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September 06, 2005

Genographic survey - the ongoing discovery

In a further interesting development from the National Geographic's Genographic Project, I have contributed my DNA to the next step - the Family Tree DNA exploration. DNA released to this project is matched against all the samples they have in the database and produces lists based on the best matches to your DNA measured on 12 marker matches. Presumably at some point this will be further refined to the 25 marker match, but for now ends at 12 markers and assembles a profile of "Recent" Ethnic Origins at "exact" match, one-step mutation and two-step mutation.

Reading through the lists of these for my own DNA I find a fascinating pattern emerging, especially at the "exact" match, but it just gets more and more interesting as you go through the other matches. In the first group I find I have genetic relatives in the following places:

England 109
Ireland 34
Germany 33
Scotland 13
Netherlands 4
France 4
Poland 2

and Spain, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Slovakia, the USA and South Africa all feature as well. (There are many more as well, but I have been selective!) At the first step mutation group this process becomes even more interesting, because the numbers for the countries above increase dramatically, but a whole lot more join the list. So I find that I now have genetic relations in:

Australia, Belgium, Bohemia, Denmark, Iceland, Greenland, Hungary, Iran, Polynesia, Sweden, the Ukraine, Slovakia and Shetland and many more. At the two-step mutation, the above are joined by genetic relations in Belarus, Siberia and Romani among many more which include China, the Melanesia, the Balkans and the Americas.

Now some of that can be ascribed to the fact that we are a family who have served the Crown in many lands through the centuries, either at sea or in the various armies sent abroad to settle or occupy territory so we have left genetic markers which show up now. One of the more interesting discoveries has been that of a Quaker family of my surname - who emigrated with the Pilgrim Fathers, though probably not on the same ship. They orginate from near where I live (a friend lives in the "Old 'Friends' House - the former Quaker Meeting House in Tewkesbury.) and photos from the late 1890's and early 1900's show remarkable family resemblances to me, my brother and my parents and grandparents! Quite scary in one sense, but an astonishing link in the overall family history chain.

The project is still incomplete, and I would definitely urge everyone who reads this to make the effort and to take the plunge - contribute your DNA. For me, it has shown just how close a family we all are, just how closely related we all are and how we have spread around the globe. Go here to sign up now.

Posted by The Gray Monk at September 6, 2005 10:04 AM

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I am still waiting on my results. :( They have had to send mine off for more detailed testing. I think it just proves that I am a Mutt

Posted by: skipjack at September 7, 2005 09:10 AM

I should take that as an indication that they have something that has meant they need to look at something else - who knows, it may also mean that you are a "new" marker! I hope you will share your results when they come!

Posted by: The Gray Monk at September 8, 2005 09:55 AM