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From: "Jerry L. Ivey" <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Who Do You Think You Are? --- Emmitt Smith Episode
Date: Sat, 13 Mar 2010 12:44:09 -0500
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In-Reply-To: <1265041516.7223691268378080506.JavaMail.root@md09.embarq.synacor.com>


A comment about the Emmitt Smith episode, March 12:


At about 37:13/42:45 into the Emmitt Smith show when he gets to Benin, Emmitt conveys the idea that he's visiting the possible homeland of his ancestress Mariah, based upon the DNA results conveyed to him by Megan Smolenyak. However, Megan has told him only that Benin is a possible homeland of his ancestors, not mentioning Mariah or any specific ancestor in this statement.

Although not explicitly stated, such a statement from Megan would have to have been based upon maternal mtDNA (mitochondrial) testing.

Any mtDNA results for Emmitt would not apply directly back to Mariah, because she is not in his direct maternal line of ancestry. The first break in his direct maternal line would occur from his mother, Mary Clements. It would be her direct maternal line (not known or reported) and not that of Erma Lee Watson, Emmitt's paternal grandmother, that would be reflected by the mtDNA results for Emmitt.

A second break in the maternal line would have been after Victoria Puryear, whose mother was Bella. The line from Victoria to Mariah goes through Prince Albert Puryear, and not through her mother Bella.

Any Y-DNA test results for Emmitt would apply only to his paternal Smith line, which wasn't researched for this show. It's interesting that Megan said that both Emmitt's maternal and paternal lines suggested Benin as a possible homeland. Personally I'm a bit cautious in accepting too literally such a statement, as Y-DNA haplogroups such as E1b1a (the most probable one for male African Americans) have a wide distribution throughout the coast of Western Africa. Yes, Benin might be a possibility but so also might be Senegal, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon, Congo, ....

Can any of the testing companies really provide test result interpretations for E1b1a haplogroups that pinpoint one of these modern countries?






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