I am not a geneticist. In this article I’m going to pose a couple of questions that are baffling and fascinating to me. I realize that I can ensconce myself in a university library and learn all about it. I’m humble enough to know that I’d need a ton of explanation by someone who knows what they are doing and still wouldn’t understand it all. But then this post would be a scientific journal and you’d all be snoozing in about a minute.
Here’s a quick recap of my genealogy/DNA journey. I’ve been working on my genealogy for a couple of years. I found some really cool and some really horrifying results.
I actually apologized to a reader the other day because I’m related to Cotton Mather and her ancestor was someone burned at the stake in Salem, Massachusetts, 10 generations ago. I actually felt GUILTY. Even for me, that’s taking guilt to an extreme.
At any rate, I sent in my saliva to Ancestry DNA and then to the National Geographic Genographic Project, which seems to be much more specific that Ancestry. And it shows migration patterns in great detail. AncestryDNA appears to be copying that with their Genetic Communities.
Then I started using the GED Match Tool for Genealogy. With this tool, one can upload the raw DNA data from any of the tests out there and it compares your DNA with others that have used this. You can get results showing graphics (your matches on each chromosome which look like a bar code) and positions, meaning possible distance from a shared ancestor. Most people matched to my DNA come up as 4th-5th cousins. Has anyone else tried this yet?
My 1st cousin’s son just did his and he comes up as 2.5 generations. Which is kind of accurate if you go back to our direct shared ancestor who is my grandfather and his great-grandfather. We share a ton of chromosome matches. Our chromosomes look almost like the same person.
So here are my burning questions.
1. What’s up with the 12th chromosome?
2. Why is my maternal haplogroup so odd?
When I look at the DNA results by chromosome from my possible relatives, while we share parts of more than one chromosome, we share more parts (that isn’t the right word) of the 12th chromosome in many cases. What the heck is the 12th chromosome?
I’m hoping that’s the one that means you’re really cool.
As to the other question, I share a maternal haplogroup with only 0.6% of all people who have participated in this study. I looked at that figure and said WOW THAT’S CRAZY AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT MEANS.
According to The Genographic Project “Modern humans started to leave Africa between 60,000 and 70,000 years ago. They traveled in groups, taking different paths and arriving at different destinations. These journeys can be traced through DNA “markers” that form the human genetic tree. Based on these personal markers, each person alive today can be assigned to a specific haplogroup, which identifies their branch on the tree.”
Only 0.6% !!
I feel like my maternal ancestor from a kazillion years ago must have been lost for a while and then found her way back. Or everyone died off in my branch except one exceptionally strong woman who wasn’t going to end our line no matter what.
I really want my son and daughters to take this test. Women can only trace their maternal line because we don’t have the Y chromosome that men do, so our results don’t seem as accurate as men’s. I should push my brothers to take the tests. Siblings aren’t the same as we can have more traits of one ancestor than another, but the results would be fascinating.
So those are my burning questions. What does the 12th chromosome represent and why is my maternal haplogroup percentage so small?
Not my normal questions for a sunny day on vacation.