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My World view changed with my DNA result

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  • My World view changed with my DNA result

    I have always identified culturally as an American female with an African (black) American identity.

    I tested my dad and he has zero matches for his test (says Afghanistan, Morocco for ancestral origins - not what I expected) - Dad is E1b1a

    I tested my MTdna and discovered I have an H haplogroup with over 300 matches on the HVR1 - (i'm testing HVR2 to narrow the matches down).

    My mother identifies as a black female (she is black American with European ancestry as proven by the DNA test I took). She looks more Caucasian than African.

    My genetic DNA results have given me an H - haplogroup as my genetic group.

    On the surface my cultural identity and appearance is in conflict with my genetic legacy.

    I understand how this is possible by genetics.

    Her mother's death certificate (my grandmother's) says "white" which is in conflict with how she identified herself to the world but someone else made a determination when she died on her death certifiicate.

    I don't want to cling closely to conventional ideas of race in the United States but, it is interesting to me what the facts are.

    And I am wondering how people perceive each other in a "racial" context because "race" has no bearing on genetics.
    Last edited by VelvetVellocet; 6 June 2009, 12:56 AM.

  • #2
    I would really appreciate a comment about this post.

    I know you have an opinion.

    Please share.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think yours is a very interesting case, showing that identity need not be related to genetics. That recalls the past case of Harvard historian Gates, who, while his families identified themselves as African Americans (though they had some legend of white paternal ancestries), found out that both his Y and his mtdna were actually European (R1b and T). Especially interesting is the case of mtdna - the presence of European Y, presumably from European masters, could be easily explained, but the mtdna is different.

      Another interesting case is that of a couple I've met, they had adopted an African American infant. The situation appears totally normal to him, he said that his brother (the biological son) looks like the mother, while he looks like the father (who is a dark haired Italian). Similarly, looking backwards, I now realize that in elementary school (I was in Italy, and back then there was little or no immigration) we had some adopted Asian children, but, as children, none of us kids even imagined that they had different biological origins. Presumably, an extreme difference in features (say really black skin) would have raised suspicion, but otherwise, I don't think kids would have picked up anything.

      cacio

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      • #4
        The new history: The Making of Our America and Our World . . . it is a lot of fun finding out who we are, and our makers. It is an age old story. And to those who lived thousands of years ago, it was a treasure . . . a treasure some hoped we would cherish.

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        • #5
          By looking at the various dedicated projects on the FTDNA site, one can see that there are quite a few European mtDNA haplogroups among Afro-Americans and Native Americans.

          Comment


          • #6
            "Conventional ideas about race in the United States" is the conditioning context for any discussion about "race" in the United States, even a discussion as to whether "race" is a concept supported by genetics.

            But the personal issue is familiar to any "mixed-race" individual or child of one "race" adopted into another - who am I? (The United States is not the only European colonial power to produce a population of "mixed-race" individuals).

            In the case of our family, it was always recognized that our mother was Native American to a degree, but as she was adopted, it seemed nothing more specific might be known. Our MtDNA results were a gratifying confirmation but also a surprise, as our mother seemed to believe her mother White. (She was a reader of historical fiction - period romance - in which a swarthy seducer was a stock character). I am sure she would be surpised to learn that her conventional ideas about gender are not supported by genetic fact. (Although we leave open the possibility her father was also Native American to some degree).

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            • #7
              Originally posted by VelvetVellocet View Post

              And I am wondering how people perceive each other in a "racial" context because "race" has no bearing on genetics.
              The amazing part of this all is, I wonder how perceptions would change if everyone knew that at some point in time we were ALL African! The one thing that was confirmed to me through this is that it's unfortunate how we separate each other by races, border lines, religions, etc ... because what it all boils down to is we all CAME from the same place, and we all LIVE ON the same planet.
              Last edited by DeeTyler; 7 June 2009, 11:15 AM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by DeeTyler View Post
                ... I wonder how perceptions would change if everyone knew that at some point in time we were ALL African! ...
                And I wonder what the odds are of that perception ever taking root in the US given the mixed reception given evolution and the general ignorance of prehistory. (Most Americans think man and dinosaurs co-existed in the past and, I suppose, a considerable number of those, believe that occured within a biblical timeframe).

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by DeeTyler View Post
                  The amazing part of this all is, I wonder how perceptions would change if everyone knew that at some point in time we were ALL African!
                  Well, at one point in time we had been ALL fishes. I still eat them.

                  The one thing that was confirmed to me through this is that it's unfortunate how we separate each other by races, border lines, religions, etc ...
                  you dont get a "we" without a "them"
                  It always boils down to "We against them" otherwise you have "me against everyone" wich is as bad.

                  Unfortunately we have no neanderthalians left to unite against them.
                  We need some alien invadors.

                  EDIT:
                  Its the failure of the EU btw.
                  I recently heard this in radio. the problem is: you cant make the people feel patriotic to the EU if you dont create an common enemy for the EU. But the EU does not want to create an enemy. So it will never ever reach the peoples hearts like a nationstate.

                  No light without shadow.
                  2 humans only work together if they need to fight a third.

                  And btw...
                  the "Me against everyone" came already to live.
                  In Germany, the decades after the war, many was done to destroy nationalistic feelings and to declare war a super bad thing. The result was the rise of egoism. ME ME ME!! And the rise of general violence against everyone.
                  Last edited by Daniel72; 7 June 2009, 01:20 PM.

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                  • #10
                    As a non-American I find your question baffling and a bit troubling. My view is quite simply that you are who you think you are. Your family background is African-American so that is your cultural identity. No one else can tell you that you are something other than that. Your DNA results tell you about your ancestry and that is very interesting but they can't alter your cultural identity.

                    However I notice a number of contributors to these forums seem to identify quite strongly with ancient peoples who they are descended from. Personally, I find that the further back in time we go the less I am interested in my own ancestry and the more I am fascinated by the fate of peoples as a whole.

                    John

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                    • #11
                      Interesting perspectives

                      Thank you all for your input on my post.

                      From what I know about my maternal side, there was no slavery associated with her family history they were northerners who lived on the West VA/Ohio border in the 1800's.

                      It's difficult to search ancestry.com records to find the original maternal ancestor who came to the USA because I only have one last name (paternal) and I can find nothing about his wife (my mtDNA link) online. I believe I must query the physical records of the states where I have knowledge of their residency to uncover the maternal last names. Does anyone on this forum have any help or links where I can find additional information?

                      Question: From what I understand about my mtDNA and please correct me if I'm wrong, it reaches back at least 1000 years more/less to the point where my genetic lineage comes to meet me today in the USA as I live.

                      Is there any way that my mtDNA could change locations?

                      Can I change my mtDNA result?

                      Could it be wrong?

                      The original genetic marker is the same for everyone who takes this test and begins in Africa and travels around the globe until it ends, and my mtDNA stops in Europe?!

                      I know I'm grasping at ideas but it makes me feel odd to know I have an H haplogroup, my physical appearance (which is only an expression of genes and alleles mixing up to make me look like who I am by DNA - I understand this point - plus my dad is E group and of African ancestry - accounts for my appearance) yet the world sees me as a black female and yet I can also look toward Europe for my genetic ancestry from my mother's mtDNA legacy.

                      I would be lying to say it's not important how the outside world sees me as a person in my own skin, because people will see me as "only a black female" and they have made judgments about the way I look without any clue of my deep genetic mtDNA result. That is a sociological construct of American culture - we judge by skin color without regard for anything else.
                      Last edited by VelvetVellocet; 11 June 2009, 12:42 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Regarding some of your questions.

                        Save for a mix-up at the lab, your mtdna results shouldn't change with additional information. Sometimes FTDNA did make mistakes in the assignment, but in strange cases with many mutations, and I think they're more careful now.

                        As you say, mutations in mtdna are very infrequent, so from your results you cannot say anything precise about recent relationship (ie, say, whether two people had the same ancestor within, say, a couple of hundred of years). It's more about common ancestry going back a long time, a few thousand years.

                        As for mtdna changing locations, I'm not sure what you mean. If by that you mean that there are women with your mtdna who moved around and travelled to various places, this is possible. Haplogroup H was born perhaps in the middle East or in Europe thousands of years ago (perhaps 30K years ago), and most member of H are found in Europe and also in north africa and a little in the middle east. There extremely little H south of the Sahara. Still, it is certainly possible that one woman's lineage, over time, moved from north africa south.

                        Probabilistically, given the numbers on the frequency of H, it is more likely that your ancestor was a woman of recent European ancestry in the US. But you cannot exclude with 100% probability that it was in fact a subsaharan woman, whose ancestor perhaps a few thousand years ago came from more northern places.

                        cacio

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by cacio View Post
                          Regarding some of your questions.

                          Save for a mix-up at the lab, your mtdna results shouldn't change with additional information. Sometimes FTDNA did make mistakes in the assignment, but in strange cases with many mutations, and I think they're more careful now.
                          I believe I mentioned in my original post that I'm having my HVR2 tested, to narrow down my mtDNA matches, DNA doen't lie.

                          I have ZERO doubt that I'm H haplogroup, why would you?

                          I"m attempting to compare my dna result with my maternal line ancestry, which you tossed off as a mistake?

                          No, it's not a mistake, it's fact.

                          Maybe you have to open your mind that my genetics line up with a European lineage as I am trying to understand as well.

                          No slight of hand, not magic.

                          Facts are facts.

                          Your curiosity is part of my question.
                          Last edited by VelvetVellocet; 11 June 2009, 01:38 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Once oyu have your HVR2 done, it will be much better to check "recent" anchestry.

                            A full match in HVR1+HVR2 is rated similiar to a 37/37 in Y-DNA.
                            A common anchestor about 7-10 generations ago.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Daniel72 View Post
                              Once oyu have your HVR2 done, it will be much better to check "recent" anchestry.

                              A full match in HVR1+HVR2 is rated similiar to a 37/37 in Y-DNA.
                              A common anchestor about 7-10 generations ago.
                              My results will be known in July.

                              I will surely follow up and post them here.

                              Comment

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