There is a new study on Iranian Y-DNA:
Viola Grugni, Ancient Migratory Events in the Middle East: New Clues from the Y-Chromosome Variation of Modern Iranians. PLoS ONE 2012. Open access.
Knowledge of high resolution Y-chromosome haplogroup diversification within Iran provides important geographic context regarding the spread and compartmentalization of male lineages in the Middle East and southwestern Asia. At present, the Iranian population is characterized by an extraordinary mix of different ethnic groups speaking a variety of Indo-Iranian, Semitic and Turkic languages. Despite these features, only few studies have investigated the multiethnic components of the Iranian gene pool. In this survey 938 Iranian male DNAs belonging to 15 ethnic groups from 14 Iranian provinces were analyzed for 84 Y-chromosome biallelic markers and 10 STRs. The results show an autochthonous but non-homogeneous ancient background mainly composed by J2a sub-clades with different external contributions. The phylogeography of the main haplogroups allowed identifying post-glacial and Neolithic expansions toward western Eurasia but also recent movements towards the Iranian region from western Eurasia (R1b-L23), Central Asia (Q-M25), Asia Minor (J2a-M92) and southern Mesopotamia (J1-Page08). In spite of the presence of important geographic barriers (Zagros and Alborz mountain ranges, and the Dasht-e Kavir and Dash-e Lut deserts) which may have limited gene flow, AMOVA analysis revealed that language, in addition to geography, has played an important role in shaping the nowadays Iranian gene pool. Overall, this study provides a portrait of the Y-chromosomal variation in Iran, useful for depicting a more comprehensive history of the peoples of this area as well as for reconstructing ancient migration routes. In addition, our results evidence the important role of the Iranian plateau as source and recipient of gene flow between culturally and genetically distinct populations.
See also the table of lineage frequencies inside the Iranian borders (for the rest of the region check supplemental materials).
- B is found only in Hormozgan province and in Arabia. This is interesting specially in relation to the presence of this African lineage among Hazaras of Afghanistan, probably the Northern and Easternmost extension of this lineage.
- E(xE1b) is also concentrated in Hormozgan and Arabia but, unlike B, it is only found in the Bandari community and, in Arabia, in coastal states and not Saudi Arabia. Notice that neither lineage is found among Afroiranians, suggesting that their presence in the area is pre-Modern.
- E1b comes in several flavors among Iranians:
- E1b1b1a1 (M78) - particularly common among Tehran Zoroastrians
- E1b1b1b2a (M123) - most common among Kurds and nearby peoples
- E1b1b1b2a1b (M2) - concentrated in the South
- G among Iranians is mostly G2a, mostly G2a* and G2a3b1 (P303).
- J1 is seldom found above 10%, while J2 is quite common, sometimes even dominant, what locates Iranians among what I call Highland West Asians, dominated by J2. The main exception is Khuzestan (ancient Elam and nowadays Arab-speaking).
- Both R1a1 (M198) and R1b1a2 (M269) are common in Iran. R1a1 has only been found in its "asterisk" variant (i.e. not belonging to any subhaplogroup known so far).
The authors suggest an original demic base of mostly J2a people, enriched since Neolithic (???) by Western and Northern gene flows mostly, with less important fluxes from Africa and South Asia. They also propose a post-LGM colonization of much of West Asia from a refuge in or near Kurdistan, specially J1 flows southwards.
I strongly suggest to take these ideas with the proverbial tablespoon of salt and other spices. It is very possible that the suggested flows are much older (for example the J1/J2 split could well be from the original colonization of West Eurasia c. 50 Ka ago in my opinion, while some of the other flows may be also much older than the authors imagine).
While there are some diversity indicators suggesting that J1 could be original, ultimately, from Iraq maybe... the reality is that Palestinians remain an ill-researched population which may hide many surprises, specially considering their high autosomal diversity and uniqueness. Palestine has been continuously occupied by our species since at least that "Aurignacoid" colonization of some 55,000 years ago (Emirian culture).
Also, excepted the Indoeuropean invasion from the steppes in the Iron Age, that gives the country name and main language, there are no particular reasons to imagine any major gene flows from elsewhere in West Eurasia, excepted maybe some localized ones. Instead the possibility of flows from Europe at the end of the Upper Paleolithic (rock art of Turkey, alleged Epigravettian influences on Zarzian culture) remains open.
Update: IJ* at the Caspian shores!
Waggg makes a couple of interesting remarks in the comments section, one being the high basal diversity of haplogroup Q (not really new but worth underlining because this lineage so important among Native Americans probably coalesced in or near Iran, something that many do not seem to realize).
[Edited!] But the big hit is the finding of IJ(xI,J) in 1/42 of Fars Persians and 1/74 Mazandarani, what is surely a clue for the origin of the macrohaplogroup IJ
or at least one of its offshoots (it could still be J* or I*). It does seem to underline the notion of IJ and its local variant J being originated from that area of Iran or surroundings.
Thanks for noticing to Etyopis (see comments).
Important: it is clear in the Molecular Analysis section of the paper that the authors tested for both defining SNPs P209 (J) and M170 (I), so it is genuine IJ(xI,J), the first to be found on Earth as far as I know.