Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2009-12 > 1260250514

From: David Faux <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] R-U152 and R-L21 on the European Continent
Date: Mon, 7 Dec 2009 21:35:14 -0800
References: <><><><006701ca76ef$d0ab50b0$7201f210$@org><><>
In-Reply-To: <>

John, as to "deep rooted pedigrees", is there really such an entity, or is
it a bit of an illusion built upon some observations which fit a theoretical
framework, but for which there is no conclusive paper trail evidence. Is
there a single person alive today who has an unbroken genealogical trail to
Somerled? I agree fully that the Clan Donald are descendants of the family
of a person who has what has been termed the Somerled motif - but Somerled
himself and he alone? I suspect strongly that Dr. McDonald is correct, much
as I believe that I am correct about the link between R-U152 and the Cimbri
Tribe of Jutland and SE Norway. Beyond that the level of "certainty" falls
off precipitously.

Approximately 40% of Norwegian R1a1* have the unique (found almost
exclusively in Scandinavia and colonies) DYS389a,b=14,31 and YCAIIa,b=19,21,
the same as the Somerled group. All of the R1a1* men with aboriginal
surnames in my Shetland Islands Project (including my Uncle) possess this
motif. When it arose or even where it arose (I have proposed the Altai
Mountains based on haplotype similarities and other evidence) are unknown.
So my Uncle Williamson and a McDonald male descend from the same lineage but
when the split occured is anyone's guess - at least there is no documentary
evidence of which I am aware. Therefore how can this data be used to
bolster the belief that the mutation rates of today were the mutation rates
of 3000 years ago?

David K. Faux.

On Mon, Dec 7, 2009 at 7:04 PM, John Chandler <>wrote:

> David wrote:
> > Perhaps it is necessary to turn to the chemistry of the system to
> understand
> > why it is a weak assumption to take a snapshot of what is evident from
> today
> > (e.g., via father - son observation of mutation rates), and say that it
> must
> > have been so in the past. The more I learn about the process of
> > methylation, and the role of histones in gene expression and other
> genetic
> > mechanisms, the more it becomes apparent that environmental factors
> (which
> > of course have not been constant over the eons) can impact on what occurs
> at
> > the genomic level.
> Basically, you are proposing to throw out the "baby" and keep only the
> "bath water". Any and every conceivable calibration method for age
> calculations must be anchored by measurement of the known -- i.e., the
> present day. If you give up the assumption that the present day is
> representative of the past, you have no basis for any calculation at
> all. Ever. The fact is that we already have a window into the past
> provided by deep-rooted pedigrees, and the mutation rates calculated
> from pedigrees are *not* subject to a Zhivotovsky-like fudge factor.
> Indeed, the Somerled pedigree covers roughly the same time depth as
> the case studies used by Z et al. Some time ago, Doug reported a
> curious fact about the Clan Donald results -- counting actual
> mutations corresponding to actually documented meioses produced an
> average mutation rate consistent with other pedigree-based and
> father-son-based estimates, *but* taking the variance of all McDonalds
> and kin without regard to how they are actually related came up with a
> significantly lower estimate. What this tells us is that the past is
> pretty much like the present, as far as we can tell, but that the
> details of population history are crucial in intraclade age
> calculations. The fact that the details are unknown in most cases
> means that intraclade ages simply cannot be calculated in general. At
> best, such ages can be bounded.
> John Chandler

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