Sunday, February 14, 2010

Vague DNA Results

Although I haven't done too much about it, I find it interesting to try to figure out where I came from, where we all came from really. It seems that DNA research indicates that we all came out of Africa about 50 000 years ago, maybe longer. I wanted to know more, and for Christmas I was given a DNA testing kit which supposedly would do that. Well, I guess it did tell me more but, disappointingly, not too much more.

It did pin my paternal DNA down to haplogroup R1B, a haplogroup being a set of people with certain genetic markers in common. As you can see in the graphic, they have decided to name this group, The Artisans, although I don't think that tells me very much other than the information that we"first arrived in Europe from west Asia about 35,000-40,000 years ago." The following map indicates the path that we took, but from other reading I think it would be the same for most Europeans. My understanding, still from other reading, is that various peoples dispersed in various directions from that location in west Asia.

Personally, I don't think that such general information from so long ago is very informative, but that's about as good as it gets. I was also told that "early Aurignacian peoples collected flint for tools at random, they later advanced and managed their resources with sophistication, using a single stone core to shape flint tools as needed. Aurignacian decorative beads and jewelry could also be the first sign we have of the uniquely human quality of selfawareness and adornment. Additionally, some anthropologists believe that the Aurignacian culture was the first to paint. The people of this time period left behind fascinating cave paintings in France, Spain and Portugal." Although I know I could find the information, it would be nice if the DNA company would explain this Aurignacian subculture more as they just mention the name in passing, but I am left to do that on my own ... or not.

A subtype of this Rb1 group were the Cro Magnon people who were responsible for the cave paintings mentioned above, but this test wasn't able to determine subgroups. Another bit of information is that 70% of the people of England belong to this haplogroup, which is no surprise to me as I know that my ancestry is quite English. Also, at least some R1b subgroups were part of the Celtic nations, but again that is pretty general and unsurprising information.

That's really about it, and it sure isn't much. I wasn't expecting a lot, but I was hoping for something a little more current than where my ancestors may have been located forty millenia ago. The site does have a link to another site that may or may not tell me more about my haplogroup, but I haven't explored that yet. It also provided me with a map of those who have taken the same test, and it tells me of six people (the orange symbols) with whom I share a common ancestor, but only with the past 21 to 23 generations or 525 to 575 years ago. I also share a common ancestor with all of the green symbols; most that I clicked on were related to me from about 875 years ago (35 generations) to about 1000 years ago (40 generations). There were some results from other countries too, but most were from the USA.

Unfortunately, the only way to find out if something is worth it is to try it, and I don't really think this was even though it is more information than I had before and could possibly prove useful someday. I've presented the type of information here so that others can make up their own minds about such testing. I had my maternal DNA tested as well, and I may also report on that, but it's probably even less helpful than the paternal test.


Mara said...

I've never had DNA testing done, but my family has done research in our past. I now know I come from a long line of farmers on my father's side, since they were able to go back to the early 15th century! I am still to find out more about my mother's side.

Anonymous said...

I haven't had DNA testing. I think that it is still in its infancy and as in your case not much is available to match up as of yet. I might be wrong since I'm not educated on the subject.
Have a great day today, AC!
:) The Bach

Bernie said...

A/C this test really didn't help much did sister has done some genealogy on our family and we orginated in Ireland (paternal) and Germany (maternal) I have always been interested in finding out more about my ancestors, I think this happens to most of us as we get older.....:-) Hugs

Anonymous said...

My husband's father was orphaned at three and knew nothing of his ancestry. I had HH DNA done and like you had all kinds of info, so they said. It gave a list of e-mails who supposedly shared DNA with the line. I contacted 100's of folks and got replies but nothing close. Right after that I found out there was a line of relatives in Ky and got the whole story. It took work on the computer and at the library. The DNA testing did nothing to help us. But maybe someday we will know more how to interpret. Good for you for trying.

Judy said...

Well. Would you look at that. Many of 'your' people are in Michigan now.

What the test failed to show is that you come from a long line of people who eventually became grandparents and realized that life doesn't get much better than that.

Doris said...

Thanks for this interesting post.

I love what Judy wrote:
"What the test failed to show is that you come from a long line of people who eventually became grandparents and realized that life doesn't get much better than that."

There is something to be said for living in the present.

Donna said...

...Well, not much more to add that the others Haven't...except...I think I recognise the little guy standing there in Central Texas...See? You have "roots" here!lolol...

Lorna said...

Your common DNAers seem to like the east coast.

Lucy said...

I think knowing where my ancestors come from is something I've always been interested in. Thank you for giving me the push I needed, I just surfed the internet found the website: and I'm going to order the kit and do the DNA test as well.

Hope u'll find more about your past as well.