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  • East-African, want to know more on my ancestors

    Hi everyone,

    I am fascinated by DNA research and would like to know more about my ancestry. People have hard time guessing where I am from...can pass for a south-Asian, a carribean, a mixed Arab but I was born in East Africa of two parents both originally somali but what's Somali?...is it a race? Is it worth talking the male DNA line test (my brother could take it for us) after reading that reading all the polemiques on the E3b that is very frequent in East Africa? Somalis live in many countries in East Africa and are a diverse group. One of the things I want to know is how much Arab blood my family has...on my mother side, people look very much Arab...my dad was of darker skin color but with a narrow long nose and my uncle just look Yemeni... We believe our furthest ancestor's name was Issaq or Isahaaq and that he was Arab.
    Which test will give me the most details on my origins?

    Thank you,


    Arimas

  • #2
    Arimas:

    if you have money to spend, I would definitely take the Y test. I had a lot of fun taking it and then reading about my haplogroup. Moreover, Somalia is very little known (for obvious reasons, it's difficult for scientists to go there and test), so any Somali data would be welcome. Be aware though that the final result will be of difficult interpretation, because people have been going back and forth from Arabia to the horn of Africa for millennia. Take haplogroup J: it's Arabic, but this doesn't say how early the ancestor moved to Somalia. Was it after Muhammed? O may be millennia ago? Similar for E3b: it was born in Ethiopia >10K years ago. But then it could have been somebody who moved to Arabia and then back to Somalia. And so on.

    I cannot think of any scientific paper studying Somalia. There are a couple on Ethiopia, both Y and mtdna. Ethiopia is very diverse, and frequencies change a lot depending on the area. I think I remember that Northern Ethiopia is an almost equal mixture of African and Eurasian lineages, _both_ on the male and on the female line, suggesting that the exchanges with Arabia were both ancient and widespread (ie not just Islamic conquests). J could be around 25%. Whether Somalia is similar to Northern Ethiopia or the rest of Africa, of course, is an open question.

    The mtdna test could be very interesting too, for the same reason. Ethiopia has lots of lineages, many of which are still unknown. The same may be true of Somalia.

    cacio

    Comment


    • #3
      There have been done a mtDNA paper about Somali.

      "Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland.

      Several populations were typed for the hypervariable region II (HVRII) of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region using immobilised sequence-specific oligonucleotide (SSO) probes. A total of 16 SSO probes was used to type 1081 individuals from eight different ethnic groups (African Americans, Somali, US Europeans, US Hispanics, Bosnians, Finns, Saami and Japanese). Data was compared with already published sequence data by analysis of principal components, genetic distances and analysis of the molecular variance (AMOVA). The analyses performed group the samples in several clusters according to their geographical origins. Most of the variability detected is assigned to differences between individuals and only 7% is assigned to differences among groups of populations within and between geographical regions. Several features are patent in the samples studied: Somali, as a representative East African population, seem to have experienced a detectable amount of Caucasoid maternal influence; different degrees of admixture in the US samples studied are detected; Finns and Saami belong to the European genetic landscape, although Saami present an outlier position attributable to a strong maternal founder effect. The technique used is a rapid and simple method to detect human variation in the mtDNA HVRII in a large number of samples, which might be useful in forensic and population genetic studies.

      Source

      Comment


      • #4
        Noaide:

        thanks for the source. Very interesting. Too bad that the article only tests HVR2, and I cannot understand haplogroups from HVR2. The percentage of Eurasian seems in line with the study on northern Ethiopia, so they may be similar. The most common Eurasian mtdna haplogroups in Ethiopia were M1 (which may actually be African), pre-HV and N1a. I believe 73A is a sign of HV, so may be those sequences in Somalia are pre-HV. I wonder if this sample has been also tested in some other paper more extensively.

        cacio

        Comment


        • #5
          Arimas & Noaide:

          I did a quick search and saw these two papers:
          Sanchez JJ, Hallenberg C, Borsting C, Hernandez A, Morling N (2005) High frequencies of Y chromosome lineages characterized by E3b1, DYS19-11, DYS392-12 in Somali males. Eur J Hum Genet 13(7):856-66
          Hallenberg C, Simonsen B, Sanchez JJ, Morling N (2005) Y-chromosome STR haplotypes in Somalis. For Sci International 151: 317-21.

          The first one is on SNP and the second one is on STR, for the same sample of 201 Somali immigrants to Denmark. These papers show a stunning 80% E3b1, with a couple of assorted K2,J,A,B,E (only 2.5% Arab J1). That sounds quite a lot. I wonder whether there is an obvious selection bias. May be the immigrants to Denmark are more homogeneous - ie they all come from the same place or belong to the same families. Anyway, the paper shows the STRs, which are also on yhrd as well.

          My prior would have been for a larger influence of Arabic Y-chromosomes (I guess one could classify K2 - 10% in the sample - as Arabic, but only 2.5% J1?). Anyway, the Cruciani paper on E3b has a 23 people sample of Somali (of unknown provenance), and he shows >50% E3b too.

          cacio

          Comment


          • #6
            To cacio and Noaide

            Thank you Cacio and Noaide.

            Cacio,

            yes it would be difficult for scientists to go to South Somalia but there would be no problem going to the next door in Djibouti which has plenty of Somalis (that's where I am from). Also, Northern Somalia or Self-proclaimed Somaliland is peaceful since 1991 although unrecognized unfortunately Western media and governments only care about the South.

            Noaide,

            "Somali, as a representative East African population, seem to have experienced a detectable amount of Caucasoid maternal influence;"

            I thought it would be the Y paternal line that would have caucasoid influence but maybe because we over there always believed we had male Arab ancestors. At least some of the tribes still do.

            But it doesn't seem to be true according to that study in Denmark:

            "My prior would have been for a larger influence of Arabic Y-chromosomes (I guess one could classify K2 - 10% in the sample - as Arabic, but only 2.5% J1?). Anyway, the Cruciani paper on E3b has a 23 people sample of Somali (of unknown provenance), and he shows >50% E3b too."

            So J is Arab. I didn't know.
            I don't know about the Somali population in Denmark but I do have relatives and could ask them...do you know in what city the study was done (because I think these Somalis live in groups and I could find out which group live in which area).

            Actually, I am not so surprised especially since I have learned that the E3b1 could be responsible for some of the features Somalis have. I have met people who are Arabs mixed with Western Africans like in Morocco or even from Saudi and other middle Eastern countries and they don't look like us. They usually have fairer skins with more Western African features while most Somalis have relatively darker skins with finer features like small lips and nose is usually small or long but usually narrow. It is a bit weird that I am doing these descriptions because I did learn that genes and facial features don't always match but just some ideas here.

            Northern Ethiopians and Erythreans look like Somalis with one exception.

            I think I'll take the male line and the female line test when I would know I don't have any better to do with the money. Just for the fun.


            Thanks again,


            A
            Last edited by Arimas; 10 October 2006, 02:25 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Arimas
              Hi everyone,

              I am fascinated by DNA research and would like to know more about my ancestry. People have hard time guessing where I am from...can pass for a south-Asian, a carribean, a mixed Arab but I was born in East Africa of two parents both originally somali but what's Somali?...is it a race? Is it worth talking the male DNA line test (my brother could take it for us) after reading that reading all the polemiques on the E3b that is very frequent in East Africa? Somalis live in many countries in East Africa and are a diverse group. One of the things I want to know is how much Arab blood my family has...on my mother side, people look very much Arab...my dad was of darker skin color but with a narrow long nose and my uncle just look Yemeni... We believe our furthest ancestor's name was Issaq or Isahaaq and that he was Arab.
              Which test will give me the most details on my origins?

              Thank you,


              Arimas
              I read somewhere,dictionary,encyclopedia a Somali is a Person of African Bantu(I think),and Mediterranean origin.I guess a Mulatto tribe.

              Comment


              • #8
                Arimas:

                the study I was mentioning does not report the provenance of the sample. It just says they were Somali immigrants to Denmark. You are making a good point regarding the region: may be they were, say, from the South, while may be Northern Somalia shows more Arabic influences. Nothern Ethiopia does have more Arabic influences, apparently, and of course, Northern Somalia is just across the sea from the Arabian peninsula. (I think on ysearch there is a J1 from Berbera, husayn).

                Yes, J is typically arabic. K2 may be as well, though it's hard to say if it started in Ethiopia or Arabia. E3b could be both, but it definitely started in Ethiopia.

                (If you want to check the article, send me an email off list. Google me under cacio and genetics).

                cacio

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jambalaia32
                  I read somewhere,dictionary,encyclopedia a Somali is a Person of African Bantu(I think),and Mediterranean origin.I guess a Mulatto tribe.
                  Not a all. The heart of the Bantu region is far away from the Horn of Africa. Somalis are closer to Nilotic/cou****ic (or whatever we can call people who live around the Nile valley) than to Bantus. Only in the extreme South of Somalia live some Somalian Bantus. And chances of Mediterranean influences are very small (In the 16-17 century, Portugal came to help Christian Ethiopians against the Eastern Muslims (some sources talk about Somalis but not sure...maybe their ancestors) but that influence ended with the death of Vasco De Gama I believe. The Fair Skinned people from Somalia are mostly Arabs and maybe a bit from Turkish decent but all together they are a small % of the Somali population of the South.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Cacio, I just sent you a pm.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Good choice : another autosomal lab test is on the horizon

                      Originally posted by Arimas
                      Thank you Cacio and Noaide.

                      SNIPPED.........................

                      I think I'll take the male line and the female line test when I would know I don't have any better to do with the money. Just for the fun.


                      Thanks again,


                      A
                      Arimas,

                      I think this is a wise choice. It appears your Y and mt could be very helpful to the FTDNA database and it would be would be instructive for you as well., And it would start you off on solid footing for further autosomal testing.

                      Don't forget that your brother can request to have both tests taken from his one sample IF you two both have the same parents. This would save you the expense of having two DNA extractions done.

                      As far as autosomal testing goes I would recommend you wait to see what testing is offered by the Ethnoancestry lab. www.ethnoancestry.com

                      They are planning on offering a "BIOGEOGRAPHIC AUTOSOMAL TEST (PERCENTAGE OF 5 RACIAL - ETHNIC ANCESTRIES IN GENOME) sometime within the next 6? months? At any rate Dr. Faux has stated that their product will be the most comprehensive and accurate of the several offerings of this type currently performed by the other labs.

                      Also, if you haven't already reviewed their product line there is a lab established specifically and primarily for testing folks of African ancestry.

                      www.africanancestry.com

                      Hope this helps a bit.

                      Bill Harvey

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks Bill for your suggestions and advices.
                        I realize that my results would be helpful to the FTDNA database as I come from an area that is little known...but I can't help wondering why we are giving so much importance to the Y and mta tests when it is only about only one ancestor.

                        Let's say that I had an ancestor who was E3b and who I will call A.
                        Someone from the descendance of A...an E3b got married to P (who is was from the from J)...they had their own children and later their descendants got involved with people of another Y line. If I had these different ancestors of different Y chromosomes, knowing only one of them doesn't say who I am. Or is the test giving me the Y chromosome that was the most frequent in my family history?


                        Arimas.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Arimas:

                          you are right - the Y test and the mtdna test only give you one particular lineage. The Y tells you of the line father - paternal grandfather - paternal grandfather's father, and so on. The mtdna is the mother - maternal grandmother, and so on. So, to make an example, if you go back, say, 5 generations, you have 16 male ancestors. The Y chromosome only comes from the one on the strictly male line. If he was E3b, you're E3b. The other 15 could have been J, but you won't pick this up with the test.

                          However, Y and mtdna tests are pretty much almost all that can be reliably interpreted. There are a couple of reasons for this.
                          First, the other parts of the DNA recombine, that is, mother and father's DNA mix up. So you cannot really know from which part of the family a certain part of the DNA comes from. This makes it more difficult to create trees or establish geographic origins.

                          More importantly, possibly because of this reason, there have been hundreds of scientific studies describing the possible origin and geographical diffusion of these Y chromosome lineages. When you get your Y-results (or the mtdna ones), you can check them and verify.

                          There is much less on the geographic origin of other markers outside Y-chromosome and mtdna. There are companies that are starting to offer such tests, to determine, say, what percentage of your dna is African, European etc. I have not done them, but from the discussions I have seen in this forum, it seems to me that right now they are unreliable, with huge error margins. Moreover, the algorithm used to interpret the tests are mostly proprietary, so they cannot be checked. Once you get your results, you cannot really check scientific papers or databases to interpret them.

                          Possibly, in the future there will be so many more samples from all over the world and such large databases that will make it possible to interpret autosomal tests with some reliability. But it is not the case right now.

                          cacio

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Cacio,

                            Thanks for the reply. Probably will take the haplogroup and the mtdna tests some time in the near future. We'll use my brother's cheek...and I'll pay because he won't be interested in spending his own money on DNA stuff.

                            "However, Y and mtdna tests are pretty much almost all that can be reliably interpreted. There are a couple of reasons for this.
                            First, the other parts of the DNA recombine, that is, mother and father's DNA mix up. So you cannot really know from which part of the family a certain part of the DNA comes from. This makes it more difficult to create trees or establish geographic origins."

                            Yes, that's what I am now realizing. Autosomal don't seem to be reliable...read the discussions in this forum. But I don't need to learn about my family tree because we usually memorize that with oral tradition at young age and also not really looking for cousins (I know more than I need to ).

                            Thanks for the papers you emailed me. The Ethiopian Mtdna is very interesting and not surprising. I wish it had more on Afars (who live in both Ethiopia and Djibouti). It would be interested to see if they have any connection with Dark Indians (South-Indians?) that they look like so much.


                            Arimas

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Arimas:

                              that's interesting- I didn't know of this similarity btw southern Indians and some Ethiopians. Typical southern Indian mtdna would be M(xM1) or R, and there doesn't seem to be much in the studied sample (there is some more in Yemen). Typical southern Indian Y would be H and L (in addition to the Aryan R1a), with a sprinkling of C and F*. Again, none found in Ethiopia. So there's probably not much. I wonder how much of the similarity is due to skin color. Skin color obviously depends a lot on latitude. The early modern humans that left Africa were dark. Those who arrived and settled in southern India remained so- given that they lived near the equator. Only those who ventured north of India eventually had mutations that made them pale.

                              cacio

                              Comment

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