February 17, 2009

Y-chromosomes of Mormon founders and HapMap Utahns

Feel free to post in the comments, any information you can deduce from these haplotypes (haplogroup, origin, etc.)
 Am J Hum Genet. 2009 Feb;84(2): 251-8

Inferential genotyping of Y chromosomes in Latter-Day Saints founders and comparison to Utah samples in the HapMap project.

Gitschier J.

One concern in human genetics research is maintaining the privacy of study participants. The growth in genealogical registries may contribute to loss of privacy, given that genotypic information is accessible online to facilitate discovery of genetic relationships. Through iterative use of two such web archives, FamilySearch and Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, I was able to discern the likely haplotypes for the Y chromosomes of two men, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, who were instrumental in the founding of the Latter-Day Saints Church. I then determined whether any of the Utahns who contributed to the HapMap project (the "CEU" set) is related to either man, on the basis of haplotype analysis of the Y chromosome. Although none of the CEU contributors appear to be a male-line relative, I discovered that predictions could be made for the surnames of the CEU participants by a similar process. For 20 of the 30 unrelated CEU samples, at least one exact match was revealed, and for 17 of these, a potential ancestor from Utah or a neighboring state could be identified. For the remaining ten samples, a match was nearly perfect, typically deviating by only one marker repeat unit. The same query performed in two other large databases revealed fewer individual matches and helped to clarify which surname predictions are more likely to be correct. Because large data sets of genotypes from both consenting research subjects and individuals pursuing genetic genealogy will be accessible online, this type of triangulation between databases may compromise the privacy of research subjects.



TheGeneticGenealogist said...

I thought this article was pretty interesting and had some far-reaching implications. The first haplotype appears to be R1b1b2a1b6b (formerly R1b1b2e, formerly R1b1c7), or the infamous Niall Y-chromosome, suggesting ancient Irish ancestry (perhaps Northern Ireland). It closely matches the results of a descendant of Hyrum Smith at Ysearch (User ID: WZ3DV) (Joseph Smith had a brother Hyrum).

Maju said...

I'm under the impression that the second haplotype must be modal R1b1b*. Alonso et al. had the 24-11-14-13 (DYS 390-393) as the most common European R1b haplotype.

Correct me if I'm wrong, please.

AdygheChabadi said...

This is the prediction for the second haplotype...

Haplogroups and probabilities are as follows:
R1b-S29-Frisian2 =>57% R1b-North/South 1 =>13% R1b-S.Irish =>12% R1b =>8% R1b-North/South 2 =>4% R1b-S28 =>3% R1b-Frisian =>1%

pconroy said...


The first haplotype is now called R-M222, and the project page is here:

pconroy said...

I should have said Haplogroup

dtvmcdonald said...

The Brigham Young one is possibly null DYS425.

Doug McDonald

Peregos said...

The author was unable to identify actual descendants of either Joseph Smith or Brigham Young. The haplotypes were inferred from relatives of these two men. Interestingly, there is no mention of the limitation caused by a possible non paternity event that would have resulted in a Ycs profile for JS and BY different from that reconstructed from the descendants of their relatives. In any case, as the author pointed out, the actual haplotype for Joseph Smith (reconstructed from descendants of two of his sons) was already published in 2005 (and also in 2008). A simple GOOGLE search for "Joseph Smith Y Chromosome" would have provided her with references about it. As a side note, Joseph Smith had 11 children and not 10 as reported in the article. 2 were adopted and 9 biological. Only five grew up to be adults (including one adoptee) and only two biological sons have a living posterity today.
Regarding the comment on this blog about Joseph Smith haplotype being of Irish ancestry, that is correct. It was studied previously and presented at a conference during summer of 2008. The DNA of his male descendants also tested positive for Y-SNP M222 (see http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,700249299,00.html).