21 August 2008

And Now For Something Completely Different

Just as I am on a roll with Pauline/Helen, a distraction pushed it's way into my day.

About 3 years ago Sorenson Molecular was starting a DNA database project. I volunteered to participate. I was sent a kit in which to submit my sample. It was so easy. I just swished a pleasant tasting fluid around in my mouth for a couple of minutes and spit it into a container. I mailed it back to Sorenson's along with a "proven" 4 generation pedigree chart. At the time, the results were not available to the participants, but were used in comparing random DNA data collected from around the world.

A couple of months ago I get an email from Sorenson's:

Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) is excited to announce that your personalized DNA results are now available from the Sorenson mtDNA database, through a special offer made by GeneTree, a family networking website. Eligible participants may obtain their mtDNA-HVI, II, III results and pedigree information
To be eligible for this offer you must have requested an SMGF participation kit prior to October 23, 2007 and returned your kit prior to Dec 31, 2007.

Today I received the results. I am excited but I am not sure what I am excited about!

16189 C T
16193.1 C -
16193.2 C -
16311 C T
16519 C T
73 G A
263 G A
295 A C
309.1 C -
309.2 C -
315.1 C -

Test Results for the range 15968 to 16569 and 1 to 584

MtDNA Haplogroup: R
MtDNA Subgroup: B4c

I spent the better part of the day trying to understand what these results mean. Here is what I found that explained in the plainest of English:

mtDNA Haplogroup R Summary

Haplogroups M and N, appearing about 63,000 years ago, represent two branches of haplogroup L3. Haplogroups M and N encompass the entire mitochondrial genetic pool of all non-African populations.

Approximately 60,000 years ago, haplogroup N diverged, giving rise to haplogroup R.

While haplogroups M, N, R and their branches are found throughout southern Asia, eastern Eurasia and Australasia, only high level haplogroup diversity within N and R are found in
western Eurasia.

The N superhaplogroup has been characterized as pan-Eurasian. Haplogroup N is one of the two major trunks emerging from the original African root, and dates to approximately 65,000 years ago. Interestingly, several sub-haplogroups of the N cluster—haplogroup N1 and derivative lineages—have been detected in the Near East, suggesting either early divergence near the root of haplogroup N or subsequent migrations back towards western Eurasia following the original dispersal into east Eurasia. Future work will further document the historical distribution of this root haplogroup and closely related haplogroups within the N cluster.

Okaaayyy, Am I to understand that I am Haplogroup R and come from Eurasia?

Maybe a mistake has been made.....I have blonde hair and blue eyes and while I tan very nicely in the summer, my skin is basically white.

Is there anyone out there that can help me out here!


  1. My, what a lot of jargon. Sheri, I am under the impression that Eurasia includes Europe.

    (not a genetics or world geography expert)

  2. Sheri,

    My name is Dusty, I work at GeneTree.

    Congrats on getting your results! You can also visit http://www.genetree.com/dna/education/mtDNA/m,n,r.html to get a bit of information on your haplogroup. The haplogroup placements done by the Sorenson foundation are among the most accurate in the industry. You can also email info@genetree.com anytime for more specific help and questions about your results.

    When I first got my results, reading all of the profile stuff was interesting. But the best part for me was then using my results withing GeneTree to search the database and find dna cousins that closely match my DNA.

    Call us if you have any other questions!