Monday, 18 April 2011

Y - DNA Haplogroup tree

To the best of my knowledge only two of us in the McIlhagga clan have had our DNA analysed. To my gratification the personal 37-marker result for each of us is identical. A particular Y chromosome result is known by an M(arker) number and ours in M335. This indicates the place where a common ancestor probably originated and how many people are known with this Marker in a particular place, say Scotland. I am at present reading a book entitled The Scots, A Genetic Journey by Alistair Moffat and James F. Wilson, and I am interested to see whether M335 gets a mention - though not in the first 60 pages! The American firm which does the DNA analysis has drawn a 'Marker' Tree to show how the different numbered markers relate to one another. This tree seems to make it clear that the McIlhagga M335 is very rare and is found in very few people! And it indicates that it originates in Anatolia - the middle of Turkey! (though as we know in dim pre-history everything came from Africa). The book I am reading does however say (p.58), with reference to another Marker (423), which it calls the Scots founding lineage, that it could have arrived in Scotland about 6000 BC, having crossed the Bosphorus from Anatolia, then along the great river valleys of Central Europe, the Danube and the Rhine. This of course is in the period when Britain was not divided from the rest of Europe by the English Channel, and the Rhine virtually joined up with the Thames.

Having noted this place for a possible common ancestor, I have to say it is based on the developing science of Genetic Migration, and this is what I understood from the 2010 Y-DNA Tree. On 21 March this year many groups were updated by recent research, including our Haplogroup clade, which is R1b1c (Haplogroup is a population descended from a Common Ancestor, and a clade is a sub-section of it). The result is that our origins are now said to be found most frequently in SW Asia and Africa and the African examples are associated with the spread of the Chadic languages. This is the result of research from an Italian University and published in the Jan 6th 2010 issue of the European Journal of Human Genetics. An abstract of this article states that '(a)lthough human Y chromosomes belonging to the haplogroup R1b are quite rare in Africa, being found mostly in Asia and Europe [like the McIlhaggas] ...(t)he analysis of the distribution of the R-V88 (this code seems to have replace M335) haplogroup in >1800 males from 69 African populations revealed a striking genetic contiguity between the Chadic-speaking peoples from the central Sahel and several other Afroasiatic speaking groups from North Africa'. This is due to what is called 'back-migration' from Asia to Africa in prehistoric times.

Now all this is very interesting, but we (of the McIlhagga clan) have to conclude that despite the 'back-migration' some continuing east to west migration must have taken place which included some at least of our clan. The fact that some of us have the same DNA as Chadic speakers in the Lake Chad basin is amazing, if not mind-blowing! Where we go from here I don't know. Hopefully someone will do some work on 'M335' or 'V88' in the European population and enlighten us further.

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