Bruce Durie - Genealogy

Dr. Bruce Durie BSc (Hons) PhD OMLJ FSAScot FCollT FIGRS FHEA QG

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DNA and Genealogy

Every human on Earth is descended from a few related individuals who left Africa some 60,000 years ago.

DNA is a useful adjunct to traditional "paper" genealogy, especially where the paper trail runs out. A DNA test can help:

  • break down brick walls

  • find related individuals

  • link you to others of same or similar surnames

  • suggest a geographical origin

  • indicate deeper ethnic ancestry

The four major types of DNA tests conducted in genealogical research are:

  • Y-STR  - Short Tandem Repeats in the DNA between genes on the Y-chromosome (males only) which give the tsted individual a haplotype which can be matched to others who have been tested (we recommend at least a 37 or 48 marker test) and is most useful in recent ancestry resaerch within genealogical time - say, 1,000 years.

  • Y-SNP - Single Nucleotide Polymorphism, a change in a single nucleotide in the DNA, which occurs infrequently, but can typically define a whole chromosome and become its signature, can assign an indivudial to a haplogroup and indicate deeper ancestral ethnic background and migration in the time-frame 6000 BCE 1500 CE

  • mtDNA - for males and females, but it tracks the matrilineal ancestry (mother, mother's mother etc.) back through time

  • Autosomal DNA Testing (Family Finder and Relative Finder) for close ancestry testing - this traces all ancestral lines to identify relationships for five generations, back to 16 great-great-grandparents

DNA tests can also help indicate inherited deseases and conditions.

StrathclydeGenealogy has a link with FamilyTreeDNA (www.familytreedna.com) and can arrange tests, help you understand the results and match you to others tested.

Dr Bruce Durie and Alasdair Macdonald MSc co-manage the Scottish DNA Project - www.scottishdna.net 

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