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Y and mtDNA - Is it like Men from Mars and Women from Venus?

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  • Y and mtDNA - Is it like Men from Mars and Women from Venus?

    I have seen the migration charts for tracing deep ancestry for Y chromosome and for mtDNA. (e.g there is one at http://www.mitosearch.org/migration_map_new.pdf)

    My questions
    a) Why are the migration paths for mtDNA different from those of Y? Isnt it logical that if men migrated along a certain path, in most of the cases, if not all, their wives would be migrating with them?

    b) is it not possible to correlate certain mtDNA statistics in a population with the Y statistics in the same population? If yes, is there any place that shows them together for the entire world? If not, then why not....how come our mothers are from Venus and fathers from Mars??

  • #2
    Conquest

    I think because men were much more hunters it carried the DNA much more around the world. Also, many armies conquered lands and then had children with the native population. You can look at recent history and see how many of our military have foreign wives.

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    • #3
      Spencer Wells' book - "The Journey of Man"

      Originally posted by Digging_DNA
      a) Why are the migration paths for mtDNA different from those of Y? Isnt it logical that if men migrated along a certain path, in most of the cases, if not all, their wives would be migrating with them?
      I recommend that anyone who wants to get a good grounding in the overview of how DNA traces back to some original "Adam and Eve" read the book by population geneticist Spencer Wells, "The Journey of Man." I'm reading it right now. The book is short (about 200 pages) and very readable. It will answer many questions having to do with the origin of mankind and how our yDNA and mtDNA helps us track the spread of mankind all over the world over many, many years.

      To answer your question above, what Wells explains is that the mtDNA of all humans comes from a woman who lived in east or southern Africa tens of thousands of years ago. Let's call her "Eve." He also explains that the yDNA of all men comes from a man who lived in east or southern Africa, also tens of thousands of years ago. Let's call him "Adam."

      Here's the clincher. "Eve" predated "Adam" by several tens of thousands of years. Yes, "Adam" and "Eve" never met! The answer to this paradox is that there were other women living besides "Eve" during her life, but their genetic lines died out somehow. And all the genetic lines of men who lived at the time of "Eve" died out too. Then when "Adam" finally came along, a woman or women in the genetic line of "Eve" were the mother or mothers of his children and the ancestors of all humanity since then.

      I hope that's clear, but that's the story. I'm sure if I've gotten it wrong, someone will correct me.

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      • #4
        See also Stephen Oppenheimers' "The Real Eve". There are many reasons for a lack of geographical matching: trade, warfare, food gathering etc. Oppenheimer makes a point of showing where there are parallels between Y and Mtdna migration.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by josh w.
          See also Stephen Oppenheimers' "The Real Eve". There are many reasons for a lack of geographical matching: trade, warfare, food gathering etc. Oppenheimer makes a point of showing where there are parallels between Y and Mtdna migration.
          Sounds good, there seem to be many theories on why mtDNA and Y migration patterns different, which I am trying to digest slowly.

          Here is a pattern that I see - Moden 'race' definitions somehow are tending to follow the Y chromosome distribution to a good extent. Any correlation between mtDNA and races seems to be slim.

          a) Is that a pattern that only I see or do others also see this?

          b) if that is a valid observation, what could be the reasons that Y chromosome seems to influence characteristics more than mtDNA? Could it be that men married multiple women and thus there is a higher probability of the characteristics of Y prevailing over mtDNA?

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          • #6
            mtDNA is found only in the mitochondria inside cells and affects only the internal components of these mitochondria (the "power packs" of the cell). It is not a chromosome at all, but rather resembles the genetic material of bacteria in some respects. It may have some effect on propensity toward certain diseases, but it does not express any genes that would influence external appearance. The Y chromosome does have genes on it that potentially could affect appearance, but that is also unlikely to be the explanation of racial differences. Also there are exceptions to your pattern. For example, all of the L mtDNAs are confined to Africa, while Y chromosomes like E3b can be found in and outside Africa and in different "races." Moreover, Q is found in Ashkenazi Jews, Vikings, and American Indians. I would not put too much stock in a correlation between male or female lineages and race.

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            • #7
              Newbie with a Question

              I've just received my mtDNA evaluation through the Nat'l. Geographic Genographic Project. I'm in Haplogroup J with mutations from the CRS at the following positions: 16069T, 16126C.

              Now I see why the Y-Chromosome DNA tests are so important. The mitochondrial DNA yields too broad and too imprecise a field of individuals. If I ever want to narrow results to particular surnames, I see that I'll have to have a Y-Chromosome test done.

              But my father and one uncle and only brother are dead. However, I have two nephews from my paternal line (my brother's sons). Would either of their Y-Chromosome tests be applicable to my genetic line? If so, would I be able to pay for the tests and have the results sent to me to be followed online by me?

              Next question: Does Family Tree DNA offer such a test, and - if they do - which one should I purchase (after I persuade my nephews to be part of my project)?

              Nancy

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              • #8
                Originally posted by genehunter
                I've just received my mtDNA evaluation through the Nat'l. Geographic Genographic Project. I'm in Haplogroup J with mutations from the CRS at the following positions: 16069T, 16126C.

                Now I see why the Y-Chromosome DNA tests are so important. The mitochondrial DNA yields too broad and too imprecise a field of individuals. If I ever want to narrow results to particular surnames, I see that I'll have to have a Y-Chromosome test done.

                But my father and one uncle and only brother are dead. However, I have two nephews from my paternal line (my brother's sons). Would either of their Y-Chromosome tests be applicable to my genetic line? If so, would I be able to pay for the tests and have the results sent to me to be followed online by me?

                Next question: Does Family Tree DNA offer such a test, and - if they do - which one should I purchase (after I persuade my nephews to be part of my project)?

                Nancy
                Nancy,

                Yes, your brother's sons should carry the Y chromosone attached to your father's surname. You can order samples to be sent directly to your nephew(s) (you really only need one to test) and you can pay for the tests and track the results. Your nephew will need to sign the consent forms.

                If your pocket book can handle it, I would go for the Y37 marker test. Anything less and time to most recent ancestor is too long.

                Good Luck

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                • #9
                  Thanks to MSChris

                  Thank you, Chris, for your excellent advice. I looked into the tests and the Y-37 test is V-E-R-Y expensive for me (as you mentioned it might be), and the Y-25 test is also quite expensive. I'm going to have to consider this carefully. I know the 37 test would give me a better chance at a more recent ancestor in a match, so this will be a hard decision for me.

                  But thanks for the information. I"m grateful for your help.

                  Nancy

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                  • #10
                    Nancy,

                    You might consider having one of your nephews join a "surname group" they often have discounts to offer for testing.

                    Jeff

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