DNA & Genetic Inheritance

DNA Studies

Population geneticists are studying DNA to learn more about human lineages.

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is transmitted in the mitochondrion, a compartment within a cell. These mitochondria are outside the nucleus of their cells. As a result, they do not experience genetic variation from generation to generation. They pass, unchanged, from mother to children. Hence, studying mtDNA enables geneticists to trace the origins of the maternal line.

Similarly, a study of the Y chromosome enables geneticists to trace the origins of the paternal line.

One Worldwide DNA Study

James Shreeve has written a pair of articles in the March 2006 issue of National Geographic.

The first, called "The Greatest Journey" (pp. 60-69) summarizes the latest palaeoanthropological and genetic research on human migration out of Africa.

The second, called "Reading Secrets Of The Blood" (pp. 70-73) describes a five-year project "launched by the National Geographic Society" (p. 71).

The Genographic Project intends "to use genetic information gleaned from a thousand indigenous populations around the world to enhance our understanding of humanity's ancient migrations around the planet" (p. 71).

Some information is also available at the National Geographic Web site.

One DNA Genealogical Study

In e-mails (dated 17 and 20 Mar 2006), Aldo Brochet reports that the MacNeill (MacNeil, McNeil) family is using a Y chromosome study to test men who claim links to the MacNeil family.

He says that "two MacNeil men were found to have DNA similar to that found in Norway. The rest have DNA similar to Ireland. The interpretation is that the first Y-group are of Viking stock, related to the Lords of the Isles, while the second Y-group is the Keltic DNA."

"In America, about five people, all named MacNeil, have been found to share 37 or 39 Y-DNA markers. The stunning thing is that another five people, NONE named MacNeil, in Australia, USA, and El Salvador, but all clearly of Isle of Barra stock, also share the same 37 or 39 Y-DNA markers. The Clan name is partly the issue here. Some members of the Clan had centuries ago adopted nicknames which became permanent, and the name MacNeill was dropped by these branches!"

The results of the MacNeil surname Y-DNA Study have been published on Family Tree DNA

A Maloney DNA Genealogical Study?

Conducting a Maloney DNA genealogical study could help to answer, among others, the following questions.

Are we all descended from the same originals (William and his ancestors; Johanna and her ancestors)?

Is there a connection to some Irish Moloneys (which would link the family back to its Irish origins)?

And is there a connection to some German Beckers for Johanna and Johann (which would link the family back to its German origins)?


Last Updated: 2014-07-10
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