If you want to discover your genetic history and where you came from... you’ve found the right place!

888-806-2588

review of scientific and news articles on dna testing and popular genetics

Richard III's New Winter of Discontent

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Shakespeare painted the last of the York rulers of England as a murderous maniac who was rightly dispatched to hell by Henry Tudor in 1485. But the story of Richard III's skeleton supposedly dug up last year in a parking lot may top that of the Bard for pulling the wool over our eyes. Or it may be the luckiest archeological find since King Tut . . . . 

The last of the York dynasty was buried in Greyfriars, Leicester, but Britons are now talking about re-interring the bones believed to be Richard's in Westminster Cathedral with England's other beloved monarchs. In 2012, a writer from Edinburgh, Philippa Langley, was walking over a particular spot in the municipal parking lot when she got goosebumps and "absolutely knew I was walking on his grave." Langley helped fund an archeological excavation and on February 4, 2013, the University of Leicester confirmed that a skeleton found in the excavation was, "beyond reasonable doubt," that of Richard III, based on a combination of evidence from radiocarbon dating, comparison with contemporary reports of his slight frame, and a comparison of his mitochondrial DNA with two matrilineal descendants of Richard III's eldest sister, Anne of York. 

Hunches and Hunchbacks

According to a BBC article, “Richard III: The Twisted Bones that Reveal a King,” the skeleton had a “striking curvature” that could only be that of the hunchback king. But according to a Daily Beast article, “Unraveling King Richard III’s Secrets,” Shakespeare wrote a century after the fact and had a pro-Tudor, anti-York political agenda. “Portraits made after his defeat that show Richard with a hump- or at least uneven shoulders- are suspect as Tudor propaganda.” There is no historical evidence of Richard III having a “striking curvature” of the spine. Or even “uneven shoulders.”  There is no evidence beyond Shakespeare of his deformity. In fact, there is historical evidence to the contrary. The article, “Richard’s Comeback,” quotes the historian, Thomas More, as saying Richard III was of “bodily shape comely enough, onely (sic) of low stature.” The Countess of Desmond reported that, at a royal ball, Richard was the ‘“handsomest man in the room . . . except for his brother, Edward, and was very well made." 

Despite historical evidence, most articles that discuss remaining doubts about the case like, “Doubts Remain that the Leicester body is Richard III,” miss this point and take it as a historical fact that Richard III had scoliosis as does the skeleton that has been found in the parking lot.

What of historical depictions of Richard III’s face? “No portraits made during his lifetime have survived  and some later copies show signs of having been altered to make him appear more sinister” (“ Richard III: The Twisted Bones”). Nevertheless, a 3D scan of the skull was taken, and a 3D face created and painted. Ashdown –Hill is quoted as telling the BBC in the article, “Richard III Facial Reconstruction Reveals Slain King More than 500 Years After His Death,”that it “largely matched” the “prominent features” in posthumous representations of the king. The artist, Janine Aitken said her part was “interpretive not scientific.” At least it is a pleasant face. But is it Richard III’s face?

Jumping to Forensic Conclusions

And the skeleton includes 10 battle wounds showing Richard III “met a violent death…”eight to the head and two to the body—which they believe were inflicted at or around the time of death. Since he died in a battle, did not other soldiers meet untimely wounds in such a manner?

Not a few scientists are waiting for peer-reviewed results. But there are none. Instead of waiting for a boring academic conference, the sponsors at the Richard III Society chose to release the results via a Hollywood style press conference. 

What kind of DNA analysis was used? Mitochondrial DNA. According to Bryony Jones in his CNN article, “Body Found under Parking Lot is King Richard III, Scientists Prove,” “the mitochondrial DNA extracted from the bones was matched to Michael Ibsen, a Canadian cabinetmaker and direct descendant of Richard III’s sister, Anne of York, and a second distant relative who wishes to remain anonymous.” Well, end of story and close that book. Right? Not so fast. Some scientists believe that the testing done was not sufficient. Why?

Mitochondrial DNA has limitations. It does reflect the deepest ancestry [see The Seven Daughters of Eve by Bryan Sykes], but is also prone to contamination [under such circumstances]( Pappas). Especially when we are discussing skeletons reminiscent of Night of the Living Dead interred improperly for centuries in damp soil. Timothy Bestor, Professor of Genetics and Development at Columbia University Medical Center, is quoted in the NY Academy of Sciences article, “Skeletal Remains of King Richard III Reportedly Discovered,” as saying that the possible quality of the [mitochondrial] DNA [under the given circumstances] was one of his key reasons for skepticism. “’After 500 years or more in a wet environment like England’s, “‘the microbes are going to degrade the DNA. It’s just food to them, ‘” says Dr. Bestor.  And Pappas quotes Maria Avila, a computational biologist at the Center for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum as saying, “The DNA results presented today are too weak, as they stand, to support the claim that [the] DNA [sample] is actually from Richard III…more in depth DNA analysis summed to the archaeological and osteological [bone analysis] results would make a round story [She is requesting Autosomal DNA analysis akin to what was done with the hominin discovery of the Denisovans].”  And she wonders about contamination with the type of DNA testing that was done. Avila says that, “Before being convinced of ANY atDNA study, it should be explicit that all possible cautions were taken to avoid contamination” and … “ also warned that people could share mitochondrial DNA even if they share a family tree” ( Pappas). The article, “Doubts Remain that the Leicester Body is Richard III,” a Mark Thomas at University College London is quoted as saying that “people can have matching mitochondrial DNA by chance and not be related.”

And Bestor asserts there other reasons to be skeptical, even though “Richard Buckley, lead archeologist from the University of Leicester, asserts ‘“this is beyond reasonable doubt’” based on genetic and historical forensic evidence.” Bestor argues that beyond the high risk of sample contamination, there are three other “particularly complicating factors.”  Of course, it is often an overlooked fact that “the English aristocracy reproduced within a closed gene pool in order to preserve lineages. This inbreeding results in consanguinity” (“Skeletal Remains of King Richard III”).  Dr. Bestor is quoted as saying, “ You may have the same mitochondrial haplotype, but that does not guarantee a lineal descent from a given individual.” [ Mitochondrial DNA analysis is not the same as Y haplotype DNA analysis because it focuses on deeper ancestry whereas male haplotype DNA analysis is linked to more recent male lines ]. He also points out the possibility of adoption. [The possibility of an adoption or any type of non-paternity event increases as one delves back into the distant past of any family tree]:

Another confounding factor is that, in the 17-25 generations separating King Richard’s sister from her extant relatives, there is a fair chance that children of deceased parents’ may have been adopted by their parents’ siblings somewhere along the way. After all, medieval lives were short. Such adoptions may have been kept private and excluded from historical or genealogical records. 

              

Moreover, Bestor points out that the “genetic sequences and statistical data are yet to be released” but adds that the “historical evidence is quite compelling.” According to this article, forensic evidence of the bones (1455-1540)matches with the time that Richard III was to have died ( 1485). But didn’t many people die at this same time during the same battle with similar wounds?

Astonishing or Unbelievable? Watch the University of Leicester's Full Press Conference 

Comments

Please tell us what you think

Name, website, and email are optional; if we publish your comment, your name will be shown, and may be linked to your website if provided, but the email you enter will not be published.





Captcha Image

 

 

When Wales Was Jewish

Monday, April 02, 2012

Short answer: pre-Roman times.

As is well known, Haplogroup E1b1b1 accounts for approximately 18% to 20% of Ashkenazi and 8.6% to 30% of Sephardic Y-chromosomes. This North African type appears to be one of the major founding lineages of the Jewish population.[i]

In Britain, this quintessential Jewish type (together with J, another telltale sign of Middle Eastern roots) is absent or negligible in many towns and regions but reported in elevated frequencies in Wales (Llanidloes 7%, Llangefni 5%), the Midlands (Southwell, Nottinghamshire 12%, Uttoxeter 8%), Faversham in Kent (9%), Dorchester in the West Country with historic harbors (7%), Midhurst in West Sussex commanding ancient sea-ports (5%)  and the Channel Islands, always an important crossroads of influences (5%).[ii] Bryan Sykes’ survey of paternal clans in England and Wales confirms significant traces of the E haplogroup which he dubs Eshu in southern England (4.9%) and Wales (3.1%).[iii] It reaches its highest point in Britain in Abergele, Wales (nearly 40%), an anomaly that has been attributed to Roman soldiers of Balkan origin but may have alternative and more complex explanations.

See our blog post "Right Church, Wrong Pew," arguing that the footprint of E in Britain is attributable to North African influence, not the descendants of Roman legionnaires from the Balkans.

In 2011, Llangefni  and Wrexham in North Wales became the focus of a call for local men to provide samples of their unusual DNA. A team of scientists lead by Andy Grierson and Robert Johnston from the University of Sheffield hoped to link the migration of men from the Mediterranean to the copper mined at Parys Mountain on Anglesey and on the Great Orme promontory nearby. A preliminary analysis of 500 participants showed 30% of the men carried E1b1b, compared to 1% of men elsewhere in the United Kingdom.[iv]

Significantly, Welsh tradition associates the Iron Age hilltop town on Conwy Mountain known as Castell Caer Seion with a settlement of ancient Jews. This site overlooks Conwy Bay on the north coast of Wales and lies on the ancient road between Prestatyn in Denbighshire and Bangor in Gwynedd opposite Angelsey.  In the Black Book of Caermarthen, the Welsh national bard Taliesin casually remarks in the persona of the battling hero,

When I return from Caer Seon,

From contending with Jews,

I will come to the city of Lleu and Gwidion.[v]

Lleu and Gwidion are the names of two other legendary figures; they are believed to be historical and to have lived in the early centuries of the Common Era or anterior to it.

It is hard to avoid the thought that the hilly area to the west of the town of Conwy, in North Wales was once inhabited by Jews.


[i] A. Nebel et al, "The Y Chromosome Pool of Jews as Part of the Genetic Landscape of the Middle East", American Journal of Human Genetics69.5(2001) 1095–1112. [ii] C. Capelli et al, “A Y Chromosome Census of the British Isles,”  Current Biology 13 (2003) 979–984. [iii] Bryan Sykes, Saxons, Vikings and Celts (Norton:  2007) 206, 290. [iv] “’Extraordinary’ Genetic Make-up of North-east Wales Men,” BBC News North East Wales, article retrieved Jan. 2012 at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-east-wales-14173910. On Dienekes’ Anthropology Blog there is speculation about whether the main sub-clade involved is Balkan or North African E; posts and comments retrieved Jan. 2012 at http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2011/07/eastern-mediterranean-marker-in.html. [v] William F. Skene, The Four Ancient Books of Wales (Edinburgh, 1868, republished 2007 by Forgotten Books) 206.
Comments

Stephen Blevins commented on 03-Apr-2012 05:02 AM

My DNA is E1b1b1, my most distant ancestor is William Blevins (Longhunter) from the area you mentioned. My autosomal DNA places my ancestors in the orkney islands of Scotland. I'm convinced that a tribe of Jews migrated from Israel to north to Scandinavia
or Denmark and may have been apart of the invasion by Vikings to Scotland before they were found in Wales as Poweys in the Northern Mountains. Blevins comes from Blethyn meaning little wolf or (Hero) look up Ap Blethyn of Gwynedd.

Belvins Descendant commented on 12-Apr-2012 02:05 PM

I was always told the Blevins came from Wales, but in checking this story out I was unable to verify it, nor could I find any substantiation of the etymology from Bleddyn ("son of wolf"). There is not a single Blevins in the Welsh census records, although
the name is found sparsely in Cheshire, Lancashire and other northern English counties. "Formby, Wales" is actually Formby in Merseyside in Lancashaire. The -dd- element in the Welsh name Bleddyn cannot be twisted into a -v-. So go figure.

Paul commented on 28-Apr-2012 08:46 PM

My mother is a descendant of Henry Cook I of Devon. His ascendants were among the first settlers of Massachusetts and Connecticut. A great Uncle, Lemuel Cook, was the oldest surviving Revolutionary War veteran when he died at 106 years of age. We recently
had my mother's autosomal dna analyzed and found strong population matches from the Balkans (Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Serbia, etc.) - which was very unexpected. There was also prominent representation form Spain and Portugal - not so unexpected. In my own
18 marker test, I had one Jewish III marker, though I can't say from whom. There is no known Judaism on either side. Sounds like your article might be describing the early Cooks. Interesting...

katarina cadieux commented on 13-Dec-2013 07:36 PM

well the language of the Welsh(Cymri)alone is very Hebraic.
here are some examples: Anudon(welsh)/ Aen Adon(hebrew)(without God)
Yni all sy-dda(welsh) / Ani El Saddai(hebrew)(I am almighty God)
Llai iachu yngwyddd achau ni(welsh) / Loa yichei neged acheinu(hebrew) ("Let him not live before our brethren")
An annos(welsh)/ ain ones(hebrew)(None did compel)
the amazing to me is how similar the words look and sound, the english is the meaning for both welsh and hebrew, their meaning are the same.
the welsh are a very ancient people even their name for themselves in their language has Crimea roots which many hebrew tribes migrated to.

Dafydd Gwilym W. Gates commented on 17-Feb-2014 11:58 AM

Katarina Cadieux 13 Dec 2013 wrote some examples to show how Welsh had parralels in Hebrew. I'm a first language Welsh speaker and couldn't make sense of the Welsh examples, I'm afraid, It wasn't Welsh.
So sorry, Dafydd

Jamie commented on 25-Aug-2014 11:15 AM

I am not surprised that Jewish (Hebrew) DNA is found in Great Britain. If people read the Bible correctly and believe what it says, they will find that when the Israelites (not Jews) went into captivity for the last time as a nation,(2,000 years ago), God sent them to the northwest, "To the Isles in the sea".

Joan Coon Deary commented on 28-Nov-2014 11:15 AM

Being female, I had my brother's DNA identified by Familytree. His Haplogroup is E1b1b1. Our male-line genealogy goes back to Dutchess County, New York, around 1775 -- all Christians as far as I can tell. There are many other people who have our surname of "Coon" and they also have had their DNA identified by Familytree. Their Haplogroup begins with an "R". Can I say definitively that we are not related to them even though they have the same surname? Am I right in thinking that is it impossible for a Haplogroup to morph from an "R" to and "E" in the course of 250 years? I've always wondered if our original surname was "Cohen" that was changed to "Coon" at some point -- but I don't think you can help me with that. Thank you for any information you can give me. Regards, Joan Coon Deary


Please tell us what you think

Name, website, and email are optional; if we publish your comment, your name will be shown, and may be linked to your website if provided, but the email you enter will not be published.





Captcha Image

 

 


Recent Posts


Tags

DNA security El Castillo cave paintings Mark Stoneking Ancient Giantns Who Ruled America Tutankamun Jan Ravenspirit Franz Genie Milgrom Europe Keros Chuetas New York Academy of Sciences Black Dutch Elvis Presley DNA cancer Texas A&M University pipe carving B'nai Abraham human leukocyte testing Middle Ages Arabic Ukraine Denisovans climate change Ancestry.com DNA Fingerprint Test James Stritzel Amy Harmon Henry VII First Peoples Monica Sanowar Louis XVI Richard Dewhurst Hohokam Indians Zuni Indians Sam Kean Harold Sterling Gladwin statistics Helladic art Bureau of Indian Affairs horizontal inheritance Svante Paabo El Paso anthropology Riane Eisler Cajuns Kurgan Culture Thuya Harry Ostrer George Starr-Bresette Hawaii Stephen A. Leon andrew solomon alleles Roma People ISOGG Israel, Shlomo Sand Isabel Allende Phillipe Charlier Joseph Andrew Park Wilson When Scotland Was Jewish Chromosomal Labs Bode Technology Zizmer Sizemore Indians Colin Renfrew Valparaiso University Middle Eastern DNA Richmond California Acadians The Calalus Texts university of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Anne C. Stone James Shoemaker American Journal of Human Genetics Jack Goins Daniel Defoe Finnish people Solutreans Britain aliyah IntegenX Dienekes Anthropology Blog Stephen Oppenheimer bloviators Robinson Crusoe DNA Diagnostics Center Kate Wong Irish DNA Cismar Moundbuilders haplogroup C Joseph Jacobs immunology FOX News Anasazi EURO DNA Fingerprint Test Salt River Mary Kugler Chris Stringer Myra Nichols Kennewick Man consanguinity Horatio Cushman Magdalenian culture Khazars Mildred Gentry Ari Plost Phoenix Arizona corn Cherokee DNA Johnny Depp Havasupai Indians Mary Settegast Tennessee Normans peopling of the Americas North African DNA Lebanon Teresa Panther-Yates N. Brent Kennedy Henry IV Marija Gimbutas Tucson crosses Nancy Gentry Brian Wilkes Bulgaria Fritz Zimmerman King Arthur Victor Hugo Kari Schroeder Central Band of Cherokees Discover magazine phenotype oncology Asiatic Echoes haplogroup G Douglas Preston Majorca haplogroup B Jewish genetics Basques clan symbols Leicester Melungeon Movement Charles Darwin linguistics French DNA Jewish GenWeb haplogroup X history of science Thruston Tablet Slovakia FDA genealogy Wendell Paulson Les Miserables Russia Lithuania autosomal DNA Dragging Canoe Tifaneg X chromosome familial Mediterranean fever Ashkenazi Jews Juanita Sims Khoisan mental foramen Richard III Sasquatch cannibalism Michael Grant single nucleotide polymorphism Elzina Grimwood Cornwall CODIS markers Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute Richard Lewontin Central Band of Cherokee rapid DNA testing DNA magazine Irish Central William Byrd metis Peter Martyr Jalisco John Butler Old World Roots of the Cherokee Nephilim, Fritz Zimmerman ethnicity Daily News and Analysis methylation Holocaust Henriette Mertz Sorbs Zionism genetic memory Gustavo Ramirez Calderon Sarmatians Arabia Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies African DNA Y chromosomal haplogroups genetic determinism Austro-Hungary crypto-Jews Silverbell Artifacts Olmec Shlomo Sand Epigraphic Society Black Irish ENFSI M. J. Harper DNA testing companies haplogroup T Stan Steiner Melungeons National Museum of Natural History Hohokam Barack Obama Rich Crankshaw Wendy Roth Indian Territory Cooper surname epigenetics Wales Navajo Indians seafaring Life Technologies Gila River Bentley surname research New York Times Melungeon Heritage Association Sinaloa Caucasian Phyllis Starnes Barnard College far from the tree Philippa Langley personal genomics London DNA databases Satoshi Horai religion Family Tree DNA Gravettian culture haplogroup J Iran Monya Baker Albert Einstein College of Medicine Jews and Muslims in British Colonial America HapMap Ireland Tucson Algonquian Indians Science magazine Scotland Colin Pitchfork Holocaust Database Hispanic ancestry Walter Plecker haplogroup W Indo-Europeans Michoacan Celts Janet Lewis Crain MHC Marie Cheng Wikipedia 23andme Pueblo Indians Charles Perou Gypsies Tom Martin Scroft Asiatic Fathers of America prehistory Abenaki Indians Cohen Modal Haplotype Odessa Shields Cox Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama ged.com Nature Genetics Waynesboro Pennsylvania Theodore Steinberg Stone Age New Mexico Comanche Indians human leukocyte antigens European DNA Micmac Indians Melanesians NPR Irish history Genome Sciences Building Y chromosome DNA Navajo Neanderthals Patagonia population genetics Chris Tyler-Smith David Cornish Gregory Mendel Sea Peoples Rafael Falk Nadia Abu El-Haj John Wilwol DNA Forums District of Columbia Plato Stony Creek Baptist Church Jim Bentley Kitty Prince of the Bear River Athabaskans family history Cancer Genome Atlas rock art Cree Indians Alec Jeffreys Elizabeth DeLand Freemont Indians French Canadians Anne Marie Fine Italy Luca Pagani Ripan Malhi Turkic DNA Maui Maronites National Health Laboratories King Arthur, Tintagel, The Earliest Jews and Muslims of England and Wales Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma Belgium Egyptians news Douglas Owsley education Population genetics Smithsonian Institution Sir Joshua Reynolds myths Cave art Jewish contribution to world literature England Stacy Schiff haplogroup E hominids Rare Genes Pima Indians Arizona State University human migrations admixture Jewish novelists health and medicine Abraham Lincoln Anglo-Saxons evolution AP Puerto Rico Patrick Henry George van der Merwede haplogroup H The Nation magazine Penny Ferguson Panther's Lodge Alia Garcia-Ureste haplogroup Z Nikola Tesla Akhenaten haplogroup N genetics Anacostia Indians Ostenaco Phoenicians INORA Eric Wayner Jesse Montes megapopulations Muslims in American history Promega Russell Belk Melungeon Union Rush Limbaugh mutation rate PNAS Tintagel Bode Technology Richard Buckley Asian DNA Terry Gross Timothy Bestor forensics Patrick Pynes Mexico Constantine Rafinesque haplogroup L Nayarit Scientific American Mark Thomas b'nei anousim Etruscans Cherokee Freedmen Greeks Miguel Gonzalez Pueblo Grande Museum Kari Carpenter Telltown Altai Turks DNA Fingerprint Test Germany haplogroup M Sizemore surname Native American DNA Test Neolithic Revolution Hertfordshire FBI Great Goddess Old Souls in a New World Columbia University Virginia genealogy Jon Entine Antonio Torroni Donald N. Yates Hadassah Magazine Cismaru Early Jews of England and Wales Rebecca L. Cann Bryony Jones Joel E. Harris archeology Roberta Estes Choctaw Indians art history breast cancer Austronesian, Filipinos, Australoid Grim Sleeper Maya Yates surname Mohawk Bill Tiffee Chauvet cave paintings Mucogee Creeks polydactylism Taino Indians Elizabeth C. Hirschman Virginia DeMarce pheromones Mother Qualla Eske Willerslev Colima powwows Gunnar Thompson mitochondrial DNA Clovis Applied Epistemology Panther's Lodge Publishers Rutgers University Oxford Journal of Evolution Discovery Channel Hopi Indians Lab Corp ancient DNA Genex Diagnostics Bigfoot Bering Land Bridge haplogroup D medicine Cherokee DNA Project bar mitzvah Early Jews and Muslims of England and Wales (book) Beringia Secret History of the Cherokee Indians National Geographic Daily News Current Anthropology Kentucky Peter Parham Bradshaw Foundation race GlobalFiler University of Leicester Ron Janke BBCNews North Carolina India palatal tori Carl Zimmer Ethel Cox occipital bun research surnames haplogroup R prehistoric art origins of art John Ruskamp Washington D.C. Native American DNA Jews Israel Melba Ketchum Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Douglas C. Wallace New York Review of Books Oxford Nanopore ethics clinical chemistry BATWING ethnic markers Smithsonian Magazine Ananya Mandal China Science Daily, Genome Biol. Evol., Eran Elhaik, Khazarian Hypothesis, Rhineland Hypothesis haplogroup U private allele mummies genomics labs giants Charlotte Harris Reese Bryan Sykes Ziesmer, Zizmor Paleolithic Age Nature Communications microsatellites hoaxes Alabama population isolates Cleopatra Michael Schwartz gedmatch Pomponia Graecina Erika Chek Hayden Nova Scotia Sonora Sinti American history Romania

Archive