2012 News for Haplogroup G.
The G skeletons
The first big general news item involves a spate of studies of ancient skeletons in Europe dating from 5000 to 7000 years ago. After the publication of these, our relatively small haplogroup G was found to be in the majority of European ancient skeletons from this period. This has somewhat shocked the population genetics research community and turned upside down all ideas of what went on in that period. It was entirely unexpected that a group that is marginal in the population today was then seemingly in the majority in Germany, Italy, France and Spain based on a limited number of samples. The time period involved (the European Neolithic) was during the time when agriculture and metal tools usage began in Europe. These innovations had already become common farther to the east in southwestern Asia. Presumably these migrants to Europe brought these skills with them. It is suggestive that at least some of the arrivals came by sea. The strongest evidence for a seaborne arrival involves Sardinia and the Iceman.
The Iceman term represents the mummified remains of a man dubbed Ötzi who was found in the Italian Alps. Further information about him can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%96tzi_the_Iceman
In August in an interview, the man in charge of caring for the mummy revealed that the ancient man belongs to what we now call the G2a2b group -- men who have the L91 mutation. He also indicated that the Iceman's nearest relatives today live in Sardinia which can only be reached by sea. The skeletons from France and Spain were found G2a but not tested further. The German skeleton was found earlier and listed only as G2a3.
Adding to the likelihood that these early G emigrants to Europe were not too successful in warding off later arrivals, the great bulk of even G persons in Europe today seem to be from later emigrants to Europe from the southeast.
Improved probability of tracing your ancestral migrations in 2012
The marker tests that you all have undergone have given some idea of your close relationship to other men in the last 600 years. But the real possibilities lay in the SNP tests. The labs are working on new tests that will do a complete scan of the Y chromosome or a scan of the most useful regions. It is thought that a single SNP develops each generation somewhere within the tens of millions of sites on the Y chromosome if each position can be read . So it is theoretically possible to show the exact branching of each generation when comparing your sample with other generations. It all depends on how much of the chromosome can be reliably scanned. But if a complete scan is not possible, then a scan of much of the chromosome will still vastly improve the knowledge of the branching. Presently we can identify only 31 SNP-defined G branches. But this new technology promises to expand the branching information such that thousands of branches can be identified.
To give some idea of how this works, we gained access to a treasure trove of haplogroup G SNPs this last summer. I extracted from the data of six G diverse persons in the 1000 Genomes Project http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1000_Genomes_Project in just several days 240 SNPs that are not shared with any other person. Within these are dozens and dozens of new branches that will be identified. We just need additional samples to identify items that are shared. In addition, I identified 65 new SNPs that are shared by various subgroups of G persons. Next year's annual report should be quite exciting as we report on many new branches that are identified. Every new shared branch gives a better idea of the movements of your ancestors in earlier times and has potential to identify how old each branch is. The full genome test will be a bit more expensive than existing tests, but there are not yet announcements of the cost. There probably witll still be a role for individual SNP tests (which are less expensive) for targeted testing.
More specific news to you
In the tabs on the left of this page are the categories established within the project, and many contain additional news items specific for that category. You will have to first identify your subgroup or predicted subgroup from the Project Roster. Write down the exact category, such as G2a3b1a2f Then return here to see the news for your subgroup.
Navigating through tests for these categories has become rather complex, and I noticed that a number of tests ordered during the year were not the most appropriate ones. The SNP tests for some categories have not yet made their way into the Family Tree official G tree in your Haplotree section of your results page. So we will be glad to provide individualized recommendations for further testing for those interested in better identifying your ancestral group. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org A large number of requests may delay a response, but all will be answered.