Monday, November 12, 2012

Your Paternal Line Just Got MUCH Longer!

Genealogists get very excited when we are able to extend our ancestral lines back another generation. I know I sure do. What should we feel if our paternal line got extended thousands of  generations further back in time? That is what is about to happen for all of us.

“Y-chromosome Adam” just got a much earlier birthday. New research soon to be submitted for publication will claim that “Y-chromosome Adam” lived much earlier than had been established by earlier research.  Until now the scientific community has told the human story with “Mitochondrial Eve” living much earlier than “Y-chromosome Adam”. If you have followed the creation story, you may wonder how that is possible. Didn't “Adam” and “Eve” have to live at the same time? The new research suggests “Y-chromosome Adam” lived thousands of generations earlier than we were led to believe just a year ago. This could make him earlier than “Mitochondrial Eve”.

Actually, both “Mitochondrial Eve” and “Y-chromosome Adam” lived later than the Biblical Adam and Eve. Mitochondrial Eve is the mythical woman who is a place holder for the earliest woman who had at least two daughters who have an unbroken line of female descendants who have preserved and passed along her mitochondrial DNA down to currently living offspring. In like manner, Y-chromosome Adam is the mythical male placeholder who had at least two sons who have an unbroken line of male descendants who have preserved and passed along his Y-chromosome DNA down to currently living offspring.

This discovery was first investigated by Bonnie Schrack, a volunteer DNA project administrator and “citizen scientist”. She was trying to place a member of her project into the appropriate haplogroup. When he didn’t seem to fit any of the existing groups, she turned to Thomas Krahn, Technical Laboratory Manager for Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) and Dr. Michael Hammer of the University of Arizona for assistance. A paper outlining their findings is in the final stages of preparation and is expected to be published early next year.

Those of us attending the 8th International Conference on Genetic Genealogy in Houston this past weekend got an advance peek at their results and early reactions show great excitement:

Matty K , in response to a Dienekes blog post said: “Sounds like one of those "everything you know is wrong" discoveries.”

". . . it's hard to realize you're living history while it happens . . . . "
- quote from private email from Ann P. Turner to Georgia Kinney-Bopp.

Is it really that monumental? We will have to wait for the reaction of the scientific community to the publication of the paper in early 2013.


  1. Thanks for the interesting update from the conference. Bonnie's surname is in fact Schrack not Strack.

    1. Oops! Thanks Debbie, I'm happy to correct my error. I just downloaded your Surnames Handbook last night and am reading it.