Book of Mormon DNA

Over the previous summer I took a three week summer course in the Science of Archeology.  It was an indepth look at how archeology goes beyond simple field work to identifying age of items and their probable usage.

It is fascinating stuff as long as you can tolerate a lot of very technical information, such as how they trace proteins, carbon, dendro dating and the various ways they tease items to react with dating.  Weird stuff like teeth Dentine and crystalization of teeth can tell a lot about a person’s local and where they may have come from.  It is the periodic table kind of stuff. (being truthful i slept through some of it because of how boring it got)

However one thing that struck me was the way DNA was chased, specifically in the case of Native Americans.  So finding these two links has been pretty fascinating.  They offer no proof of Lehi yet they lead to some tantilizing ideas which certainly could be used to put the DNA antis on their heels.

Haplogroup X and The Druze of Galilee

Hebrew DNA found in South America?

Have a read I think you will agree while neither is fast proof of anything, and in fact are arguable they do lead to some fascinating questions.  Of course the likelihood of finding Lehi, Nephi or anyone from the first generation and tracking their origin is nil.  yet it is an interesting idea…

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7 Responses to Book of Mormon DNA

  1. NorthboundZax says:

    Not trying to be an anti here, but neither of these articles are really meaningful in finding semitic DNA in indigenous new world populations.

    The desnews article is weird. It nearly shouts out that we can dust off our ‘Ancient America Speaks’ videos for youth firesides again, but Woodward’s results point to POST-Columbian Hebrew DNA. Ironically, the fact that it is recognizable in post-Columbian populations, but not pre-Columbian populations actually bolsters Murphy’s arguments that are so disparaged in the article.

    The Haplogroup X idea is more interesting but extremely convoluted in piecing together certain assumptions. Connecting the Druze to Samaritans to Lehi’s group is a clearly a pretty tenuous chain. An even larger red flag for this line of thought is that because the timing of X (~50kya) entering the population does not help the case for having anything to do with DNA, mutation rate results are called into question requiring rates orders of magnitude faster than any molecular geneticist would be comfortable with for no obvious reason other than to make the times fit.

  2. Jon W says:

    Well I would agree and did in the post that both articles are merely hypothesis rather than firm ideas.

    I just think about my own DNA, if you track my father’s line (Welsh) you would probably be able to trace that back a ways, but the questions grow as you go back. Welsh in the area where my family lived in more Modern times was invaded by Normans, Vikings, Irish, Romans, and Celts in about 2600 years (distance from Lehi).

    How do you clearly identify my DNA back to an original ancestor when I could have DNA from all of these groups? Maybe my ancestors switched sides, like the Lybberts who up until 1850s were Luebberts from Prussia but after that were Lybberts, from Denmark.

    As my father was born in Canada to two Welsh parents it is closer to being European and would unlikely to have any other DNA from other continents, one would suspect. Yet I would suspect you could really only trace his DNA to about 1000 AD before it got muddled.

    Too many likely sperm donors causing the genetic possibilities to fragment.

    Now how do you take the what maybe 30 primary ancestors of the Lehites to create a significant DNA tracer which would be able to identify them. As I heard someone say it would be near impossible. So these post columbian DNA strands are problematic yet it does leave one to wonder.

  3. Jon W says:

    hee hee ok. apparently I have no idea what I am talking about. Of course I am a believer in the historical version of Welsh history not the Archeological version.

    From here:
    Basque-ing in Welsh DNA

    Excerpts which have relavence…

    But what is the truth of our origins? Over to Professor Stephen Oppenheimer of Oxford University, who says some 81% of the Welsh have DNA evidence which shows a common link to ancestors who came to Britain from northern Spain many thousands of years ago.

    or this bit:

    “The ancestors of some 88% of the Irish, 81% of the Welsh, 79% of the Cornish, 70% of Scots and 68% of the English arrived here [13,000 years ago]. None of the later immigrations contributed anything more than 5% to the gene pool.”

    So genetically speaking, according to the Professor, a member of Green College, Oxford, the Welsh have more in common with the English than they have differences.

    Of course there is all kinds of arguments apparently saying the Welsh are effectively the most Homogenious society along with the Irish in Europe.

  4. NorthboundZax says:

    The Welsh stuff was fun and demonstrates the power of DNA.

    Jon W: Well I would agree and did in the post that both articles are merely hypothesis rather than firm ideas.

    NBZ: I realize that, but at the same time it is worth pointing out their (glaring) deficiencies before throwing them around as useful to the Book of Mormon DNA debate.

    Besides, the desnews article was not a hypothesis, but just bad reporting: They use new results of POST-Columbian semitic DNA to browbeat critics and create a mystique of duplicity on people like Thomas Murphy, when the new results actually support what Murphy had been saying all along. As painful as it is to acknowledge, if there is duplicity it is on the part of the Deseret News.

    I’m not trying to be argumentative, but as a scientist it pains me to see science abused even if for positive/faith-promoting ends.

  5. Jon W says:

    Sure, hey I generally agree with you. Which I hope was my point? 🙂

  6. Doug Forbes says:

    Dating DNA

    1. The primary lineage of Native Americans is Q and it is found in many Old World populations including 5% of Ashkenazi Jews, 5% of Iraqi Jews and 15% of Yemenite Jews.

    2. Determining how long DNA has been in the New World is complicated by a dispute over Y chromosome mutation rates. Observed rates run as high as 2.8 per 1000 (Kayser) However, some scientists use the “effective rate” of 0.7 per 1000.

    The “Effective Rate” was developed under the theory that things happen to make DNA appear younger than it really is. Nothing wrong with this idea in theory. A massive population decline eliminated a lot of genetic diversity and “youthens” DNA.

    The “effective rate” has met 2 big failures in the field.

    1. Pakendorf et al and the Yakuts. (2007)
    2. Indian Q (2007)

    In the first case, applying Kayser’s rate (2.8/1000) produced a date of Yakut expansion (850 year BP) that coincided well with historic and linguistic data. Theeffective rate pushed it back to 3800 BP. Yakuts speak a branch of the Turkic language that only broke off from main Turkic 1500 years ago.

    In the second case, applying the effective rate gave Q in India an age of 34000-75000 years BP/ Q has only been around for 20000 years. Applying Kayser’s rate yields a believable 8500-18000 years BP for Q in India.

  7. Jon W says:

    Thanks Doug,

    I am very interested in this, as a subtext to tracking historical peoples so your comments are definately awesome.

    Reminds me why I worked so hard to GET that Archeological science.

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