DNA Consultants’ blog

Read reviews of science articles, new research and news reports on ancestry testing, ancient DNA and popular genetics

Book Deal: Star, Crescent and Cross


Jews and Muslims in Colonial America
After more than eight years in development, a book contract was awarded to Elizabeth Caldwell Hirschman and Donald N. Yates for their collaborative study of Crypto-Jews and Crypto-Muslims in the settlement of British North America. Titled Star, Crescent and Cross:  Jews and Muslims in Colonial America, the work will be published next year by McFarland, a leading U.S. publisher of scholarly, reference and academic books.

From Matriarchy to Patriarchy: Year 3000 BCE


The Greatest Divide in Human Genealogy and History

You hear a lot of talk about the Neolithic Revolution–the gradual adoption and spread of agriculture, animal husbandry and town life by our prehistoric European ancestors–but the most important epoch in the course of civilization goes largely unnoticed in the history books. That was the abrupt shift from matriarchy and worship of the Great Goddess to the warrior-based governments and language stocks of the steppe-dwelling Indo-Aryan barbarians who invaded Old Europe beginning in the late fourth millennium BCE.

More Illogic from Paleontologists


Jewelry from the Grotte du Renne “reindeer cave” at Arcy-sur-Cure in Central France has long been assigned to Neanderthals, helping rehabilitate them in the picture paleontologists paint of early mankind. But these artifacts have now been questioned thanks to a redating of the lowest levels of the cave, where Neanderthals were presumed active. According to Science Magazine vol. 330, no. 6003, p. 439) in October 2010,

Jewish Marker I Signature of European Admixture


Jewish I is described as “the most common of the three markers… its frequency highest in Poles, Russians, Germans, Hungarians, Romanians and Slavic peoples who intermarried with Ashkenazi Jews. It also appears in Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Moroccan Jews (Sephardim).”

Jewish Marker II Statistical Notes


Jewish II is characterized as the “strongest” marker, correlating very often with Ashkenazi Jewish parentage, especially in its double allele form (two checks under parents’ columns on an 18 Marker Ethnic Panel or Jewish DNA Ancestry report). This description is validated by ENFSI results for 22 countries of Europe, where its strongest showings are in Czechoslovakia, Croatia and Slovenia (all Central European Slavic populations).

Rounding Up the Usual Suspects


Book Review:  Abraham’s Children. Race, Identity, and the DNA of the Chosen People, by Jon Entine (New York:  Grand Central, 2007).

Jewish DNA is full of controversies and the journalist Jon Entine shies away from none of them in this bestselling compendium. Interesting for our readers may be to note where he falls out on some of the more vexed issues after taking the trouble to interview genetic news makers such as Karl Skorecki (“Genes of Old Testament Priests”) and Father William Sanchez, the cause celebre for New Mexico crypto-Jews.

Neanderthals Out of Anthropological Doghouse?


We predicted as much:  anthropologists are beginning to have a more positive attitude toward the role of Neanderthals in human prehistory. According to an article in today’s Washington Post, “Scientists are broadly rethinking the nature, skills and demise of the Neanderthals of Europe and Asia, steadily finding more ways that they were substantially like us and different from the limited, unchanging and ultimately doomed inferiors most commonly described in the past.”

DNA Surrounds You


DNA Found to Extend in a Radius of 50 Miles around You

According to an Anishnabe elder, DNA has a well-known non-physical or spiritual dimension. George Starr-Bresette sent us recently the following three write-ups on some experiments measuring the effect of DNA in the environment.

Melungeon Riddle Solved by Autosomal DNA Project


After many years in development, the results of a DNA ancestry project enrolling 40 Melungeons were published and made public, marking the end of an attempt to solve the mystery of a Southern U.S. ethnic group with autosomal DNA.