BAMAD no.37

 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. Relatively Few Vikings Actually Settled in Ireland?
Nordic Family Names Mainly Irish Celtic by Ancestry?
2. Map of DNA in Europe
3. Map of DNA in Europe -More Discussion plus Maps

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1. Relatively Few Vikings Actually Settled in Ireland?
Nordic Family Names Mainly Irish Celtic by Ancestry?

The scale and nature of Viking settlement in Ireland from Y-chromosome admixture analysis
Brian McEvoy1, Claire Brady1, Laoise T Moore1 and Daniel G Bradley1
The Vikings (or Norse) played a prominent role in Irish history but, despite this, their genetic legacy in Ireland, which may provide insights into the nature and scale of their immigration, is largely unexplored. Irish surnames, some of which are thought to have Norse roots, are paternally inherited in a similar manner to Y-chromosomes. The correspondence of Scandinavian patrilineal ancestry in a cohort of Irish men bearing surnames of putative Norse origin was examined using both slow mutating unique event polymorphisms and relatively rapidly changing short tandem repeat Y-chromosome markers. Irish and Scandinavian admixture proportions were explored for both systems using six different admixture estimators, allowing a parallel investigation of the impact of method and marker type in Y-chromosome admixture analysis. Admixture proportion estimates in the putative Norse surname group were highly consistent and detected little trace of Scandinavian ancestry. In addition, there is scant evidence of Scandinavian Y-chromosome introgression in a general Irish population sample. Although conclusions are largely dependent on the accurate identification of Norse surnames, the findings are consistent with a relatively small number of Norse settlers (and descendents) migrating to Ireland during the Viking period (ca. AD 800?1200) suggesting that Norse colonial settlements might have been largely composed of indigenous Irish. This observation adds to previous genetic studies that point to a flexible Viking settlement approach across North Atlantic Europe.

2. Map of DNA in Europe
Shows Correspondence between type of DNA and where People Came From
while raising questions as to Geographic Influence on formation of DNA Types themselves?
##Novembre's very recent study fills in those gaps in 'Genes mirror
geography within Europe (2008)'

This clearly shows the correlation between genes and geography
measuring over 500,000 variable SNPs in each of 3000 individuals:##

Human geography is mapped in the genes news service
Ewen Callaway

The genes of a European person can be enough to pinpoint their ancestry down to their home country, claim two new studies.

By reading single-letter DNA differences in the genomes of thousands of Europeans, researchers can tell a Finn from a Dane and a German from a Brit. In fact a visual genetic map mirrors the geopolitical map of the continent, right down to Italy's boot.

"It tells us that geography matters," says John Novembre, a population geneticist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who led one of the studies. Despite language, immigration and intermarriage, genetic differences between Europeans are almost entirely related to where they were born.

This, however, does not mean that the citizens of each European nation represent miniature races. "The genetic diversity in Europe is very low. There isn't really much," says Manfred Kayser, a geneticist at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands, who led the other study.

One-letter differences

Kayser's and Novembre's teams uncovered the gene-geography pattern only by analysing hundreds of thousands of common gene variants called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across the genomes of people from about two dozen countries. SNPs are places in the genome where one person's DNA might read A, while another's T.

Though the teams worked independently, they used some of the same DNA samples, which were gathered by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline to help hunt for genes linked to drug side effects. The researchers recorded the results alongside the country of origin for each subject as well as that of their parents and grandparents when possible.

For each subject, the researchers decoded half a million SNPs. However, to get an overall assessment of the difference between any two genomes, the researchers used a mathematical trick that scrunched the hundreds of thousands of SNPs into two coordinates, with each person's genome represented by a point. The greater the distance between two points, the greater the difference in their genomes.

When both teams plotted thousands of genomes on a single graph along with their country of origin, a striking map of Europe emerged. Spanish and Portuguese genomes clustered "south-west" of French genomes, while Italian genomes jutted "south-east" of Swiss.

These cardinal directions are artificial, but the spatial relationships between genomes are not. In general, the closer together two people live, the more similar their DNA. The same is known to be true of animals .

Predicting origins

The map was so accurate that when Novembre's team placed a geopolitical map over their genetic "map", half of the genomes landed within 310 kilometres of their country of origin, while 90% fell within 700 km.

Both teams found that southern Europeans boast more overall genetic diversity than Scandinavians, British and Irish.

"That makes perfect sense with the major migration waves that went into Europe," says Kayser, noting Homo sapien's European debut 35,000 years ago, post-ice age expansions 20,000 years ago, and movements propelled by the advent of farming 10,000 years ago. In each case, members of established southern populations struck north.

"A pattern in which genes mirror geography is essentially what you would expect from a history in which people moved slowly and mated mainly with their close neighbours," says Noah Rosenberg, a geneticist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

3. Map of DNA in Europe-More Discussion plus Maps.
Scandinavian and German DNA in General
Genetic map of Europe; genes vary as a function of distance [Gene Expression]

Map shows an almost exact correspondence between political boundaries and DNA types when ALL DNA features are factored in and not just YDNA (male-transmited) or mtDNA (Female transmitted). This is explained in quotations below from a discussion concerning the DNA of Scandinavia and Germany.

From: authurn2002 <>
Subject: [Germanic-L] Re: Vikings germanic

One thing I forgot to mention is that there is no such thing as pure germanic origin. Germans themselves have several main founding male lineages and the geographic area of Germany has had several different languages. This pattern is typical for most of western europe. Also, even the same male lineages, such as R1a, came at different times. Germany is influenced by R1a slavs, the Abrodites, the Sorbs etc and several later settlements. Norway got its influx of R1a much earlier.

As far as genetics is concerned, it depends on what genes one looks at. Norway has a much higher frequency of R1a (27%) than Denmark or Germany for example. R1a is passed down from father to son, unchanged, and is very common amongst Slavs. In modern day germany, R1a is attributed to various settlement phases dating back to the migration period. However, in Norway, the migration of R1a is seen as much older, though no one has attempted to put a date on it.

Sweden is distinguished by high levels of I1a (>33%) but only 1% R1a. All countries have high levels of R1b, between 25% and 50% and a mix of others.

What this means is that, as far as the male linegages are concerned, the different countries were settled by, in the main, the same groups but that each appears to have some component which is different from the others. These events however go back far in time.

Another way of looking at DNA is to look at that passed down the female line, mtDNA or to look at the aDNA, that is, the DNA that is mixed from both father and mother. This is the majority of a person's DNA, 45/46ths of it.

Recent studies which look at hundreds of thousands of variable SNPs, rather than just a single SNP such as R1a or I1a, show a clustering of scandinavia and germany. Thus, even if one has an R1a male ancestry, there will be a lot which is similar to someone with an I1a ancestry, most in fact. The link below clearly shows this. Finns, Balts, Slavs, Hungarians, Italians, Iberians etc are all different. You can also see that the German autosomes are broadly spread amongst the Swedes, Norwegians and Danes, which means that there must have been considerable contacts in the past.


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