Category Archives: Genetics

Anglo-Saxon Britain: it exists but to what extent?

Anglo-Saxon weaponry

Certainly one of my go-to spots on the internet, Ghost of a Flea links to a story on Frisian DNA and how it tells a tale of the Angl0-Saxon (Germanic) invasion of Britain.

The linked article in Der Speigel says that Brits are more Germanic than they realize, and that “Frisian” DNA marks much of eastern England.

Fine, to a point.  Unfortunately, the story appears to discuss the Frisian Modal Haplotype (FMH) identified by Stephen Oppenheimer in his “Origins of the British”.  Oppenheimer only used six Single Tandem Repeats (STRs) to form this grouping, and he also put this group in Iberia during the last Ice Age, having since expanded northward into northern Europe.  All work and theories under which, if you ask me, a line has been drawn.  [PS, I own the book and have read it; discussed here.]  That said, Oppenheimer’s discussion of the archaeological evidence for a large-scale Angl0-Saxon invasion led him to think of it as more of an incursion and a conquest of a new ruling class. [It would appear to have been more than that.]

Speaking of DNA, the research of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) shows that the ‘Celtic’ markers — that is, the R1b-P312/R1b-L21 markers — are prominent throughout Britain.  The SNP that would be most associated with Frisian and Germanic peoples would be R1b-U106.


The above map shows R1b-S21 (i.e. U106) distribution in modern-day Europe.  U106 and P312 are two major sister clades of the R1b haplogroup [or, ‘brother clades’, I suppose I should say].  The L21 or ‘Celtic’ group came out of P312.

There is clearly an Anglo-Saxon impact, and it appears to be about 20-40% of the population of eastern and central England.  But this is much lower than the levels suggested in the Der Speigel article.  As it stands, there are people with verified R1b-L21 SNPs, that is, they are of Celtic descent, yet who are classified under an Oppenheimer-esque FHM group based on a mere six STRs.  So, using that kind of methodology, you would tend to include people who might have similar STRs (they came out of the same R1b father clade, of course) but whose lineages split four or five thousand years ago.

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R1b-L1335 ~ a Scots modal genetic marker

Just tested positive for the R1b haplogroup genetic marker, or single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), L1335.

Researchers are thinking this one represents the Scots modal.

Recently, I had tested positive for DF13 which was a downstream (i.e. more recent) marker from R1b-L21 (L21 representing, more or less, a good part of the Bronze Age move of peoples from NW Europe to the British Isles).  The modern L21 distribution is here.  With the age of L21 being maybe 3500-4500 years old, the DF13 mutation followed along fairly close after that, so it still represented a fair portion of the L21 group.

Six subclade markers from DF13 (the big six) had been identified recently, and I was negative on all of these, remaining R1b-DF13* until these most recent results.  Now, I am R1b-L1335.  😎

You can check out this pin-map at FTDNA to see how the various R1b groups are shaping up.

Will have to update my Genetic Ancestry page and probably give it a bit of a refresh when I get the chance.

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Filed under Genetics, Scotland

How Old Are We?

Dienekes has been reporting research that has been pushing back the dates for both Mitochondrial Eve, and the species divergence of from chimps/apes.

In the case of the former, we’re talking around 177,000 years ago, and that she may not have even been an anatomically modern human.

In the case of the speciation of humanity, the accepted view had been about 6 million years ago in terms of a split from a chimp-like ape ancestor (with new research suggesting 3.7 to 6.6 million years ago).  But further new research puts it at 7 to 8 million years ago, or as far back as 13 million.  The same research puts the modern human-Neanderthal split between 400,000 and 800,000 years ago.

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Filed under Genetics, History

DNA Ancestry Research: R1b DF13

I am currently waiting the results of a newly identified Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (‘SNP’, pronounced ‘snip’) relating to my Y-Chromosome (male/paternal) dna ancestry research.

Currently, I am L-21*, with the asterisk indicating that I am negative on all known downstream subclades.

DF13 is thought to be ‘the big kahuna’ for L-21, a major subclade on the move of this R1b group from west-central Europe to western Europe (including, of course, the British Isles).

Btw, I’ve added/updated my Genetic Ancestry page.


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Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang

Finished Kate Wilhelm’s “Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang” which won the Hugo for best sci-fi novel in 1977.

There’s an end of the world scenario, along the lines of “On The Beach” perhaps, due to pollution and atomic wars.  The human race and, indeed, all animal life, is dying out, unable to reproduce.  The outlook is grim.

But wait!  We’ve got clones!  We’ll clone our way to a new future, and the old versions of humanity be damned.  Well, at least there will be some survival of humanity in some form, and that’s good, right?

Well, no.  It turns out clones are assholes.  They’re very clicky.  They don’t play well with non-clones.  They can’t leave the confines of the settlement (woods are scary).  They’re immoral and don’t consider regular humans to be worth much.  And they continually lose the ability to think independently with each generation.  [Oh yeah, and they have this group-mind association thingy if they’re from the same batch … for some reason.]

Luckily, there are a few humans who have begun breeding again and I’m sure one of them will find a way to outwit the evil clones and begin again.

There’s some decent relationship stuff here, and the idea of an empty world to explore and resettle works well in this book.  There wasn’t much of an explanation given as to why the clone copies would get so bad at things like imagination and creativity, but whatever.

I could recommend this one as it is a short read and I found I didn’t mind it.  It’s kind of an anachronism, but it’s ok to read those, as it shows you what some folks were thinking about ‘back then’.

Individuality, yeah!

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Filed under Books, Genetics, Sci-Fi Web-Cred