Updates in DNA studies along with Anthropological Notes of general interest with a particular emphasis on points pertinent to the study of Ancient Israelite Ancestral Connections to Western Peoples as explained in Brit-Am studies.
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Brit-Am Anthropology and DNA Update
1. Criticism of DNA Findings and Racial
2. Genetics Confirm Oral Traditions Of Druze In Israel
3. Graeme McChesney:
Environment Influences Genetic Patterns!
Selected Articles, "Moses and Science"
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1. Criticism of DNA Findings and Racial
"Race in a Genetic World"
Most tests focus on just two types of DNA: the paternally inherited Y sex
chromosome that only men carry, and mitochondrial DNA, which is passed
exclusively from mothers to their children. Scientists favor these markers with
good reason: because only one parent can pass them to offspring, they are not
subject to recombination, the reshuffling of genetic data that normally occurs
in each generation. But they represent less than 1 percent of a subject's DNA,
and each tells about only one ancestor per generation. Two generations back, a
customer might learn about one of four grandparents; three generations back,
about one of eight great-grandparents; and by 10 generations back (roughly 250
years ago), such genetic tests reference just one of the 1,024 ancestors in that
generation. It doesn't take long to reach the point when, mathematically, a
person's ancestors start to outnumber the sum total of all people who have ever
But an Asian-American student was surprised to find that she carried almost the
same genetic markers as a Mexican-American student. Wells explained, "There is
only one change, but you are fairly different because your lines diverged a long
time ago. Still, you are part of the same branch of the tree": the Native
Americans who populated the Western Hemisphere originally came from Asia.
"there is more diversity in the average African village," Wells notes, "than
there is outside of Africa combined."
2. Genetics Confirm Oral Traditions Of
Druze In Israel
ScienceDaily (May 12, 2008) ? DNA analysis of residents of Druze villages in
Israel suggests these ancient religious communities offer a genetic snapshot of
the Near East as it was several thousands of years ago.
The Druze harbor a remarkable diversity of mitochondrial DNA types or lineages
that appear to have separated from each other many thousands of years ago,
according to a new study by multinational team, led by researchers at the
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology Rappaport School of Medicine.
But instead of dispersing throughout the world after their separation, the full
range of lineages can still be found within the small, tightly knit Druze
Technion researcher Karl Skorecki noted that the findings are consistent with
Druze oral tradition suggesting the adherents came from diverse ancestral
lineages "stretching back tens of thousands of years." The Druze represent a
"genetic sanctuary" or "living relic" that provides a glimpse of the genetic
diversity of the Near East in antiquity, the researchers write in the May 7th
issue of the journal PLoS ONE.
But there is a modern twist to their story: the diversity of Druze mitochondrial
DNA, which is the part of the genome that is passed on strictly through the
maternal line, offers a unique opportunity for researchers to study whether
people in different mitochondrial DNA lineages are predisposed to different
kinds of diseases.
Dan Mishmar, a genetics researcher at Ben-Gurion University who was not involved
with the study, said there is another "great advantage" to studying the link
between disease and mitochondrial DNA variation in a group like the Druze.
Although the Druze have great variety in their mitochondrial genome, the rest of
their genome inherited from both paternal and maternal lines has grown less
diverse as a result of thousands of years of intermarriage.
That means that researchers searching for genetic mutations linked to disease
would have an easier time discerning whether these mutations are limited to the
mitochondrial genome, which could help researchers design specific, targeted
therapies, Mishmar explained.
The findings also guide the approach to screen for genetic disease among the
Druze. Instead of scanning for disease-linked genes associated with an entire
population--as is the case with Ashkenazi Jews, for example-it may make sense to
screen within smaller groups. "Since they are comprised of so many distinct
lineages, genetic disease may vary from clan to clan and village to village,"
The researchers, including Druze co-authors Fuad Basis of the Rambam Medical
Center and former Technion student Yarin Hadid, took genetic samples from 311
Druze households in 20 villages in Israel. They soon discovered an unusually
high frequency of a mitochondrial DNA haplogroup-a distinct collection of
genetic markers - called haplogroup X - among the Druze. Haplogroup X is found
at low frequencies throughout the world, and is not confined to a specific
geographical region as are most other mitochondrial DNA haplogroups.
Even more unusual, the Druze villages contained a striking range of variations
on the X haplogroup. Together, the high frequency and high diversity of the X
haplogroup "suggest that this population provides a glimpse into the past
genetic landscape of the Near East, at a time when the X haplogroup was more
prevalent," the researchers note.
How did the Druze become a genetic sanctuary in the Near East? The religious
minority has lived for centuries in remote, mountainous regions, and unlike
other monotheistic religions, the group has not sought converts since shortly
after the "Dawa" or "revelation" of the religion in 1017 C.E. These factors,
along with other cultural and political practices, may have kept the Druze a
people apart for thousands of years, according to Skorecki and colleagues.
Environment Influences Genetic Patterns!
Selected Articles, "Moses and Science"
From: Graeme McChesney <email@example.com>
thought this might be of interest to readers
The Ghost in your Genes 18/5/08
The following article was taken from The Covenant Report, Vol. 17, No 1, a BIWF
publication produced in New Zealand. My interest in this article is based on the
statement that Moses made to the children of Israel. He said that if they would
do these things, that is, the things he taught Israel in the five books of
Moses, they would "live".(Deut. 30.19) Since most of the directions he gave
were for physical everyday problems then they apply to human beings both then
and now and are related to our physical health and wellbeing. Also, God told him
that He would visit the iniquity of the fathers unto the third and fourth
generation of descendants. (Num 14.18 etc)
The latest edition of the book "None of these Diseases" highlights some of these
admonitions but science is now demonstrating by experience that other things he
said which have been enigmas til now, are also proving true.
That is, that our genetic make-up is affected by human behaviour and experience
which in turn affects our descendants.
Science Explaining the Bible? RN Phillips (BSC)
Science does indeed explain the Bible? occasionally. One of the notable
instances was in 1996/7 when a paper presented at an international Gynaecology
conference in Canberra gave an insight into Lev. 12.2-5.
Speak unto the children of Israel saying, If a woman has conceived seed and born
a man child: then she shall be unclean 7 days; according to the days of the
separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean? and she shall then continue
in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days (33) ; she shall touch no
hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be
fulfilled. ( A total of 40 days).
But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks (14 days), as
in her separation, and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying three
score and six days (66). A total of 80 days.
The medical paper proclaimed that if a woman had intercourse within 90 days of
the birth of a child it significantly increased the woman's risk of cervical
cancer. Interestingly, cervical cancer is basically unheard of amongst
communities of orthodox Jews (that is, followers of the Talmudic version of the
Mosaic Law). No doubt, over time, Science will come to the same conclusion as
the Bible with respect to the number of days of required abstinence.
Another instance was the publication of the results of a detailed 10 year
statistical study of the whole population of Busselton. WA. It showed that the
Seventh Day Adventists, who eat no meat whatsoever, by far and away, the lowest
instances of cardiovascular disease of any group in the town. Interestingly, CVD
is also basically unheard of amongst communities of orthodox Jews (they eat only
clean meat in accordance with the Talmudic Mosaic Law)
You can download the video "The Ghost in your Genes" from the internet] was an
extraordinary documentary on TV from the Horizon program in GB titled: The Ghost
in Your Genes. It is not about any holy ghost but about how the behaviour and
circumstances of our ancestors, at least as far back as our grandparents, can
have a direct bearing on your own health and longevity.
The documentary explained why the grand expectations of the Human Genome
Project [mapping the entire human genetic code] were unfulfilled. Science
expected to find in the order of 100,000 genes that would have revealed the
secrets of life and how to control diseases. The primary disappointment was that
instead of finding 100,000, there were less than 30,000. This was not enough to
explain the biological complexity of human beings ? in fact humans were found to
have fewer genes than plants. This meant that something was missing; Something
that would provide the requisite complexity to explain human biology. The
documentary was about at least part of that missing something.
The first hint of what was missing was the astounding discovery by Professor
Marcus Pembrey (Institute of Child Health at University College, London) that
two very different, severely incapacitating birth defect diseases, Angelman
syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome, were caused by exactly the same genetic
fault. -the deletion of a specific DNA sequence from chromosome 15. How could
two very different diseases be caused by the same genetic fault? The answer is
that if the deficient chromosome 15 comes from the father, then the child will
have Prader-Willi syndrome, but if the deletion is on the chromosome that comes
from the mother, the child will have Angelman syndrome. Up until this discovery,
it was accepted wisdom that the genetic code in the body was securely locked
away and apart from abnormal events, such as exposure to high doses or radiation
and chance mutations that occur at conception, the code passed unchanged to the
next generation and that sex linked inheritance was associated only with X and Y
chromosomes. But here, for the first time, was absolute evidence that non sex
chromosomes had "knowledge" of which parent they came from and showed different
manifestations according to that heritage. The question was, what could cause
such a striking difference, especially when it involved an absence of something.
The assertion is that there is a tag or imprint placed on the genes during sperm
and ova formation that shows the genes origin from the male or female parent.
This is now called Genomic Imprinting. Thus there is more to inheritance than
merely passing DNA sequences to the offspring. Something other than DNA also
passes between the generations. Something that can switch genes on or off. The
additional mechanism is called Epi-Genetics (epi meaning upon) - which is the
study of the factors that sit upon the genetic code to switch genes on or off.
Epi- genetics is certainly a key component of the extra complexity that is
needed to explain human biology.
The next interesting development came from Professor Wolf Reik, at the Babraham
Institute in Cambridge, who found that simply taking mice embryos out of their
natural womb environment, and placing them in a culture dish and then returning
them to the womb, is enough to switch certain mice genes on or off. But much
more importantly, Reik also showed that the modified mouse genes, once switched
off or on, stayed that way through numerous generations of mice descended from
that one mother. The genes "remembered" the event and stayed in the new state
and the new state was inherited through generation after generation. It was not
reset in the next generation. This observation established that the environment
and the genes are inextricably intertwined.
Taking Reiks work into the field of in-vitro fertilization, it was found that
the incidence of a very rare birth defect Bethwick- Wiedemann syndrome, was
three to four times more common in IVF babies, babies that are conceived by
placing an ovum and sperm in a culture dish, uniting them and then placing the
new zygote in the mothers womb.
The climax of the documentary was the work of Professor Lars Olov Bygren,
University of Umea, Sweden, and Professor Marcus Pembrey, investigating the
population of Overkalix near the Arctic circle in Sweden. Overkalix is an
extremely isolated community that has very detailed records of births, deaths
and marriages and equally detailed and accurate harvest records stretching back
over a number of generations. The investigation revealed, for example, that if
ones grandfather had been subject to under nutrition at the time of puberty, the
grandchild would have a shorter life span, and would typically die from diabetes
or diabetes related diseases. This was historical (retrospective) proof of an
environmental impact being carried forward to subsequent generations.
While this work was going on, Professor Rachael Yehuda, Mt Sinai School of
Medicine, NY, had found that children (male and female) of Holocaust survivors
complained of stress related disorders that Yehuda and others ascribed to
growing up in an environment where the horrors of the Holocaust were relived,
over and over, in family story telling. Subsequently, Yehuda, in conjunction
with Professor Michael Seckl, Edinberg University (who had been investigating
stress in pregnant women) studied a group of approximately 200 pregnant women
who survived the 9/11 collapse of the twin towers: They found that:
Mothers who were in the third term trimester at the time of Sept 11 and
developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), gave birth to children with low
cortisol levels (cortisol is a key component of the bodies ability to handle
Mothers who were in the first or second trimester and also developed PTSD gave
birth to children with normal cortisol levels.
Seckl had previously found in stress experiments in mice, that stressful events
could change genes in the foetus (in the womb) and that this changed state could
be subsequently inherited. This implies that the children of the Holocaust
survivors may have developed a low cortisol change while in their mothers womb
and the speculation is that it has been and will continue to be inherited by the
offspring of the first post holocaust generation. The final proof for this
phenomenon will come from studying the generations of children descended from
the 9/11 mothers. This will be prospective proof based on the known cortisol
history of each generation from the triggering event.
The consensus in the light of the documentary is that a female susceptible epi
genetic effects at the time of development of her ovaries while in the womb (a
human females entire life supply of ova is formed in the womb and they ripen one
by one throughout the woman's adult life). Males are considered to be
susceptible at puberty when the cells responsible for producing spermatozoa
This conclusion implies that human male and female gametes are not affected by
epi genetic events at other times. However, as the actual "factors" that
mediate the epi genetic mechanism are still unknown, there is the potential that
epi genetic impacts could occur not only at male puberty, but at any time in
life (which could affect the parent cells of male gametes, or the gametes
themselves) or affect the utero development of future male and female children
in the adult female. Therefore we should bear in mind that todays knowledge
contains only the first rudimentary and necessarily coarse grains of
understanding relative to what will be known in 10.20. 50 years from now.
At the other end of the spectrum unrelated to epi genetics is a relevant example
of the impact of environment in what happens with bees eggs. When a queen bee
lays an egg in the "standard shaped" wax cell, a worker bee will emerge which
has a life span of six weeks. If the egg is removed with a pair of forceps and
placed in a different shaped wax cell, called a queen cell, a new queen bee
emerges and she has a life span of six years. The same egg, the same genes
different environmental influences. Two dramatically different results. While
this is not an event which affects the bee's genome (because it is part of the
standard bee biology) it does give a graphic example of how a seemingly simple
environmental change can impact a set of genes for a single generation.
Compare the single generation bee egg effect with the changes that Reik observed
by simply taking the embryo of mice out of the womb and putting it back, without
any intervention. Reik's action produced a change affecting future offspring.
Hence epi genetics concerns changes or impacts to males and females that affect
numerous future generations from that parent.
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