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From: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,337428,00.html

American Indian Ancestry Traced Back to Six Women

NEW YORK — Nearly all of today's Native Americans in North, Central and South America can trace part of their ancestry to six women whose descendants immigrated around 20,000 years ago, a DNA study suggests.

Those women left a particular DNA legacy that persists to today in about about 95 percent of Native Americans, researchers said.

The finding does not mean that only these six women gave rise to the migrants who crossed into North America from Asia in the initial populating of the continent, said study co-author Ugo Perego.

The women lived between 18,000 and 21,000 years ago, though not necessarily at exactly the same time, he said.

The work was published this week by the journal PLoS One. Perego is from the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation in Salt Lake City and the University of Pavia in Italy.

The work confirms previous indications of the six maternal lineages, he said. But an expert unconnected with the study said the findings left some questions unanswered.

Perego and his colleagues traced the history of a particular kind of DNA that represents just a tiny fraction of the human genetic material, and reflects only a piece of a person's ancestry.

This DNA is found in the mitochondria, the power plants of cells. Unlike the DNA found in the nucleus, mitochondrial DNA is passed along only by the mother. So it follows a lineage that connects a person to his or her mother, then the mother's mother, and so on.

The researchers created a "family tree" that traces the different mitochondrial DNA lineages found in today's Native Americans.

By noting mutations in each branch and applying a formula for how often such mutations arise, they calculated how old each branch was. That indicated when each branch arose in a single woman.

The six "founding mothers" apparently did not live in Asia because the DNA signatures they left behind aren't found there, Perego said. They probably lived in Beringia, the now-submerged land bridge that stetched to North America, he said.

Connie Mulligan of the University of Florida, an anthropolgist who studies the colonization of the Americas but didn't participate in the new work, said it's not surprising to trace the mitochondrial DNA to six women.

"It's an OK number to start with right now," but further work may change it slightly, she said.

That finding doesn't answer the bigger questions of where those women lived, or of how many people left Beringia to colonize the Americas, she said Thursday.

The estimate for when the women lived is open to question because it's not clear whether the researchers properly accounted for differing mutation rates in mitochondrial DNA, she said.

Further work could change the estimate, "possibly dramatically," she said.

My first reaction is to wonder how accurate that "18,000 to 21,000 years" estimate is. As in, I wonder if it could date to the time of the coming of the Jaredites.

The second thing I note that that the article first states categorically that they don't know what that mtDNA came from, then speculates that perhaps the people came from "Beringia", and subsequently assumes that "Beringia" is in fact where they came from, all in the space of four paragraphs. Thus is vividly demonstrated the process by which wild speculation turns into "Generally-accepted scientific fact." :P

That second observation of course feeds back to the first question about the reliability of the time estimate.

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The second thing I note that that the article first states categorically that they don't know what that mtDNA came from, then speculates that perhaps the people came from "Beringia", and subsequently assumes that "Beringia" is in fact where they came from, all in the space of four paragraphs. Thus is vividly demonstrated the process by which wild speculation turns into "Generally-accepted scientific fact." :P

That second observation of course feeds back to the first question about the reliability of the time estimate.

the whole problem with making DNA, among other things, a big issue is that information is so vague, not completely reliable, manipulatable, and constantly changing.

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This does seem a little bit odd.

From the statistical analysis I have seen concerning ancestral distributions, everyone now living on earth probably has one common ancestor if you go back as little as 2000-5000 years.

If you go back as little as 7000 years, it is probable that everyone living at that time (whose descendant lines haven't completely died out) is probably an ancestor of everyone now living on earth.

Here's an article from Wired about that.

Have they considered the fact that if we all had a common set of ancestors 7000 years ago, research indicating that AIA can be traced to six women 18,000 years ago isn't ground breaking scientific news?

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This does seem a little bit odd.

From the statistical analysis I have seen concerning ancestral distributions, everyone now living on earth probably has one common ancestor if you go back as little as 2000-5000 years.

If you go back as little as 7000 years, it is probable that everyone living at that time (whose descendant lines haven't completely died out) is probably an ancestor of everyone now living on earth.

Here's an article from Wired about that.

Have they considered the fact that if we all had a common set of ancestors 7000 years ago, research indicating that AIA can be traced to six women 18,000 years ago isn't ground breaking scientific news?

JW,

You and the article are talking about two different things. The article is talking about the finding that the American Indians descend from six and only six ancestral mothers; there are originally only those six mothers, from whom the entire population descended.

Which is different from saying that everyone has each of these six mothers somewhere in their family tree.

And regarding family trees, what they are saying is that for each American Indian, if you take his or her mother, and then follow "mother of" to "mother of" to "mother of" all the way back, you eventually arrive at one of these six women.

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You and the article are talking about two different things. The article is talking about the finding that the American Indians descend from six and only six ancestral mothers; there are originally only those six mothers, from whom the entire population descended.

Which is different from saying that everyone has each of these six mothers somewhere in their family tree.

And regarding family trees, what they are saying is that for each American Indian, if you take his or her mother, and then follow "mother of" to "mother of" to "mother of" all the way back, you eventually arrive at one of these six women.

So are you indicating that the statistical premise that everyone living on earth today - including Amerindians - has a common set of ancestors 7000 years ago, is not possible?

Because if it is possible, then it does have a significant bearing on the findings of the article you posted. For those six women would also be ancestors, then, of everyone living on earth. This is because they would be filtered through the total common ancestor base of 7000 years ago.

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There is no problem with this study and anything related to the BOM. This is simply describing a phenomenon known as "founders effect." That means that the original inhabitants of the America's originated from a group of six women that traveled here. They could have come in one group or more. That does not mean that there were no other people that came here than those six women. There could have been literally 100's of other women throughout the 1000's of years of this population, but their genes would have been swallowed up by those of the founding group(s). One or more of these six women could have come at any time, they just would have had to have enough offspring to spread throughout the entire population and make this significant impact. Dates can be estimated from arrival of these women though and I didn't read the article thoroughly enough to see if they state that.

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A quick question popped into my head.

Does this study say anything concerning more than one land bridge migration? Said another way, does it imply there was only one migration 20,000 years ago, and from 6 mothers we have all Native Americans?

I'm just wondering if it says anything concerning later groups that could arrive by land bridge or by boat. Would a mother's line for a later group arriving thousands of years later be found? Or does a mother's line somehow get swallowed up into larger pre-existing cultures?

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A quick question popped into my head.

Does this study say anything concerning more than one land bridge migration? Said another way, does it imply there was only one migration 20,000 years ago, and from 6 mothers we have all Native Americans?

I'm just wondering if it says anything concerning later groups that could arrive by land bridge or by boat. Would a mother's line for a later group arriving thousands of years later be found? Or does a mother's line somehow get swallowed up into larger pre-existing cultures?

Also, does the study say anything about the "Native Americans" who migrated after 1500 AD who many now consider "Native Alaskan?" Do those poeple have the same "six mothers?" Also, what about Northeast Asians -- how many of those poeople (eg. Mongolian, Russian) also have the genes from these "six mothers?"

BTW -- where's the father(s)?

Respectfully,

Mark Hannig

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Also, does the study say anything about the "Native Americans" who migrated after 1500 AD who many now consider "Native Alaskan?" Do those poeple have the same "six mothers?" Also, what about Northeast Asians -- how many of those poeople (eg. Mongolian, Russian) also have the genes from these "six mothers?"

BTW -- where's the father(s)?

Respectfully,

Mark Hannig

Mark, as I understand the story I quoted, they have NOT found the same mtDNA in Asia, so no, the Northeast Asians have not been found to be from the same "six mothers."

The fathers were not studied--they were studying mitochondrial DNA, which is passed from a mother to her offspring, both male and female. The traces of the father disappear in the first generation.

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A quick question popped into my head.

Does this study say anything concerning more than one land bridge migration? Said another way, does it imply there was only one migration 20,000 years ago, and from 6 mothers we have all Native Americans?

I'm just wondering if it says anything concerning later groups that could arrive by land bridge or by boat. Would a mother's line for a later group arriving thousands of years later be found? Or does a mother's line somehow get swallowed up into larger pre-existing cultures?

Other than speculation that is not supported by any referenced evidence, at all, this study says nothing at all about land bridges.

I know of nothing that precludes the mothers from arriving in different migrations.

Whether an ancestral mother shows up in the present population depends solely on whether there are surviving descendants in her female-to-female line.

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From: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,337428,00.html

The second thing I note that that the article first states categorically that they don't know what that mtDNA came from, then speculates that perhaps the people came from "Beringia", and subsequently assumes that "Beringia" is in fact where they came from, all in the space of four paragraphs. Thus is vividly demonstrated the process by which wild speculation turns into "Generally-accepted scientific fact.

Do you mean the process of reading a popular news article about something you don't understand, and then throwing out unfounded accusations of 'wild speculation' against the authors?

The news article contains a link to the actual study. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%...al.pone.0001764

There are reasons why Beringia is referenced, and there are citations dealing with that rationale. You might want to check out figure 1 as well, to help understand why they might say what they said.

Other than speculation that is not supported by any referenced evidence, at all, this study says nothing at all about land bridges.

Check again....

cacheman

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One thing I noticed when I read the article was :

The six "founding mothers" apparently did not live in Asia because the DNA signatures they left behind aren't found there

So much for science "KNOWING" American Indians were all from Asia

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One thing I noticed when I read the article was :

So much for science "KNOWING" American Indians were all from Asia

If you read the actual study report rather than just the article, this "discrepancy" suddenly disappears.

I won't ruin the story's ending for you. Just follow the link in the first post to the news article, then follow the link in the article to the actual study.

Enjoy!

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From: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,337428,00.html

My first reaction is to wonder how accurate that "18,000 to 21,000 years" estimate is. As in, I wonder if it could date to the time of the coming of the Jaredites.

The second thing I note that that the article first states categorically that they don't know what that mtDNA came from, then speculates that perhaps the people came from "Beringia", and subsequently assumes that "Beringia" is in fact where they came from, all in the space of four paragraphs. Thus is vividly demonstrated the process by which wild speculation turns into "Generally-accepted scientific fact." :P

That second observation of course feeds back to the first question about the reliability of the time estimate.

First of all, this article like many others that appear in newspapers and popular publications does a poor job of explaining how exactly dates are determined from mitochondrial DNA as well as how locations are determined.

Here is a link to an article that explains the importance of mtDNA in greater detail: Nova Online - Neaderthals

To explain how some of the dating works simply: mtDNA mutates at a fairly regular rate that can be averaged in different populations over time. Applying that average to the amount of mutations in different populations allows you to calculate the approximate amount of time it would have taken to get that number of mutations from a common ancestor. So the point of the article then is that given some of the mutations that have occurred and how many there are, scientists can give an approximate date of when that strain of DNA would have originated as a common ancestor.

To offer an explanation for "Beringia", the only land bridge to North America that existed in human history was between Russia and Alaska at the end of the last ice age (~10,000 years ago). It has since melted, making North America inaccessible except by a seafaring people. If the land bridge explanation isn't plausible, then the next best option is the Polynesians because they populated many of the Pacific islands. I've never seen any literature suggesting that they made it all the way to the Americas. Then there is the Book of Mormon explanation.

If the Book of Mormon is true, the genetic markers in some of the Native American tribes would closely resemble the markers in the mtDNA of the Israelites. In the case of the Jaredites (if I remember my Book of Mormon correctly) the mtDNA would bear some resemblance to ancient Europeans. As far as I know, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to support that. Given the fact that the original study on mtDNA was done in 1987 with 147 people from various continents and much subsequent research has been done, it would have been obvious to scientists a long time ago that there were similarities between Native American DNA and Israeli DNA if it was indeed true. The only other plausible explanation is that the Nephites and Jaredites were so thoroughly wiped from the genetic record that their genetic markers no longer appear in Native American DNA.

In addition on the dating methods, mtDNA is not the only means of dating native activities in North America. Some parts of the country have extensive dendrochronological (tree ring dating) records developed from petrified wood. Tree ring dating is done by matching the rings of old tree specimens with each other until a historical record of wet and dry years is formulated. Once the record goes back some time, archeologists can use pieces of wood found in buildings and miscellaneous items to date their approximate time of construction. Radiocarbon dating and Potassium-Argon dating are other common dating methods.

In short, even if the dating is an approximation, I seriously doubt that it is off by an entire order of magnitude because it is not the only method of dating. Also, there is no reason to read this article as evidence of the veracity of the Book of Mormon.

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First of all, this article like many others that appear in newspapers and popular publications does a poor job of explaining how exactly dates are determined from mitochondrial DNA as well as how locations are determined.

Here is a link to an article that explains the importance of mtDNA in greater detail: Nova Online - Neaderthals

To explain how some of the dating works simply: mtDNA mutates at a fairly regular rate that can be averaged in different populations over time. Applying that average to the amount of mutations in different populations allows you to calculate the approximate amount of time it would have taken to get that number of mutations from a common ancestor. So the point of the article then is that given some of the mutations that have occurred and how many there are, scientists can give an approximate date of when that strain of DNA would have originated as a common ancestor.

To offer an explanation for "Beringia", the only land bridge to North America that existed in human history was between Russia and Alaska at the end of the last ice age (~10,000 years ago). It has since melted, making North America inaccessible except by a seafaring people. If the land bridge explanation isn't plausible, then the next best option is the Polynesians because they populated many of the Pacific islands. I've never seen any literature suggesting that they made it all the way to the Americas. Then there is the Book of Mormon explanation.

If the Book of Mormon is true, the genetic markers in some of the Native American tribes would closely resemble the markers in the mtDNA of the Israelites. In the case of the Jaredites (if I remember my Book of Mormon correctly) the mtDNA would bear some resemblance to ancient Europeans. As far as I know, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to support that. Given the fact that the original study on mtDNA was done in 1987 with 147 people from various continents and much subsequent research has been done, it would have been obvious to scientists a long time ago that there were similarities between Native American DNA and Israeli DNA if it was indeed true. The only other plausible explanation is that the Nephites and Jaredites were so thoroughly wiped from the genetic record that their genetic markers no longer appear in Native American DNA.

In addition on the dating methods, mtDNA is not the only means of dating native activities in North America. Some parts of the country have extensive dendrochronological (tree ring dating) records developed from petrified wood. Tree ring dating is done by matching the rings of old tree specimens with each other until a historical record of wet and dry years is formulated. Once the record goes back some time, archeologists can use pieces of wood found in buildings and miscellaneous items to date their approximate time of construction. Radiocarbon dating and Potassium-Argon dating are other common dating methods.

In short, even if the dating is an approximation, I seriously doubt that it is off by an entire order of magnitude because it is not the only method of dating. Also, there is no reason to read this article as evidence of the veracity of the Book of Mormon.

Or maybe perhaps that the constant rains in the south of Mexico decompose stuff rather rapidly. There's very little evidence of bones even in obvious grave markers down there...hard to collect DNA when there are no bones.

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Or maybe perhaps that the constant rains in the south of Mexico decompose stuff rather rapidly. There's very little evidence of bones even in obvious grave markers down there...hard to collect DNA when there are no bones.

How do you respond to this then?

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html...752C0A963958260

There were 100-200 Olmec skeletons found in a cave in Honduras in the mid 1990's. That's one example.

If you want to read a summary of other archeological findings in Mexico, check out this link from UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization): http://www.unesco.org/culture/latinamerica...12/chapter4.htm

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If the Book of Mormon is true, the genetic markers in some of the Native American tribes would closely resemble the markers in the mtDNA of the Israelites. In the case of the Jaredites (if I remember my Book of Mormon correctly) the mtDNA would bear some resemblance to ancient Europeans. As far as I know, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to support that. Given the fact that the original study on mtDNA was done in 1987 with 147 people from various continents and much subsequent research has been done, it would have been obvious to scientists a long time ago that there were similarities between Native American DNA and Israeli DNA if it was indeed true. The only other plausible explanation is that the Nephites and Jaredites were so thoroughly wiped from the genetic record that their genetic markers no longer appear in Native American DNA.

Actually, since the 1950's or 60's, Hugh Nibley's theory was that the Jaredites were Asian...based on linguistic and cultural evidences.

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