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Jamestown DNA

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  • Jamestown DNA

    Why did they test only mtDNA? Why don't they test both Y-DNA and mtDNA and put the results into Ysearch and Mitosearch databases? That should increase their chances of identifying the skeleton.

  • #2
    My understanding is that yDNA decays rapidly and is not recoverable from skeletons. If I recall correctly, Thomas Jefferson's yDNA was not tested directly from his corpse, but rather from a known patrilineal descendant.


    • #3
      Hi Eki,

      I think that maybe it's because in centuries old corpses mtDNA is more informative and easier to extract than Y-DNA...
      but I'm sure that someone else could explain this better than me



      • #4
        That whole thing about Gosnold is cool.

        I don't mean to sound irreverent, sacrilegious, or disrespectful, but I wish I could get a digital reconstruction like that for the skull of my paternal ggg-grandfather.

        I would love to have some idea of what he looked like.

        Anyway, I used to live down in the Jamestown area, and my alma mater is Christopher Newport University in nearby Newport News, Virginia.

        If you get a chance to visit Jamestown, you should. It's awesome. Colonial Williamsburg is awesome, too.


        • #5
          I saw nothing in the article that said Y-DNA testing did not take place on Gosnold's supposed remains. While mtDNA will apparently survive longer in the deceased, I believe 400 years is well within the time frame where you should be able to extract usable Y-DNA. This article describes nuclear (including Y-DNA) and mitochodrial analysis on 2000 year old remains... . It's a pdf, so you'll need Adobe Acrobat reader to view the article.

          I'd surmise the reason only mtDNA testing was mentioned in the story is that both individuals they were attempting to compare Gosnold's remains to were women and thus would have no Y-DNA, even in life. Only mtDNA was relevant.


          • #6
            Originally posted by DMac
            This article describes nuclear (including Y-DNA) and mitochodrial analysis on 2000 year old remains... .
            But to be fair, that study was the first of its kind:
            In the present article, partial genealogical reconstruction was obtained using biparental, paternal, and maternal genetic systems in a sample of 62 human skeletal remains exhumed from a cemetery dating from >2,000 years ago. To the best of our knowledge, no equivalent molecular analysis has been undertaken so far. Such a study was possible because the Egyin Gol necropolis was mainly composed of relatively well-preserved skeletons. Indeed, the climatic conditions (cold and dry) and the archaeological context (architectural structure of the graves) encountered at this site had undoubtedly protected the recovered specimens against DNA degradation.