Vol. 1 No. 8 Nov 2008

From the Director
In Search Of: Native American DNA
     As befitting to commemorate National American Indian Heritage Month
in the United States, I thought I would cover the topic of Native American DNA
(NA DNA).  If you have Native American ancestors, then DNA from those
ancestors may or may not show up in your DNA. 
     Sometimes, the DNA results are clear cut in the affirmative for NA DNA and
other times, the results are ambiguous.  If you are mtDNA A, B, C, D, or sometimes
X (the defining mutation in Hg X is 16213A) then you can pretty much rest assured that you are native on your direct maternal line back. In some instances, it may
even come as a surprise to discover one of these haplogroups as it did for Marie Rundquist.  Marie had no knowledge of her NA ancestry until her results came in
from the Genographic Project.  Her haplogroup A result prompted Marie to research her ancestry which she chronicles in "Finding Anne-Marie".  For males, a Y-chromosome haplogroup Q1a3a (M3 SNP) result can indicate NA ancestry on the direct paternal line.
     If the NA DNA is not on a direct maternal or paternal line, it may still show up
in an autosomal DNA test.  There are various kinds of these tests available, from
ones that may give you a pie chart percentage of NA heritage to a new test offered
by Family Tree DNA where you can test a sole marker D9S919; if the result is 9-9 then you are positive for a NA marker.  You may ask, "If I do not have a 9-9 does
that mean I am not NA?" and the answer is not necessarily.  With the unpredictability of recombinant DNA, while that marker has a different value in you, your own sibling can have differing results.  The less ambiguous route would be to locate a cousin on the direct gender line from the NA ancestor to mtDNA or Y-DNA test.

-Katherine Borges
ISOGG Director

The Armchair Geneticist
Oct 2008

     A new mitochondrial DNA phylogenetic tree chart was published in Human Mutation. Contained in the supplementary data at http://www.phylotree.org/ 
(unzip the Build 2 file) the chart makes extensive use of Jim Logan's haplogroup J research with citation in the associated reference material.  The research cited is
from Jim's paper published in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy The Subclades of mtDNA Haplogroup J and Proposed Motifs for Assigning Control-Region Sequences into These Clades.

Notable Awards

The Retail DNA Test Named Invention of the Year
Congratulations to 23andMe, a personal genomics company that launched late last year and is headquartered in Mountain View, California.  TIME magazine named
23andMe's "retail DNA test" the #1 Invention of the Year for 2008 out of a list of 50 inventions.  As the article acknowledges, "Although 23andMe isn't the only company selling DNA tests to the public, it does the best job of making them accessible and affordable" with over 600,000 genetic markers analyzed. 
     While the 23andMe test primarily contains health related information, the test does have mtDNA and some deep SNP ancestral data being utilized by genetic genealogists.  23andMe's blog, The Spittoon, contains more information on these uses.

Featured DNA Project

The Mothers of Acadia mtDNA Project
By Lucie LeBlanc Consentino    

The Mothers of Acadia mtDNA Project concerns a small group of women who in the mid-1600s helped to pioneer a new land called Acadia (now Nova Scotia). After one hundred plus years of living in this country, these women along with their families were deported, exiled and/or imprisoned by the British. At the time of Deportation along with their homes and their lands, most records were lost and or destroyed by the aggressors. This has resulted in very difficult genealogical research regarding our Acadian ancestors.

     Because of the lost and destroyed records a great deal of discussion has gone on as to whether the Founding Mothers of Acadia might have been European or Native. Our genealogical research consists of seventy-eight Acadian founding mothers – some had no progeny while others had no descendants alive today who can be tested. At this time, we have received mtDNA results for all but a few of these founding mothers.
     The Mothers of Acadia mtDNA Project has allowed us to look into the past, so to speak, in that it has helped us put that huge discussion to rest. Those of us involved in this project were open to whatever the results would yield. The results tell us that except for those who had already been identified as Native ancestors, the bulk of them were from Europe. This has long been expounded by the well-renowned Acadian genealogist Stephen A. White.
     As stated, Acadian genealogy is difficult at best given the years of exile 1755-1763 when some had died and other families were never heard from again. Therefore, Acadian genealogy has been “reconstructed” and for the most part a great deal of it is correct. However, as the mtDNA database for these Acadian women has grown, the results have also helped to correct some long standing genealogical errors. It has become a win-win for the Acadian genealogical community.
Click here for a Mothers of Acadia DNA success story by Peggy Carter Wehe

DNA in the News

Copernicus' remains and grave found - MSNBC - 20 Nov 2008
Man achieves royalty - The Free-Lance Star - 17 Nov 2008
Stone-age nuclear family unearthed - MSNBC - 17 Nov 2008
What's in your genes? - NY Post - 12 Nov 2008 Testing chart

50 Best Inventions 2008: The Retail DNA Test - TIME Magazine - Nov 2008
Phoenician Blood Endures 3,000 Years, DNA Study Shows - National Geographic - 30 Oct 2008

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