Haplogroup R1b is the most common paternal haplogroup in Western Europe. As a result of European emmigration populations including the USA, Canada and Australia are also high in this haplogroup.
The DNA single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) that identifies those belonging to Haplogroup in R1b is R-M343. As you can see from the header picture Haplogroup R1b is one branch of the R group and as more people take tests and more information is analysed, these trees get redrawn in ever more detail. Lower levels of R1b are already known, but not commonly part of standard Y chromosome tests, so you may have been told that you belong to haplogroup R1b, but in reality people with only the R1b mutation (R-M343) and no child SNPs are rare. Most have had subsequent SNP mutations and are a lower branch of group R1b. The latest branches of Y-DNA Paternal haplogroups can be found on the ISOGG website. If you want to find out more detail on your haplogroup then there are tests that can tell you more about that. Contact us if you want to know more and we'll try to help you.
R1, the parent group, one level older than R1b, is thought to be about 18,500 years old. R1b is thought to have its origin in Eurasia, probably Western Asia. The age of the R1b branch is still hotly debated but seems to have occured aroud the Neolific (or New Stone Era - about 12,000 years ago), but could be before, or after. It does seem to be agreed that people in the R1b group gradual migration West over time.