Dispersals of the Siberian Y-chromosome haplogroup Q in Eurasia
The Y-chromosome haplogroup Q has three major branches: Q1, Q2, and Q3. Q1 is found in both Asia and the Americas where it accounts for about 90% of indigenous Native American Y-chromosomes; Q2 is found in North and Central Asia; but little is known about the third branch, Q3, also named Q1b-L275. Here, we combined the efforts of population geneticists and genetic genealogists to use the potential of full Y-chromosome sequencing for reconstructing haplogroup Q3 phylogeography and suggest possible linkages to events in population history. We analyzed 47 fully sequenced Y-chromosomes and reconstructed the haplogroup Q3 phylogenetic tree in detail. Haplogroup Q3-L275, derived from the oldest known split within Eurasian/American haplogroup Q, most likely occurred in West or Central Asia in the Upper Paleolithic period. During the Mesolithic and Neolithic epochs, Q3 remained a minor component of the West Asian Y-chromosome pool and gave rise to five branches (Q3a to Q3e), which spread across West, Central and parts of South Asia. Around 3–4 millennia ago (Bronze Age), the Q3a branch underwent a rapid expansion, splitting into seven branches, some of which entered Europe. One of these branches, Q3a1, was acquired by a population ancestral to Ashkenazi Jews and grew within this population during the 1st millennium AD, reaching up to 5% in present day Ashkenazi. This study dataset was generated by a massive Y-chromosome genotyping effort in the genetic genealogy community, and phylogeographic patterns were revealed by a collaboration of population geneticists and genetic genealogists. This positive experience of collaboration between academic and citizen science provides a model for further joint projects. Merging data and skills of academic and citizen science promises to combine, respectively, quality and quantity, generalization and specialization, and achieve a well-balanced and careful interpretation of the paternal-side history of human populations.