Read reviews of science articles, new research and news reports on ancestry testing, ancient DNA and popular genetics
Commemorative stamp from 2013. We are republishing this interview from the early days of DNA Consultants since the topics it touches on have again become timely with the advent of a new form of “next-generation” DNA testing—ancient DNA.
Eran Elhaik is a faculty member at the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield in England specializing in genetic epidemiology, population genetics, molecular evolution, epigenetics and personalized medicine.
Genetic data on U.S. government enrolled Cherokees were published for the first time two years ago, in 2016. Previously, the only data on Cherokee Indians available for identity testing or genealogy purposes comprised our company’s two samples, U.S. Cherokee Admixed (n=62) and U.S. Cherokee Admixed (n=92).
Dorene Soiret’s mother, Alice Gound, about 1960. Soiret is a participant in DNA Consultants’ Phase III Cherokee Studies. Photo used by permission of Alice Gound and Dorene Soiret.
Since the release of Ukrainian forensic data last year, our company has been able to fill a long-standing gap in our countries of Europe and add to our world database an important Jewish homeland. The allele frequencies for Ukraine, where the majority of the population have some Jewish ancestry, confirm our definition of Jewish IV, the Khazar gene.
They’ve been implicated as the hidden genetic and geographic source of Ashkenazi Jews, and they’ve been put forward as one of the mystery strains in Cherokee Indians and Melungeons. Their position in Christianity is shown by their being one of the keepers of the keys to the City of Jerusalem. The entertainer Cher supposedly belongs to this ancestry on her father’s side.
Can genetics distinguish between a Jew and a non-Jew? On the basis of genetics alone, can anyone tell you if you are Native American, or part Native American, or what part or percentage? Is there a DNA signature for people of Cherokee descent? What about other tribal varieties? These and other fundamental questions are once more in the forefront of DNA research as “next-generation ancestry testing” emerges in the direct-to-consumer marketplace.
An April 10 article by Tara MacIsaac in the Epoch Times (“Tucson Artifacts Suggest Romans Made It to New World in 8th Century”) is the latest in an emerging portfolio of proof that the conventional history of the Americas is fundamentally flawed and, well, just wrong. At the center of the case for Old World contact before Columbus is a treasure trove of lead artifacts excavated under the nose of the University of Arizona in the 1920s but largely dismissed as elaborate hoaxes since that time.
The received, standard version of Cherokee genetics and history has suffered a number of fundamental assaults recently. See, for instance, Old World Roots of the Cherokee or Cherokee DNA Studies, two publications that have drawn the fire of those with cherished beliefs.