August 6, 2009

Ugo Perego: Halogroup X in Light of Recent Book of Mormon Claims

Ugo Perego, from Italy, MSc, is a senior researcher with Sorenson Molecular Geneaology Foundation. This was a highly technical presentation and I strongly urge reading the transcript paper when available.

Mitochondrial DNA inheritance pattern goes from mother to all children. But only the daughters will pass that info to the next generation. Population, history migration studies, etc. have made use of this DNA.

The truthfulness of theBoM is questions on ground that the mitochondrial DNA of Native American is that of Asian populations. Therefore, if Lehites were considered the first group and all Native Americans descend from them,  the BoM is not true.

Questions surrounding halogroup X

-Where does it come from?

-Where found?
All over world

-Linked to specific ethnic group?

-When arrive in Americas?
12,000 yrs ago

-How did it arrive?
Migration [Beringia?]

-Does it provide evidence to support a pre-Columbian Israelite migration to Western hemisphere?

"The real work is now beginning" -O'Rourke, March 2009 Current Biology on the colonization of America based on DNA research.

Some folks are trying to make simplistic arguments based on the data but it deserves a closer more technical approach, and information changes, so in the next few years, even what he presents today may be outdated.

2 Different Views of How Haplotype X Fits in Apologetics:

1. Haplogroup X is near-eastern origins, thus linked to BoM peoples.

2. Or, it is of Asian origins, came through Beringia more than 10,000 years ago, pre-dating Lehite colony, etc.

It is ok to disagree while you peel the banana down to the core to find the best solution, but many scientists disagree on various aspects and issues. Thus it is not surprising to find LDS people disagreeing with each other.

All of us carry DNA in cells, 23 pairs of chromosomes, completely sequenced in 2001.

[Technical explanation of what mitrochondrial DNA is and where it fits in the human genome, completely sequenced in 1981.]

It is divided into 2 regions.

Encodes 37 genes
-22 tRNAs
-2 rRNAs
-13 proteins (for energy metabolism)

Control Region (16024-00576)
-HVS1 (16024-16383)
-HVS2 (00057-00372)
-HVS3 (00438-00576)

It cannot just change randomly. Only a certain number of mutations over ages are able to occur so as not to be detrimrental to life.

3 Levels of mtDNA Resolution:

-Control Region
-RFLPs and SNP data
-Complete mtDNA sequences

It is expensive, but the gene can be mapped in an entire sequence. As of August 2008 there were 5,140 complete mtDNAs mapped throughout the world; Native Americans, Hispanics, Eurasia, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Australia, East Africa, East Asia, South Asia, Near East, etc.

Native American only 286 of that total. So there is more data coming, it is not time to make a solid proclamation on the issue.

[He showed a global map of World mtDNA migrations from the mainstream scientist perspective.] Based on this "female" legacy, scientists drew map of world to look at the movement of the DNA lineages. Those that had most mutations had the chance to be around longer, they were oldest. Fewer mutations means younger lineages. Based on that info they could see where movements occurred.

Genetic Drift:

These are principles that critics and believers in the BoM don't take into consideration enough.

"It is even possible that in any one generation no marbles of a particular color will be chosen, meaning they have no offspring. In this example, if no red marbles are selected the jar representing the new generation will contain only blue offspring. If this happens, the red allele has been lost permanently in the population, while the remaining blue allele has become fixed: all future generations will be entirely blue. In small populations, fixation to a single surviving allele can occur in just a few generations. Given enough time, this outcome is nearly inevitable for populations of any size." (From Wikipedia for convenience sake so people can check it)

We can only test what we can get our hands on. If there was a lineage that has disappeared, it would not be represented in today's studies. 

He explained that there is about 5 distinct lineages, adults, but the men did not pass it on. So there are only two named lineages (plus the other wives). Consider the possibilities of a small group intoriduced into a continent with other people, what are the chances these would survive. Statistically based on genetic drift principle is close to zero.
-Population Bottleneck

-Founder Effect

Does DNA testing of modern individuals detect all previous genetic lineages?

deCode project in Iceland
-DNA and geneologists from everyone born after 1972
Lines traced back to 1742.
-Skewed distribution: vast majority of potential ancestors contributing one or more etc. not found.

He showed his own DNA map to demonstrate that he is closer in lineage to different people than we might expect within 3 generations 1 out of 4 lineages disappeared.

"If anyone would reject these principles as being relevant, you know this person does not understand population genetics."

Michael Crawford's conclusions that Native American groups etc. have been so decimated that it has become practically impossible to use that DNA data to have any bearing on the BoM etc. Quoted Shook and Smith's findings that many halotypes have been lost in regards to Native Americans.

History of Native American Halotypes
-Four halogroups: A,B,C,D
-Found a Fifth: X

Scientists have constreucted a lineage tree placing X in East Asian haplogroups. You can match lineages to geographic locations. However, there is a type of X that is not found anywhere else in the world than Americas. A2, X2a, B2 are the types that are only found in America. X2a is not in part of the tree of Easern Asian. It is in a Western Eurasian part. Why is it different?

Collected 3,000 modern samples from Mongolia, a good collection. The reason they did is because it is a part of world that is poorly studied but has been a hotspot in the history of humanity, silk routes and other things that make the area an interesting place to study. Some people had speculated that X had Mongolian source. But in the 3,000 samples they tested they didn't find a Native American lineage. They found many lineages from East Asia, but also from Eurasia, H. Why were they in Mongolia? More sampling needs to be done, etc.

Mainstream accepted view of how America was colonized was that groups from Eastern Asia crossed the bering strait and colonized. About 20,000 yrs ago temperatures worldwide were much colder, this an ice cap covered northern hemisphere (and theoretically you could have walked from Europe to America, living off of fishing, etc. This could have been the way X was present in America. Not many scientists buy into that.) They believe they came through Eurasia. There was more coastal line exposed, and land bridge connected the land masses.

4 Major types moved: A2, B2, C1, D1. Three minor: X2a, D2a, D3. Others? D4h3, C4c...etc.

Hg X in Asia? Did it come from Asia, or somewhere else? What is the ancestry of X in America and Europe? X is rare pretty much anywhere around the world where it is found. Alwas a small percentage of population. The complete sequence of X (the Asia one) sits on a different part of the tree than that of Native Americans. As of 2003 only 2 complete Native American lineage sequences were completed. That is it.

Most likely ancestral home for X was the ancient Near East. Fits with Kuwait, Greece, etc. Closest in tree is Iran. So the Asian one cannot be ancestral to the Native American, but from Iran or somewhere around there.

Why is this relevent? Some argue that this rare mutation occurred in two lineages at the same time, but Ugo finds that hard to believe.

Problem with DNA: The already-established beliefs of population tend to dictate the discovered data.

The current studies are still undetermined in full, there appear to be multiple migrations combining, etc.

New lineage discovered: X2g. Not sure where it came from yet.

[Ugo showed some maps of the potential migration path of the new lineage, etc.]

"The Dating Problem." Some argue that X shows arrival of Lehi, etc. but this is too easy an explanation. The data seems to indicate it was from an ancient group 12,000 years ago, and Lehi's mtDNA has disappeared.

-4 proposed molecular clocks for mtDNA (starting in 2001).
-Based on coding region or omplete sequences
-Based on assumed divergence between humans and chimps
-A complex issue to tackle, and it is a work in process. As of today there is no better data that would disprove Ugo's conclusions.
Scientists are taking all of this into configuration

[Ugo talked somewhat about "Druze and Halogroup X." Again, see the full transcription]

Final points: Click to enlarge and read:


Q [Unsure]

A: It is not clear how fast they mingled but it is puzzling to know how large the Lamanites would have became, taking up cultures, intermixing, etc. Both Nephites and Lamanites had equal opportunity to procreate and I think one might have been going faster than the other, etc.

Q: [Unsure]

A: If all the people are descendants of Lehi, you would expect to find the signature. But the question is, what is Sariah's and Ishmael's wife's lineages? We don't know. There are mixes everywhere.   Say he represents the one Itallian in Utah, he doesn't carry the typical DNA of Italians, so if we test him here in Utah and extrapolate that to Italy we would be led astray.

1 comment:

Mike Parker said...

At dinner after the conference, Ugo told BHodges that he "had read your blogged notes, and you got 80% of it right." This was a compliment.

Ugo's presentation was pretty technical. Good job catching all that, BH!

Post a Comment

All views are welcome when shared respectfully. Use a name or consistent pseudonym rather than "anonymous." Deletions of inflammatory posts will be noted. Thanks for joining the conversation.