Many of us who are U3b may or may not know that mtdna haplogroup U3b is often found in the Romany populations of Europe. 55% of Romany are U3b. The fact is, many of us with the U3b dna have origins in Eastern Europe. Don Locke, the administrator of the Romany DNA Project wants to remind us, however, that U3b is NOT South Asian in origin — it was introduced into the Romany population during their migration to Europe.
U3b, found in many Roma clans of Europe, is a good hint to a possible Romany connection in our family trees. There is a reason however, for much more admixture on the female side of the Romany family trees than on the Romany male side: the Romany are more willing to accept European females into the clan than they would be likely to accept European men. Typically, when a European male marries a Roma female, they are banished from the clan whereas when Romany males marry European females, the European females are typically more accepted. Most European men were not willing to conform to Romany customs and traditions so Romany women who married outside of the clan were usually banished whereas European women who married Romany men usually adapted to Romany customs and traditions. So….the U3b admixture found among the Romany typically comes from European females marrying into the Romany clans.
Autosomal testing could be an important factor in determining Romany roots. While U3b can be a good clue to a possible Roma connection in one’s family tree because it is found among multiple Roma populations, autosomal testing should point up some South Asian origins from the male lineage. Y-Haplogroup H is dominant in males among the populations of India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Pakistan. Because of their South Asian roots, haplogroup H1a-M82 is a major lineage cluster in the Balkan Romani group, accounting for some 60% of the total males. Also, a variation of H1 is also reported in one-third of the males from traditional Romany populations living in Bulgaria, Spain, and Lithuania. This high prevalence of Asian-specific Y chromosome haplogroup H1 supports the theory of Indian origin in Romany clans and a hypothesis of a small number of founders diverging from a single ethnic group in India.
Don Locke presents this metaphor as an explanation of the relation of U3b to Romany populations: “If we look at the Romany as a wheel, the hub of the wheel or the cog as it is known, is the Founder Romany population i.e. the direct Indian descendants. From that cog are spokes branching out for those who are related to that founder population which in turn forms the wheel or family tree of the Romany. There are direct Asian Indian Romany, and then there is everyone else who forms the spokes of the wheel. Everything revolves around the cog of the wheel, and everyone directly related to the cog form the many spokes which are Romany or part-Romany in origin.”
Although many U haplogroups are found in India, U3b is NOT. It is not South Asian in origin. The conclusion is that mtU3b is NOT part of the cog but instead a spoke of that wheel that appears to have been introduced during the migration of the Romany into Europe.