Map of the day

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The Genetic Map Of Europe

Ever wondered where those red hairs come from?

The map above, created by?, shows the genetic makeup of European countries based on?Haplogroups. These groups each share a common ancestor and can be one way of looking at the genetic makeup of a population.

In humans, haplogroups can either be based on Y-DNA which is passed from father to son or mtDNA which is passed from mother to offspring of both sexes.

The map above is only based on Y-DNA, thus only shows male common ancestors, not female ones. Moreover, it should obviously not be used to imply that any country is better than any other. While we there may be differences between some of us, we are all equal.

The map does highlight some rather interesting things. Here are just a few:

  • The British Isles have much more common with people from France, Spain and Portugal than they do with people from Scandinavia.
  • While Finland shares some similar background to the Baltic states, it?s Y-DNA groups are quite different from the other Nordic countries.
  • Austria and Germany despite both being German-speaking, have quite different Y-DNA groups. However, Austria and Hungary look remarkably similar.
  • The Balkans is probably the most genetically diverse region in Europe.
  • Iceland only has significant numbers of people from 4 different haplogroups.

As a Reddit user explains –

I wish those labels would go away on this oft-reposted map. To clarify, those labels have no scientific meaning. They are what the original creator of the map assigned as ethnic labels to haplogroups, but are just plain misleading as haplogroups are haplogroups and nothing else.

For example I?ve seen this map used to argue ?Poland is more Aryan than Germany?, which makes no sense as the R1a haplogroup isn?t an Aryan haplogroup, it?s just the R1a haplogroup. Interestingly enough, the R1a haplogroup is found primarily around the Proto-Indo-European homeland and in India, so in the case of that particular haplogroup there is a definite correspondence between descendants of Indo-Europeans and the haplogroup.

But the case of R1a is the exception not the rule. Almost all of Europe speaks IE languages yet the haplogroups are so diverse.