Monday, May 6, 2013

DNA Monday: Neanderthal on My Mind

OK, to recap, I took my DNA test with I was after the medical information equally as much as the genealogy results. The medical stuff was informative: I read it, thought about it, made a couple of changes to diet, remembered how important exercise is, and so on... then moved on with my life. The genealogy matches are an ongoing process and I'll wind up this post with some more surnames to add to the Surname List, hoping to catch a "cousin". But I keep on finding that my thoughts wander back to one issue: I'm 3.1% Neanderthal. Imagine! How? Why?

I guess of all the results from DNA testing, after delving into the percents of me that come from various European populations, the most surprising element is that small part (less that .1%) that's Sub-Saharan African and a bright happy red chunk on chromosome 10. I can not for the life of me figure out where that fits! I like and enjoy a bit of diversity in my mix, and maybe disappointed that it's such a small part. I'm also interested in that less than .1% that's Askanazi on chromosome 2. L'Chiam! But nothing gets my imagination going like that 3.1% that belongs to the deep past that's been identified as Neanderthal.

The big brewing pot of my imagination has been helped along recently by two programs on the Smithsoniam Channel, both about the Neanderthals and their legacy to those of us who are non African and inherited some of their DNA. (And double-check everything I write about DNA because, try as I might, I am just another fan trying to stumble their way into some pretty deep waters here.)

The first program was, predictably, about physical relations. But a couple of minutes into it and I could tell that it was really about how I got that 3.1% neanderthal DNA... well, not me exactly, but you know what I mean;) The second program was mostly about the Denisova Hominins and all about that discovery, which is a continuing saga.

Now, and knowing that my DNA is 3.1% Neanderthal, when I watch programs like these I pay more attention because I suddenly feel that I have a vested interest. Hey, they're talkin' about me!

My personal take-away so far is that this DNA thing is right there on the cutting edge of science and I'm happy to watch from a front row seat, so to speak, provided by my DNA test as a ticket to that grandstand. I find this exciting!

To read other posts on this subject on this blog, just find the search box near the top right and put in "DNA".

Here's the next installment of my Surname list so we can keep finding out if we're related!

Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland (before 1768 - present)
Franconia Township, Montgomery, Pennsylvania (before 1755 to before 1768)
Germany, Bavaria (before 1755 to about 1750)

Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland, general area including Zihlman, Mt. Savage, etc. (before 1767 - present)
Somerset County, New Jersey (about 1742 - before 1767)
The area now known as Brooklyn, New York (about 1647 - about 1742) As you can see I really don't know how to term this location in this time period. So don't yell at me and I'll go find out and correct it later.
Other locations associated with this family:
Danville and Union Township, Knox County, OH (before 1835 - ????)

Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland (before 1852 - present)
Possibly England (before 1852)
Other locations associated with this family:
Aux Sable Township, Grundy County, Illinois.

Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland (after 1900 - present)
Hampshire County, Virginia then West Virginia (before 1782 - after 1910)

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