Friday, October 12, 2007

My Genetic History: Paternal Side

The above map traces the genetic journey my male ancestors took as revealed by the Genographic Project's analysis of my DNA. I've cut and paste sections of the explanation that accompanied the results.

Summary of Results
"Your Y-chromosome results identify you as a member of haplogroup O3. The genetic markers that define your ancestral history reach back roughly 60,000 years to the first common marker of all non-African men, M168, and follow your lineage to present day, ending with M122, the defining marker of haplogroup O3.

If you look at the map highlighting your ancestors' route, you will see that members of haplogroup O3 carry the following Y-chromosome markers:

M168 > M89 > M9 > M175 > M122

Today, more than half of all Chinese males carry the genetic marker M122, which is also widespread throughout East Asia and found in lower frequencies in Tahiti and Indonesia.
The Significance of Haplogroups

"What's a haplogroup, and why do geneticists concentrate on the Y-chromosome in their search for markers? For that matter, what's a marker?

Each of us carries DNA that is a combination of genes passed from both our mother and father, giving us traits that range from eye color and height to athleticism and disease susceptibility. One exception is the Y-chromosome, which is passed directly from father to son, unchanged, from generation to generation.

Unchanged, that is unless a mutation—a random, naturally occurring, usually harmless change—occurs. The mutation, known as a marker, acts as a beacon; it can be mapped through generations because it will be passed down from the man in whom it occurred to his sons, their sons, and every male in his family for thousands of years.

A haplogroup is defined by a series of markers that are shared by other men who carry the same random mutations. The markers trace the path your ancestors took as they moved out of Africa. It's difficult to know how many men worldwide belong to any particular haplogroup, or even how many haplogroups there are, because scientists simply don't have enough data yet.
The Genographic Project
"One of the goals of the five-year Genographic Project is to build a large enough database of anthropological genetic data to answer some of these questions. To achieve this, project team members are traveling to all corners of the world to collect more than 100,000 DNA samples from indigenous populations. In addition, we encourage you to contribute your anonymous results to the project database, [done - cvj] helping our geneticists reveal more of the answers to our ancient past."
Your Ancestral Journey: What We Know Now
"M168: Your Earliest Ancestor

Time of Emergence: Roughly 50,000 years ago
Place of Origin: Africa

The man who gave rise to the first genetic marker in your lineage probably lived in northeast Africa in the region of the Rift Valley, perhaps in present-day Ethiopia, Kenya, or Tanzania, some 31,000 to 79,000 years ago. Scientists put the most likely date for when he lived at around 50,000 years ago. His descendants became the only lineage to survive outside of Africa, making him the common ancestor of every non-African man living today.

M89: Moving Through the Middle East

Time of Emergence: 45,000 years ago
Place: Northern Africa or the Middle East

The next male ancestor in your ancestral lineage is the man who gave rise to M89, a marker found in 90 to 95 percent of all non-Africans. This man was born around 45,000 years ago in northern Africa or the Middle East.

The first people to leave Africa likely followed a coastal route that eventually ended in Australia. Your ancestors followed the expanding grasslands and plentiful game to the Middle East and beyond, and were part of the second great wave of migration out of Africa.

While many of the descendants of M89 remained in the Middle East, others continued to follow the great herds of buffalo, antelope, woolly mammoths, and other game through what is now modern-day Iran to the vast steppes of Central Asia.

These semi-arid grass-covered plains formed an ancient "superhighway" stretching from eastern France to Korea. Your ancestors, having migrated north out of Africa into the Middle East, then traveled both east and west along this Central Asian superhighway. A smaller group continued moving north from the Middle East to Anatolia and the Balkans, trading familiar grasslands for forests and high country.

M9: The Eurasian Clan Spreads Wide and Far

Time of Emergence: 40,000 years ago
Place: Iran or southern Central Asia

Your next ancestor, a man born around 40,000 years ago in Iran or southern Central Asia, gave rise to a genetic marker known as M9, which marked a new lineage diverging from the M89 Middle Eastern Clan. His descendants, of which you are one, spent the next 30,000 years populating much of the planet.

This large lineage, known as the Eurasian Clan, dispersed gradually over thousands of years. Seasoned hunters followed the herds ever eastward, along the vast super highway of Eurasian steppe. Eventually their path was blocked by the massive mountain ranges of south Central Asia—the Hindu Kush, the Tian Shan, and the Himalayas.

The three mountain ranges meet in a region known as the "Pamir Knot," located in present-day Tajikistan. Here the tribes of hunters split into two groups. Some moved north into Central Asia, others moved south into what is now Pakistan and the Indian subcontinent.

These different migration routes through the Pamir Knot region gave rise to separate lineages.

Most people native to the Northern Hemisphere trace their roots to the Eurasian Clan. Nearly all North Americans and East Asians are descended from the man described above, as are most Europeans and many Indians.

M175: The East Asian Clan

Time of Emergence: 35,000 years ago
Place of Origin: Central or East Asia

Your genetic trail next leads to an ancestor who carried marker M175. This man was born around 35,000 years ago in Central or East Asia as part of the M9 Eurasian clan that, encountering impassable mountain ranges, migrated to the north and east.

These early Siberian hunters continued to travel east along the great steppes, gradually crossing southern Siberia. Some of them, perhaps taking advantage of the Dzhungarian Gap used thousands of years later by Genghis Khan to invade Central Asia, made it into present-day China.

Today, some 80 to 90 percent of all people living east of Central Asia's great mountain ranges are members of haplogroup O, the East Asian Clan. The marker M175 is nearly nonexistent in western Asia and Europe.

There were actually two waves of migration into this region. While your ancestors populated the region from the north, another group approached from the south. Descendants of the Coastal Clan—people who left Africa perhaps 60,000 years ago and headed along the coastline toward Australia—may have reached East Asia by 50,000 years ago.

The Coastal lineage is found at a frequency of 50 percent in Mongolia, and is common throughout northeast Asia.

The present composition of East Asia still shows evidence of this ancient north-south divide, showing a clear distinction in genetic heritage between northern and southern Chinese.

Today, more than half of all Chinese males carry the genetic marker M175, which is also widespread throughout East Asia and found in lower frequencies in Tahiti and Indonesia.

M122: China's Rice Farmers

Time of Emergence: 20-25,000 years ago, expansion within last 10,000 years
Place of Origin: China

Your genetic trail ends with a marker that arose within the last 10,000 years. The ancestral male who gave rise to marker M122 was probably born in China.

The widespread distribution of this man's descendants—more than half of Chinese men—strongly suggests that the spread of your ancestors was closely tied to the spread of agriculture. Members of haplogroup O3 may well be the descendants of China's first rice farmers.

The development of rice agriculture in East Asia led to a large population expansion. Archaeological evidence for the spread of rice agriculture to Japan, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia parallels the genetic data and suggests that a unique population carrying this marker expanded and spread throughout the region.

The pattern of settlement and intense exploitation of a few plant species was similar to, and occurred at around the same time, as the spread of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East. Archaeological sites in northern China show evidence of millet (a wheatlike grain) cultivation beginning around 7,000 years ago. Rice farming had reached Indonesia's islands of Borneo and Sumatra by 4,000 years ago, and today O3 lineages are found as far afield as Polynesia.
"This is where your genetic trail, as we know it today, ends. As additional data are collected and analyzed, more will be learned about your place in the history of the men and women who first populated the Earth."
Ten thousand years ago is as far as the current technology would take me. It could not yet cover the more recent portion of the journey including the part where my forefathers eventually end up in the Philippines.

Update October-14-2007 1:20am: According to a Wikipedia entry on Haplogroup O3, this Haplogroup is found in 35% of Filipino males.


Cocoy said...

interesting to see how migration patterns occurred. wonder how many Filipinos have gone through what you did? Because it would be interesting to know where our general population comes from.

cvj said...

Hi Cocoy, on the assumption that my background is more likely than not to be average (or close to it), my guess would be a substantial proportion.


hi chuck,

this is impressive!

I didn't get to meet my paternal grandparents - they were the "foreign molecules" of my being.

One was "half-caste" while the other was pure but both foreing in today's terms.

Jego said...

Interesting. Might be worth saving up the USD100.00.

cvj said...

Jego, you have a choice of tracing your paternal (Y-Chromosome) or maternal (mitochondrial) lineage. I did the paternal side first and plan to save up for the maternal one later.

If you have a full-brother, then maybe you can interest him to share in the costs of the Y-Chromosome analysis since the results will also be applicable to him.