Haplogroup R1a

Haplogroup R1a

The study was based on a database – the results of YDNA tests in the FTDNA R1a-Project . It is basically for a different purpose – searching for relatives, ancestors using DNA research. Nonetheless, it has over 7,500 members with the haplogroup R1a (March 2018). The organization of this data is careless and requires working with their “clearing” to be useful for the development of statistics. At the end, less than 4,000 results were useful. To obtain fully satisfying results, it would be necessary to perform statistical surveys of men in Europe in the amount of about 15-20 thousand samples. Nevertheless, a large statistical error with 4,000 samples concerns some countries with fewer inhabitants and lower haplogroups (younger mutations), where it can reach +/- 30%. Since the data in the FTDNA project are not samples representative of individual countries, appropriate conversion factors were used, as well as for the analysis of the Dinaric haplogroup I2a. I accepted the assumption that Eupedia’s data regarding the frequency of occurrence of R1a in particular countries are correct.

The purpose of the work is to provide statistical data that may be useful for people studying the history of the Slavs. Both amateur and professionally. The obtained results were confronted with various sources and I found it satisfactory. Interestingly, in many cases they undermine data in the so-called official sources, especially when these sources are older than 10 years and were created on a much smaller number of samples. As a result, a lot of information, including maps with haplogroup distribution, provides incomplete data or even incorrect, and the conclusions drawn on their basis are questionable.

Haplogroup R1a is known as Indo-European.  CTS1211, M458, and Z92 subclasses in Europe making up almost 90% of the R1a population on this continent. Their common ancestor with the Z282 mutation lived around 3000 years BC (formed  / TMRCA 5000 years ago). It is also the ancestor of the Scandinavian mutation Z282. Currently, he has 70 million descendants, accounting for around 92.5% of the R1a population in Europe. Outside Europe, R1a is found in Asia – mainly Z93 mutation. Assuming a share in the population of countries like India and Pakistan 25-30%, Iran 15%, Iran 5%, I can estimate Z93 for about 200 million men in Asia.

R1a haplogroup –  Distribution of main subclades in Europe                                                         02/2018 by vayda 
Ethnos/Region ISOGG clasification Markers Formed/TMRCA [ybp] Population [mln] Distribution
Common Slavic R1a1a1b1a2b Z280>CTS1211 4600 / 4400 34,2 44%
Western Slavs R1a1a1b1a1 M458 4700 / 4700 23,4 30%
Eastern Slavs (Balto-Slavic) R1a1a1b1a2a Z280>Z92 4600 / 4200 11,3 14%
Scadinavian R1a1a1b1a3 Z284 4700 / 4300 3,0 4%
Northwestern European R1a1a1a L664 4700 / 4100 1,6 2%
Asian (Indo-Aryan) R1a1a1b2 Z93 5000 / 4800 0,3 0,4%
others   4,2 5%
TOTAL   78,0 100%

R1a - frequency of major sublades per country [% of male population]  03/2018 by vayda 

CountryR1a [mln]R1a [%]CTS1211M458Z92Z284L664othersSamples
Europe78 mln21.6%9.5%6.5%3.1%0.8%0.4%0.0134317
Czech R.1.73311.91810.510.666
N. Ireland0.0110000.80.2016
Sources: Eupedia (R1a frequency [%]); FTDNA R1a-Project (R1a samples).; https://dnk.poreklo.rs (additional R1a samples for Serbians - 358)

The table shows that Poland and Belarus have the highest compatibility of the national ethnos with R1 haplogroup – over 50%. In Europe, only Wales (74%), Spain (60%) and France (58.5%) have a higher share of a specific haplogroup in the population for R1b.

Haplogroups non-Slavic

Z284 haplogroup is referred to as Scandinavian and most often on maps it is placed in Norway because of its highest share (25% of men in this country). Nevertheless, it is comparable in UK and Sweden.

L664 haplogroup is referred to as NorthWest-European or Germanic and traditionally located in northern Germany. Wrongly, because the same number of L664 is in UK.

Z93 haplogrouop Indo-Aryan is almost absent in Europe.

Slavic R1a haplogroups are Z280 (CTS1211 + Z92) and M458.

Identifying these haplogroups with Western or Eastern Slavs is a  simplification and in some cases wrong. M458 haplogroup is commonly referred to as west-slavic and Z280 (CTS1211 + Z92) as east-slavic. Another thing is that the Western Slavs include officially Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and the germanized Slavs. And why not western Ukrainians and Belarussians? Using this traditional division and naming it is difficult to describe the areas of occurrence of haplogroups, so I will use the concept of western and eastern (written with a small letter) Slavs, where the border is on the Dnieper. It is a geographical division, but it also has historical justification, for example as a border of the Jagiellonian Poland. Also genetically. To explain this, I need to summarize the work regarding the deployment of the Z280 and M458 haplogroups and their subclads.

R1a-CTS1211 (M558)

CT1211 Haplogroup is the largest population of R1a (34 million) and is common among Slavs. It is attributed to the Eastern Slavs, but this is incorrect. At this level of mutation from 4,000 years ago (formed 4600, TMRCA 4,400 years ago) and the huge mobility of the people of Eastern Europe for thousands of years, assigning this haplogroup to a narrowed area or a specific ethnos is a mistake. Among the present nations, it occurs at a frequency of 10-30%, while in Poland and Russia it is around 24%.


Two very big subclades (YP582 and Y2910) occur almost exclusively in Eastern Europe (Russia) and occur in half of Russians with the CTS1211 haplogroup. This causes the numerical weight CT1211 to be on the east side. These two subclades early separated (YP582 comes from 1800 BC and Y2910 from 500 BC) and remained in the east. It seems that they can not be included in Weneds, but more to the tribes of the middle Volga – settled in this area and not migrating, and even living in a certain isolation.

Other subclades of CTS1211: YP235, YP343 and L1280 were formed among Weneds: Sclavens and Antes. These mutations occurred around 2000 BC. Over the next 2,000 years they reached a large number, many subclades were formed. The men mixed up with these mutations in the area from the Rhine to the Volga. Mutations developed in the first millennium BC show territorial differentiation already. A good example is YP237 (formed 2200 BC; TMRCA 1800 BC), which divided into the eastern YP582 mutation, the central YP235 and the western YP951. Unique is the case of a small mutation YP951 (over 1 million) -formed r1800 years BC. Currently it dominates in Poland and Germany.

This confirms the presence of CTS1211 in the areas of the Western pre-Slavs at least in the first millennium BC. The early West Slavs had mainly haplogroup CT1211 and less M458, because its western mutations were formed later than for CTS1211. This thesis may surprise those who are accustomed to the traditional, but erroneous approach, that CTS1211 as part of the Z280 is eastern. Maps to improve! Going further, it can be assumed that CTS1211 is a haplogroup of the Weneds, the pre-slavic, but also the Lechites. It is not a haplogroup of the Balts.

The graph below shows that CTS1211 occurs in these countries with the same frequency of 40-55% of the R1a population. For the Z92 and M458 subclasses can be seen east-west diversity. Hence, the CTS1211 haplogroup, formed 4600 years ago, is the “root” of the Slavs, and thus also of the ethnic community of the pre-Slavs.


The map below provides information on the frequency of CTS1211 occurrence in individual countries and the distribution of major subclads, as well the directions of migration to the Balkans.



M458 haplogroup is characteristic for western and central Slavs – from the Elbe to the Dnieper. Individual large subclades are in Russia.

Below is the graph with the population sizes of individual subclasses. YP414 is the polish (lechitic) subclad.

In the third and second millennium BC, the M458 as part of the pre-Slavic population was most likely to occur in Central Europe and lesser in Eastern Europe. CTS11962.1 and L260 mutations arise and spread over a large area. Until the beginning of the new er, they reach a large number, because in this period there appeared a lot of mutations already distinguished in specific regions. The share of M458 in the R1a population is west-east (Czech Republic 60%, Russia 20%). Therefore, Central Europe must be consideredas a place of its development in the first millennium BC.

Subclad Y417 from branches CTS11962.1 (on the map M458-B Eastern) developed in the first millennium BC in east Europe, probably in the area between the middle Dnieper and the Volga. At the beginning of the new era was part of the eastern Wenedes – Antes less Sclavens. Presence in Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria (3-4% of the population) indicates the migration of this haplogroup from the north-east to these countries. Y417 did not reach Hungary and the Dinaric countries. Present in Poland, but not in Germany, which indicates that YP417 migration did not reach the Oder river. Historical description of the migration of Antes to the south in the 5th-7th century AD correspond to the period of development of this subclad. In addition they migrated to the west also.

YP515 subclad in branch CTS11962.1 (on map M458-B Middle) was formed 1200 years BC and most likely occurred among Neures and / or Scytian farmers settled in Polesia and Wohlynia. The men of this haplogroup migrated little. Basically, there are not too many of them on the south of the Carpathians, so they were not part of the Sclavens migration to those areas.

Another group of mutations from branches CTS11962.1 are FGC66343, YP444, YP263, L1029 * (on the map M458-B Western). The number of these mutations and their direct subclad suggests a large population of their paternal L1029 subclad at the beginning of CE. Later, for some reasons, they did not develop significantly and some are now marginal. Where was their homeland? The following cumulative graphs of these subclads give the answer. The area from the Elbe to the Bug river and maybe a little further. Certainly it surprises that the largest population is in Germany – they are germanized Slavs.

Probably these mutations are associations with the ancient tribes of Lugians, Lechites and Vandals. These L1029 subclades are among the descendants of the Sardinian Vandals. During the Roman Empire, the area between the Elbe and the Vistula was called a eastern Germania and in this geographical convention these mutations could have been part of the Germanic tribes.

However, something happened in Central Europe at the end of antiquity and the population growth of these subclads has been reduced or stopped. In addition, they have not developed very much over the next 15oo years. Perhaps, to some extent, there was a depopulation of Central Europe in the early Middle Ages? With the fact that this phenomenon also covered Western Europe. They were “dark ages” because there are no written sources from this period. It is not about the ignorance of those peoples as some people think. I bet on plagues that have devastated this part of Europe.

The second branch M458 – haplogroup L260 is extremely interesting. It separated 500 years BC into two mutations YP1337 (smaller, eastern – russian) and YP256 (larger western, – polish). The western YP256 is dominated by Poles and Ukrainians. In Poland, it is 16% of the male population, 1/3 of R1a. The predominance of YP256 samples from Poland is great in relation to Russia and Ukraine. The statistical estimation algorithm adopted by me may underestimate the size of the population in Poland in favor of Russia by up to 20%. Regarding Germany, the mistake is rather a small. It does not matter where this mutation was formed and we will not find out. It is important where it has devolved. Certainly it was the area of ​​Poland and Western Ukraine. Because this mutation was 500 years BC so the migration between these areas was still in antiquity. They are not White Croats or Lusatian Serbs because this haplogroup is not in the former Yugoslavia. Although they occur in Hungary and Slovakia, they are not Sclavens, because they are mainly CTS1211 and there are no samples from Romania. YP256 is a haplogroup of the Lechites, established and developed in Central Europe. It migrated west to Germany, east through Ukraine to Russia, and to the south of the Carpathians. YP256 occurs mainly in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary with a high frequency of 4-8% of the population.

In Germany there are about 0.7 million descendants of lechitic YP256 (for comparison in the Czech Republic 0.2 million and Poland 3 million). In that case, where were they? The Lusatian Serbs did not have much M458. This would indicate a large presence of lechitic genes among the Weletes and Obodrytes and also west to the Elbe river.

YP256 is the largest subclad of YP414. The YP414 population is 5.3 million and accounts for about 25% of the M458. Subclad was formed late because around 300 AD. Polans?

YP414 has 10% of Poles. Also, almost half of YP414 are Poles. This subclad has undoubtedly been a success. It probably originates from the area of ​​Poland or, more broadly, from the area between the Elbe and middle Dniepr, and thus migrated in various directions.

Taking into account the number of 2,000-year-old mutations characteristic of the present population for this area, population size, frequency of occurrence in Poland and Germany, the thesis on the arrival of the Slavs M458 haplogroup to these countries at the beginning of the Middle Ages is impossible. It is hard to imagine that some migration of tribes was able to “take” with it many mutations that formed several hundred years earlier, where their populations were still few. Such exchange of YDNA took place through settlement for thousands of years and migration of idividuals especially during the Jagiellonian Poland period and then the Russian partition. Hence, these mutations appeared in Russia and eastern Ukraine.

The following chart compares the share of subclad in the M458 populations of individual countries. The similarity of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine is very large. The Lechites YP256 is the largest in these countries. Russia has the largest share of YP417, which goes to Ukraine and Belarus. Belarus is similar to Poland in terms of CTS1211, but is very different in terms of M458. The theory deriving Western Slavs from the areas of Polesia and Volhynia is not confirmed. This migration in the Middle Ages could  be for a small YP515 only, which I consider to be significant for Neures and Scytian farmers and later Dulebowians (Bużyczan and Wołynianian). The Eastern YP417 is large in Bulgaria and Romania – it may be the effect of Antes migration. Western L1029 is connected with some tribes of the so-called eastern Germans for example, Vandals or Goths.


Major Subclades of hg R1a-Z92: Y4459, Z685   – distribution by country                                         02/2018 by vayda
Z92>Y4459 (70%) Z92>Z685 (30%)
Russia 65% Russia 44%
Ukraine 13% Poland 25%
Belarus 7% Ukraine 11%
Poland 4% Romania 4%
Germany 2% Belarus 4%
Romania 2% Germany 3%
 others 7%  others 10%
  100%   100%

Haplogroup Z92 is typical for eastern Slavs with a great advantage compared to Western Slavs – in this case Poland.

R1a south of the Carpathians

There is a very high compliance of the CTS1211 subclades composition for Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia. We can accept two hypotheses. The first one is related to the earlier stay of this population in these areas (eg Sarmatians, Iazyges) or the second is the Sclavens migration. In this case, the Sclavens would be a haplogroup CTS1211, which is common for the Slavs, without M458. They would not be “genetic” Lechites, which is reinforced the fact that the Lechites originate from the area to the west of them and are separate from the Sclavens. The presence of M458 in these countries is a systematic influance of this mutation from Poland and Czech Republic. If we refer to the YDNA depot, then Slovakia “does not fit” to the Western Slavs, ie Poland (except southern Poland) and the Czech Republic. In terms of the composition of subclades it is closer to Ukraine. In summary, the view is confirmed that the Hungarians are magyarized Slovaks. They have two subclades Y3226 and YP343 occurring at their highest frequency among all countries and in a similar share.

Serbia and Bosnia are also dominated by CST1211 (L1280). If you transfer this genetic makeup to the Lusatian Serbs, the small share of M458 distinguishes them from the Lechites. I wonder why the Serbs agreed to migrate south and became a flank of the Byzantine Empire. My hypothesis. They came from the east of Europe to the areas behind the Oder, invited by the Lechites as their flank from the west. After some time, some of them benefited from a better proposal and went south. We know that the Lusatian Serbs have the following YDNA: R1a (65%), I1 (9.8%), R1b (9.8%), E1b1b (4.9%), I2 (4.1%), J (3.3%) and G (2.4%). However, I did not get to detailed about R1a.


  • Central and Eastern Europe are dominated by the haplogroup R1a and the participation of other haplogroups did not change the common ethnos of the Balto-Slavonic Venedes. In addition to the traditional approach to assess the share of R1a subclades in the population of countries, I also used another method that assesses the frequency of individual subclades within R1a. This gave a more complete picture of the R1a population history and other applications than officially adopted.
  • Pre-Slavic and Slavic tribes, R1a genes traveled in different directions in a huge area from the Rhine to the Urals, both from east to west and vice versa.
  • CTS1211 haplogroup is common to all Slavs, not only Eastern, and evenly distributed geographically with 40-55% share in R1a among Western and Eastern Slavs. Currently, in the populations of Poland and Russia, the same frequency is around 25%. It developed intensively in the second millennium BC. It can be considered as proto-Slavic. The area of ​​western Germany, Poland, western Ukraine, south-west Belarus has an almost identical composition of the CTS1211 subclads, which indicates several thousand years of common history of the tribes of these regions. The Eupedia map of the occurrence frequency of CTS1211 does not give such an image and leads to erroneous conclusions.
  • M458 Haplogroup is western Slavic. It developed later than CTS1211 (1st millennium BC) in Central Europe from the Rhine to the Middle Dnieper (European Sarmatia), especially in Poland. Independently or as a result of migration, a large eastern subclad YP1337 developed. The share of M458 in R1a is clearly decreasing from west to east (Czech Republic 60%, Russia 20% population R1a).
  • YP256 -subclad of the Western Slavs M458 is the largest haplogroup of the Lechites (mainly Poles and Ukrainians). Under the name of the Lechites there are many tribes in the area of ​​Poland and north-eastern Germany, and not only the Lendzian tribe in the Lublin region. YP256 has 16% of Poles (35% R1a). The mutation formed 500 years BC and its development was a success. It is in Western Ukraine and between the Elbe and Oder rivers. It migrated south to Slovakia, Hungary and Czech Republic. You can definitely call it the Lechites haplogroup.
  • The largest YP256 subclad is YP414 – it was created late in 300 AD. This may be Polans (Greader Poland) and maybe also the Kiev Polans. Uncertain, because Nestor differentiated them from Lachen (Lechites).
  • The group of mutations from branch M458> CTS11962.1> L1029:  FGC66343, YP444, YP263, L1029 * could have been part of the so-called East Germanic tribes. Vandals, Goths, Lugians and others between the Rhine and the Vistula. In addition, they had a “base” YDNA – CTS1211. These tribes for some reason experienced a crisis and the population of these very many subclads did not develop. These subclades can be counted among the western Lechites called by the Germans as Wenden, mentioned in the 9th and 10th century AD like Wieletes, Obodrites, Pomeranians, etc. These mutations can not be seen in the Lusitian Serbs.
  • Wenedes (Lechiten, Sclavens, Antes) were not uniform in terms of R1a. Eastern Venedes had the dominant haplgroup CTS1211. West Wenedes or Lechites differed genetically from them, because they had a share of M458 comparable to CTS1211.
  • Sclavens in addition to CTS1211 had less significant M458 (non-lechitic subclades). Western and middle subclades CTS1211 and Lechites M458 were probably the dominant among the Sarmatians.
  • The tribes in Volga region and east of the Volga do not count towards Wenedes. They were genetically isolated. Because of this, their ethnos differed significantly from the rest of the Slavs.
  • I did not find old mutations specific to Southern Slavs. R1a has been there for millennia, but these tribes have been destroyed. They reappeared there as a result of the migration of the Slavs to the south, which had many waves.
  • Sclavens and earlier Iazyges migrations (Sarmatians) took place from Ukraine through Carpathians (Slovakia and southern Poland). Therefore, Slovakia is more eastern (Ukrainian) than western (Czech and Polish).
  • In countries south of the Carpathians there is a clear similarity of the subclads in Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia. This indicates Sclavens migration and their composition of YDNA R1a was dominated by CTS1211 with a small share of M458. Later after the Sclavens migration, M458 genes (including Lechitic subclades) reached these countries. These migrations have not reached Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia – they have very little M458.
  • The Lusatian Serbs and the White and Red Croats were not “genetic” Lechites – in Bosnia and Croatia practically no M458 and in Serbia there is about 4%, but no subclad of YP256. In my opinion, the Croats were descendants of the Bastarens, in whom the haplogroup I2a-Dinaric dominated – over 50%, and the share of CTS1211 was 15-25%. Part of the White Croats settled in Slovenia. Probably also in Serbia because the Lusatian Serbs have a small share of haplogroup I2a-Dinaric / Slavic. Currently in Serbia is I2a 34% .
  • Slovens and Carinthians (Chorutanie, Chorątanie) are the same migration as for Hungary. There is a similarity in the proportions of the R1a composition in Austria to Slovenia and Hungary. According to Nestor from Kiev, Chorutans were Lachites progenitors, but they can not be seen in R1a. With the fact that we do not know what period he wrote.
  • Romania and Bulgaria have the advantage of M458 in relation to CTS1211. A possible connection with the Wallachians, who could have a large share of M458. Through the Middle Ages in Poland the area of ​​southern Lesser Poland was way  on the north-south migration route and east-west migration route. This generated a different genetic composition than the Lechites. Hence the tribes of Croats and Vistulans from the Lechites were distinguished. Genetic Lechites returned to this area.
  • There was Slavic settlement in the area between the Elbe and the Oder at the beginning of the Middle Ages as a result of depopulation or stoppage of population growth probably caused by wars and / or pests. This does not mean that the region was a settlement space. It is possible that the Lechites consciously invited Eastern tribes to their western flank. The strategy was effective, because at that time R1b settlement from the west did not take place. It seems that later Serbian migration to the south was the result of … overpopulation. Apart from South Serbia, the Lusatian Serbs also lived in Bosnia.
  • In Germany is 6 million descendants of the Slavs (I do not count L664 and Z284). For comparison, there is 11 million R1a in Poland. Therefore, their presence in the past could not be limited only to the area between the Elbe and the Oder They were further west.
  • The similarity of the composition of R1a in Germany, Poland, Ukraine and Belarus may indicate that, for example, Drewlanie and Drzewianie are the same people.
  • The Wieletes and Obodrites had to have a lot of Lechites M458 haplogroup.
  • Z92 is Balto-Slavic, northen Wenedes. Subclad developed in the area of ​​the upper Dnieper. It migrated in all directions, but not as widely as CTS1211. This subclad is dominated by the Russians. Z92 came to Poland, it may have been Masovians and Prussians.
  • The Z93 Indo-Aryan Haplogroup is virtually absent in Europe. It is with Indians living in England and the Caucasus nations. Among the results of YDNA with haplogroup R1a declared as from people of Tatar origin, the most is Z93 and then CTS1211 and the least M458. There are a lot of Z93 samples from people declaring Jewish descentas, mainly giving Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Belarus and Hungary their country of origin. Therefore, we could not find any residue of Z93 in Europe that as the participation of this haplogroup among tribes migrating from Asia (eg Scytians nomads, Avars, Huns).
  • I did not manage to determine the genetic composition of the Magyars and Bulgarians tribes. The reason is the small number of YDNA results with younger mutations. I still have a suspicion that the Magyar tribes had a genetic composition with a large proportion of R1a before they reached Pannonia, and somewhere in the east of Europe (Ural or Volga) they changed their ethnos into this language under the influence of the Ugian tribes.
  • Jewish subclades – there are a lot of them, but in most cases it is not true. The Jews simply do a lot of DNA research. They can be up to 100 times more than, for example, Poles or Germans. Hence the impression of their enormous advantage in these subclads.
  • All these conclusions have a basis in the study of the R1a genetic composition in the Slavic countries. However, you need to treat them polemically.

More details about the haplogroup subclades:


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