The high diversity of haplogroup N1c in northern China suggests that it originated there about 12,000 years ago, then spread north and west throughout much of northern Eurasia. N1c almost certainly arose after the colonization of the Americas about 14,000 years ago, because it was not carried from Siberia to Alaska by the northeast Asians who were the first people to enter the New World.
The westward expansion of N1c took place gradually, probably during the last 2,000 years, as men bearing the haplogroup expanded across the Volga River drainage and the Ural Mountains of Russia, eventually reaching eastern Europe. Today about 40% of northern Russian men and 40% of male Pomors, who live along the White Sea on Russia’s northwest coast, carry the N1c haplogroup. The levels of N1c decrease among Russian men farther south, with about 20% of central Russians and only 10% of southern Russians bearing the haplogroup.
The haplogroup can also be found among men in the Baltic states and Scandinavia, the western terminus of its migration. N1c is the most common haplogroup in Finland – where it averages about 60% – and is more common in the eastern half of the country, a further indication that it probably spread there from Asia. It reaches levels as high as 15% in Sweden and about 10% in northern Norway, suggesting a major component of Scandinavian male ancestry may trace to Asia rather than Europe.
Although Viking raiders carried many Scandinavian haplogroups to Britain during the first millennium AD, N1c was not among them.
Because women in Scandinavia do not show as much Asian heritage as men, the migration traced by haplogroup N1c may have been almost exclusively male. Alternatively, male migrants from Asia may have preferentially married local women, which would have erased any genetic record of female Asian migrants.