Monday, June 15, 2009

Manifestations of Spread Theory

Manifestations of Spread Theory

In 1991,the 5300 year old Ötzi the Iceman was discovered in the Austrian Alps, 1991. It was over a decade before maternal DNA was done – there are no reports of recoverable paternal DNA. Otzi’s mother was Haplogroup K. Today, haplogroup K has a frequency of around 6% in Europe. [6][7]

Haplogroup K was also found at Eulau, where the researchers “conclude that the multiple occurrences of haplogroup X2 and K1b in the Eulau burials can be interpreted as biological relationship rather than occurring by chance.” [8]

In his studies of the maternal ancestry of Ashkenazi Jews, Doron M. Behar found haplogroup K to be present in 32% of the Ashkenazi test subjects with indications of descent from four individuals. In the context of this article, Behar et al put forth these Spread Theory questions: “There are two fundamental questions with respect to the geographic origin of the Ashkenazi founding lineages. First, were these lineages a part of the mtDNA pool of a population ancestral to Ashkenazi Jews in the Near East, or were they established within the Ashkenazi Jews later in Europe, as a result of introgression from European or Eurasian groups? Second, where did these lineages expand? [9]

One of the techniques which can answer Spread Theory question, in the context of ancient remains, can be seen in the a report which appeared in National Geographic Magazine (July 2007): “Using a sophisticated analysis of isotopes in one of the Iceman's teeth, for example, scientists led by Wolfgang Muller (now at the Royal Holloway, University of London) have shown that he probably grew up in the Valle Isarco, an extensive north-south valley that includes the modern-day town of Bressanone. Isotope levels in his bones, meanwhile, match those in the soil and water of two alpine valleys farther west, the Val Senales and the Val Venosta.”

Using a related Isotopic technique, the July/August 2009 issue of Archaeology (page 10) has reported the finding that one of the 1493/4 Columbus crew was African. In yet another example of the work being done to ustilize DNA techniques to document human migrations, the article goes on to state, “Researchers plan to use the data to link other remains to their hometowns in Spain.”

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