Friday, 13 May 2011

DNA Update

Kelso Abbey, The Scottish Borders

This blog supercedes the one I wrote on 18th April, last month. The firm called , which I used to analyse my DNA, each year republishes what it calls its Haplogroup Tree which shows how one person's DNA relates to another's. The 2011 tree has been published and, if I understand the prompts from my own DNA result correctly, it significantly changes the 'coding' which I had been previously given, and to which I have referred in earlier blogs. It seems to have introduced a new sub-group for my (McIlhagga) DNA. It uses the detailed code R1b1a2* which is part of the larger category M269. Its own commentary on this category is brief, namely: 'Observed most frequently in Europe, especially Western Europe, but with notable frequency in Southwest Asia. R1b1a2 - M269 is estimated to have arisen approximately 4000 - 8000 years ago in south west Asia and to have spread into Europe from there'.

Alister Moffat and James F. Wilson, in their recent The Scots, A Genetic Journey, Birlinn, 2011, p.66f., write as follows: 'The M269 marker... is predominant in Scotland with 70% of men carrying it. It does originate in south-west Asia... (and) what persuades geneticists and historians that (it) was the farmers' marker is its very rapid multiplication and spread. How did that happen? How did M269 get to be common so quickly? The overwhelming likelihood is that it came to Balbridie, Claish, Kelso and elsewhere, and, as farming was rapidly and successfully adopted, immigrant pioneers took native women as partners.... . The arrival of M269 represents the most influential immigration in all our history.... . Many sub-lineages from the M269 group have been recognised, some of them arriving in Scotland later (sometimes from Ireland, where they had existed since pre-farming times)'.

The sub-group of M269, coded R1b1a2* appears to be very rare. There are still only two in the database, both McIlhagga's, and conceivably it could have come into Scotland via Ireland. Isn't it interesting that Moffat and Wilson name Kelso when one of the Medieval references to our name is in the Annals of Kelso Abbey?

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