HAM DNA _projectHAM Surname DNA Project

Research through Genetics


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Introduction to the HAM Surname DNA Project

I am pleased to welcome you to the HAM Surname DNA Project. It is now possible to confirm a link where no conventional source records exist.

Through Y-DNA genetic sequencing, a painless cheek scraping is used to obtain DNA that can help accurately determine a relationship with either a 99.9% probability of YES or a 100% certainty that no near term relationship existed.  The primary test attempts to determine if 2 people thought to be unrelated actually had a common ancestor. A match is best done by testing a known male member of your biological family, (brother, father or first cousin), against the potential male relative.

With appropriate analysis, we can now get a pretty good idea of who our genetic ancestor was. One of our goals is to find the time to the most recent common ancestor. Scientists have calculated that this is based on the observed number of mutations by which two Y chromosomes differ. This is because mutations occur at random and can provide a probability distribution function.

The approach for the HAM Surname DNA Project will be to group matching DNA sequences and cross referencing that information against the oldest known ancestor. My hope is that we can find more conclusive evidence about the HAM immigrants and their countries of origin.

Step 1

   The first item to get done is to determine which samples belong to each group, and which remain un-matched.
 The easiest and quickest approach to do this is simply add the sum of the differences between the values for each member.
 The larger the value for the sum of the differences will indicate the further away each group would be separated.

Step 2

  As groups are found, they will be arranged together on the "results" page. (The "results" page will be updated by matching groups.)

Step 3

   When enough samples are gathered, other equations can be applied. Usually, the serious work can be performed when we have at least 40 samples.   Usually, this is when we can start reliable calculations on the Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA).  Whom I can't help to think of but as "Mr. Circa."   Over time, he should start looking like our first Paleo ancestor to enter Europe.

 Step 4

  By this time, we should have a pretty good idea of how many HAM immigrant lines have survived by repeating the iterations of groupings.  We also should begin to see these two items:

   -  Time to Most Recent Common Ancestor
   -  General location of the Most Recent Common Ancestor by use of haplogroup studies.

   With this step, I should be posting Phylogenetic graphs of the HAM DNA Project data. (Phyletic is a reference to a name study.)


For the more curious, the brief details:

The Y Chromosome has the unique feature in that it causes a person to be male. And, the Y chromosome is only transmitted from fathers to their sons. The Y Chromosome is virtually identical through a number of generations over time. However, rare mutations can occur.

Below is mostly paraphrased from Bruce Walsh (2001-2002) Time to Most Recent Common Ancestor  -

The goal is to use DNA sequences showing variation in the population (also called genetic markers or simply markers); to provide information on how closely the Y chromosomes from two individuals are related. Relatedness is quantified by TMRCA, the Time to the Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA), which is how many generations the two examined Y chromosomes are from a common ancestor.

Estimates of TMRCA are based on the observed number of mutations by which the two Y chromosomes differ. Since mutations occur at random, the estimate of a TMRCA is not an exact number (i.e., 7 generations), but rather a probability distribution. As one uses more and more markers, the distribution becomes tighter and tighter about its mean value (its variance becomes smaller), and estimates have higher precision.

SNPs  (pronounced "Snips" for Single Nucleotide Polymorphism's):
 
The problem with SNPs for genealogical work is that they have very low mutation rates
. This makes them very useful for very deep genealogies (i.e. thousands of generations),  but not helpful for genealogists because they are not recent enough.

A type of DNA sequence called a microsatellite has a very high mutation rate, so that it will only stay in its current state for a few generations (with mutations rates on the order of 1/500). Microsatellites are small blocks of DNA with repeated sequences, for example ATATATAT is a sequence with four AT repeats.

DYS#   (DNA Y-Chromosome Segment marker number)
A label for genetic markers on the Y chromosome. Each marker is designated by a number, according to international conventions. At present, virtually all the DYS designations are given to STR markers (Short Tandem Repeats - a microsatellite class often used in genetic genealogy).


Generation times:

  All times reported are usually generation times. One can translate these into years back to a common relative by making assumptions about the average number of years a standard human generation is. The values in the literature range from 15 to 25 years.

Mutation Rate Boundaries for the FTDNA TMRCA Calculator:

 1) Standard -- assumes the mutation rate per marker u is u=1/500 = 0.002 . This is the average of a number of studies. In other words, we can expect any one marker to mutate once in 500 generations.

2)
High -- u = 0.004. This places a lower bound on TMRCA, i.e., these times are likely UNDERestimates of the true times.

What is the effect of adding even more markers?

 Adding additional markers increases the precision of the test.

- Dave Hamm
 HAM Surname DNA Project Administrator


More Information:

  Time to Most Recent Common Ancestry Calculator - by Bruce Walsh, University of Arizona, FTDNA's Advisory Board
  DNA 101 - From the BLAIR DNA Project
  Y Chromosome DNA and the Y Line  - by Dr. Thomas Roderick, PhD, Center for Human Genetics. Article posted to Ancestry.com about the role of the Y Chromosome in genealogy studies.
  The Y Chromosome in the Study of Human Evolution, Migration, and Prehistory  - by Neil Bradman and Mark Thomas of the Centre for Genetic Anthropology with a discussion of the Y Chromosome
  Haplogroups of the World - Doug McDonald's Map of the distribution of Y-DNA and mtDNA
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