Submission Date

Fall 2022


My maternal haplogroup is C4a and my paternal haplogroup is O-M307.1. My ancestry is composed of East Asian and Central Asian. My maternal haplogroup begins 180,000 years ago with a woman from modern day eastern Africa who holds the L haplogroup. Even though she was one among thousands of women, every person living today can trace their maternal line back to her. Fast forward to a woman who lived in eastern Africa about 65,000 years ago who held the L3 haplogroup. Most of her descendants remained in Africa but a portion traveled to the east. This eventually gave rise to the M haplogroup. This likely came from a woman about 50,000 years ago who was part of the expansion of humans outside of Africa. Members of this haplogroup traveled as far as eastern and southern Asia. Finally, we come to the C haplogroup. The C haplogroup purportedly came from a woman who lived in Central Asia 24,000 years ago. The descendants of this woman live mostly in Siberia and Central Asia as far west as the Ural Mountains. The C4a haplogroup traces back to a woman who lived about 17,500 years ago. My current haplogroup is shared with the Xiaohe people.

Even though I am a female, I was able to ascertain my paternal haplogroup because my father had already done a 23&Me kit and connected with my profile on 23&Me. The beginning of all paternal haplogroups begin with haplogroup A which came from a man 275,000 years ago who lived in eastern Africa. About 200,000 years later arose a man who was part of the F-M89 haplogroup that came from the Arabian Peninsula. Yet another man of the K-M9 haplogroup arose after him that gave rise to half of the paternal lineages outside of Africa about 50,000 years ago. The O-M1359 haplogroup came from one man who likely lived in eastern Asia 45,000 years ago. Many of his descendants became the Han Chinese, Japanese, and Taiwanese with a later migration of the O paternal haplogroup finding their way to Madagascar. 39,000 years ago, the O-M119 comes about from the O haplogroup and 9,000 years later branches off with brother haplogroups. The O-M119 is often found in indigenous Taiwanese, the Philippines, the southeastern coast of China, as well as descendants as north as Siberia. The branches of O-M119 shows low to moderate frequencies in northern and southern Han Chinese men but are very common in Jiangsu, Shanghai, and Zhejiang southern Han groups. The O-M119 has a significant contribution to the Han people who are the largest ethnic group in the world. The Han people purportedly descended from ancient Huaxia tribes in northern China with Han influence invading southern China only within the past couple thousand years. The O-M307.1 haplogroup came from a man less than 34,000 years ago who branched off from the O-M119 haplogroup.

According to 23&Me, I have less than 2% Neanderthal DNA with 319 variants identified. my ancestry can be traced back to East Asian (99.6%) and I have a trace ancestry of Central Asian (0.4%). This was of little surprise to me since I knew that I was almost entirely Chinese. The East Asian ancestry (99.6%) breaks up into Southern Chinese & Taiwanese (64.9%), Northern Chinese & Tibetan (34.5%), and Broadly Chinese (0.2%), an umbrella term for trace genetic ancestry with no distinct group that can be labeled.

Share Your Story

This project taught me that the stories of my ancestors are more than just narratives that led to me. At first, I had this much more self-centered perspective in my investigation of understanding their stories. But what surprised me was that the stories, the decisions, and the circumstances that led to me were much more complicated than anything I could have expected. If my father had not decided to go to my mother’s birthday party, even though they were complete strangers with the prospects of getting free food, my parents would not have started dating. If my paternal grandmother had not fled to California to hide her affair from her husband, my parents would not have met in Hacienda Heights, California. If my maternal grandmother did not have the conviction to keep her child despite intense pressure from others around her to abort, I would not be here writing these very words. The most memorable finding that I discovered was the journey of my mother searching and seeking after her biological father who left her as a child. And to know that her lifelong dream of meeting her father is finally coming to fruition as I was in the process of writing this paper is a satisfying end to that narrative of her life. Even as I write this essay on December 5, 2022, my mother is in Jakarta, Indonesia about to finally meet her father in the next 24 hours. My question is what will their relationship will be like in the last few years of her father’s life.