Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2006-12 > 1166035347

From: "Aaron Hill" <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Ellen's Paper
Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2006 18:42:27 +0000
In-Reply-To: <>


I am not arguing either side of this thing because I really don't know.
However, Ellen uses the same DNA evidence the other researchers use. DNA
samples that she argues are too small to be representative. Then, she
proceeds to create a new hypothesis based on this.

My major argument is that creating such a theory on such limited samples is
a bad idea, whether you support continuity or discontinuity. In my opinion,
it is much more likely to have a mixture for evidence of both. Some
communities (or tribes or whatever) were sometimes replaced while others
were not. Parts of Ellen's paper support this conclusion.


From: David Faux <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Ellen's Paper
Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2006 09:00:39 -0800 (PST)

If the flaws in her paper are "fatal," then that means they are fatal to the
main points of her argument, i.e., that the genetic make-up of the modern
population of Europe is not necessarily the same as that of the prehistoric
population and that one should exercise caution in making assertions solely
on that basis.

Will you be arguing that the modern population of Europe gives us an
accurate picture, in genetic terms, of what the prehistoric population was

If you will, it seems to me you will be battling common sense, as well as
the force of Ellen's arguments, which I found quite compelling.



I don't know what Aaron has up his sleeve, but I believe that one of the
main data source props underlying Ellen's thesis has already been knocked
out. Here the realization is that the ancient DNA found in the Basque
country, rather than suggesting a discontinuity of early people with those
residing in that location today, is consistent with continuity. The ancient
DNA samples which "appear to be" haplogroup N1a or J, not seen in the Basque
Region today, are better explained as samples "ravaged by time" so that
specifically the post mortum damage selectively alters hotspot regions such
as 16223 and 16069 giving the illusion of a "real mutation" there leading to
a misidentification of haplogroup H and V ancient samples as N1a or J. This
argument has been cogently made by Thomas et al. in their 2003 publication
in AJHG which I noted previously.

We need to wait a short while for a few key technological advances. Soon we
will stand on firmer ground when using ancient DNA samples to "prove a
point". It will not be long before we have the technological capability
to"repair" and amplify nuclear DNA including the Y-chromosome; as well as
surmounting the problems with mtDNA postmortem damage. I hypothesize that
the samples from the Basque Region will carry the P25 or M343 or possibly
the M269 Y-SNP marker and hence identifying most of the ancient male samples
as R1b - so ultimately representing precisely the same configuration of
Y-DNA and mtDNA as we see today in that geographical area. Continuity

Although I have the greatest of respect for Ellen's views, she and I
consistently view the data from different angles (except re Jewish genetic
history where we totally agree). The Neolithic demic diffusion or wave of
advance of agriculturalists from the Fertile Crescent does not explain the
presence of E3b and J in Britain - that is how I see it. Did agriculture
arrive in Britain due to a migration of people or ideas? I am perfectly
willing to accept the former to a degree, but with each passing generation
and each mile the wave included fewer male line descendants of these
Neolithic farmers as they came up against the sheer weight of numbers of
long established people (R1b) reflected in the west to east cline we see
today. Hence in the 5000 years it took for agriculture to reach Britain the
stage was set where ultimately the ones to carry agriculture to Britain were
Continental R1b - and probably few of these - cultural diffusion of ideas
being sufficient to explain
the hop of agriculture across the Channel.

It is important to have differing views presented as a friendly respectful
dialogue. The beauty of the field that intrests us is that technological
advances will eventually clarify most of the matters that are of concern.
We can already identify samples in a 2000 year Mongolian necropolis as
having "classic" R1a haplotypes. With history, unless a new source comes to
light, we can simply argue back and forth about what Herodotus or other
classical author really meant in for example describing the Hyperboreans.

David Faux.

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