Genetic Genealogy and Native American DNA – The Genetic Genealogist

Genetic Genealogy and Native American DNA – The Genetic Genealogist – It is very, very difficult to identify Native American ancestry with DNA. And it is impossible to disprove Native American ancestry with DNA (other than on the direct patrilineal or matrilineal lines via Y-DNA or mtDNA testing). There are Y-DNA and mtDNA haplogroups known to be found only among ancient or current Native American populations, and thus finding one of these haplogroups reveals that the Y-DNA line or mtDNA line is Native American descent. There are many papers devoted to Y-DNA and mtDNA haplogroups and Native Americans, some of which I’ve discussed on this blog over the past 9+ years. mtDNA haplogroup A2w is one example. With atDNA, however, the issue is much more complicated. Unlike Y-DNA or mtDNA, only 50% of atDNA is passed down at each generation, meaning that DNA from ancestors just a few generations ago will be in only small quantities in the present generation. Further, it is hard to identify even when it is present because sample sizes in the reference populations utilized for DNA are so small. Accordingly, while it is NOT impossible to identify Native American ancestry using atDNA, it is extremely hard to verify conclusively. Further, the lack of identified Native American atDNA never proves the complete absence of Native American ancestry.

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