BAMAD no.67

 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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BAMAD no. 67
Brit-Am Anthropology and DNA Update
3 January 2010, 15 Tevet 5770
1. Argentinean Ancestry
2. Personality Judgments Based on Physical Appearance
3. MtDNA and Environmental Influence
4. The Importance of mtDNA and Historical Changes
mtDNA selection in Iceland?
5. Brit-Am DNA Project to be Placed on BackBurner for Time Being

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1. Argentinean Ancestry
New comprehensive study on continental ancestry of Argentineans (Corach et al. 2010)

An interesting find from the study:
Whereas 96% of the individuals with European surnames carried European Y-chromosomes, 50% of the samples from individuals with Amerindian surnames had European Y chromosomes.
The combined use of Y-chromosome, mtDNA, and autosomal markers in a sample gives us a rare opportunity to see how well inferences of ancestry from uniparental markers matches with that from autosomal ones:

European ancestry in mtDNA (44.3%) and Y-chromosome (94.1%) gives an estimate of 69.2%, compared to 78.6% for autosomal markers. Native S. American in mtDNA (53.7%) and Y-chromosome (4.9%) gives an estimate of 29.3%, compared to 17.28% for autosomal markers. Finally, African mtDNA (2%) and Y-chromosomes (0.9%) gives an estimate of 1.45% compared to 4.15% for the autosomal markers.

2. Personality Judgments Based on Physical Appearance

Laura P. Naumann et al.


Despite the crucial role of physical appearance in forming first impressions, little research has examined the accuracy of personality impressions based on appearance alone. This study examined the accuracy of observers' impressions on 10 personality traits based on full-body photographs using criterion measures based on self and peer reports. When targets,  posture and expression were constrained (standardized condition), observers' judgments were accurate for extraversion, self-esteem, and religiosity. When targets were photographed with a spontaneous pose and facial expression (spontaneous condition), observers' judgments were accurate for almost all of the traits examined. Lens model analyses demonstrated that both static cues (e.g., clothing style) and dynamic cues (e.g., facial expression, posture) offered valuable personality-relevant information. These results suggest that personality is manifested through both static and expressive channels of appearance, and observers use this information to form accurate judgments for a variety of traits.

3. MtDNA and Environmental Influence

Human mitochondrial DNA haplogroup

However Balloux et al. (2009) have shown that mtDNA also correlates with climate and that temperature-based natural selection has helped shape global mtDNA patterns[1] so that the assumption of pure genetic drift may be incorrect.


The worm in the fruit of the mitochondrial DNA tree

4. The Importance of mtDNA and Historical Changes
mtDNA selection in Iceland?


In other ancient European samples, it is pretty clear that selection must explain differences in mtDNA haplotype frequencies over time. Neolithic Germans were dominated by a haplotype that is vanishingly rare in Europe today ("Early European mtDNA: only mysterious if you want it to be"). Similar but less extreme results are also true of medieval British and medieval Danes. All over Europe, some mtDNA haplotypes have been proliferating in the last few thousand years, and others have been declining. That is in accordance with other evidence that mtDNA has been selected in recent populations (Mitochondrial DNA adaptations in living human populations"), as well as the associations of various mtDNA haplotypes with human chronic diseases.

Humans are not exceptional here, either -- for example medieval skeletons of Scandinavian dogs show mtDNA selection has happened to them, too.

 Human mtDNA variants have been found to be associated with chronic diseases of aging , brain disorders (Zhu et al. 2004), performance in athletes (Niemi and Majamaa 2005), and longevity itself (Niemi et al. 2005). The present pattern of variation also appears to be correlated with climate (Ruiz-Pesini et al. 2004), and may affect the dietary energetics and insulin metabolism (Lowell and Schulman 2005).

Simply put, variation in mtDNA is a strong target for further research into the effects of aging, metabolism, and disorders of the brain for a reason: it impacts all these areas strongly.

5. Brit-Am DNA Project to be Placed on BackBurner for Time Being
Our proposed incursion into the field of commenting on personal DNA results etc will not go into
effect in the near future if at all.
We simply lack the background, expertise, time, and resources to do justice to such an endeavor.

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