Early Siberian Maternal Lineages in the Tubalar of Northeastern Altai Inferred from High-Resolution Mitochondrial DNA Analysis
At the hight of the last glaciation (~18 kya) Siberians were confined to the southern strongholds, which were areas of continuous occupation, and where immediate ancestors of the Uralic, Kettic and Altaian language groups differentiated. To better understand the evolutionary relationships between the earlier and contemporary Siberians, we focused on the northern Altaic prehistory preserved in the mtDNA diversity of the Tubalar, until recently representing a typical hunting-gathering population. The present study includes 139 Tubalar. All mtDNAs were subjected to high-resolution SNP analysis, followed by complete sequencing of selected mtDNA samples. We showed that the core of the Tubalar genetic makeup proved to be a mixture of west (H8, U4b, U5a1, and X2e) and east Eurasian (A and B1) haplogroups derived from macrohaplogroup N, and Siberian derivatives of the macrohaplogroup M identifiable by subhaplogroup-specific mutations. For example, among the 36 Tubalar mtDNA samples that belong to haplogroup D, 10 (28%) harbored diagnostic markers of the subhaplogroup D3a2a shared with the Chukchi and Eskimos. This finding verified at the complete sequence level we attributed to ancient link between early Siberians, who underwent pronounced differentiation in the Altai-Sayan region, and some of the Eskimo tribes. A comparison of the mtDNA data generated through the course of this study with published complete sequences has contributed essentially to parsimonious phylogenetic structure of mtDNA evolution in west Siberia. Specifically, northeastern Altai appears to be a good candidate for the ancestral homeland of the haplogroup U4b, which is apparently ancient European. For some haplogroups, such as X2e, the relatively recent arrival to the Altai region is more likely.