GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2006-11 > 1163486744
Subject: Re: [DNA] colla uais DNA
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2006 01:45:44 EST
Here are a few direct quotes from Bryan Syke's book "Adam's Curse." (Chapt.
16, THE Y-CHROMOSOME OF SOMHAIRLE MOR). He personally tested the four
current MacDonald chieftains plus the current head of the MacAllisters.
"In that spirit, I wrote to each of the current chiefs: to Sir Ian Macdonald
of Sleat, to Ranald Macdonald of Clanranald, to William McAlester of Loup,
to Ranald MacDonell of Glengarry, who had recently inherited the title from
his father,and to Lord Macdonald himself. Each graciously replied and, with his
answer, enclosed the all importantDNA brush. You will have realized already
that there was only one possible outcome - they did indeed all share the same
Y-chromosome. Had they not, then, of course, I could not have written about
it. And the Y-chromosome which all the chiefs shared was the one I had
predicted. There was now no doubt that we had identified the Y-chromosome of
I am unable to tell if he tested the current MacDougal chieftain or if there
is a current MacDougal chieftain.
He also says he tested about one hundred MacDonalds, MacDougals and
"In the search for Somerled's genetic legacy we were looking for a
Ychromosome that was shared among the three clans of Donald, Dugall and Alister, whose
own histories linked them back to Somerled. By the time I returned from
Skye, now tutored in Clan Donald genealogy, we had heard back from nearly a
hundred people with the name Macdonald, MacDougall or MacAlister and they had all
enclosed the small brush that held their DNA."
"Among the Macdonalds who volunteered their DNA, 18 per cent had inherited
Somerled's Y-chromosome. The proportion among the MacDougalls was higher - 30
per cent of MacDougalls had his Y-chromosome in their blood - an higher still
among the MacAlisters, almost 40 per cent of whom carried the clan founder's
We first divided the Y-chromosomes into the three classes found within
Britain before looking at their detailed genetic fingerprints. Beginning with the
class 1 chromosomes, we laid out the fingerprints as rows on a spreadsheet
and moved them up and down to place identical signatures next to one another.
We found six chromosomes that matched exactly, four MacDougalls and two
Macdonalds - but no MacAlisters. Another six chromosomes also matched. This time
it was five Macdonalds and only one MacDougall - and still no MacAlisters.
Another block of six was just the same - Macdonalds and MacDougalls but no
MacAlisters. Each time we found a block of identical Y-chromosones we punched the
details of the genetic signature Into Our database to see if we had seen it
elsewhere in Scotland. Each time we did this we came up with several matches
from men with a range of different surnames. These were common Y-chromosomes,
difficult to distinguish from one another at the resolution we were using at
the time. There were certainly s
cluster of chromosomes, perceptible sub-groups with shared variants. They
did group together but there nothing Particularly striking about them. And none
was found in men with all three surnames. If Somerled's chromosome was among
them, we could not see it.
There were only very few class 2 chromosomes and among these none stood out,
so we went straight on to the final class - class 3. I began to arrange the
detailed signatures in order, just as I had. There were twenty-five
chromosomes in a quarter of our total. As soon as we began to align the rows I could
see that one fingerprint was identical in row after row. In all, nineteen
Ychromosomes were exactly the same. The other six Y-chromosomes differed from
this central chromosorne by just a single mutation. They must be very closely
related. But was this chromosome shared by all men with all three names? I
looked at the column with the surnames.
Yes! MacDougalls, MacAlisters and Macdonalds: all were there, all with
exactly the same Y-chromosome fingerprint. Could this be it?
Apparently his class 1-3 chromosomes represent haplogroups. Otherwise he
presents no data in his book and only one chapter has anything on Somerled and
As far as possible NPEs go, there isn't much room for speculation. The
MacDonalds and MacDougals are said to descend from two sons of Somerled so
Somerled himself must have carried the Norse gene. The MacAlisters descend from
a later ancestor in the MacDonald line.