July 22, 2013

New A00 project

A new project dedicated to Y-haplogroup A00 is seeking funding. A00 is the most basal clade of the human Y-chromosome phylogeny and has so far been found in African Americans and Mbo people from Cameroon. This is how the funds raised will be used:
In this campaign, we're seeking the funds we need to launch our first phase of fieldwork in late August, 2013. Our overall research plan includes five field trips to sample peoples in different regions of the country. In the first trip, Matthew will travel to the remote rural villages where he was raised, in the mountainous, forested Nkongho-Mbo region, and collect at least 100 samples from three villages, which will then be sent to a lab to be screened for A00. More in-depth testing will focus on those A00 samples. 
Planning and discussions are underway regarding which labs, probably more than one, will perform both SNP and STR testing on the samples. A full Y-chromosome sequence is on our wish list. This fundraising campaign, our first, will be limited to funding the DNA collection fieldwork. We'll be asking for your donations for lab testing in a separate campaign, in the near future. We need to limit the total amount of each fundraising campaign's goal to a modest amount we have some confidence of achieving within the set time, due to the all-or-nothing system used by Microryza.
 A00 is separated from the rest of mankind by >200 thousand years, but how closely related are different A00 chromosomes? It is necessary to have multiple samples to attempt to answer that question; I think it is quite probable that A00 is not limited to the area of Cameroon where it was discovered, but it probably makes sense to focus on it, since it is most likely to yield additional A00 samples given a sample size of 100.

A full Y-chromosome sequence of an A00 chromosome would also be very useful, since it would allow us to estimate its divergence from the A0-T remainder of mankind more securely.

The $2,500 they are seeking to launch their first field trip seems like a bargain to me.


BES said...

Dienekes, thank you! I greatly appreciate your support!

Not only is it likely that A00 is not limited to the area of Cameroon where it was discovered, we know this for sure, as it's shown in data from Matthew's earlier sampling around the country a few years ago.

We're only starting with the Mbo since they're his people, and this way we can be pretty sure of getting a good number of A00 samples as soon as possible.

Then, assuming you all support us, we'll sample Bamileke, grasslands people who have centralized, hierarchical societies and practice polygamy, who're related to the Mbo and Bangwa lingustically and live just to the east of them; Bangwa, from around Fontem, just to the north of the Mbo, whose A00 haplotypes we already know from SMGF; Banyangi and Ejagham from the western forests close to Nigeria and the Cross River, who are decentralized; and three distinct Pygmy groups: the Baka in the forests of the far East, Gyele (Bakola) in the south, and Bedzan in the Tikar Plain.

Matthew already found A00 among two southern, Bakola-speaking Pygmies in his 2006 sample collections. They were tested for a minimal set of six STRs and a few SNPs, but A00 is so distinctive, there can be no doubt of their belonging to it. I don't know why those samples were not made available to us for testing last year, but we intend to remedy any past shortage of A00 samples.

As you mention, it will be illuminating to see the differences in the SNPs and STRs of the A00 lineages from diverse peoples; I hope the variations will allow us to start getting some idea of how these people are related, and the geographic origins and movements of A00. And of course, it should help all those interested in dating its split from other haplogroups to get a better handle on that.

If we can raise the $2500 before our Aug. 19th deadline, Matthew can get started sooner, and we'll be able to commence raising funds for testing, so it won't be delayed.

I'm going to post these comments also in the "Lab Notes" section of our website, https://www.microryza.com/projects/y-dna-a00-and-the-peoples-of-cameroon-in-search-of-the-homeland.

Hoping to see many of you appearing on Microryza as supporters, to join in this adventure in citizen science!

Fiend of 9 worlds said...

Sounds like a great project, hopw it succeeds. Any data on how much neanderthal DNA mbo people have, yet?

Fiend of 9 worlds said...

Sounds like a great study, hope it works out. Any data on how much neanderthal ancenstry the Mbo have?

eurologist said...

Seems to me it would be better to collect 3 samples from knowingly unrelated men in 30 somewhat widely distributed villages than 30 samples from 3 villages.

BES said...

Grognard: to date, no Africans tested have ever had Neandertal DNA. The Neandertals were strictly a non-African population.

There have been various archaic DNA traces found in African populations, including the Pygmies, such as those we'll be sampling in a later trip.

We are not experts in archaic autosomal DNA, and are content to leave that to those who are. If any of those scientists approach us about testing our samples, we'll see about working with them on their research.

Eurologist, it isn't practical to go to 30 villages in one trip because the roads in rural Cameroon, especially in the rainy season, are atrocious; you're lucky to reach one village, much less 30. These aren't in the more developed rural areas of the country, but more remote villages, for the most part.

Besides, we already know which village of the first three has the highest % of A00 known to date. We can be fairly sure of finding some there.

In the larger plan of the research, we'll end up sampling at least 15 villages in widely separated areas of the country. We'll need to continue to receive donations to follow through on this -- hopefully good results from the first trip will motivate continued support.

Also please note that 30 is considered a minimum number for meaningful statistical results to be calculated. Thus it would be a good idea to aim for that as a minimum for each village, to be able to analyze the data accurately by location.

Fiend of 9 worlds said...

Some of them have, BES, specifically in Cameroon where some r1b Y-DNA is present (which is also all through North Africa). I wonder how much the mbo have.

BES said...

An update for you all -- we have already reached $2500!! What we're going to do now is just continue accepting donations until the moment we need to collect some funds to start the first trip. Then, when those we've collected are running low, we'll start phase 2 of the campaign.

It will probably cost over $12,000 to fund the five field trips if we carry them out as planned, and that's not even counting the DNA testing, so we have a ways yet to go! In other words, don't be confused when you see on Microryza that we're "100% funded" because we've reached $2500.

BES said...

That's interesting, Grognard, could you provide a link or citation to where you found this information about Neandertal DNA in Africa?

The populations in Northern Cameroon are very distinct from those in the South. There are indeed many R1b up there, as Matthew found in his previous studies. Many Arabs and other peoples from further North and East are found there, who are not part of the mix in the southern part of the country.

eurologist said...


I understand the logistical and financial problems of reaching these villages - good to hear that your wider plans include 15 of them.

How many people typically live in these villages? It must be a lot more than I envisioned - in much of Europe most villages have only a few to several hundred inhabitants, that is, probably fewer than 10-50 male lineages (and probably fewer than a handful that have significantly different y-DNA).

Is it typical for these villages to be somewhat diverse on the male side? Also, assuming the absence of written records, how far back can a male lineage reliably be traced to help avoiding sampling the same lineages?

Fiend of 9 worlds said...

That's what I was hoping to hear more about. If you fully sequence a few mbo at some point maybe you'll find more interesting stuff.

BES said...

Good day all,

We've now launched the second phase of our fundraising campaign. We need your contributions! You can find our page at https://www.microryza.com/a00.

We need $8000 for the testing of 384 samples which we hope to collect soon. This will cover $1400 for 400 test kits, $5000 for DNA extraction, PCR, and scoring, and $1000 for sequencing, plus an 8% fee for Microryza -- I can't say enough good about them, they have been so helpful in every way.

This is for the screening of Bangwa and Mbo samples to find those that are A00. Later there will be more in-depth tests, more ethnic groups, and yes, eventually the full Y sequences. One step at a time! If you want it to happen faster, introduce us to some wealthy donors!