Welcome to the Haplogroup V Web Site


The Clan of Velda



This site exists for the purpose of sharing information about mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) Haplogroup V, also dubbed the “Clan of Velda” by Brian Sykes, author of The Seven Daughters of Eve.  The site is still under construction, so please be patient.  Read on for an introduction to Haplogroup V, or click on one of the following short-cut buttons to jump to specific topics:



The Family of Woman




Of Hg V




Hg V


Table of



When and Where Did

“Velda” Live?


List of


For Hg V


The site administrator is Whit Athey.  Please e-mail me with comments, questions, and submissions at the address:  wathey –at- hprg.com (you will need to make a normal e-mail address out of this information, substituting a “@” sign for the “ –at- “  It’s written in this funny way to foil robotic e-mail harvesting programs).  If you have a V haplotype and would like to have it listed in the table, or if you are aware of other published haplotypes, please let me know.


Introduction to Haplogroup V


Only about 4% of modern-day people of European ancestry are in Haplogroup V—it is the smallest of the clans of the “Seven Daughters of Eve.”  Worldwide, the percentage is much lower, so there aren’t that many of us.  The “Clan Mother” and matrilineal ancestor of us all, “Velda,” lived about 16-17,000 years ago in northwestern Spain.


Benjamin Franklin was apparently a member of Haplogroup V.  Here is a link to a site that shows how we can know that:

Benjamin Franklin mtDNA.


Studies of Haplogroup V


If we would judge only by the percentage of people who are in Haplogroup V, the “Clan of Velda,” we would conclude that it is only a minor component of European peoples since it makes up only about 3-4% of present-day Europeans.  It does achieve a measure of recognition by virtue of the fact that the percentage rises to about 10-12% among the Basques, and an amazing 50% among the Skolt Saami people of far northern Scandinavia.  However, even these interesting sidelights would probably not be sufficient for Haplogroup V to become the subject of focused research.


However, another characteristic of Haplogroup V has been the subject of considerable research interest and attention.  The “founder” of Haplogroup V, “Velda,” apparently lived in the “western refuge” in northwestern Spain, one of the few places in Europe not made uninhabitable by the severe weather of the last Ice-Age.  From here, Velda’s descendants were in the vanguard of the resettlement of Europe following the retreat of the glaciers about 12-13 thousand years ago.


A recent publication by Torroni et al[1] studied a very large number of people in Europe and adjacent areas in order to identify the distribution of Haplogroup V people.  This study has produced many Haplogroup V haplotypes, but unfortunately, the HVR2 region was not sequenced.  However, this is still an important source of information on Haplogroup V.


Haplogroup V is thus considered to be a marker for the spread of people from the western refuge into northwestern Europe.  Figure 1a, taken from the paper by Torroni, shows the two “hot spots” for Haplogroup V near the Spain-France border and in Scandinavia.  It is likely that the Saami people started from a small population which, quite by accident, included a large proportion of Velda’s clan, who then encountered favorable conditions and expanded rapidly.  There is considerable homogeneity among the Saami, lending support to this theory of a relatively recent dramatic expansion in a lightly populated area..  This also means that Scandinavia could not be the birthplace of Velda.  If we remove the Saami from the database, the remaining Haplogroup V distribution in Figure 1b shows clearly the spread of Velda’s clan over northwest Europe from the Spain-France enclave.


To accumulate enough data on Haplogroup V to make the analysis possible, the authors of the study report started with DNA samples from 10,365 people.  These people represented 56 groups in Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa.  Out of this huge number of people, the DNA analysis showed that 214 belonged to Haplogroup V, or just about 2% (note that not all of the baseline group were European).  If we only consider European groups, there were 194 out of 5505, or about 3.5%.  If we consider only the British Isles, France, and Netherlands, the percentage is still about 3.5%, though western Ireland has about twice this percentage.



Figure 1a.  Present Distribution of Haplogroup V


Figure 1b.  Distribution of Haplogroup V Excluding Saami
Using the diversity in western European and eastern European populations of Haplogroup V people, the authors calculated an approximate age for the eastern population of about 8000 years ago, while the Western groups yield a time of 16,000 years.  This also shows that Haplogroup V people must have originated in the west and spread gradually into the east.


While the Torroni study did not sequence the HVR2 region, Figure 2 of the article shows the chart relating all of the V haplotypes with the HVR1 differences from the Cambridge Reference Sequence (CRS) shown on the branches.


A new study of the Saami by Tambets et al[2] has further researched the question of their origin.  Two Russian studies and the new one by Tambets have shown that there are fairly high percentages of V people in the Volga-Ural region.  Since this region also is thought to be the origin of other groups among the Finns and Saami, the authors believe that the ancestors of the V people among the Saami must have migrated eastward for several thousand years before turning north to Scandinavia.


[1]               Torroni A, Bandelt HJ, Macaulay V, Richards M, Cruciani F, et al. (2001).  A signal, from human mtDNA, of postglacial recononization in Europe.  Am J Hum Genet, 69:844-852.


[2]               Tambets K, Rootsi S, Kiniseld T, et al (2004).  The western and eastern roots of the Saami—the story of genetic “outliers” told by mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosomes.  Am J Hum Genet, 74:661-682.