Category Archive 'DNA'
07 Jul 2019

Ann Coulter Refutes Jefferson-Hemmings Libel

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I know, from Yale circles, a prominent and well-respected writer of books about American history. Several years ago, he repeated Nature magazine’s lie about Thomas Jefferson being the father of Sally Hemmings’ children. I called him on it, and tried explaining the many reasons these allegations were probably false. He wouldn’t hear any of it. The consensus of the Establishment said so, so it must be so.

Ann Coulter is smarter than my friend from Yale, and deserves applause for sticking up for Jefferson’s reputation.

This Fourth of July, let’s look at the tactics used by the left to blacken the reputations of American heroes. To wit, the lie that the principal author of the declaration, Thomas Jefferson, fathered a child with his slave, Sally Hemings.

The charge was first leveled in 1802 by a muckraking, racist, alcoholic journalist, James Callender, who had served prison time for his particular brand of journalism. He had tried to blackmail Jefferson into appointing him postmaster at Richmond. When that failed, Callender retaliated by publicly accusing Jefferson of fathering the first-born son of Sally Hemings — or, as the charming Callender described her, “a slut as common as the pavement.”

No serious historian ever believed Callender’s defamation — not Dumas Malone, Merrill Peterson, Douglass Adair or John Chester Miller. Not one. Their reasoning was that there was absolutely no evidence to support the theory and plenty to contradict it.

The Jefferson-Hemings myth was revived by feminists trying to elevate the role of women in history. …

Fawn M. Brodie got the ball rolling with her 1974 book, “Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History,” which used Freudian analysis to prove Jefferson kept Hemings as his concubine and fathered all six of her children.

Brodie’s book was followed by Barbara Chase-Riboud’s 1979 novel “Sally Hemings,” a work that imagines Hemings’ interior life. When CBS announced plans to make a miniseries out of the novel, Jefferson scholars exploded, denouncing the project as a preposterous lie. The miniseries was canceled.

Finally, a female law professor, Annette Gordon-Reed, wrote “Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy,” which accused professional historians of racism for refusing to defer to the “oral history” of Hemings’ descendants.

She said “racism,” so the historians shut up.

In 1998, a retired pathologist, Dr. Eugene Foster, performed a DNA test on the Y-chromosomes of living male descendants of Sally Hemings, as well as those from Jefferson’s paternal uncle. The Y-chromosome is passed from male to male, so, if the story were true, Hemings’ male descendants ought to have the Y-chromosome of the Jefferson male bloodline.

What the DNA tests showed was that Hemings’ firstborn son, Tom — the Tom whose alleged paternity was the basis for Callender’s accusation — was not related to any Jefferson male.

Foster’s study did establish that Hemings’ last-born son, Eston, was the son of some Jefferson male, but could not possibly say whether that was Thomas Jefferson or any of the other 25 adult male Jeffersons living in Virginia at the time, eight of them at or near Monticello.

For Eston to be Jefferson’s son, we have to believe that five years after being falsely accused of fathering a child with Hemings, Jefferson decided, What the heck? I may be president of the United States, but I should prove Callender’s slander true by fathering a child with my slave! No one will notice.

It would be as if five years after the Duke lacrosse hoax, one of the falsely accused players went out and actually raped a stripper — in fact, the same stripper.

Nonetheless, Nature magazine titled its article on the study “Jefferson Fathered Slave’s Last Child.” Hundreds of newspapers rushed to print with the lie, e.g.:

“Study: Jefferson, Slave Had Baby” — Associated Press Online, Nov. 1, 1998

“DNA Study Shows Jefferson Fathered His Slave’s Child” — Los Angeles Times, Nov. 1, 1998

“Jefferson Exposed” — Boston Globe, Nov. 3, 1998

Two months after these false “findings” had been broadcast from every news outlet where English is spoken, Foster admitted that the DNA had not proved Jefferson fathered any children by Sally Hemings, merely that he could have fathered one child. Only eight newspapers mentioned the retraction.

The science alone puts the odds of Thomas Jefferson fathering Eston at less than 15% — less than 4%, if all living Jefferson males are considered, not just the ones at Monticello.

All other known facts about Jefferson make it far less probable still.

There are no letters, diaries or records supporting the idea that Jefferson was intimate with Hemings, and quite a bit of written documentation to refute it, including Jefferson’s views on miscegenation and his failure to free Hemings in his will, despite freeing several other slaves.

In private letters, Jefferson denounced Callender’s claim — a denial made more credible by his admission to a sexual indiscretion that would have been more shameful at the time: his youthful seduction of a friend’s wife.

None of the private correspondence from anyone else living at Monticello credited the Hemings rumor, though several pointed to other likely suspects — specifically Jefferson’s brother, Randolph.

Eston was born in 1808, when Thomas Jefferson was 64 years old and in his second term as president. His brother Randolph was 52, and Randolph’s five sons were 17 to 24 years old. All of them were frequent visitors at Monticello.

While Jefferson was busy entertaining international visitors in the main house, Randolph would generally retire to the slave quarters to dance and fiddle. One slave, Isaac Granger Jefferson, described Randolph in his dictated memoirs thus: “Old Master’s brother, Mass Randall, was a mighty simple man: used to come out among black people, play the fiddle and dance half the night.”

There is not a single account of Thomas Jefferson frequenting slave quarters. Nor did Jefferson take any interest in Hemings’ children. Randolph did, teaching all of Hemings’ sons to play the fiddle.

Randolph was an unmarried widower when Eston was conceived. After Randolph remarried, Hemings had no more children.

In response to DNA proof that only one of Hemings’ children was related to any Jefferson male — and her firstborn son was definitely NOT fathered by any Jefferson — the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the Monticello Association and the National Genealogical Society promptly announced their official positions: Thomas Jefferson fathered all six of Hemings’ children! Guided tours of Monticello today include the provably false information that Jefferson fathered all of Hemings’ children.

So now you, at least, know the truth — not that it matters in the slightest. Happy Fourth of July!

09 May 2019

Montana Man Found to Possess Oldest DNA Present in the Americas

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Dusty Crawford

Great Falls Tribune:

[Dusty] Crawford had his DNA tested through CRI Genetics, which aims to provide customers with a “biogeographical ancestry,” a description of where their genes fit into the overall story of the species.

For Crawford, the company traced his line back 55 generations with a 99 percent accuracy rate. That’s rare because the ancestry often is clouded that far back, according to the company.

It was, they told him, like finding Bigfoot, it was so unlikely.

The company has never been able to trace anyone’s ancestry in the Americas as far back as Crawford’s DNA, they told him.

Crawford understood from school that his Blackfeet ancestors must have come to the new world on the Bering Land Bridge during the Ice Age. Perhaps that’s true for some Blackfeet.

But Crawford’s DNA story suggests his ancestors came from the Pacific, traveled to the coast of South America and traveled north, according to CRI. That’s a theory anyway.

He’s part of MtDNA Haplogroup B2, which has a low frequency in Alaska and Canada and originated in Arizona about 17,000 years ago.

That group is one of four major Native American groups that spread across the continent. They’re called clans and traced back to four female ancestors, Ai, Ina, Chie and Sachi. Crawford’s DNA says he’s a descendant of Ina.

The DNA group’s closest relatives outside the Americas are in Southeast Asia.

Ina’s name comes from a Polynesian mythological figure, a representative of the “first woman.” She’s riding a shark on a $20 bill in the Cook Islands.

“Its path from the Americas is somewhat of a mystery as there are no frequencies of the haplogroup in either Alaska or Canada. Today this Native American line is found only in the Americas, with a strong frequency peak on the eastern coast of North America,” according to the DNA testing company.

The DNA test focused on mitochondria DNA and Crawford’s line of female ancestors.

Shelly Eli, a Piikani culture instructor at the Blackfeet Community College, said oral stories say “We’ve always been here, since time immemorial.”

“There’s no oral stories that say we crossed a bridge or anything else,” she said.

She cited 2017 research from a mastodon site in California that scientists say puts humans in North America at least 100,000 years earlier than previously believed. Previous estimates suggested humans arrived 15,000 years ago.

Crawford also had an unusually high percent of Native American ancestry in his results, 83 percent. Some of that was a mix of Native threads, but, unusually, 73 percent was from the same heritage.

Besides his Native heritage, Crawford’s DNA was a remarkable global melting pot. His DNA was 9.8 percent European, 5.3 percent East Asian (mostly Japanese and Southern Han Chinese), 2 percent South Asian (Sri Lankan Tamil, Punjabi, Gujarati Indian and Bengali) and .2 percent African (Mende in Sierra Leone and African Caribbean).

30 Mar 2019

Living Relatives of Iceman Identified in Austrian Tyrol

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Naturalistic reconstruction of Ötzi – South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology.

Fox News:

Ötzi the Iceman has at least 19 living male relatives in the Austrian Tirol, according to a genetic study into the origins of the people who now inhabit the region.

Scientists from the Institute of Legal Medicine at Innsbruck Medical University analyzed DNA samples taken from 3,700 blood donors in the Tyrol region of Austria.

During their study, they discovered that 19 individuals share a particular genetic mutation with the 5,300-year-old mummy, whose full genome was published last year.

“These men and the Iceman had the same ancestors,” Walther Parson, the forensic scientist who carried out the study, told the Austrian Press Agency.

The researchers focused on parts of the human DNA which are generally inherited unchanged.

“In men it is the Y chromosomes and in females the mitochondria. Eventual changes arise due to mutations, which are then inherited further,” Parson explained.

People with the same mutations are categorized in haplogroups. Designed with letters, haplogroups allow researchers to trace early migratory routes since they are often associated with defined populations and geographical regions.

Indeed, Ötzi’s haplogroup is very rare in Europe.

“The Iceman had the haplogroup G, sub category G-L91. In our research we found another 19 people with this genetic group and subgroup,” Parson said.

Having carried Y chromosome haplogroup analysis, Parson was able to trace only the male descendants of the Neolithic man.

So far the 19 individuals have not been informed of their genetic relationship to Ötzi.

RTWT

18 Oct 2018

Liz Warren’s Indian Blood

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17 Oct 2018

DNA and Victim Status

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16 Oct 2018

Orrin Hatch’s DNA

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16 Oct 2018

The Onion Nails Pocahontas

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16 Oct 2018

Tweet of the Day

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04 Jun 2018

From Reddit

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19 Apr 2018

Oldest American Domestic Dogs

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Science News reports recent analysis proves dogs have lived with humans in North America longer than previously supposed and that the genetics of some dogs kept by early inhabitants of North America have not survived to the present day.

A trio of dogs buried at two ancient human sites in Illinois lived around 10,000 years ago, making them the oldest known domesticated canines in the Americas.

Radiocarbon dating of the dogs’ bones shows they were 1,500 years older than thought, zooarchaeologist Angela Perri said April 13 at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. The previous age estimate was based on a radiocarbon analysis of burned wood found in one of the animals’ graves. Until now, nearly 9,300-year-old remains of dogs eaten by humans at a Texas site were the oldest physical evidence of American canines.

Ancient dogs at the Midwestern locations also represent the oldest known burials of individual dogs in the world, said Perri, of Durham University in England. A dog buried at Germany’s Bonn-Oberkassel site around 14,000 years ago was included in a two-person grave. Placement of the Americas dogs in their own graves indicates that these animals were held in high regard by ancient people.

An absence of stone tool incisions on the three ancient dogs’ skeletons indicates that they were not killed by people, but died of natural causes before being buried, Perri said. …

She and her colleagues studied two of three dogs excavated at the Koster site in the 1970s and a dog unearthed at Stilwell II in 1960. These sites lie about 30 kilometers apart in west-central Illinois.

Perri’s team found that the lower jaws and teeth of the Stilwell II dog and one Koster dog displayed some similarities to those of modern wolves. Another Koster dog’s jaw shared some traits with present-day coyotes, possibly reflecting some ancient interbreeding.

A new genetic analysis positions the 10,000-year-old Illinois dogs in a single lineage that initially populated North America. Dog origins are controversial, but may date to more than 20,000 years ago (SN Online: 7/18/17). Ancient American dogs, including the Koster and Stilwell II animals, shared a common genetic ancestor, cell biologist Kelsey Witt Dillon of the University of California, Merced reported April 13 at the SAA meeting. That ancestor originated roughly 15,000 years ago after diverging from a closely related Siberian dog population about 1,000 years earlier, she said.

Dillon’s team, which includes Perri, studied 71 complete mitochondrial genomes and seven nuclear genomes of dogs from more than 20 North American sites, ranging in age from 10,000 to 800 years ago. Mitochondrial DNA is typically inherited from the mother, whereas nuclear DNA comes from both parents.

Much of the genetic blueprint of those ancient dogs is absent in present-day canines, Dillon said. Only a small number of U.S. and Asian dogs share maternal ancestry with ancient American dogs, suggesting the arrival of European breeds starting at least several hundred years ago reshaped dog DNA in the Americas, she proposed.

RTWT

12 Apr 2018

No Wonder There Are So Many Democrats!

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The BBC reports that the human part of humanity is outnumbered.

More than half of your body is not human, say scientists.

Human cells make up only 43% of the body’s total cell count. The rest are microscopic colonists.

Understanding this hidden half of ourselves – our microbiome – is rapidly transforming understanding of diseases from allergy to Parkinson’s.

The field is even asking questions of what it means to be “human” and is leading to new innovative treatments as a result.

“They are essential to your health,” says Prof Ruth Ley, the director of the department of microbiome science at the Max Planck Institute, “your body isn’t just you”.

No matter how well you wash, nearly every nook and cranny of your body is covered in microscopic creatures.

This includes bacteria, viruses, fungi and archaea (organisms originally misclassified as bacteria). The greatest concentration of this microscopic life is in the dark murky depths of our oxygen-deprived bowels.

Prof Rob Knight, from University of California San Diego, told the BBC: “You’re more microbe than you are human.”

Originally it was thought our cells were outnumbered 10 to one.

“That’s been refined much closer to one-to-one, so the current estimate is you’re about 43% human if you’re counting up all the cells,” he says.

But genetically we’re even more outgunned.

The human genome – the full set of genetic instructions for a human being – is made up of 20,000 instructions called genes.

But add all the genes in our microbiome together and the figure comes out between two and 20 million microbial genes.

RTWT

03 Dec 2017

NYC Has Solved the Rat Diversity Problem

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Uptown rats are genetically different from Downtown rats, and you can even easily differentiate West Village rats from East Village rats. I can only suppose that most Upper West Side rats are probably liberal and Jewish. The Atlantic:

Manhattan’s rats are genetically most similar to those from Western Europe, especially Great Britain and France. They most likely came on ships in the mid-18th century, when New York was still a British colony. [Fordhan University grad student Matthew] Combs was surprised to find Manhattan’s rats so homogenous in origin. New York has been the center of so much trade and immigration, yet the descendants of these Western European rats have held on.

When Combs looked closer, distinct rat subpopulations emerged. Manhattan has two genetically distinguishable groups of rats: the uptown rats and the downtown rats, separated by the geographic barrier that is midtown. It’s not that midtown is rat-free—such a notion is inconceivable—but the commercial district lacks the household trash (aka food) and backyards (aka shelter) that rats like. Since rats tend to move only a few blocks in their lifetimes, the uptown rats and downtown rats don’t mix much.

When the researchers drilled down even deeper, they found that different neighborhoods have their own distinct rats. “If you gave us a rat, we could tell whether it came from the West Village or the East Village,” says Combs. “They’re actually unique little rat neighborhoods.” And the boundaries of rat neighborhoods can fit surprisingly well with human ones.

Combs and a team of undergraduate students spent their summers trapping rats—beginning in Inwood at the north tip of Manhattan and working their way south. They got permission from the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, which gave them access to big green spaces like Central Park as well as medians and triangles and little gardens that dot the city. And they asked local residents. “More often than not, they were very, very happy to show us exactly where they had rats.” says Combs. A crowdsourced map of rat sightings also proved very helpful.

Rats, although abundant, are not easily fooled into traps. They’re wary of new objects. To entice them, the bait was a potent combination of peanut butter, bacon, and oats. And the team placed their traps near places where rats had clearly crawled. They looked for rat holes, droppings, chew marks on trash cans, and sebum marks—aka the grease tracks rats leave when they traverse the same path to the garbage over and over again.

For the DNA analysis, Combs cut off an inch or so of the rats’ tails. (Over 200 of these tails are still saved in vials in a lab freezer.) The team also took tissue samples for other researchers interested in studying how rats spread diseases through the urban environment. And some of the rats they skinned and stuffed for the collections of the Yale University Peabody Museum of Natural History, where they will join stuffed rats from 100 years ago.

RTWT

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