BAMAD no.40

 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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1. David Wilson: Ancestor of "Neil" (R1b1c7) Group Now Dated to between 500 and 1000 CE!
2. Using House Mice DNA to Trace Human Migrations!
3. Exposure: DNA Tests - "A Waste of Money"!
4. Distinct pregnancy risks in Asian-white couples
5. Genetic Changes Decreasing

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1. David Wilson: Ancestor of "Neil" (R1b1c7) Groups Now Dated to between 500 and 1000 CE!
From: David Wilson
Subject: Re: [DNA-R1B1C7] MRCA of R1b1b2e as early as 1388 CE??

There are good grounds for thinking that members of the NW Irish/Lowland Scots cluster share a fairly recent common ancestor, but I am not sure that the MRCA need be quite as recent as the TCD researchers calculate. Remember that their calculations are based on a data base of only 17 STRs in which the IMH (as they term the cluster) is distinguished from the more common R1b modal haplotype at only two locations. Had their calculations included 25, 37 or 67 markers, they would have come up with different dates for the most recent common ancestor, as well as different confidence intervals for the proposed time depths.

But to be fair, even calculating from a richer data set won't change the MRCA calculation by a huge amount. In general, if you make the simplifying assumption that the 67 marker modal haplotype for the cluster reflects the haplotype of the MRCA, then any M222+ individual living today has a very high probability of being no more than 40 generations downstream from him. At 30 years per generation (which is my preferred measure), we are looking back 1200 years to the common ancestor with, of course, some margin of error on either side of that date.

Note that the MRCA need not be the person in whom the M222 mutation first occurred, nor does the MRCA need to be the famous Niall of the Nine Hostages himself, to use the identification proposed by the Trinity College Dublin team. Niall (who lived about 1600 years ago) may in fact be a direct male-line ancestor, but the MRCA of the cluster could be one of his descendants who lived several generations later.

In the last several months new forms of statistical analysis applied to different levels of the Y-chromosome tree suggest that the large modern European populations in the R branch may have differentiated more recently than was long thought. If the S106 and S116 subhaplogroups (which are modally quite similar) are no more than 4,000 to 5,000 years old, then it is completely possible for the M222 group to be less than 2000 years old. M222 is subordinate to S116 and, based on simple mutation tallies, appears to be half the age of S116 or even a little less.

I once believed that the NW Irish/Lowland Scot cluster represented the survivors of the first post-glacial-maximum inhabitants of what we now call Ireland. At a time when we thought that the majority of the most refined Haplogroup R subclades had been in Europe for more than 20,000 years, that was not an impossible notion. But now I tend to look at the world with a more collapsed time frame. Do I think the common ancestor could have lived barely 600 years ago, as the subject line asks? No. Am I open to the possibility that the MRCA could have lived between 500 and 1000 CE? Yes.

David Wilson

2. Using House mice DNA to Trace Human Migrations!
(a) Abstract
Of mice and (Viking?) men: phylogeography of British and Irish house mice
Jeremy B. Searle1, Catherine S. Jones2, 3, slam G?d?1, 4, Moira Scascitelli1, 5, 6, Eleanor P. Jones1, Jeremy S. Herman1, 7, R. Victor Rambau1, 8, Leslie R. Noble2, 3, R.J. Berry2, Mabel D. Gim?ez1, Fr?a J?annesd?tir1

The west European subspecies of house mouse (Mus musculus domesticus) has gained much of its current widespread distribution through commensalism with humans. This means that the phylogeography of M. m. domesticus should reflect patterns of human movements. We studied restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and DNA sequence variations in mouse mitochondrial (mt) DNA throughout the British Isles (328 mice from 105 localities, including previously published data). There is a major mtDNA lineage revealed by both RFLP and sequence analyses, which is restricted to the northern and western peripheries of the British Isles, and also occurs in Norway. This distribution of the "Orkney" lineage fits well with the sphere of influence of the Norwegian Vikings and was probably generated through inadvertent transport by them. To form viable populations, house mice would have required large human settlements such as the Norwegian Vikings founded. The other parts of the British Isles (essentially most of mainland Britain) are characterized by house mice with different mtDNA sequences, some of which are also found in Germany, and which probably reflect both Iron Age movements of people and mice and earlier development of large human settlements. MtDNA studies on house mice have the potential to reveal novel aspects of human history.

(b) Article
'Viking mouse' invasion tracked
Humans and mice have been close companions for thousands of years
Scientists say that studying the genes of mice will reveal new information about patterns of human migration.
They say the rodents have often been fellow travellers when populations set off in search of new places to live - and the details can be recovered.
A paper published in a Royal Society journal analyses the genetic make-up of house mice from more than 100 locations across the UK.
It shows that one distinct strain most probably arrived with the Vikings.
Rodents from Orkney are among those helping the scientists. It has been shown that mice from the islands have a DNA signature similar to their Scandinavian relations.
But these house mice (Mus musculus domesticus) were also found in areas around the Atlantic coast of Europe reached by the Norse explorers, said Professor Jeremy Searle, from York University.
"If we look at the genetic patterning of the mice, we find they have patterning that very much relates to human history; and so we get a particular genetic type of mouse that is found in the region where the Norwegian Vikings operated," he told BBC News.
"What this suggests to us is that the Norwegian Vikings were taking these mice around and they were taking a particular genetic type; because there are all sorts of genetic types and the particular type that happened to be where the first Vikings picked them up is the one that got spread around."

Abundant food
Much of Britain has another strain with genetic similarities to a type in Germany.
It is thought this rodent probably arrived from continental Europe with Iron Age people.
The humble house mouse has its origin as a species in Asia and migrated on foot to the Middle East, becoming firmly established in the first agricultural settlements - no doubt enjoying the abundant food to be found in grain stores.
"Interestingly, [the house mice] didn't migrate into Europe at the same time as agriculture, about 8,000 years ago," Professor Earle explained.
"They only migrated in about 3,000 years ago. And the reason for this is that it wasn't until the Iron Age that we got the development of large settlements in western Europe. The house mouse needs these large settlements in order to survive and out-compete the local field mouse."
Professor Searle said future studies with mice could help document more fine-scale Viking movements such as the colonisation of different parts of Faroe, Iceland and even North America.

Professor Searle and colleagues publish their research in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

Brit-Am Note:
Note the statement above:
##"They only migrated in about 3,000 years ago. And the reason for this is that it wasn't until the Iron Age that we got the development of large settlements in western Europe. The house mouse needs these large settlements in order to survive and out-compete the local field mouse."##

In other words until ca. 1000 BCE Western and North Europe was very sparsely populated.
The house mouse did migrate however (after ca.1000 BCE) when the population increased.
According to the article, the house mouse migrated from the Middle East when the population in Europe increased so perhaps the population increase was also due to migration from the Middle East?

3. Exposure: DNA Tests - "A Waste of Money"!
On-line Article

Article in Daily Mail
Extracts from Article:
One customer, Penny Law, was fascinated by the growth in the DNA heritage industry and decided to have three tests done.

But the results from each company were so different, she concluded they might be a rip-off and at best should be treated as fun.

One suggested her origins were in East Asia, another said Spain and the last came up with the Near East.

Miss Law, deputy editor of Ancestors magazine, said: 'All the companies were working from the same DNA with the same technology, so to come back with different results is suspicious. Heritage DNA tests should be treated as fun. You can't rely on them.'

4. Distinct pregnancy risks in Asian-white couples

5. Genetic Changes Decreasing

Brit-Am Note:
We do not believe in Evolution. We do however believe in the possibility of inbuilt Genetic Change within parameters set in advance. The article below points to a diminishing of this change taking place.

Leading geneticist Steve Jones says human evolution is over
Extracts from Article:
Fathers over the age of 35 are more likely to pass on mutations, according to Professor Steve Jones, of University College London.

Speaking today at a UCL lecture entitled "Human evolution is over" Professor Jones will argue that there were three components to evolution, natural selection, mutation and random change. "Quite unexpectedly, we have dropped the human mutation rate because of a change in reproductive patterns," Professor Jones told The Times.

"Human social change often changes our genetic future," he said, citing marriage patterns and contraception as examples. Although chemicals and radioactive pollution could alter genetics, one of the most important mutation triggers is advanced age in men.

This is because cell divisions in males increase with age. "Every time there is a cell division, there is a chance of a mistake, a mutation, an error," he said. "For a 29-year old father [the mean age of reproduction in the West] there are around 300 divisions between the sperm that made him and the one he passes on,  each one with an opportunity to make mistakes.

"For a 50-year-old father, the figure is well over a thousand. A drop in the number of older fathers will thus have a major effect on the rate of mutation."

Professor Jones added: "In the old days, you would find one powerful man having hundreds of children." He cites the fecund Moulay Ismail of Morocco, who died in the 18th century, and is reputed to have fathered 888 children. To achieve this feat, Ismail is thought to have copulated with an average of about 1.2 women a day over 60 years.

Another factor is the weakening of natural selection. "In ancient times half our children would have died by the age of 20. Now, in the Western world, 98 per cent of them are surviving to 21."

Decreasing randomness is another contributing factor. "Humans are 10,000 times more common than we should be, according to the rules of the animal kingdom, and we have agriculture to thank for that. Without farming, the world population would probably have reached half a million by now, about the size of the population of Glasgow.

"Small populations which are isolated can evolve at random as genes are accidentally lost. World-wide, all populations are becoming connected and the opportunity for random change is dwindling. History is made in bed, but nowadays the beds are getting closer together. We are mixing into a global mass, and the future is brown."

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