Fwd: Advances in the Molecular Genetics of the British Isles

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Subject: Advances in the Molecular Genetics of the British Isles
Date: Thu, 23 Apr 2009 05:43:23 EDT

Molecular genetics is a subject that developed out of chemistry, and it is one of my occasional interests on this site. The definitive study remains that of C. Capelli et al, carried out at University College London and other centres and published in 2003: “Current Biology”, 13(11), 979 – 984 (2003). It main conclusion is that there is a genetic continuity from the upper paleolithic to the present because of the similarity of the Basque and Celtic Y chromosomes. The Basques are thought to be the “original Europeans”, they spea a pre Indo-European language, whereas Celtic is Indo-European. This was a comparitive Y chromosome study which showed a gradual change between western and eastern parts of the biggest island of teh 6,200 British Isles. This island is called “Great Britain”, or big Britain. There is therefore a slightly greater continental influence towards the east, but essentially none south of the Thames in areas such as Sussex, where my ancestor David Potter came from (Worth in Sussex). Indeed the oldest human sample is from Boxgrove Quarry in West Sussex, about 482,000 years old. The name “Sussex” means “South Saxon Land”, so this name must have been given to the area by a limited number of people inclined towards a particular continental culture. This is also as argued by Francis Prior in “Britain BC” and “Britain AD”. Similarly after the Norman conquest the cultural elite consisted of a small number of people speaking Norman French. There are no actual contemporary accounts of the Battle of Hastings, only the Tapisserie de Bayeux. The first written account was written 200 years after the battle. It is known that my ancestor Sir Walter Havard took part in an invasion of Brycheiniog in 1092 in a rebellion against WillIam II Rufus led by Bernard de Neufmarche and other Barons. There is essentially no Norman DNA influence on the general British population, because they were a closed, elite society. Sir Walter Havard was a Norman Knight, and Lord of the Manor of Pontgwilym. By written record teh earliest ancestor we have found is Dafydd or David Havard of Defynnog (eighteenth century), bu tit is easy to use DNA to prove descent as far back as one wishes. The Havard family in South and Central Wales is ideal for a DNA study because it is homogeneous and localized. For the poor, written records either do not exist, or are very difficult to find. The DNA method is much easier and faster.

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