Saturday, January 29, 2011

Melting Pot and Launching Pad

The area around the Black Sea was both a melting pot and launching pad for many of the developing haplogroups. Central Asia has the highest number of haplogroups present today (total of 12), and provided a launching pad for the R haplogroup. The R haplogroup migrated northward [North Asia = 8%], southward [South Asia = 41%], and eastward [East Asia = 2%], while maintaining Central Asia at 31%. To the south was also the Middle East at 21%, and north Africa at 6%. [These percents represent the present haplogroup in each geographic area.]

For my JONES DNA it is the western migration that represents the movement of my central Europe, most likely along the Danube River, to central Germany. Europe is presently represented by 45% of the R haplogroup. Around this same time R1 is thought to have emerged and somewhat later, R1b. [R1 at around 30,000years ago and R1b around 25,000 years ago.]

It is of interest that the Proto-Indo-European languages are traced to this Central Asia location. An article appearing in U.S. News and World Report, Nov.5, 1990 described how modern speech evolved from a single, ancient source. Anatolia is thought to have been this geographic location which is part of Central Asia. This was determined before most of the present DNA and genetic research had been accomplished. What a deal! Two different fields, linguists and genetics, some 10 years apart, coming to the same conclusions. [One of the first linguist was Sir William Jones, 1786!]

Now around 2000 B.C., the native Anatolian peoples are believed to have been the Hittites, Hurrians, and Mitannians. The Hittite Old Kingdom (ca. 1750 - 1550 B.C.) are believed to have sacked Babylon, ending the dynasty of Hammurabi. This Hittite Society has been termed "feudal". They pioneered construction of the light, horse-drawn chariot, with spoked wheels. This of course would require a lot of horses. They are also believed to have developed scale-armour, and one of the first people to accomplish the manipulation of iron ore. It is these folks that seem to be the root of my Celtic DNA.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

On Up The Valley

You might expect that a valley would collect water. A set of parallel mountain ridges would certainly direct the flow of rain water. Grass, water, and ultimately salt, would provide a draw for all those needing life's provisions. At the equator, the sun would bear down, tend to dry things up, and make a return trip less attractive. Besides, that melting snow and ice, would offer a cooler climate, greener grasses, and lots of water. The picture to the right is another of the Rift Valley. The water collected on the floor of the valley is shown. Imagine yourself walking along, following the water''s edge. North, to the headwaters of the Nile. Then to the narrow land bridge between the Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea bringing you to the salt deposits now known as the Dead Sea. As the ice melted, migration farther north would bring you to the area where my R haplotype is thought to have emerged...the Black Sea. It was around this Black Sea that a split and spread of this R haplogroup is thought to have happened. Some to the northwest, some to the southeast, and some to the west, each to carry this R haplotype. The Caucasian mountains, the Mordvinian and near by Bashkirian mountains, and what was to be called Anatolia.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Rift Valley

Our human ancestors are believed to have followed the herds of animals up the Rift Valley to the new lands of the Middle East. This was the corridor out of Africa, leading to the migration of the DNA that becomes my haplogroup. The Rift Valley was then believed to be an open plain where long grasses beckoned the animals to feed. In turn, these animals beckoned our ancestors to feed on them. I suspect that it was this migrating food supply that offered some advantage to the survival of my particular DNA. The picture to the right shows this not so fertile plain as it exists today. From the valley floor where I took this picture, the mountains rise fairly quickly to around 5,000 feet. It certainly would have looked different some 50,000 years ago!

My JONES haplogroup is R1b1b2. It would have the following "Gene Tree":

> 60,000 years ago - haplogroup A,

50,000 years ago - haplogroup B - to - haplogroup C at 50,000 years ago,

45,000 years ago - haplogroup F;

40,000 years ago - haplogroup K;

35,000 years ago - haplogroup P;

30,000 years ago - haplogroup R - to - haplogroup R1

25,000 years ago - haplogroup R1b

10,000 years ago - haplogroup R1b1b2 which is my Celtic roots.

Imagine that...I stood where my ancestors stood some 50,000 years ago!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dominate Haplogroup by Geography

Over the years, certain haplogroups have come to dominate certain parts of the world. In some cases, these groups represent up to 95% of the DNA SNPS (snips) that have been studied. The figure to the right marks in blue the haplogroups that have the highest percent of the populations studied for the broad geographic areas. The haplogroups are:

Sub-Saharan Africa - haplogroup E (61%)

North Africa - haplogroup E (53%)

Middle East - haplogroup J (44%)

Europe - haplogroup R (45%)

Central Asia - haplogroup R (31%)

North Asia - haplogroup C (38%)

East Asia - haplogroup O (68%)

South Asia - haplogroup R (41%)

Pacific - haplogroup C (34%)

America - haplogroup Q (95%).

The figure also shows the percents for each haplogroup found in the geographic areas.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Haplogroups by Geography

Understanding our human origin has been the goal of many. The most recent thoughts have been given in a series of articles widely circulated:

1) "What Darwin Didn't Know", National Geographic, February 2009,

2) "4 Million Year Old Woman", National Geographic, July 2010,

3) "King Tut's DNA, Unlocking Family Secrets", National Geographic, Sept. 2010.

The Middle Awash [Sudan and Ethiopia] is generally believed to be the location of our earliest human existence. [pp. 44-45, National Geographic, July 2010] Haplogroup A is felt to have had its first DNA exposure around this geographic location, and the great Rift Valley the door to much of the first human migration.

The figure to the right is my attempt to give a "big picture" of the recognized haplogroups and their "broad" geographic locations. Starting in the upper left, then moving across the page is listed; Africa, Middle East, Europe, Asia, Pacific, and America. The next line subdivides Africa into Sub-Saharan, and North Africa. Then Asia is subdivided into Central, North, East, and South. The haplogroups are listed in chronological order placed under each geographic area. The haplogroups are then followed by a percent that this haplogroup is found within these geographic areas. For example, in Sub-Saharan Africa, haplogroup A represents approximately 21% of this geographic area. Haplogroup B represents roughly 18%. However, haplogroup E is reported to be found in roughly 61% of the folks tested from this area.

You can then follow for each geographic area, the haplogroups that have been found in DNA studies, the percentage that each roughly has, and the total number of haplogroups which have been found in these geographic areas. This figure sort of "sneezes" the haplogroups across time as well as their geographic distribution. Pretend that your mouth is located in the upper left corner of the page, and your "sneeze" spreads outward from this location. Hopefully, you will not need a Kleenex. You can enlarge the figure by clicking on the image. Enjoy. More to come.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Haplogroups to Haplotypes

As discussed in a previous post (Terms, Terms, and more Terms), a haplotype is defined by as series of changes among several nucleotides in a row. Since the changes occure side by side, they are called "Short Tandem Repeat" or STRs. At the biochemical level where these changes occur and have been identified, there has been applied a naming system. [Human Gene Nomenclature Committee] This naming system includes an address (locus); a DYS # (DNA, Y-chromosome, [unique] segment); and an "allele" value. [An allele is one side of the DNA double helix.]

The figure to the right is an addition to "The Gene Tree-Haplogroups", showing the number of haplotypes for each of the haplogroups. At the top, the number of haplotypes in each haplogroup is shown along the approximate time frame. At the bottom, the number of haplotypes are given under the haplogroup in which they are derived. Haplogroup E has the greatest number of haplotypes at 58! Haplogroup J is second in number of haplotypes (34), followed by haplogroup O (31) and haplogroup R (29). My JONES DNA belongs to haplogroup R. Certainly, it is an interest "Gene Tree"!