A Quick Guide to Editing The Drawing Your Family Tree - Genome
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PDF Editor FAQ
Has anyone got ancestors from the Indus Valley civilization?
I have Harappan ancestry.I am almost certain that around 5000 years ago, two people somewhere in the Northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent were screwing each other, vigorously and regularly, and at least one of them was ‘Harappan’ and that she/he was the founding branch of a family tree that sprouted a new shoot about 30 years BP.It might have even been this guy:-or this sassy temptress…Why am I so certain?For the same reason that I am almost as certain that the original poster also has ‘Harappan’ ancestry, particularly if she/he hails from any part of the subcontinent excluding the far Northeast.Its elementary math people.I have two parents, and so do you.4 grandparents, 8 great grand parents, 16 great great grandparents and so on.Go back just 10 generations, and your ancestor ‘set’ now has one thousand twenty four people. That’s just 200 years, you have inherited less than a thousandth of your genome from the male/female sex-god/goddess who lived two centuries ago, if we go by this logic.A thousand years is roughly 50 generations (actually more, since people tended to marry early in the old days).Stupid math tells you you now have 100 TRILLION ancestors.The total number of humans who have ever lived is at best about 40 Billion.Clearly one or more of our assumptions is wrong, here’s why.Trying to track ancestry in this fashion misses an important point; populations are limited, therefore, the only way this works is if ancestral lines CONVERGE over time.This means the total number of possible ancestors is limited, and that if you go back far enough, you and I will have a common ancestors — it is mathematically certain.The key now is to be able to locate the point in time at which you and I diverged into different branches.There is a way to do this.You see, when mommy and daddy really love each other, mommy’s body makes sure that all of daddy’s deadbeat, lazy, irresponsible mitochondrial DNA is destroyed, no refunds.Thus we all inherit mitochondrial DNA only from our mothers, who in turn inherited their mitochondrial DNA from their mothers and so on and so forth.A randomized mitochondrial DNA study was done very recently (link below), and came to some startling conclusions:—Most people living in the subcontinent are descended from a relatively small number of females within the last 12000 years or so.—the ‘Indian’ genome has remained very stable and ‘conserved’ over historical time. There is no sudden change in our DNA makeup around the time of the alleged ‘Invasion’.—The Invasion theory requires major revision/replacement. If the DNA evidence is to be believed, even the ‘lowest’ castes and tribes share significant genetic markers with the upper castes. This means that ‘Aryans’ and ‘Native’ populations had been screwing/fighting each other for a long time before the Indus Civilization collapsed and the Vedic age began.—The Aryan-Harappan divide exists mostly in our minds, it is a white/dark racial superiority argument masquerading as an anthropological theory.—There is little genetic basis for the caste system — the ‘upper’ and ‘lower’ castes share the same mitochondrial gene clusters (known as ‘haplogroups’ by uptight,pretentious scientists), which means they share at least 80% of female ancestors among them.It is dangerous to draw conclusions that south Indians (Dravid people) are descendants of Harappan people, and north westerners are Aryan descendants. The truth is much messier and completely ‘R’ rated.Aryan/Dravidian are cultural markers, not genetic. This is why it possible to find dark skinned people in Himachal Pradesh and light skinned people in Tamil Nadu. Skin complexion and facial features are a very poor method for determining genetic makeup.Why is this the case?Just because you trace descent from someone in the far past, does not necessarily mean you carry their genes, for similar reasons as outlined above.Your children inherit half your genome, their offspring will at best, inherit a fourth of your genes and so on.It is possible that while you may have a distinguished ancestor in the far past, none of her/his genes got handed to you, because one of your intermediate ancestors got stiffed and got her/his genes from the other branch of the tree. The only way of circumventing this is prolonged inbreeding between cousins and close relatives, which dangerous and unhealthy as many Ancient Egyptian and medieval European royal families can attest to. (Also, eww)This means that while I may have ‘Harappan’ ancestry, I do not necessarily have ‘Harappan’ genes.Gene trees are much more important from a scientific standpoint than family trees. Also, genes don’t care what varna you belong to.This also means that Harappans are likely to have had all kinds of face ‘types’, complexions, physical build, and hair texture— as is likely for any culture that depended heavily on transcontinental trade and contact.Want to know if we have Harappans among us, what they look like?Look around you.Here’s the link: Genetics and the Aryan DebateSpecial thanks to Pradip Gangopadhyay for this link.
If horses are closer genetically to bats than to cows, then how can the fossil record be an evidence to evolution?
My original answer is below (along with a TLDR), but given some arguments with the more dogmatic answerers, and a bunch of actual reading of the actual subject, I’m going to do a total rewrite to better capture the nuance that your question deserves.Dear questioner. I’m sorry for the abuse that you’ve been receiving. You’re asking a valid question based on a valid scientific paper (Link below), and not something from a “kooky creationist website.” Just because there is good scientific grounding for evolution doesn’t mean that some of the people defending it know how science works, and are immune from being more than a little dismissive and dogmatic. Conversely, just because there are dogmatic people supporting evolution doesn’t mean it’s not real science.Now about that paper. If you read enough evolution, the idea that horses and bats could belong to the same clade (branch of the tree of life) isn’t that far fetched. We know that cows, pigs, and other even-toed ungulates belong to the same clade as whales and dolphins. Those are pretty different body plans. Until relatively recently, it also wasn’t even clear whether all bats belonged to the same clade or whether the large and small bats had evolved independently.Now let’s talk about the fossil record and how it relates. The touchy word here is usually “transitional forms.” In spite of what creationists like to claim, there are plenty of transitional forms in the fossil record. Although it’s not the only source of evidence for evolution, there is plenty of evidence in the fossils we have found. A paper or set of papers that rearrange the family tree of life does nothing to change that. In fact, those papers are providing even more evidence, even as they rearrange the details.Although the fossil record has a lot of transitional forms, it does not have ALL the forms that we need to build a model of what the tree of life looks like. Paleontologists had to do some (a lot) of guess work. One area where the fossil record is lacking is in the radiation that took place in the mammals after most of the dinosaurs were removed from the picture. The reason is that it happened fast (in an evolutionary sense, anyway). The family tree proposed by the Pegasoferae paper is below, but here’s a more recent one based on more genomic data.Now back to that paper. I’m almost disappointed it didn’t turn out to be right. Pegasoferae is a pretty catchy name. Unfortunately, we have to shelve cherished ideas, and even beliefs, in the face of the evidence.The way science works in that people gather evidence, draw a conclusion, and publish paper. Then other people gather more evidence, and then refine or refute the first person’s conclusions. Sometimes it happens fast, sometimes it takes a while. In this case the information that they had available made a certain indication (the bat/horse clade). This was in 2006. Sequencing was still expensive, and the amount of data was small compared to today. This is only 3 years after we’d managed to sequence a single human genome, and it had taken a decade.More data came in, and the horse/bat clade idea wasn’t supported. That’s how it works in science. You can get spurious results when you’re out at the edge of what you can measure, and you have to wait for others to add more data. There was nothing dishonest or lazy about that paper. It just didn’t turn out to be right on further analysis. Welcome to science. The road of progress is littered with littered with dead theories.So in conclusion (and TLDR): you’re asking a valid question about a valid scientific paper. The paper didn’t turn out to be right, but (contrary to the other answers) the reality of evolution, and the evidence for it from the fossil record didn’t depend on the results of that one paper. We’re still learning how the branches of the tree of life are connected, but there’s no doubt at this point that the tree is there.Now to the original, outdated answer.You’re referring to this paper.Pegasoferae, an unexpected mammalian clade revealed by tracking ancient retroposon insertionsYou’re confusing two very different levels of evidence though. Imagine I come in and say “the birdbath is finally getting some use. There’s a sparrow in it. Then you took a look and say. “No it’s a house finch.”Does that mean I’m wrong about which bird? Yes.Does that mean I’m wrong that the bird bath is getting use? No.The error was in the details, but not in the big picture.The fossil record provides ample evidence for evolution (and it’s not the only source). We know that there’s a family tree to all life. What the fossil record is not good at providing is a perfectly clear picture of the structure of the family tree of life. It can get especially difficult when you get to the relatively large groups like this. Keep in mind that while they look very different today, at the time that the lineages diverged, they didn’t look different at all. Combine that with the sparse random samplings you get from the fossil record, and figuring out which limb attaches to which part of the tree is hard. You still know the limbs are there, and you still know they’re related, though.While it’s not something we knew before, the idea that something as different as horses and bats could be relatively closely related isn’t that big a deal. After all, cows and whales are even more closely related and look how different they are today.Edit: I’ve looked at the later literature, and that result didn’t hold up when larger segments of the genome were analyzed. My main point stands, however, if not is even stronger. The fact that we need to rearrange the structure of the family tree as new data comes in, is not a reason to doubt the existence of the family tree. In fact the additional data coming in only strengthens it.The other answers that are hanging their argument on whether that particular paper was right are not don’t really understand how science works. We’re going to learn more and make adjustments, but none of those adjustments mean the entirety of the last 150 years of biology needs to be thrown out.
What is the specific technology of gene analysis being used by Ancestry.com's DNA testing service, are their results verified to be repeatable, and are their methods comparable in the validity to those of other testing services?
The DNA genealogy companies are very vague about how they compile their databases of DNA sequences. Since they can’t be testing the DNA of people from ancient times, they appear to be using DNA test from people currently living in various parts of the earth—people who take submit the DNA for analysis along with their current address, for instance, and more importantly, people who also submit family trees. If you gave them a detailed family tree going back many generations, clearly well-researched and documented, are they using your tree and your own DNA results (matched with DNA results from modern times) to claim certain DNA results indicate certain areas?We do know that all companies draw from, rely on, and have access to public ancestry data sets such as the International HapMap Project and the Human Genome Diversity Project. This is what causes variances in ethnicity percentages when DNA samples are provided to different companies.I don’t have the money to take DNA tests from different companies, or to submit my DNA under a false identity and see if the results match the “real” test I already took with that particular company. My brother-in-law preferred 23andMe to AncestryDNA because AncestryDNA didn’t give him the German results he expected.The larger the database, and the more varied it is, the better, one assumes. If they haven’t many submissions from Albanians, or people with Albanian ancestors listed in their family trees, they won’t be as precise with Albanian DNA.I doubt that the companies have the money to be using DNA scientists are producing from fossils, but since the companies don’t mention this, I have no way of saying for certain.AncestryDA’s autosomal test basically matched what thirty years of genealogical digging has turned up for me. On the other hand, autosomal tests don’t accurately go back as far at paternal and maternal tests, which are offered separately at some other companies.