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  • Confused and feeling buyer's remorse

    I just got my mtdna results from the Genographic project which has me in haplogroup J, subclade J*. I'm under the impression that "J*" is just a fancy way of saying "You belong to one of the J subclades, but you need to shell out some more money to find out which one."

    When I look around on this site, I see that I need to "upgrade" in order to learn anything more about my deep ancestry. It seems like a sales pitch to me, and I'm feeling sort of ripped off.

    My maternal line points directly to Scotland, so should I just figure out which subclade is most common there and be done with this nonsense? How do I find the Scottish subclades of J?

  • #2
    The new book The Scots: A Genetic Journey, by Alistair Moffat and James F. Wilson, mentions three. "...around or before 4,000 BC, women carrying mtDNA J1b came to Britain and Ireland from the southwest [up the Atlantic coast]." It developed a mutation to become J1b1, "which is specific to Britain and Ireland. Approximately 3 percent of Scots or 150,000 people retain it." The other one, mtDNA J2a1, also arrived during the Neolithic, but by the other route, up the Danube and across the North Sea. Whichever type you have, it's probably been in Britain for about 6,000 years, and that's your deep ancestry.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by jasmine View Post
      When I look around on this site, I see that I need to "upgrade" in order to learn anything more about my deep ancestry. It seems like a sales pitch to me, and I'm feeling sort of ripped off.
      I didn't test via the GP; I went straight to FTDNA. Looking at what they say on the GP site I note that they use the term "deep ancestry", but then also have a disclaimer about ethnicity:

      "What to Expect
      Your results will reveal your deep ancestry along a single line of direct descent (paternal or maternal) and show the migration paths they followed thousands of years ago.

      ...

      You will not receive a percentage breakdown of your genetic background by ethnicity, race, or geographic origin. Nor will you receive confirmation of an association with a particular tribe or ethnic group."


      The * in your haplogroup indicates that you have the markers for J but none of the markers for the currently known subclades of J.

      There are plenty of people in other haplogroups who are in a similar situation. Whether or not you want to go for a deeper clade test depends, apart from your budget, on your degree interest in the anthropological side.
      Last edited by gtc; 7 March 2011, 09:52 PM.

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      • #4
        Disregard my earlier comment. I didn't know Genographic tested for subclades. J* means no subclades.

        J* has been found in Scotland. http://www.ourfamilyorigins.com/scotland/mtdna.htm

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        • #5
          The Genographic Project didn't test for subclades when I had my mtDNA tested in 2006. All I got was an H.

          If they are doing subclade testing now (it is about time they did), you are lucky.

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          • #6
            Genographic does only the basic mtDNA test (HVR1) and does not test for mtDNA subclades. The only way to get a definitive & complete mtDNA haplogroup assignment is with the Full Mitochondrial Sequence (aka mtFullSequence), but Genographic doesn't do that test.

            I'm not sure why Genographic would list the subclade as J*, since the * is supposed to mean "tested negative for all known subclades." So maybe the Genographic website is using a different convention.

            Jasmine, have you already transferred your results into Family Tree DNA? If not, you should definitely do so -- it's free to transfer. Just go to the bottom of your Genographic results page, and follow the instructions in the "What else can I do with my results?" section.

            After your FTDNA account is created, join the mtDNA haplogroup J project:

            http://www.familytreedna.com/public/J-mtDNA/

            The administrator of that project is extremely knowledgeable about the J haplogroup and can better help you understand where your results fit into the grand scheme of things. Sometimes it's possible to predict what your full haplogroup might be based on the lower-level tests, so if that's possible with your results, the project admin will do that for you. I see on the project website that he does have many people categorized into subclades, even though their "official" result from Family Tree DNA or Genographic is just J.

            Good luck!

            Elise

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            • #7
              This is somewhat unusual, but the Genographic Project does give some subclade names for haplogroup J. There must be some characteristic HVR1 mutations ("motifs") that allow this. In contrast, some very large haplogroups, e.g. H and K, cannot go beyond the top level using just HVR1 mutations.

              These are the subclades in the Genographic Project database of 50,000 records. The file requires Excel 2007.

              https://genographic.nationalgeograph...ticipation.zip

              J*
              J1
              J1a
              J1b
              J1b1
              J2

              Apparently you did not have any of the HVR1 mutations that the Genographic Project uses to assign subclades. You can cross-check this with James Lick's utility

              http://vps1.jameslick.com/dna/mthap/

              As others have noted, the only way to get a definitive subclade assignment is to do the full mitochondrial sequence.

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              • #8
                I defer to Dr. Turner and others on how the Genographic Project works. But as for the researcher's original goal, which was to see her deep ancestry, unless your direct maternal line includes non-Scottish/British names or people whose appearance is Mediterranean or Middle-Eastern, then from the results you already have, you should assume without spending any more money that your deep ancestry is Scottish/British for the past 6,000 years or so, and before that it came from the Middle East during the Neolithic expansion, by either of the two routes I mentioned.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ann Turner View Post
                  This is somewhat unusual, but the Genographic Project does give some subclade names for haplogroup J. There must be some characteristic HVR1 mutations ("motifs") that allow this. In contrast, some very large haplogroups, e.g. H and K, cannot go beyond the top level using just HVR1 mutations.
                  Thanks for that clarification, Ann. The "backbone" haplogroups for mtDNA do indeed sometimes go beyond just the capital letter, but I didn't realize they got so specific for J without a full sequence test.

                  After I posted earlier, I did take a look through the FTDNA FAQ to see if they provided a list of the "backbone" haplogroups for mtDNA, but I didn't find one. I'll suggest that they add that

                  Elise

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                  • #10
                    Thanks all for the input. The test was a gift and I guess I'm happy that the results are somewhat interesting. My maternal ancestry for several generations is Scottish, so I'll assume I belong to one of the two subclades mentioned earlier in this thread.

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                    • #11
                      You might test at 23andMe. When I last heard, they were having a sale, and their regular price was $200 last time I checked. They do not do a complete sequence, but I do believe they are likely to be able to tell you what J subclade you belong to. You might get a demonstration or whatever account and check out the ancestry labs, where I think you can view what they do look at, or atleast the subclades. Not sure about that though.

                      Dora

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                      • #12
                        Confused and in limbo

                        Hi to all. I tested with Genographic for my Y chromosome last January and got a three and a half month wait until I got my results online. I kept receiving messages saying that more testing was needed because the DNA analysis failed to assign me to a haplogroup. Finally, when the results came back, they said I had been assigned to haplogroup B--no clades.
                        I was staring in disbelief at the results, and family members were scratching their heads. B is a lineage that never left Africa and is common among Mbuti pygmies of Congo and Tanzania. The report was scantly more than a paragraph with information about my lineage and the rest was the generic explanation of DNA analysis and deep ancestry. One page in all and I felt very dissapointed.
                        With a family history that said my last name came from Asturias in Spain and no knowledge of black people in the family, you can imagine how everyone felt.
                        I transferred the results to FTDNA to look for matches. Got none. Then Ysearch, no matches either. Then opened an account at YHDR.org and another at the Sorensen Molecular Biology Foundation database and proceeded to search for matches. Surprisingly, at YHDR not one of the matches belonged to the Sub-Saharan or African populations. My matches were located in Palestine, Kurdistan, Italy, Germany and Spain.
                        Then in the Sorensen database I hit search and... got two 75% hit of MRCA in less than a thousand years. Looked at their pedigree and both families from England and with branches in the US.
                        I am very, very confused. Has anyone experienced something like this?
                        Thanks.

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                        • #13
                          Similar with my mitochondrial DNA results. the Haplogroup L1b1a is also one that, on the maps, never left Africa. Our family's ancestry is entirely in Europe and the UK -- as far as we know -- with no indication of any African connection. Initially I had no matches on FTDNA (got my first one just the other day), and 2 matches on mitosearch.org. One of those lives in Ireland and traces her matrilineal line all within Ireland to 1800. The other lives in Argentina, and traces his line back to Portugal.

                          These genes take us back - way back - in time. They call it "deep ancestry" for a reason. There are all kinds of possible explanations for how y- and mt-DNA got around to various parts of the globe. Fascinating, isn't it?

                          Originally posted by Nomatches View Post
                          Hi to all. I tested with Genographic for my Y chromosome last January and got a three and a half month wait until I got my results online. I kept receiving messages saying that more testing was needed because the DNA analysis failed to assign me to a haplogroup. Finally, when the results came back, they said I had been assigned to haplogroup B--no clades.
                          I was staring in disbelief at the results, and family members were scratching their heads. B is a lineage that never left Africa and is common among Mbuti pygmies of Congo and Tanzania. The report was scantly more than a paragraph with information about my lineage and the rest was the generic explanation of DNA analysis and deep ancestry. One page in all and I felt very dissapointed.
                          With a family history that said my last name came from Asturias in Spain and no knowledge of black people in the family, you can imagine how everyone felt.
                          I transferred the results to FTDNA to look for matches. Got none. Then Ysearch, no matches either. Then opened an account at YHDR.org and another at the Sorensen Molecular Biology Foundation database and proceeded to search for matches. Surprisingly, at YHDR not one of the matches belonged to the Sub-Saharan or African populations. My matches were located in Palestine, Kurdistan, Italy, Germany and Spain.
                          Then in the Sorensen database I hit search and... got two 75% hit of MRCA in less than a thousand years. Looked at their pedigree and both families from England and with branches in the US.
                          I am very, very confused. Has anyone experienced something like this?
                          Thanks.

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                          • #14
                            Yes it is fascinating. My wife, who's a medical anthropologist and a professor of Bioethics here at UPenn now wants to use me for a research project (i.e., how genetics and DNA can shape your identity). As soon as I received the results, I started to figure out how I could be a member of the B haplogroup. Slavery was a first, but knowing how it worked in the new world, chances were more likely to have an African mtDNA and a white Y-DNA than the other way around. I read population genetics articles from the city I'm from (Caracas, Venezuela) that highlighted a "sexual dimorphism" showing an overwhelming dominance of the J and R haplogroup and its clades among YDNA samples and native american haplogroups among mtDNA samples. Still, there was a chance, and I started to build a history in my mind that justified my HG B membership.
                            When talking to other family members they said ironically "well, what if I sent my son's DNA for testing" (son being blond, blue eyed just like my son), and I found myself explaining to them what "deep ancestry" was to no avail. There is a connection between race and deep ancestry that springs from our understanding (not scientific understanding) of it.
                            And then, there's also the very simple explanation that Genographic and FTDNA may have made a mistake.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Nomatches View Post
                              Yes it is fascinating. My wife, who's a medical anthropologist and a professor of Bioethics here at UPenn now wants to use me for a research project (i.e., how genetics and DNA can shape your identity).
                              Great idea. What an interesting project!

                              As soon as I received the results, I started to figure out how I could be a member of the B haplogroup.
                              Wow. I may be wrong, but don't think we've had any guy from the B hg on the forum before. It would be fascinating to know your sub-clade (i.e. via the deep clade test). It would help you identify a region of Africa.

                              And then, there's also the very simple explanation that Genographic and FTDNA may have made a mistake.
                              I can't speak for Genographic's clerical processes, but I believe that FTDNA has a very good record of reliability in terms of the results being true to the sample tested. There is the possibility that the results you got were from another guy's sample kit due to a clerical error and it may be worthwhile discussing that with FTDNA if you have serious doubts, especially if you wish to proceed with a deep clade test.
                              Last edited by gtc; 12 May 2011, 11:15 AM.

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