Vol. 1 No. 4 Jun/Jul 2008
From the Director
The genetic genealogy community suffered an irreplaceable loss in the
Leo Little on Wednesday, May 21, 2008. Leo
was an early
pioneer in genetic genealogy; his work helping hundreds, if
Of special interest to Leo was researching nulls on DYS
439. Leo founded
the first null study at Family Tree DNA and
successfully recruited hundreds
of participants. While his forte
was the null 439, Leo also compiled many
pages of helpful tools and
resources for genetic genealogists. Among them:
Y-STR Allele Frequencies for haplogroups - A table
that lists the
frequency a marker occurs in a particular haplogroup
Interactive SMGF (FTDNA order) Search Utility -
Allows users to search
the SMGF database using their results in FTDNA
Eclectic Genetic Genealogy Information
Leo was a mentor and friend to many in the genetic
genealogy community and will be greatly missed. His work with null
439 will carry on and his compilations will continue to help many a
newcomer to genetic genealogy.
On May 21, President Bush signed the Genetic
Information and Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) into law. Family
Tree DNA has an excellent outline of GINA's protections on their
However, an article in
GenomeWeb Daily News reported that, "The law will not be
implemented immediately. The health insurance protections are expected
to begin in about a year and the employment rules are to take full
effect in about a year and a half, according to Genetic Alliance."
Even so, our gratitude goes to Senator Harry Reid (NV) for bringing GINA
to a floor vote, to all Senators and House Reps. who voted "Yes" on GINA, to Senator Louise Slaughter (NY)
for authoring the bill, to President Bush for signing it into law, and
to all constituents who wrote in support of GINA.
A null produces a value of zero on an allele (marker) and can occur due to
missing genetic material. A single nucleotide polymorphism
(SNP) in the flanking region can also cause a null result.
the most prevalent and thoroughly researched nulls occurs in DYS 439 (see
below). Another frequently occurring null is DYS 425.
Charles Kerchner founded the
Project in 2007. The cause of the null 425 is attributed to
a RecLOH event which is the result of a missing SNP (a 't' is missing)
This can be verified by the DYF371X test which will return a result
of all 'c's for null 425s.
null, although much less frequently occurring, is DYS 448.
In 2006, Family Tree DNA had approximately thirty null 448s in their
database. Perhaps one of the largest family groupings to have the
null 448 are the Tuckers. Further testing through the FTDNA
Genomics Research Center on the Tuckers' null 448 reveals the cause to be
missing genetic material. This deletion has been passed down
through the Tuckers (ChasCitCo Group) by a common ancestor.
The Tuckers are haplogroup R1a and the null 448 has also appeared in
haplogroups R1b and E1b. Interestingly, a recent study published
May 2008, "Dynamic nature of the proximal AZFc region of the human Y
chromosome: multiple independent deletion and duplication events
revealed by microsatellite analysis" by Balaresque, et al. did not
contain any samples with a null 448 in the R haplogroup.
a null database in which members have entered their null allele values.
Null values have been recorded for the following markers: 390, 425, 426,
441, 448, 449, 464,
565, 607, H4, YCA II a/b.
term "null" is not applied when referring to a deletion in mitochondrial
DNA, these deletions do rarely occur. A new study recently
Novel 154-bp Deletion in the Human Mitochondrial DNA Control Region in
Healthy Individuals" by D. Behar, et al. chronicles such a
deletion discovered through public participation in the Genographic
(For definitions, see the
DNA in the News
Cavemen and their relatives in the same village after 3,000 years
- TimesOnline - 15 Jul 2008
Traces of the Distant Past - Scientific American - Jul 2008
Adoptees use DNA to find surname
- BBC News - 18 Jun 2008
Ancient Hair Reveals Greenland Eskimos' Roots
- NPR - 30 May 2008
For more articles:
the Southern California Genealogy Society Jamboree
Who Do You Think You Are?
(Canada) - Measha Brueggergosman - CBC
Need a DNA Speaker?:
For upcoming DNA Presentations:
The Null 439 DNA Project
Leo Little founded the
Null 439 Project
on 1 August 2006 but his research on the null 439 began much earlier.
He first learned of his null value in October 2002 and when one of his
Little cousins tested in 2003, Leo learned that the cousin also had the
null. Other surnames began turning up with the null and
further research on the null was conducted by the University of Arizona
lab in 2004. The results revealed that the null was caused by a
SNP in the flanking region as opposed to a deletion. U of A named
the SNP "L1" AKA "The Little SNP". Taylor Edwards gave a
presentation that included "The Little SNP" at the 2005 2nd
International Conference on Genetic Genealogy in Washington, D.C.
James Fox joined the Null 439 Project as a co-administrator in 2007 and
with Leo's passing, now administers the project with Blaine Bettinger.
All null 439s are welcome to join!
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