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     Ancestral Haplogroup      Haplogroup A (Hg A)     Haplogroup B (Hg B) All of these molecules are part of the ancestral haplogroup.
At some time, a mutation occurred in the ancestral molecule, mutation A, which produced a new lineage. This is haplogroup A, defined by mutation A.
Later, a new mutation, mutation B, occurred in a person carrying haplogroup A. Mutation B defined haplogroup B. Haplogroup B is a subgroup of haplogroup A. Both haplogroups A and B are subgroups of the ancestral haplogroup
Map showing the geographical distribution of the most common Y-chromosome haplogroup in pre-colonial populations

A haplogroup is a group of similar and ancestrally related haplotypes that all have the same single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) mutation. It is a genetic marker for a group of organisms with a common ancestor.

In human genetics, the haplogroups usually studied are Y-chromosome (Y-DNA) haplogroups and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroups. Both can be used to define genetic populations. Y-DNA is passed only from father to son, while mtDNA is passed only from mother to children. Neither recombines, and thus Y-DNA and mtDNA change only by chance mutations with no intermixture between parents' genetic material.

Haplogroups are used in some forms of genetic ancestry research such as research determining the most common haplotype(s) in different populations and argued genetic ancestry relationships between the populations based on this. However, haplogroups are not races or some kind of racial "essences" that define races. Y-DNA and mtDNA haplogroups represent only a very small part of the human genome.

Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.