Thursday, 6 November 2008

I am J2

Well, I got Genographics' results about my paternal (Y-Chromosome) haplogroup.
I am J2 and I am surprised. I expected a more common group, either R1b (Western European) or Northwestern African (Berbers?) or perhaps a black ancestor. Only 10% of Spaniards have that group (from where part of my family came over 150 years or more ago). Lots of Greeks, perhaps descendants of Phoenicians and some Turks, lots of Jews and populations of the Fertile Crescent. That haplogroup originated in the Fertile Crescent around 10000 years ago.

From Wikipedia:

Haplogroup J2 is found mainly in the Fertile Crescent, the Mediterranean (including Southern Europe and North Africa), the Iranian plateau and Central Asia[1]. More specifically it is found in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Israel, Greece, Italy and the eastern coasts of the Iberian Peninsula[8], and more frequently in Iraqis 29.7% (Sanchez et al. 2005), Lebanese 29.7% (wells et al. 2001), Syrians 29%, Sephardic Jews 29%, Kurds 28.4% , Province of Kurdistan (28.4% of the population)[1], Saudi Arabia (18.9% of the northern and central-north region)[citation needed], in South Arabia (Oman, Yemen, UAE) 9.7%[9], in Jordan, in Israel[1], in Turkey [2], and in the southern Caucasus region [10]. According to Semino et al and the National Geographic Genographic Project, the frequency of haplogroup J2 generally declines as one moves away from the Northern fertile crescent. Haplogroup J2 is carried by 6% of Europeans and its frequency drops dramatically as one moves northward away from the Mediterranean.
This suggests that, if the occurrence of Haplogroup J among modern populations of Europe, Central Asia, and South Asia does reflect Neolithic demic diffusion from the Middle East, the source population is more likely to have originated from Anatolia, the Levant or northern Mesopotamia than from regions further south.
Haplogroup J2a-M410 in India is largely confined to the upper castes with little occurrence in the middle and lower castes and is completely absent from south Indian tribes and middle and lower castes."

Cool...I want to find out about my mother's side.


  1. That is very cool. Is the test very costly?
    I am trying to recall the name of a Venezuelan who did some DNA testing on Venezuelan tribes, mainly the Wiyuu/ Wayuu. She found Chinese DNA. It is more interesting when you know the Ye'kwanas have legends describing wiyuus as non-human spirit beings. They tell the children the wiyuus impersonate men, but get the color of the skin wrong. The wiyuus will try and lure you away with offers of many things and you will never be seen again.

  2. The test is $99, I think. There is a reduction if you buy two (one for father, one for mother). It depends a bit on the country, I was ordering from Europe, I did not pay extra taxes, but I read somewhere a Spaniard did when ordering from Spain (and we are in the same EU!).

    It allows one to test either the father's father's father's father's side or your mother's mother's mother's side.
    As you are a woman, you cannot test for your father's father's father's side: the female part we all have in our mitochondrial DNA, but the male part only men have in their Y chromosome. You would need to find a male from your family (if you have a brother, your dad or his dad or an uncle, if alive).
    So: your daughter and your son have the very same mDNA as you (and your maternal grand(100)mother). Your son also has the same Y-DNA of his grandgrandgrandgrandgrandfather on his father's side, but your daughter has no Y-DNA (neither you)

    The $99 includes the test (one side only, I think important reduction if both ordered),
    plus an interesting video and some money is donated to some ethnic (usually Indian/Bushmen/some isolated group) project (see in Genographic)

    Lots of Americans, specially Latin Americans, have maternal Indian ancestry. Usually it is maternal because Europeans, unfortunately, were either the conquerors/big settlers/rapers.
    I read of a study about Puerto Rico, which is a country where the Indian population was wiped out fairly fast...but apparently not completely. Although most people look rather mulato, black or white, there is a lot of mDNA from Indians.

    In my cases things must have been like some Greek/Phoenician or similar ancestors in Spain, unless it was already a movement that reached Spain at Neolithic times, but it originated one way or the other in the area of the Fertile Crescent...or some converted Jew or some Syrian or Lebanese who arrived via Islam invasion of Spain (not from Arabia, but from the North, Levantine area or the like). I may find a bit more later on as the project goes on. There are some tests one could later pay and some open data bases where one can compare which people in the world have similar imprinting without paying further, but you don't get many details without further test. Still, you know quiet some and more data may be added as the project expands.

    I think it is fair to ask for a contributions from everyone who wants to find out as the results will be valid for several people.

  3. That person you know may have got probably mDNA haplogroup B (or A, C, D or X). Those groups are either special subgroups of Asian ones or, in the case of X, a group that is still found in Asia.

    As you well know, many Indians are amazingly similar to some Asians, but there is also a lot of variance between Indians (even if Europeans don't see it): nose types, colour, cheekbones, etc.

    Look at this:

    My sister is "la china" for us. As Alejandro said, his mother, from Carabobo, had an Indian haplogroup (and thus he himself), even if, as you know, there are no Indians anymore there.

  4. Well, as I said, I would find it also very fascinating if scientists could test every Arawak group in Venezuela (few left but for the Wayuu) and every Carib tribe and then see the genetic distance between them and try to see if there is something there from their myths (this is touchy, though). Perhaps they descend from groups that were already separated before they arrived in North America, perhaps they split somewhere on their journey from Siberia through current US/Canada/Central America/South America 5000, 8000 years ago (again, I don't think the marker there is still very precise).

    Have you thought of contacting Empresas Polar for your book on Indians? They are not Chavistas, you know.

  5. I am first writing a book for Christians involving the missionary experience which will be published by our mission board.
    I have much material in regards to the culture and language of the Ye'kwanas. This would be beneficial to others at some point, once the Chavistas are gone.
    I doubt you have heard of a small book, written in the 70's, by a third generation baptist missionary from China entitled 'Asiatic Fathers of America'. At it's printing it gained little interest but has since become more popular.
    It came to light a few years ago that he had in his possession several ancient Chinese maps. These were found to be authentic by the Library of Congress. His son had these valuables maps stored in a box under his bed for decades!
    I do not presume to say the Chinese tales and maps which show Brazil are necessarily definitive, but none the less, it is good reading.

  6. No, when I was a child I read a book about Bill Wallace under Chinese communism (thus XX century). You probably know of him.

    I have heard and read a wee bit about Zheng He, the Muslim Chinese who expanded China's vision of the world. There are some speculations about possible trips to America, but nothing sure. There is something in Wikipedia English, but it is rubbish.

    I read some Japanese may have ended up in North America with shipwrecks in the last centuries, but all that is fairly recent.

    Humans have been in the Americas
    well over 10000 years ago :-),
    even if after that there are some discussions.
    Up to 11000 Canada was permanently covered in snow and ice (now only half the year) during the last Glaciation, so archeologists are thinking of at least two waves: pre-last Glaciation and after it.
    There is an interesting book on that, Out of Eden, although it can be perhaps too "detailed"
    (one's vision may become full of haplogroups and genetic loci)

    On models of inmigration to the New World:


  7. These maps actually pre-date Zheng He, but it is interesting that in regards to the Wayuu, they are the tribe which is now converting to Islam as it is very much in line with their 'native' religion. Interesting, no?
    I enjoy the study of History and do like to play mental 'What if' games. I am not presuming to say it is more than a coincidence.

  8. Well, if Zheng He really ever reached the Americas I don't think he made it to the Zulia region. Then I don't think he would be converting people. He was part of the Chinese mechanism in spite of his origin and they are not much into that, most of his people around him were anyway Han Chinese.

    If the Shia missionaries are using that technique I would not be surprised, that would be a pity. But is it close to their "native religion"? I don't know anything about their customs in particular, but apart from much less rights to women in many Indian societies (not going alone, etc), I cannot imagine their religions as being close to Islam.
    Anyway, I wanted to put here some genetic history of a Venezuelan.
    I will now order the kit to do the maternal line. Will it be Native American, European or African? Don't know...suspense.
    History is indeed fascinating and it is more present than most people think.
    Nice day

    Alejandro, if you are out there:
    did you get some updates after loading your data to y-search? Did you expand with Family Tree DNA to 37 markers or something? (that does cost some dosh)
    I am thinking also about going into the haplotype and finding out what subgroup of J2 I have, but I reckon the haplotype classification is not yet quite researched and I may very well wait a couple of years.

  9. JM,
    Could you tell me via email if you have some more accounts on those Shia in Venezuela? I have read some on the Internet and I did notice a sudden amount of Muslim Arabs with conservative clothes, veils and stuff, something we never saw before in Venezuela. But the Shia getting in Zulia is really something very...let's say worrying.


  10. There are many reasons.

    Firstly: I am a software engineer but I enjoy understanding about genetics and here I can see it on a sample I am carrying with me all the time, my DNA. I want to know how information about us, about our and everybody's history is coded, what it tells us about our past.

    Our past is part of mankind's past. It helps us understand how we came to be, what made us different and whether we want to accept it or not, much more than our free feel has made us. The world is not completely deterministic, but it is not free will 100% either.

    What you consider abstract is for me very present, it has influenced much more than many people think what the world is nowadays. It also allows to see what kind of rules may be very steady and what not, what kind of permanent patterns there are, where social is distinguished from biology.

    Genetics connected to history is not about collecting black and white pictures and labeling them as 'great-auntie Jessica' or 'grand-grand-dad Joe'.

    Those histories do not necessarily have to do about me. I find it interesting understanding how mankind populated the Americas, how we mingled in Europe, how we
    interacted through millenia.
    It gives me more levels of looking at societies. One level or dimension does not exclude any other.

    History is just about names of kings and treatises. I find it specially interesting to understand the history of ideas and even though we may or may not be ancestors of this or that person, the genetic connections allow us to trace back history, to find out where different people were living, to imagine how they live and what kind of environments they were confronted with.

    I know well the recent history of my family and the conditions they grew up in: the food, the climate, the economic motivations, but the records then get lost.

    Now I have a link, one of many, it is true, about a distant past. Both help me to put further pieces together and understand some things in between, imagine how things were, what paths were taken, what adventures people may have gone through.

    History is more than just a fiction book. It is real, it is completely connected to all of us and it can also help us to understand the future. Free will and wishes does not rule or diminish the other.

    It is exciting to use natural sciences to improve the gaps we have of history and to get clues from history to see where we can use scientific methods to prove theories (like where to look first for some genome if we have the stories of possible Phoenician settlements)

  11. Sorry, I meant to say history is NOT just about names of kings...

    Even Asians have asked my sister where in China or Japan she is from and she is Venezuelan but she got more of the Indian trail than I did.
    We are not sure about which way it came from, but very possible from my grandmother. If I find it out in my mDNA, I will know something about Indians in my Venezuelan region as well. If the mDNA turns out to be European, the story would be something else, but it will also tell us something, the same if it is black African.
    As Alejandro made the test and he found out his mother, who is also an old Carabobena, has Indian blood, we can get some pattern there: if both are Indian haplogroups but different, it means Carabobo was indeed a crossroad of very distinct groups, which is what the little bit of history tends to tell us: when Spaniards arrived there, the Caribs were spreading on Arawac territory and both groups are/were very different.
    Whether we behave very this or that, our genes are telling us a lot about population movements and that in its own tells us a lot about many other things about which we have no books.


  12. It would be great if the Venezuelan Indians also would start writing down in their own language their stories. One of the keys for preserving a language is to write it, it gives another status to it.

    According to the studies carried out,
    if you are a 100% Cherokee you are very likely to have C or X mitochondrial DNA. Your dad is likely to have C or Y mDNA.
    You are likely to have European haplogroups (unless there were other Indians). So a person can look very Indian and yet not have Indian markers if both parents are half only.

    C is present in Northeast Asia (the region Alaskans see to the West every morning :-p) and the Americas
    X is present in North America, but also in Eurasia (up to Western Europe), but it is another type. Some people have proposed the Solutrean hypothesis
    but most think X arrived in North America like the others through the Bering area.

    One thing I find fascinating is trying to see which Native American groups look to whom in Asia. Of course they are all different, but sometimes some look very Filipino, others rather Chinese, others rather Japanese. Probably there were no Japanese, no Chinese, no Filipinos when humans decided to cross the Beringia ice bridge.
    One thing I have sometimes thought is: what would the first person have felt when he arrived in America: no human in front of him/her, a huge continent to discover.

  13. However they arrived, would they have realized the implications? Probably not. Unfortunately, in such circumstances, survival is all consuming.
    But I too love to hypothesize. Sometime I will write of the sea conch found in a village which they claim has always been with their caciques. Very old. Would it not be fun to know how it made it into the jungle????? Some poor, lost European? Some brave indian explorer brought it back??? Who knows.

  14. Yeah, I read one is considered US Indian if one is a descendant of one of the people who were listed in the Indian censuses in the XIX century, during the removals and peace treatises. I suppose many people hid it anyway for a long time because of wanting to "merge".Puerto Rico is not a place one would associate much with Indians nowadays and yet:;col1

    Now, most people are bound to have genes from many ethnicities after several centuries (even those living in Utah).

    Are there radios where people use Native American languages in the US?
    Do they get some basic education in their language?

  15. The tribes get quite a bit of help. Free health care, education, and a stipend in some cases. My children could study in Georgia for free and then pay back by serving as a doctor, teacher, or some such on the reservation.
    There are radios and I will try and email you a link. When I hear 'Amazing Grace' sung in Cherokee, which I do not understand, I must say, it moves me as nothing else.

  16. Interesting. May tell my mother to take that test. The name of my mother is of pruzian origin. That was a baltic tribe. They were christianized and conquered by the Order of German Knights in the 13th century, a bit like indians, though fully assimilated in the following centuries by the german and polish cultures.
    I guess my own maternal line is polish.

  17. Lemmy,

    Remember: a mother has only X chromosomes. Your mother can tell you about your mother's mother's mother's mother'...line. You can do the test yourself.
    Your dad (or yourself as you have his Y chromosome) can tell you about your dad's dad's dad's...
    If you want to get something from your mother's grandfather's side, you would need your grandfather or a son of his.

    Check out
    Search by name. For instance, if you enter "Schultz" + West Europe you will get mostly people with the R1b1 marker, which is fairly frequent in Western Europe. A couple I saw there are I1, which is of Scandinavian origin and they live in Northern Germany (one's family is from Mecklenburg and another one's is from former German Danzig). One is J2, like me. That means, in the case of Germany, most likely via a Jew many centuries ago.
    In the case of Spain (my probable case) the J2 could come from Greek/Phoenicians/Northern Arabs (actually Lebanese-Syrians) or Mediterranean Turks or Jews.
    I think my ancestor from that side came from the Seville area.

    Now I ordered the kit for test on my mother's side.

  18. Yup. I did not get that right.
    I found that interesting when people told me that the strange name of my mother "Schirdewan" is of prusian descent.
    One son in that line is Dominican -> a cousin of my mother married into a family of tobaco planters.
    I consider to take the test, too.


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