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DNA and the Book of Mormon


Belshazzar

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So I know that this topic has already been discussed in the past, but I'm still really struggling with it. I'm not sure how DNA impacts in The Book of Mormon. I thought that I had already reconciled a lot of the difficulties related to this topic by reading the Gospel Topics Essay on the subject, and reading information by Ugo Perego. But then I was on Simon Southerton's blog reading his response to the essay, and wondering if it is actually possible that the DNA from the Lehites could have been lost overtime..... How have you guys worked through this issue?

I obviously subscribe to a Limited Geography model with the Book of Mormon taking place in Mesoamerica, but these issues really complicate it. I'm trying to see others in the text, but it's hard to understand why it doesn't mention them more explicitly. 

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17 hours ago, Belshazzar said:

So I know that this topic has already been discussed in the past, but I'm still really struggling with it. I'm not sure how DNA impacts in The Book of Mormon....How have you guys worked through this issue?

I obviously subscribe to a Limited Geography model with the Book of Mormon taking place in Mesoamerica, but these issues really complicate it. I'm trying to see others in the text, but it's hard to understand why it doesn't mention them more explicitly. 

For several years, I have been approaching the DNA issue from a separate direction - with very interesting results.

Not ready to make such things public yet, as I'm finalizing a bit more research to round things out - but perhaps relatively soon.

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13 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

It is true that the founder effect, genetic drift, and a genetic bottleneck could cause some loss of evidence over time, which is why I always want to see ancient DNA.

The whole DNA question is fraught with ongoing investigations, which may lead to more precise indicators.  However, we already have results which attenuate nearly everything said by Southerton:

A. Arnaiz-Villena, J. Moscoso, J.I. Serrano-Vela, J. Martinez-Laso, “The uniqueness of amerindians according to HLA genes and the peopling of the Americas (LA SINGULARIDAD DE LOS AMERINDIOS SEGÚN LOS GENES HLA Y EL POBLAMIENTO DE AMÉRICA),” Inmunología, 25/1 (Enero-Marzo 2006): 13-24, online at http://www.inmunologia.org/Upload/Articles/6/7/678.pdf ,

Abstract: . . . the peopling of America sequence may have been more complicated than previously thought: it seems that Caucasoids, Blacks and Mongoloids from China-Mongolia (but not from Siberia) are found to have been in America or the Middle Atlantic (Azores) before Columbus. The possible African and European contacts with Amerindians before Columbus (1492 AD) may not be genetically important; however, the existence of these contacts would help to explain similarities between ancient Egyptian and Mayan-Peruvian civilizations.

Excerpts:  A trans-Pacific route of American peopling from Asia or Polynesia has been suggested because HTLV-1 virus strains shared identical sequences in Japan and in the northern coast of South America(15) and some HLA alleles may have been introduced by the same Trans-Pacific route(16).

In the present work, we have studied the North, Meso and South American Amerindians’ HLA gene profile and compared it with other North American Indians and worldwide populations. In particular, we have studied: Seri, Mixe, Mixtecans, Zapotecans, Guaranis(19), Lakota Sioux(20) Mazatecans(21), Teeneks(22), Mayans(23), Kogi, Arsario, Arhuacs, Wayu(24), Cayapa(25), Lamas(26), Aymaras(27), Quechuans(28), Terena(29), Xavantes, Toba Pilaga, Mataco Wichi, Eastern Toba(16), Mexican Mestizos and Jaidukama (unpublished results).

Alu repeats studies have even found a close relatedness between Mesoamericans and Chinese(14). HTLV-1 virus subtype frequencies in populations suggest close relatedness between Amerindians and Japanese (see Introduction)

. . . many scholars are increasingly doubtful that fullblown Olmec, Toltec, Mayan and Peruvian cultures (otherwise similar to Egyptian culture in certain aspects) appeared without external contact (18,48,49,51). 

. . . Meso and South American Indians could have come from Asia and their HLA antigenic profile could have been changed due to the severe bottleneck that they underwent after the European Invasions in 1492: 80,000,000 people died because of microbia (measles, influenza, smallpox) and war brought by Europeans(53). . . .  the STRs high polymorphism found in Amerindians does not support the putative bottleneck for Amerindians, and the low HLA allelic polymorphism may represent a founder effect with little gene flow . . . . 

The possible African and European contacts with Amerindians before Columbus (1492 AD) may not be genetically important; however, the existence of these contacts(17) would help to explain similarities between ancient Egyptian and Mayan- Peruvian civilizations(49).

----------------------------------------------  

Pontus Skoglund and David Reich, “A genomic view of the peopling of the Americas,” bioRxiv preprint first posted online Jun. 15, 2016; doi: online at http://biorxiv.org/content/biorxiv/early/2016/06/15/058966.full.pdf ,

Abstract:  Whole-genome studies have documented that most Native American ancestry stems from a single population that diversified within the continent more than twelve thousand years ago. However, this shared ancestry hides a more complex history whereby at least four distinct streams of Eurasian migration have contributed to present-day and prehistoric Native American populations. Whole genome studies enhanced by technological breakthroughs in ancient DNA now provide evidence of a sequence of events involving initial migration from a structured Northeast Asian source population, followed by a divergence into northern and southern Native American lineages.

Excerpts:   the mitochondrial DNA subtype called D4h3a is today almost entirely restricted to Pacific coastal populations, both in North and South America.

 . . . at least three ancestral populations—or streams of gene flow—were required to explain the similarities between Native Americans and East Asians.

We detected a statistically clear signal linking Native Americans in the Amazonian region of Brazil to present-day Australo-Melanesians and Andaman Islanders (‘Australasians’).

Andaman Islanders, the population with the single strongest affinity to Amazonians, are not as good match for the non Mal’ta like ancestry in Central Americans as are Chinese populations [36].

Ralph Manchou discussed this research recently on this board at http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/67879-indian-ocean-identified-as-source-for-new-world-populations/ .

-----------------------------------------   

Although settled probably by a Mixe-Zoquean people from the Soconusco several centuries earlier, Olmec culture appears very well-developed in San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán by 1500 B.C. (a recalibrated 1200 B.C. C-14 date; Coe 1994:62,66; cf. Andrews 1990:10-13,15-16, Lowe 1977:197-248).  Ann Cyphers told me in 1996 that the earliest C-14 date available for the Olmec is 1890 B.C.±80.  She also said that DNA studies then underway on an excellent Olmec skeleton may enable us to determine the ethnic group to which it belongs (Cyphers, personal communication, Nov 3, 1996, at the UCLA Institute of Archaeology).

Annalee Newitz, “14,000-year-old campsite in Argentina adds to an archaeological mystery A glimpse of the last people on Earth to colonize a continent without humans,” Ars Technica, Sept 28, 2016, online at http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/09/14000-year-old-campsite-in-argentina-adds-to-an-archaeological-mystery/?ref=yfp .

Thank you for these articles! I have read half of them and they already look really good! The main statement that I have difficulty reconciling is this one by Thomas Murphy. Would you be able to help me out with it? This is the statement:

For Michael Whiting's local colonization model to concur with current genetic evidence, there would have to have been multiple occurrences of similar
yet unlikely, events. All the female founders of the Jaredite, Mulekite, and Lehite migrations would have to leave no genetic descendants, or else come from rare lineages usually attributed to post-Columbian admixture. If genetic extinction is to explain the lack of mtDNA from Middle Eastern populations, then it must have occurred not just once but independently in three separate mi- gration events. Because the evidence from paternal lineages substantiates the Siberian origin indicated by maternal lineages, a similar set of unlikely occur- rences would also have to be repeated for all the male founders of the Jaredite, Mulekite, and Lehite migrations.38 Evidence from the Y-chromosome thus makes Whiting's hypothesis doubly implausible.39
When we look more broadly at over a hundred different genetic markers, the plausibility of Whiting's local colonization model rapidly dissipates. L. Luca Cavalli-Sforza's monumental History and Geography of Human Genes exam- ines more than 110 different traits in more than 1,800 predominantly indigenous populations around the world. The data he considers include blood groups and protein and enzyme polymorphisms (polymorphism refers to multiple forms or alleles of a gene), including the highly informative human lymphoctye antigens (HLA) and immunoglobulins. Their global analysis—using 120 allele frequen- cies—found Central and South American populations clustering most closely with other Native Americans and Northeast Asians rather than with Middle Eastern or Southwest Asian populations. Likewise, a more extensive analysis of thirty different Central and South American populations using more than sixty genetic markers found their closest relatives among other Native Americans rather than Middle Eastern populations.40 The implausibility of Whiting's model escalates exponentially with each additional genetic marker examined.41


So that's the difficult part for me is his challenge right there

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Would you be able to help me with this quote?

For Michael Whiting's local colonization model to concur with current genetic evidence, there would have to have been multiple occurrences of similar
yet unlikely, events. All the female founders of the Jaredite, Mulekite, and Lehite migrations would have to leave no genetic descendants, or else come from rare lineages usually attributed to post-Columbian admixture. If genetic extinction is to explain the lack of mtDNA from Middle Eastern populations, then it must have occurred not just once but independently in three separate mi- gration events. Because the evidence from paternal lineages substantiates the Siberian origin indicated by maternal lineages, a similar set of unlikely occur- rences would also have to be repeated for all the male founders of the Jaredite, Mulekite, and Lehite migrations.38 Evidence from the Y-chromosome thus makes Whiting's hypothesis doubly implausible.39
When we look more broadly at over a hundred different genetic markers, the plausibility of Whiting's local colonization model rapidly dissipates. L. Luca Cavalli-Sforza's monumental History and Geography of Human Genes exam- ines more than 110 different traits in more than 1,800 predominantly indigenous populations around the world. The data he considers include blood groups and protein and enzyme polymorphisms (polymorphism refers to multiple forms or alleles of a gene), including the highly informative human lymphoctye antigens (HLA) and immunoglobulins. Their global analysis—using 120 allele frequen- cies—found Central and South American populations clustering most closely with other Native Americans and Northeast Asians rather than with Middle Eastern or Southwest Asian populations. Likewise, a more extensive analysis of thirty different Central and South American populations using more than sixty genetic markers found their closest relatives among other Native Americans rather than Middle Eastern populations.40 The implausibility of Whiting's model escalates exponentially with each additional genetic marker examined.41


 

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32 minutes ago, notHagoth7 said:

For several years, I have been approaching the DNA issue from a separate direction - with very interesting results.

Not ready to make such things public yet, as I'm finalizing a bit more research to round things out - but perhaps relatively soon.

Would you be able to help me with this quote?

For Michael Whiting's local colonization model to concur with current genetic evidence, there would have to have been multiple occurrences of similar
yet unlikely, events. All the female founders of the Jaredite, Mulekite, and Lehite migrations would have to leave no genetic descendants, or else come from rare lineages usually attributed to post-Columbian admixture. If genetic extinction is to explain the lack of mtDNA from Middle Eastern populations, then it must have occurred not just once but independently in three separate mi- gration events. Because the evidence from paternal lineages substantiates the Siberian origin indicated by maternal lineages, a similar set of unlikely occur- rences would also have to be repeated for all the male founders of the Jaredite, Mulekite, and Lehite migrations.38 Evidence from the Y-chromosome thus makes Whiting's hypothesis doubly implausible.39
When we look more broadly at over a hundred different genetic markers, the plausibility of Whiting's local colonization model rapidly dissipates. L. Luca Cavalli-Sforza's monumental History and Geography of Human Genes exam- ines more than 110 different traits in more than 1,800 predominantly indigenous populations around the world. The data he considers include blood groups and protein and enzyme polymorphisms (polymorphism refers to multiple forms or alleles of a gene), including the highly informative human lymphoctye antigens (HLA) and immunoglobulins. Their global analysis—using 120 allele frequen- cies—found Central and South American populations clustering most closely with other Native Americans and Northeast Asians rather than with Middle Eastern or Southwest Asian populations. Likewise, a more extensive analysis of thirty different Central and South American populations using more than sixty genetic markers found their closest relatives among other Native Americans rather than Middle Eastern populations.40 The implausibility of Whiting's model escalates exponentially with each additional genetic marker examined.41

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Especially this: "...or else come from rare lineages usually attributed to post-Columbian admixture..."

Attempted translation: lineages that seem to be of Old World origins are often discarded since they don't fit the current paradigm.

Just as some archaeologists reportedly used to discard animal bones (such as horse bones) from digs that they assumed couldn't possibly belong to the date range for the dig in question...since it was assumed to be such an outlier that it somehow *had* to be a mistake.

Outliers, however, often provide some of the most interesting kinds of input - because they challenge assumptions and offer new insights...*if* we don't discard them. (Unfortunately, they are typically discarded.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outlier

 

We have to keep in mind that there was a Nephite diaspora prior to the destruction of Nephite culture in the Americas - suggesting one could (initially?) be better served searching for such DNA elsewhere.

 

Edited by notHagoth7
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4 hours ago, notHagoth7 said:

................................................................................  

We have to keep in mind that there was a Nephite diaspora prior to the destruction of Nephite culture in the Americas - suggesting one could (initially?) be better served searching for such DNA elsewhere.

That is an important observation.  For example, in his recent book Changes in Languages: From Nephi to Now (Blanding, Utah, 2016), Brian Stubbs observes highly Semitic linguistic overlays in all branches of the Uto-Aztecan language family -- including those along the Pacific Coast of California, where Nephite ships built and launched by Hagoth presumably went.  See, for example, his map on page 92.

Anthropologists do not only use DNA evidence, but also the full range of linguistic, ethnohistorical, and archeological tools available.

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5 hours ago, Belshazzar said:

Thank you for these articles! I have read half of them and they already look really good! The main statement that I have difficulty reconciling is this one by Thomas Murphy. Would you be able to help me out with it? This is the statement:

For Michael Whiting's local colonization model to concur with current genetic evidence, there would have to have been multiple occurrences of similar
yet unlikely, events. All the female founders of the Jaredite, Mulekite, and Lehite migrations would have to leave no genetic descendants, or else come from rare lineages usually attributed to post-Columbian admixture. If genetic extinction is to explain the lack of mtDNA from Middle Eastern populations, then it must have occurred not just once but independently in three separate mi- gration events. Because the evidence from paternal lineages substantiates the Siberian origin indicated by maternal lineages, a similar set of unlikely occur- rences would also have to be repeated for all the male founders of the Jaredite, Mulekite, and Lehite migrations.38 Evidence from the Y-chromosome thus makes Whiting's hypothesis doubly implausible.39
When we look more broadly at over a hundred different genetic markers, the plausibility of Whiting's local colonization model rapidly dissipates. L. Luca Cavalli-Sforza's monumental History and Geography of Human Genes exam- ines more than 110 different traits in more than 1,800 predominantly indigenous populations around the world. The data he considers include blood groups and protein and enzyme polymorphisms (polymorphism refers to multiple forms or alleles of a gene), including the highly informative human lymphoctye antigens (HLA) and immunoglobulins. Their global analysis—using 120 allele frequen- cies—found Central and South American populations clustering most closely with other Native Americans and Northeast Asians rather than with Middle Eastern or Southwest Asian populations. Likewise, a more extensive analysis of thirty different Central and South American populations using more than sixty genetic markers found their closest relatives among other Native Americans rather than Middle Eastern populations.40 The implausibility of Whiting's model escalates exponentially with each additional genetic marker examined.41

................................................................

The problem is that Murphy is ignoring the sort of real world problems which inhere in genetic research, and at the same time ignoring the problem of the demise of Jaredite civilization thousands of years ago.  Trying to find genetic markers of Jaredites, Nephites, and Mulekites among  modern peoples (which peoples?) may not be so easy, given the problems I mentioned:  Genetic drift, genetic bottleneck, and the founder effect.  Not to mention the limited sampling available.  As I said, that is why I prefer to deal with ancient DNA recovered from controlled excavations with skeletal remains.

Not only does Murphy ignore the surprising results of Viking and Icelandic DNA research, but he also seems unaware of the very observations which modern researchers have disclosed in the articles I cited.

Problems:  There is no Viking DNA in the New World (Northeastern North America), even though we know via archeology and ethnohistory that they traded with the Amerinds and had villages in America for about 400 years.  How could that be?  Mormon geneticist, Ugo Perego is hg C (Asian, possibly via the Huns who sacked Rome), yet his nuclear (autosomal) DNA is fully European, 100%.  How can that be?  Haplogroup Q in the Americas might have come from Middle East:  Q1a3a1 (M3) is found among Amerindians, whille Q1a3b (M323) is found among Yemenite Jews (South Arabia).   Haplogroup C1 in Iceland (mtDNA), C1a in Asia, and C1b in Americas.  How can this be?

genetic drift:  “Largest-To-Date Genetic Snapshot Of Iceland 1,000 Years Ago Completed,” ScienceDaily.com, Jan 18, 2009, online at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090116073205.htm ,
Scientists at deCODE genetics have completed the largest study of ancient DNA from a single population ever undertaken. Analyzing mitochondrial DNA, which is passed from mother to offspring, from 68 skeletal remains, the study provides a detailed look at how a contemporary population differs from that of its ancestors. 

The results confirm previous deCODE work that used genetics to test the history of Iceland as recorded in the sagas. These studies demonstrated that the country seems to have been settled by men from Scandinavia – the vikings – but that the majority of the original female inhabitants were from the coastal regions of Scotland and Ireland, areas that regularly suffered raids by vikings in the years around the settlement of Iceland 1100 years ago.

The current study further shows that the gene pool of contemporary Icelanders appears to have evolved rapidly over the intervening thousand years. As a result, the original female settlers are genetically less closely related to present-day Icelanders, and instead more closely related to the present day populations of Scotland, Ireland and Scandinavia, as well as those of northwestern and southwestern Europe.

This is a demonstration of a phenomenon known as 'genetic drift.' In essence, in any population certain individuals will have more offspring and, by chance, and in this case over the course of 35 generations, many more descendants than others. And as a result, particularly in a small population, the genetic variety of the original population can decrease and change over time. In this study only mitochondrial DNA was studied, but the same phenomenon applies to the Y chromosome, which is passed from fathers to sons, and to any other part of the genome.

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3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

..For example, in his recent book Changes in Languages: From Nephi to Now (Blanding, Utah, 2016), Brian Stubbs observes highly Semitic linguistic overlays in all branches of the Uto-Aztecan language family -- including those along the Pacific Coast of California, where Nephite ships built and launched by Hagoth presumably went.  See, for example, his map on page 92.

Anthropologists do not only use DNA evidence, but also the full range of linguistic, ethnohistorical, and archeological tools available.

I've been following Brian's work for some time, and I like everything I've read so far.

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On 10/2/2016 at 6:02 PM, Belshazzar said:

So I know that this topic has already been discussed in the past, but I'm still really struggling with it. I'm not sure how DNA impacts in The Book of Mormon. I thought that I had already reconciled a lot of the difficulties related to this topic by reading the Gospel Topics Essay on the subject, and reading information by Ugo Perego. But then I was on Simon Southerton's blog reading his response to the essay, and wondering if it is actually possible that the DNA from the Lehites could have been lost overtime..... How have you guys worked through this issue?

I obviously subscribe to a Limited Geography model with the Book of Mormon taking place in Mesoamerica, but these issues really complicate it. I'm trying to see others in the text, but it's hard to understand why it doesn't mention them more explicitly. 

The Bible doesn't mention the Chinese. That doesn't mean the Chinese didn't exist.

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27 minutes ago, thesometimesaint said:

The Bible doesn't mention the Chinese...

Not necessarily the case.

Was reading a passage in Isaiah / Book of Mormon a few days ago referring to a region that many commentators believe is a reference to China.

Edited by notHagoth7
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