Haplogroups and the Molecular Clock
As additional DNA samples have been collected, and mutations observed to occur with greater frequency than originally thought (even between brothers of the same parents), many geneticists are re-evaluating their original conclusions about “the Molecular Clock”. Prof. Sykes and other pioneers of yDNA have sold many books with sensational claims based upon their yDNA conclusions contradicting oral and written traditions of societies all over the world (including the Book of Mormon). It is interesting that the Human Migration map below indicates the genetic evidence that the original people of North and South America came from two major migrations from the Middle East. The first migration estimated about 50,000 years ago and another migration about 20,000 years ago. Other than the extended time periods this map is in general agreement with the Book of Mormon assertion that two groups of people came to the Americas thousands of years apart. According to the Book of Mormon the first came shortly after the Tower of Babel and the second group came from the Middle East 2,600 years ago.
According to the National Geographic Human Migration map two groups came to the Americas. The first were Haplogroup C (closer to the genetic “Adam”). The second group arriving in the Americas many thousands of years later were haplogroup Q. This is the same haplogroup (although a different subgroup) as many Yemetic Jews and several Arabic peoples. A majority of living descendants of Middle Eastern Jews are haplotype J. Living descendants of Samaritan Jews (who’s traditions state they are of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Levite ancestry) are mostly haplogroup E. People of Jewish ancestry are also found in haplogroups G, H, I, K, Q, and R which amounts to about a third of all the haplogroups with living representatives. Many geneticists are now reevaluating the original controversial conclusions made mainly by Prof. Sykes.
Our family is haplogroup R, but a separate subgroup (R1b) from the chiefs of Clan Donald (R1a). Even though we share the same surname several genetic researchers conclude our common ancestor lived more than 25,000 years ago. This genetic migration map shows what is believed to be the migration of mankind based upon similar yDNA patterns in living men in various areas of the world. The one premise with which we are all in full agreement is that we all came from a common ancestor. The difference of opinion is about when the migrations occurred. The DNA migration map shows our Celtic ancestors (R and R’s branches R1a, R1b) crossing Europe and arriving in the British Isles 25,000 years ago. This is in complete agreement with the Celtic legend called the Milesian Myth. But the Milesian Myth says it occurred just 2,500 years ago.
Its Just a Matter of Time
Not all geneticists are sold on the hypothesis that mitochondrial mutations occurred only once every thousand years (the basis of these millennial numbers). This is referred to as the Mitochondrial Molecular Clock. Additional MtDNA samples have been collected and analyzed over the last two decades. After analyzing multiple generations it appeared the rate of mutations occurred more frequently than originally thought. We know that more than 98% of the DNA in all living humans is identical. Little more than 1% of our DNA give us our distinguishing characteristics that divide us into the various branches of the human family tree. Another of the original main hypotheses that is being reevaluated is that mitochondrial (Mt) DNA, once thought to be only passed from mother to child, is now believed to come from both the mother and father. Prof. Sykes conclusions are based on the premise that yDNA is influenced exclusively by the paternal line with no influence from the maternal line. As that premise evolves every conclusion based upon it will need to be altered.
I have been in contact with several people that Family Tree DNA told me were a yDNA match to me. Most of them haven’t traced back as far as Ila Maughan, Eunice Young, and Emma Cluff have had done for our family. Twelve of the 85 yDNA matches do not have a McDonald ancestor on their paternal line, but do have McDonalds on their maternal line! So the original hypothesis that yDNA is not affected to any degree by the mother’s DNA does not appear to be consistent with the evidence. Even though scientific research and their hypothetical conclusions seem to continue to “evolve” this shouldn’t diminish the value of DNA as a useful tool in finding our kindred dead. I like the analogy of the LDS scientist Dr. John Lewis. He compares viewing science & religion to looking through both eyes. If you close one eye and then switch to the other eye a stationary object appears to move. You lose true perspective if you look at something through only one eye. If we close our mind to either science or religion we won’t have as clear of a perspective as we can have with both eyes wide open.