per amica silentia lunae

or, across the ferny brae with the evil voodoo celt

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For my birthday, monsteralice got me a test kit from the Genographic project.

I elected to test my mitochondrial (maternal line) DNA. No surprises, really:

"Haplogroup H: Your Branch on the Tree

Ancestral line: "Eve" > L1/L0 > L2 > L3 > N > R > pre-HV > HV > H

This wave of migration into western Europe marked the appearance and spread of what archaeologists call the Aurignacian culture. The culture is distinguished by significant innovations in methods of manufacturing tools, standardization of tools, and use of a broader set of tool types, such as end-scrapers for preparing animal skins and tools for woodworking.

Around 15,000 to 20,000 years ago, colder temperatures and a drier global climate locked much of the world's fresh water at the polar ice caps, making living conditions near impossible for much of the northern hemisphere. Early Europeans retreated to the warmer climates of the Iberian Peninsula, Italy, and the Balkans, where they waited out the cold spell. Their population sizes were drastically reduced, and much of the genetic diversity that had previously existed in Europe was lost.

Beginning about 15,000 years ago—after the ice sheets had begun their retreat—humans moved north again and recolonized western Europe. By far the most frequent mitochondrial lineage carried by these expanding groups was haplogroup H. Because of the population growth that quickly followed this expansion, your haplogroup now dominates the European female landscape.

Today haplogroup H comprises 40 to 60 percent of the gene pool of most European populations. In Rome and Athens, for example, the frequency of H is around 40 percent of the entire population, and it exhibits similar frequencies throughout western Europe. Moving eastward the frequencies of H gradually decreases, clearly illustrating the migratory path these settlers followed as they left the Iberian Peninsula after the ice sheets had receded. Haplogroup H is found at around 25 percent in Turkey and around 20 percent in the Caucasus Mountains.

While haplogroup H is considered the Western European lineage due to its high frequency there, it is also found much further east. Today it comprises around 20 percent of southwest Asian lineages, about 15 percent of people living in Central Asia, and around five percent in northern Asia.

Importantly, the age of haplogroup H lineages differs quite substantially between those seen in the West compared with those found in the East. In Europe its age is estimated at 10,000 to 15,000 years old, and while H made it into Europe substantially earlier (30,000 years ago), reduced population sizes resulting from the glacial maximum significantly reduced its diversity there, and thus its estimated age. In Central and East Asia, however, its age is estimated at around 30,000 years old, meaning your lineage made it into those areas during some of the earlier migrations out of the Near East.

Haplogroup H is a great example of the effect that population dynamics such as bottleneck events, founder effect, genetic drift, and rapid population growth, have on the genetic diversity of resulting populations."

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I had a slightly deeper mtDNA test as well as a Y-chromosome one. Nothing surprising: Northern European all the way. See

This is so cool. I really thought about getting a test kit last year---what a fascinating thing to do.

I'll wait until they make one that gives you results in Robin Williams' voice from "Good Morning, Vietnam" doing his jive-talking weather forecaster.

"You DNA is WHITE. Stark white. REAL white. How you husband find you in the bedsheets?"

"Um, ok...but what's my generational derivation?"

"Bitch you WHITE I told you, damn! Were you BORN in a bottle of clorox? You DAAAAAAAAMN WHITE."

I have always wanted to do this, but knew that I couldn't be wasting at least $100 on something I pretty much know already. But, still, confirmation is fun... So, when I hit the lottery... :-)

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