Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2010-02 > 1265983603

From: Robert Stafford <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Variance Assessment wrt back and parallel mutations
Date: Fri, 12 Feb 2010 08:06:43 -0600
References: <><62BE85974A2B4FD8ABA4CF2E9BF468D3@anatoldesktop>
In-Reply-To: <62BE85974A2B4FD8ABA4CF2E9BF468D3@anatoldesktop>

In its genealogical usage, a parallel mutation is the same mutation observed
in two different lines in the same family. They are very significant in
genealogical testing, since people often assume that the two belong to the
same branch in the absence of a paper trail to their common ancestor or
might question their genealogy. However, testing other branches may resolve
the question in the former case and will usually do so in the latter.

It is also applied to ancient ancestry, especially to the the SNPs defining
haplogroups where it can be verified. It seems to be used for ancient STRs
in a theoretical sense.

The chance of an occurrence is purely mathematical and depends only on the
number of mutations and number of markers tested. Of course, the former
depends on the overall rate, the number of people tested and the
relationship structure.

The main relevance to the discussion is that someone apparently told David
that they were rare in a genealogical time span. This is a common
misconception among those who have not crunched the numbers and/or do not
have many test subjects per family.

Bob Stafford

On Thu, Feb 11, 2010 at 7:39 PM, Anatole Klyosov <>wrote:

> Dear Robert,
> Can you please define what a "parallel mutations" is in this context? Also,
> what is so important about them? Is a "parallel mutation" just a mutation,
> or there is some "mystery" about it? Does it happen with some "special"
> mutation rate?
> Thank you.
> Anatole Klyosov
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