Toba Eruption

I don’t follow closely, but one of the truisms of human genetics has been the impact of the Toba Eruption. DNA studies seem to show modern humans are descended from a smaller than expected number of people. We seem to have lost some of the genetic diversity we would be expected to have. One possible … Read more

Jewish Khazars

Are Ashkenazi Jews descended from the Khazars? It’s a hot question. Many people, both Jews and non-Jews, have thought so, but nowadays it has become anti-Semitic to say it. I’m not exactly sure when it became taboo to question scientific research. At one time, many years ago, I thought Arthur Koestler made a slam-dunk case … Read more

New mtDNA Test

I decided recently to have a Full mtDNA test at Family Tree DNA (FTDNA). This is something I’ve been putting off. I had the HVR1 test at Oxford Ancestors in 1998, and another at FTDNA in 2007. In between, I also donated a blood sample to BYU. Those results ended up at the now defunct … Read more

Not Just Scandinavians

We’ve had all these little hints over the years, now here’s the confirmation. Viking expansion funneled greater genetic diversity into Scandinavia, according to new study published in the journal Nature. “The ongoing exchange of goods, people and ideas encouraged Vikings to interact with populations across Europe—a trend evidenced by the new survey, which found relatively homogenous genetic information … Read more

Indians and Polynesians

I think we could file this one under “proving the obvious”. Some South American Indians share DNA with some Polynesians. And the connection goes back way before European contact. I was a fan of Thor Heyrdahl when I was a kid. I must’ve read Kon-Tiki a dozen times. That’s the one where he built a … Read more

Bure Tree Redrawn

I’m surprised we don’t hear more DNA stories like this, particularly in Scandinavia where the widespread use of patronymics would channel research along these lines. The Bure family in Sweden, a prominent family since medieval times, has a project devoted to using yDNA to investigate the early origins of their patrilineage. They recently found a … Read more

Jukes and Kallikaks

Not many people remember it now, but biologists used to like the idea of eugenics, improving humans by controlling who is allowed to reproduce. In that whole muddle the Jukes and Kallikaks were iconic. In 9th grade biology our textbooks had a chapter on genetics. Mendel and all that. I was already a fledgling genealogist. … Read more

Warren’s Cherokee Ancestry

I was at coffee with a friend a few days ago when we got mired in a debate about Elizabeth Warren. I was struck by how much misinformation I was hearing. It doesn’t need to be this hard. There is a political narrative that says Warren lied about her Cherokee ancestry. That’s a story for … Read more


So. I was using Genome Mate. It was a lot of work for not much result. There was an update. Always more work. I never got around to doing it, and never went back. So now I’m looking at DNAPainter. Worth taking a shot, or will it just be extra useless work? Roberta Estes says, … Read more

What Happened to the Old Europeans?

Here’s a video from Masaman about the Old Europeans. He explains, they are “the original people groups of Europe that inhabited the landmass before the arrival of the Indo-Europeans, a group which would later evolve into the vast majority of European nations we see today, from the Russians, Italians, Irish, Norwegians and Greeks.“ Not much … Read more