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Paradoxes of DNA results?

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  • Paradoxes of DNA results?

    Not even sure if they are paradoxes but here they go

    1) I repeatedly read claims/statements/etc like "I am from XYZ origin" etc - and I think by myself, what? a) in the end we're all "african" (50k+ years ago), b) ancestry based on one (or more) particular ydna or snp mutation is just one out of 10'thousands of ancestors - in reality it doesn't mean anything other than for one (1) very limited line of descend. Whether you are an R1b or an R1b1 etc isn't really relevant to who you really are, isn't? And claims like 10% african, 20% asian, 70% european (or something along those lines) sounds equally parodoxial, because in reality everyone is 100% african (ignoring recent claims of Neanderthal ties) and between african and asian there was eurasian and every piece of land between this strech of 1000's of miles. Or is there a very specific time limit implied as: from your 1000 ancestors within the last 10 generations, X% was from here and Y% from there etc - don't think so?!

    2) Looking for matches. Unless you are trying to work out recent-time family ties (name groups, kinship etc, say last 5-10 generations max) looking for matches seems a paradox. First, if a "random" person takes a ydna test, how likely is that an unknown family members with a common (male) ancestor within say the last 10-20 generations also has taken a test? (i.e. giving a high chance of a close match?, 10-20 generations covers the period that surnames came into being): VERY small, it's not even difficult to calculate.
    As you go further back in time and the pool of related male familymembers increases - and thus the chance of a match, the problem becomes that due to mutations the chance of a match actually decreases again. I'll have to do the math but beyond a certain # of generations back in time the change of say 66/67 is > than 67/67 if you see what I mean. My point is that there seems to be a paradox in the sense that "random" people are looking for matches whereas in reality maybe one should be looking for non-matches.

    I am not saying dna testing is no good, quite to the contrary, it's interesting, can be helpful (take all the successstories) but at the same time it seems some people are reading way more into it than is actually there. It probably sells though...

  • #2
    I think I could agree with your conclusion that "it seems some people are reading way more into it than is actually there", but probably not for the reasons you state. Lets' face it, genetically we may well be able to trace out common Homo Sapien ancestry to Africa, but it's also pretty obvious that not just culturally, but obviously genetically as well, humanity split in some pretty fascinating and interesting ways. And genetic testing like that is just one more piece of a puzzle in tracking it all down from multiple angles.

    Let's face it, as humans we're pretty good at finding patterns and putting together patterns of ancestry in all of the various time-frames that genealogy and genetic testing can provide and that gives many folks a sense of satisfaction and enjoyment. They may not all do genetic testing for the same reasons you do, and they may focus on genealogical and/or genetic time-frames outside of ones you find the most interesting, but I don't think that makes their viewpoint of the whole hobby any less valid. And I think many folks find it fascinating that they have any matches at all, which it seems to me just makes the world a little bit smaller and easier for us to all recognize how connected we all really are.
    Last edited by zarlor; 16 August 2010, 07:46 PM.


    • #3
      If you try it (genetic genealogy, FTDNA FF, 23andme, et cetera) for yourself you might be amazed.

      My first 23andme match was with a man in California. I didn't think we could be related because my family was all east coast. After reading his info I realized how similar his ancestry was to mine and that we could be related thru any of my four grandparents.
      Now I am amazed that I have so many matches outside of the USA.