"Brit-Am Now"-570: DNA-4
Answer to 2nd Letter
In principle Brit-Am beliefs are derived from the Bible. If DNA findings were to contradict Brit-Am beliefs we would be inclined to say that something was wrong with DNA findings. This however is not the case.
Your statements and queries (in the second letter) are:
1. Environment and DNA, what is the evidence?
2. If changes take place why do Americans not show it instead of still retaining the DNA of their European (or other) ancestors?
3. Proof needed from archaeological sites, why is it lacking?
4. The prejudiced bias of Brit-Am that looks for answers that fit foregone Brit-Am conclusions.
Question 1. Environment and DNA, what is the evidence?
1.There seems to be a confusion between DNA and DNA Markers.
DNA is a string of genetic coding. All genes are segments of DNA.
DNA markers are inherited quirks or idiosyncrasies on a small segment of DNA that
have no known physical expression. By comparing my markers to those of my neighbor scientists estimate how far back we have to go to find a common ancestor, i.e. the degree of difference between DNA markers reflects their inherited distance.
To repeat DNA is another term for genetic coding in general.
Do genes change according to the Environment?
Yes and No.
Genes can and do switch on and off according to external influences.
You may believe in Evolution. We do not. At all events for scientific discussion Evolution is useless.
The Genetic Switch:
In "Brit-Am Now"-328
item #1. More on DNA and environment
We quoted from -"Not by Chance! The Fall of Neo-Darwinian Theory", by Leo M. Spetner (1996).
This explains the Genetic Switch Model
For examples see:
Brit-Am Now"-366 item # Food for thought
Genes (DNA) switch on and off. Once the switch is thrown the change is inherited until the switch is thrown again.
The changes on the whole take place quickly in one or sometimes a few generations. They are usually not slow 'evolutions'.
Let us take as an example two groups of people both of whom have say long-skulled heads. One moves to area X where within a generation or two most of the offspring have round heads and keep having them generation after generation. The other group moves to another area wherein most of those already living there also have round heads but they themselves do not and neither do their offspring generation after generation. In other words one group changes in one area whereas another group in another area does not change. These are genetic factors that have expression in a measurable external phenomena. They relate to genes. It is not that the organism necessarily changed just that a genetic potential that was always there became active. This potential however is genetic, therefore it must be expressed in DNA changes. These changes do not occur gradually but over a relatively short period.
The changes also AFFECT WHOLE POPULATIONS and not just individuals.
Consider the following example (out of hundreds of others):
"Through natural dispersion, and with some human help, the finches spread to all four islands of the group. When the birds were checked in 1984 they were already found to be different from the [original] Laysan finches… By 1987 the population of finches had grown to about 800. .. when the birds were first put on Southeast Island in 1967 they were all alike. But when they were studied twenty years later birds on different islands were found to differ from each other. In particular, they were found to have different bill shapes. The bills on the birds of North Island, about 10 miles north of Southeast Island, are deeper and shorter than those on either Southeast or Laysan. The birds on Southeast have longer bills than those on Laysan".
The changes in question DID NOT COME ABOUT THROUGH CHANGE IN ONE INDIVIDUAL but through changes (adapting to different environments as Spetner explains) occurring to the whole population.
Changes in DNA Markers:
DNA tests concentrate on DNA Markers in the Y chromosome or on Mitochondria DNA.
The Y chromosome is passed on from father to son generation after generation without (in theory) any influence from the mother. Mitochondria DNA on the other hand comes through the mother and is passed on through the female line.
DNA theory states that changes in a DNA Marker are caused by mutations (spontaneous changes generated by radioactivity or other causes) and that the change occurs in one individual who passes it on to their descendants.
At the individual (haplotype) level they are right. Say someone has doubts in a paternity case and takes a test with say 36 markers comparing the results to their putative offspring and the results show an exact (or almost exact) correspondence. The likelihood of this happening by chance are maybe a million to one. The only possible begetters with the said sequence are the father, uncles, or grandfather. In this case therefore changes that occurred originally in one person (say the great-grandfather) are unique to that person.
This does not however mean that such is always the case.
To take an opposite example:
Two people with red hair may well be related but not necessarily so. DNA Theorists usually believe in Evolution but their own explanations deny it to an exaggerated degree. Any distinction between DNA Marker theory, DNA theory, and Genetics in general is artificial.
DNA Marker theory (if applied to DNA in general taken to its extreme) would say that originally everyone had the same color hair then one mutation occurred and a red-haired offspring appeared. Our newly apparent redhaired increased and multiplied so that somehow or other all redhairs in the world can be traced back to one person. The scientists themselves do not say that however and neither do we. Redhairs can appear almost anywhere without any redhair ancestry. Once they appear the redhair is genetically determined and the redhaired parent has a good chance of passing the same color on to their offspring. We can use the fact that two different people both have redhair as a proof of possibly relationship that may be significant if other evidence is available but otherwise it may not mean much. The same applies to DNA evidence in general. It is a tool. It may be of use when considered alongside other factors.
If changes take place why do Americans not show it instead of still retaining the DNA of their European ancestors?
Most Americans have not been in America more than a few generations. Are we sure that changes are not taking place? This explanation could perhaps explain a few anomalous results that periodically recur. e.g.
May 22, 2003
East Asian DNA in Europe (and how it came to be)
" DNAPrint Genomics offers AncestryByDNA a test which measures a person's "biogeographical ancestry" in terms of percent Indo-European, East Asian, Sub-Saharan African and Native American.
"A surprising outcome of their testing so far is that about one out of three Caucasians have significant Native American and East Asian ancestry. While the Native American component probably reflects an introgression of Amerindian genes into the Caucasian population, the presence of East Asian genes in Northern and Eastern Europeans has been a surprise to many of the testees, as reported in the Genealogy-DNA mailing list. Haploid genetic markers, namely on mtDNA and the non-recombining portion of the Y chromosome do not in general show the presence of East Asian lineages in Europe.. "
The changes that do take place are exceptions and occur under exceptional circumstances and do not take place in every case. Everyone agrees that changes do take place the only question is to what degree and at what pace and what triggers them off. Why in Italy has Etruscan DNA disappeared while historical evidence says that the Etruscans were absorbed by the population of Italy. Did the Etruscans really die out?
Or did the DNA of their descendants change?
Proof needed from archaeological sites, why is it lacking?
I do not know if proof from archaeology is lacking.
A recent examination of the mtDNA of Viking women indicated that twenty per cent of them originated in the Middle East. At first the results were declared "contaminated" later other explanations were proposed. The male "I" haplogroup associated with Scandinavians when taken from individuals is frequently confused with the haplogroups G and J associated with Middle East origin. Read on. Read the literature. Once haplogroup I was considered a branch of G.
Researchers say that the place of origin of haplogroups is most likely to be in regions were haplogroup findings are most complex,
e.g. originally R originated in place X and developed into R1, R2, R3, R3. Later a minority group left place X for place Y
where today one finds only R1 and R2 since they were the minority that left whereas in place X one still finds
the original R1, R2, R3, R3 even though they may not be numerous.
This explanation says that not the place where the greatest numbers are now to be found is the likeliest place
of origin but rather the place of greatest diversity.
Using this criteria even though R1b is today only a minority haplogroup in the Middle East.
the Middle East may still be considered its place of origin.
The same applies to haplogroup I whose Middle East origin is acknowledged.
The mtDNA of Welsh and Irish women has been traced predominantly to the Middle East (?)
though other studies seem to equate them with West Europeans in general.
On the other hand DNA reports sometimes contradict each other.
The difference between R1a (Eastern Europe and India), R1b (Western Europe), and Q (Northern Asia
and Amerindians) is said to be not a great one. Perhaps a connection to the northern part of
the world is a factor?
Conclusions however like the following reflect present DNA thinking:
"R1a and R1b is descended from Q, which travelled from South Asia to Central Asia and then westward to Europe"
Others say R1a , R1b, and Q simply had a common ancestor.
At all events the conclusions are that North Asians and many North Europeans
are closer to each other than they are to fellow Asians or fellow Europeans.
We do not necessarily agree with such conclusions (in this case) but it does show
where DNA studies may lead.
The prejudiced bias of Brit-Am that looks for answers that fit foregone Brit-Am conclusions.
Brit-Am derives its beliefs from the Bible. Other fields of evidence help explain and clarify Scripture. If they do not there is something wrong with them.
The fact is however that history, archaeology, etc, and even DNA do confirm Brit-Am findings. It could be that our understanding of the Bible on some points is mistaken and we should be open to re-examine such matters. If it were to happen that a field of secular study put forward what appeared to be incontrovertible evidence that did not agree with Brit-Am beliefs then we might re-examine our understanding of the sources. So far this has not happened. On the contrary. We are however continuously studying upgrading and modifying our understanding. It is a question of emphasis. Most scientists are also prejudiced. In fact very few discoveries happen by chance without those making the finding already having in mind what they were looking for.
We try to follow DNA findings on a private base since it is of interest
and can help Brit-Am researches. It is not however something
we would like to emphasize -at least not for the moment.
Brit-Am does not especially need it and is not affected by it.
Spreading the Brit-Am message is our task.
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as long as necessary.
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