The Phillips DNA Project News

The Western Atlantic Modal Haplotype

The first studies referencing Western Atlantic Modal Haplotype (WAMH) were published in 2001. Based on six STR (short tandem repeat) markers, they noted a distinctive motif (haplotype) that along with its near matches represented an overwhelming number of European and even Western Asian Y-chromosome lineages. The motif has since been noted for its presence in or absence from populations in many journal articles.

Today we know, thanks to superior levels of STR testing and advances in haplogroup testing, that this motif, even at 12 STR markers, does not represent a single founder dating to the last ice age but many different lineages within haplogroup R-M269. Due to the rapid population expansion that took place at the end of the last ice age, these lineages at low levels of testing have experienced convergence. That is, they have mutated to look alike even though they do not share even middling deep ancestry.

This 12 marker haplotype represents about 1.3% of European male lines, which is why we recommend that those who have the WAMH use the Y-DNA67 or Y-DNA111 test to confirm genealogical relationships unless they have a rare surname.

Phillips DNA Blog