Native American Maternal Haplogroup A2a and B2a Dispersion

Recently, in, they published a good overview of a couple of recently written genetic papers dealing with Native American ancestry.  I particularly like this overview, because it’s written in plain English for the non-scientific reader.

In a nutshell, there has been ongoing debate that has been unresolved surrounding whether or not there was one or more migrations into the Americas.  These papers use these terms a little differently.  They not only talk about entry into the Americas but also dispersion within the Americans, which really is a secondary topic and happened, obviously, after the initial entry event(s).

The primary graphic in this article, show below, from the PNAS article, shows the distribution within the Americas of Native American haplogroups A2a and B2a.

a2a, b2a

Schematic phylogeny of complete mtDNA sequences belonging to haplogroups A2a and B2a. A maximum-likelihood (ML) time scale is shown. (Inset) A list of exact age values for each clade. Credit: Copyright © PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.0905753107

As you can see, the locations of these haplogroups are quite different and the various distribution models set forth in the papers account for this difference in geography.

One of the aspects of this paper, and the two academic papers on which it is based, that I find particularly encouraging is that the researchers are utilizing full sequence mitochondrial DNA, not just the HVR1 or HVR1+HVR2 regions which has all too often been done in the past.  In all fairness, until rather recently, the expense of running the full sequence was quite high and there were few (if any) other results in the academic data bases to compare the results with.  Now, the cost is quite reasonable, thanks in part to genetic genealogy and new technologies, and so the academic testing standards are changing.  If you’ll note, Alessandro Achilli, one of the authors of these papers and others about Native Americans as well, also comments towards the end that full genome testing will be being utilized soon.  I look forward to this new era of research, not only for Native Americans but for all of us searching for our roots.

Read the paper at:

The original academic papers are found here and here.  I encourage anyone with a serious interest in this topic to read these as well.



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

17 thoughts on “Native American Maternal Haplogroup A2a and B2a Dispersion

  1. Can a person who has Asian in their admixture be confused with Native American ancestry? I see a lot of Native American showing up in a lot of people I compare their kit numbers to mine. Most of these people are Romany.

    • Asia is a very big place. We find Asian in people who are in Europe, particularly in Poland and Germany. Romany are from India, so we would expect to find some there too. And Native people of course have some. Whether it’s from the same part of Asia, we don’t know just from the term “Asia.”

  2. Missing mutations C146T and C16189T- Question, what does this do to DNA results and would a persons DNA change a little if one has dwarfism or twin factors in the family. I needed to know why none of my Alaskan native family is showing up at all on the Familtreedna when it should be all over Alaska? Or has no Alaskan natives besides me taken the test with FamilyTreeDNA? Thank You Daren

    Sent from my iPhone


    • You’ll have to ask your family if they have tested at Family Tree DNA. If you’re not matching them, my guess is that they have not tested or have not tested there. I’m not a doctor and I stay away from medical topics. Dr. Ann Turner, who is a medical doctor, provides a medical analysis of your mitochondrial DNA full sequence data for a very reasonable fee. Last I knew, it was $50. You can contact her at

      • Dear Roberta
        I did ask any medical topics, I took the Family Tree DNA test and I gave you my code to look at my results,it is a dna test not a medical test. I have missing mutations according to Family tree dna results. Im not the only native american in the alaska that has taken the dna test with familytreedna. The results of the dna are mind blowing but not all correct and the result show only one person related to me on my dads side of the family tree and linda has the same relative on my great great grandmother’s half sisters side from marriages and that in itself to find One person in the dna match that matches my family tree and is in the family tree. You have a lot of knowledge in this area and this is a new area, the DNA of people and to put this all together is one thing but they need to go further into sub clan sub clan sub clan to get real up to date family makers. I have payed over 300 dollars to do all this and have got nowhere. My first language was an Aleut-Athabascan language which is in Alaska my second was english then German and then spanish. The only language for now is the DNA language that i must understand because I dont understand it but i am learning and looking up information to better understand what my results are saying. I have no asian, Arabian, russian at the present in my real family tree but the dna test says different and no one nos were this other stuff comes from or the people the family tree results clams and this dna stuff seems to be for those who understand the readings but they are not the same as my family tree. Thank You so much for your understanding in my delema and i understand there are thousands of people out there with questions like mine.
        Thank You
        P.S. If any one can help this would be nice, Thank You Too

  3. Thanks for the article links. My hope is that one day more than a handful of Native Americans will test their DNA. The Achilli et al. paper listed one Apache from a 2007 study, one Pima from a 2008 study and five Navajo from the current study which appears to have come from the Sorenson database. The Kemp at al. paper had larger samples sizes, but all from the Southwest were again from studies dating back to 2007 and earlier, including, strangely enough, 25 Anasazi. That study must have been very old indeed. I love the way academics keep publishing from old data. Publish, publish, publish!

    • Hi Mark,

      These weren’t the only articles to reference Native results, but the first articles to define that haplogroup and additional ones if they provided further definition. I do agree though, new samples would be wonderful. Our projects have more than some studies.


      • You make an excellent point Roberta, and I encourage everyone to join any FTDNA project that applies to that person. Project administrators, such as yourself, have been incredible in pushing the science forward. The administrators of the R1b-DF27 and Subclades Project for example have been working with the many new SNPs to figure out where they belong on the tree. I follow their discussions on the Project’s Yahoo Group page. One day I’d love to meet some of them at whatever conference FTDNA organizes and thank them for their dedication and effort.

  4. This looks great and maybe they will find relatives from my moms side the mtdna from ALL over Alaska wear they are located. Cool because FamilyTreeDNA has not got one yet but if they start in Tatitlik, Cordova, Homer, Sitka, Yakutat they might find my family of Alaskan native people. I hope this will help them. Chief Dry Bay George is my second great Grand Father and there info online to help them in there research. Thank You Daren

    Sent from my iPhone


  5. Pingback: Native American Maternal Haplogroup A2a and B2a Dispersion | iClinic-RN®

  6. Pingback: DNAeXplain Archives – General Information Articles | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  7. If I am looking at the separation dates for A2a4 correctly, the 320 to 370 years ago for separating from other A2a populations is entirely too short. Archaeology and even historic sources show Southern Athabascans present in the southwest much earlier than that.

  8. I am from the haplogroup B2a, sites say my 2x great grandmother is Anasazi. I am very interested in any new research. And like to be a part if any one is doing research. Sites such as 23andme say that 1 out of 1100 people have B2a. Can this be confirmed? Also if a dma match also shares B2a haplogroup is it safe to assume we are related?

    • Yes, but the relationship may be very far back in time. Have you taken the mitochondrial test at Family Tree DNA? They do mitochondrial matching and you’ll get more specific results.

      • I have done dna testing with ancestry, my mother and sister with 23andme, My heritage, and also uploaded to gedmatch. I would like to follow my paternal line but will my don carry more of his own father and not his maternal grandfather?

        • I think you mean your son. Your son’s Y DNA is that of his father. If you have a paternal brother or uncle, they have the Y DNA you seek.

Leave a Reply