Sunday, March 02, 2014

DNA Results Are In : Surprise ?

Just received the email from 23andme telling me that they have finished analyzing the DNA sample that I recently sent them.  As I indicated earlier, though most of my ancestry is known, the fact that my maternal great-grandmother's ancestry is unknown has made me curious to find out what my genetic makeup is all about.

The DNA test at 23andme tests your paternal and maternal ancestry, as well as compares your DNA to the over 500,000 others in the database.  I'm hoping that I can make some connections with other distant cousins through this service.  They also compile a chart of showing the percentages of your DNA that match others in specific regions.

My paternal haplogroup is I1 (Y-DNA) and my maternal haplogroup is T2b (mtDNA).  Each haplogroup has certain characteristics that are common to all members of that haplogroup.  The Wikipedia entry for haplogroup explains it much better.  Remember, Y-DNA is only passed from father to son, while mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is passed from the mother to her offspring.
The haplogroups can be traced by looking at the geographic distribution of a particular mutation.

Results say that my Y-DNA Haplogroup I1, features a mutation going back 28,000 years in the region of Northern Europe.  Example populations given are Finns, Norwegians and Swedes.  The highest frequency of this particular haplogroup is found in Scandinavia.

Results say that my mtDNA Haplogroup T2b, features a mutation going back less than 33,000 years in Europe and the near East.  Example populations given are Northern Europeans and Spanish.  They noted that the outlaw Jesse James carried mtDNA from Haplogroup T2.

These results weren't really that surprising, with most of my paper-trail genealogy indication roots in Europe (predominately German and English).  My mother's side showing a haplogroup that might be found in Spanish populations was interesting, but not unexpected.

23andme gives you a chart called the Ancestry Composition, where they try to break down the percentages of your DNA that comes from populations worldwide.  

These results were interesting - 99.8% European was no surprise, but the 0.1% sub-Saharan African was.  There is a small percentage unassigned.  I'm not surprised that the largest percentage was non-specific European, followed by British & Irish, but the small percentages of Scandinavian and Finnish are intriguing.  The 1.1% non-specific southern European and the 0.3% Iberian are truly interesting as well.  I assume they come through my unknown maternal great-grandmother, but who knows?  The best way to find out would be to have both my parents tested as well.

What all of this means for my result is really unknown at this point.  Eileen is getting ready to send in her test as well, it will be interesting to compare the results.

Their results also said that I share 2.8% Neanderthal DNA.  That is, my DNA was compared to DNA samples taken from Neanderthals and my percentage match was slightly higher than the average 23andme user, who comes in at 2.7%.

The DNA Relatives part of the data is the one that I'm the most excited about - the possibility of connecting with other cousins to share research.  These won't just be paper cousins, they will be proven genetic cousins.  Crazy thing was that it showed 994 matches!  Of first two closest matches, which the company says were are probably 3rd to 4th cousins, one says his family is from Jay County, Indiana and the other from Geneva, Indiana (right next to Jay County).  My father's line is from Jay County, Indiana and I have deep roots there. One gentleman has a surname that I recognize from my database, and I project we are exactly 3rd cousins.  Will be reaching out to these gentleman, as well as the other who match to see where our paper trails meet.

The top locations listed for a match include England, Scotland, Ireland and then Texas, Virginia, New York, Ohio and Indiana.  

I'm going to continue to dig into this data, including the DNA relatives, and reach out to a few that look like we share a surname in our genealogy in common.

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