BAMAD no.31

 DNA and 
 Anthropology Updates 

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. European Cattle from the Near East (i.e. Israel and its neighborhood)
2. The true face of Julius Caesar
3. First Genetic Evidence Of Long-lived African Presence Within Britain
4. Has the Genetic Base of Scandinavia "Evolved"
Sinbce the Iron Age?
5. Roman Britain: Immigrants came from all over?

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1. European Cattle from the Near East (i.e. Israel and its neighborhood)
Paleogenetics of cattle domestication
Research on modern cattle had suggested the Neolithic Near Eastern origin of domesticated cattle, but also that some of the European aurochsen transmitted their mtDNA to European cattle. By looking at prehistoric mtDNA, the researchers were able to discover that the Neolithic to Bronze Age cattle of Europe lacked the native aurochs mtDNA and were exclusively descended from the domesticated animals brought into Europe from the Near East.

2. The true face of Julius Caesar
The culture ministry said that the life-sized bust is believed to be the oldest of the Roman emperor ever discovered.
It portrays the Roman ruler at an advanced age, with wrinkles and hollows in his face."

3. First Genetic Evidence Of Long-lived African Presence Within Britain
ScienceDaily (Jan. 24, 2007) ? New research has identified the first genetic evidence of Africans having lived amongst "indigenous" British people for centuries. Their descendants, living across the UK today, were unaware of their black ancestry.

The University of Leicester study, funded by the Wellcome Trust and published today in the journal European Journal of Human Genetics, found that one third of men with a rare Yorkshire surname carry a rare Y chromosome type previously found only amongst people of West African origin.

The researchers, led by Professor Mark Jobling, of the Department of Genetics at the University of Leicester, first spotted the rare Y chromosome type, known as hgA1, in one individual, Mr. X. This happened whilst PhD student Ms. Turi King was sampling a larger group in a study to explore the association between surnames and the Y chromosome, both inherited from father to son. Mr. X, a white Caucasian living in Leicester, was unaware of having any African ancestors.

"As you can imagine, we were pretty amazed to find this result in someone unaware of having any African roots," explains Professor Jobling, a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow. "The Y chromosome is passed down from father to son, so this suggested that Mr. X must have had African ancestry somewhere down the line. Our study suggests that this must have happened some time ago."

Although most of Britain's one million people who define themselves as "Black or Black British" owe their origins to immigration from the Caribbean and Africa from the mid-twentieth century onwards, in reality, there has been a long history of contact with Africa. Africans were first recorded in the north 1800 years ago, as Roman soldiers defending Hadrian's Wall.

To investigate the origins of hgA1 in Britain, the team recruited and studied a further eighteen males with the same surname as Mr. X. All but one were from the UK, with paternal parents and grandparents also born in Britain. Six, including one male in the US whose ancestors had migrated from England in 1894, were found to have the hgA1 chromosome.

Further genealogical research to identify a common ancestor for all seven X-surnamed males suggests that the hgA1 Y chromosome must have entered their lineage over 250 years ago. However, it is unclear whether the male ancestor was a first generation African immigrant or a European man carrying an African Y chromosome introduced into Britain some time earlier, or even whether the hgA1 Y chromosome goes back as far as the Roman occupation.

"This study shows that what it means to be British is complicated and always has been," says Professor Jobling. "Human migration history is clearly very complex, particularly for an island nation such as ours, and this study further debunks the idea that there are simple and distinct populations or 'races'."

In addition, Professor Jobling believes that the research may have implications for DNA profiling in criminal investigations.

"Forensic scientists use DNA analysis to predict a person's ethnic origins, for example from hair or blood samples found at a crime scene. Whilst they are very likely to predict the correct ethnicity by using wider analysis of DNA other than the Y chromosome, finding this remarkable African chromosome would certainly have them scratching their heads for a while."

4. Has the Genetic Base of Scandinavia "Evolved" Since the Iron Age?
Evidence of Authentic DNA from Danish Viking Age Skeletons Untouched by Humans for 1,000 Years

Linea Melchior1, Toomas Kivisild2, Niels Lynnerup3, Jorgen Dissing1*

Extract: (a) The Findings
Rare mtDNA haplogroups

Given the small sample sizes the Viking population sample from Galgedil does not differ significantly from other Viking and Iron Age population samples from the Danish past by the haplogroup frequency distribution, however, it is noted that five of the ten subjects harbour mtDNA haplotypes which have either not been observed or are infrequent in modern Scandinavians (Table 1). In particular the observation of haplotype X2c is interesting (subject G7). Haplogroup X is itself rare (0.9% in Scandinavians [51]) but has a very wide geographic range, and X2c is a rare subgroup of X accounting for only 5% of 175 Hg X samples surveyed in 2003 [52]. A possible European (Viking?) origin of haplotype X2a identified among Native Americans has been suggested [53], [54], but X2a has not been detected in Europe and the present observation of X2c amongst the Vikings does not support this proposal.

Among present day Scandinavians Hg I constitutes <2% [55], [56], however, we have previously observed a markedly higher frequency (10-20%) of Hg I in Danish Iron Age and Viking Age population samples (Table S3) [16], [21]. With the observation of Hg I for subject G6 this trend is also seen for the Viking population sample from Galgedil. Interestingly, Hg I shows a low frequency (1 out of 114 subjects) among other ancient populations in Italy, Spain, Great Britain, and early central European farmers [11], [12], [43], [57].

Table 1 showed:
G1, Grave 1  Haplogroup K
G2, Grave 2  Haplogroup H
G3, Grave 3  Haplogroup H
G4, Grave 4  Haplogroup H
G5, Grave 5  Haplogroup USa1a
G1, Grave 6  Haplogroup I
G1, Grave 7  Haplogroup X2c
G8, Grave 8  Haplogroup H
G9, Grave 9  Haplogroup T2
G10, Grave 10  Haplogroup H
In Table 1 each finding is accompanied by more technical detail and commentary.

(b) Comment on the Findings:

From: Gisele Horvat <>
Subject: [HumanMigrations] Viking mtDNAs

This is an attempt, perhaps a feeble one, to augment the
information provided in the last column of Table 1 (which
describes the distribution of the sequences determined).

Sequences identical to or close to the ancient Viking ones
have been reported in the following locations (at least):

G1 - Spain, Shetland Isles, Orkney, Scotland W. I.,
Ireland, Britain, Iceland, Slovenia, Uzbekistan
G2 - Shetland Isles, Orkney, Ireland, Sp. Basque, Belarus,
Khoremian Uzbek, Armenia, Turkey, Poland, Karelia, Wales
G3 - Bosnia
G4 - Ireland, Britain, Orkney, France, Germany, Armenia,
G7 - Portugal, Finland, Scotland W. I., Andalusia, Basque,
Russia, Tenerife, Germany, Berber, Poland
G8 - Bulgaria (Roma)
G10 - Poland

(c) Brit-Am Comment:
The above findings only show one sample of  mt haplogroup I
Nevertheless the comment below is of interest:
Among present day Scandinavians Hg I constitutes <2% [55], [56], however, we have previously observed a markedly higher frequency (10?20%) of Hg I in Danish Iron Age and Viking Age population samples (Table S3) [16], [21].

What happened to mtI in Scandinavia since the Iron Age.
Did they die out or permutate?
What implications do these findings have for elsewhere?

5. Roman Britain: Immigrants came from all over?
An investigation into origins of individuals from a mass grave in Roman Gloucester, UK: strontium and stable isotope evidence
Carolyn Chenery1,2, Gundula M?dner1, Jane Evans2, Louise Loe3, Nicholas M?quez Grant3, Hella Eckardt1 Stephanie Leach1, Mary Lewis1
Contrary to popular assumptions, Britain under Rome was truly multi-cultural, with historical and epigraphic evidence recording the voluntary and forced migration of Gaulish, Germanic and North African individuals into the British provinces refs. This paper presents the results an isotopic investigation of population diversity in 1st to the 4th century Roman Gloucester; focusing on individuals found in a late 2nd century mass burial pit and comparing them to those found in single graves.
The results suggest that the majority of the individuals buried in the London Road Cemetery were from areas within the UK. However, the isotope data has identified a number of individuals whose origins lay in a region with a warmer climate than the UK. Whether these were soldiers, their followers or merchants cannot be determined.

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