Dallaway DNA

Oxford Ancestors

I arranged for my DNA to be analysed by Oxford Ancestors. Bryan Sykes++, in his book 'The Seven Daughters of Eve'  proposes that we can be traced back to a limited number of original Clans. My DNA traced back to the Wodan Clan, as below.


The modern day members of the clan of Wodan are found mainly in Northern and Western Europe. The distribution in the following countries and among the following peoples is: the Saami** (40%), Poland (25%), Western Russia (10%), and the Basques(5%).

Introduction            Edited and updated extracts from     'The Seven Daughters of Eve'     

Bryan Sykes++ 2003

Genetic research over the last decade has gradually defined the deep-rooted relationships between Y­chromosomes from all over the world and what emerges is an evolutionary tree that connects all males on the planet. Rather like the maternal family tree of all humanity, defined by mitochondrial DNA (see our MatriLineTM service), the paternal tree is composed of clusters of genetically similar Y­chromosomes connected together. There are fifteen clusters on the main tree and all trace back to one Y-chromosome, that of 'Y-chromosome Adam', the common paternal ancestor of all living men.

The research that led to the construction of this tree was not based on the genetic marker systems used to construct your Y -Clan TM signature. These markers have a high rate of change to allow for tracing recent, shallow ancestry over a few tens of generations - ideal for genealogy and family history. Instead, the evolutionary tree was built up on a much more stable genetic system based on slow changes, mostly single base mutations known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which have generally occurred only once during the course of human evolution. However, because Y­chromosomes in different clusters are only very distantly related, their Y -Clan TM markers have also differentiated. This means that there is often a correlation between Y -Clan TM signature and clusters on the formal tree defined by the SNP system. From these correlations we are often able to recognise the cluster to which your Y-chromosome belongs based on its Y-ClanTM signature alone. The correlation is not exact, and its reliability differs in different clusters, but it allows us to give you information about your ancient paternal ancestry from your Y -Clan TM signature.

The maternal family tree assigns your mitochondrial DNA analysis result to one of 36 clans, each founded by one woman, whose names appear on our MatriLineTM World Clans certificate. Our Y­Clan TM certificate is drawn along similar lines. The clusters are shown as circles and their relationship to one another indicated by the connecting lines. The gold star indicates our best estimate of your own ancient paternal clan, based on your Y -chromosome signature, which is shown towards the bottom of the chart. By the same logic that traces the maternal ancestry of a clan back to just one woman, the paternal clans were each founded by a single man. However, rather than name the founder himself, we have given the whole clan a name, often chosen from gods or mythological heroes in those parts of the world where the clan is at its strongest. Where possible, we have chosen names which begin with the letter used by the scientific researchers in the Y-chromosome consortium (YCC) to define the clan.

As mentioned above, your assignment to a clan is based on a correlation rather than a definition. In 2004, we will be launching a new service, PatriLineTM, based on a SNP system, which, because it is the system used by the YCC to define the Y-chromosome haplogroups, will allow assignment of your ancient paternal clan to be done with great accuracy.

Your certificate shows a ten-digit read-out of your Y -chromosome signature and, above it, a chart of human evolution with your place in the scheme marked by a golden star.

.What is a Y-chromosome?

Chromosomes are packets of DNA contained within the nucleus of your body's cells. Most chromosomes come in pairs, with one of each pair being inherited from your father and the other from your mother. However, the Y-chromosome is the exception; only males have one and they inherit it exclusively from their fathers. Something else unusual about the Y-chromosome is that while all the other chromosomes are packed with genes that control the myriad functions of the human body, the Y­-chromosome has only one gene of any real importance - the 'sex-determining' gene. This is the gene that makes males male. Without it, all human embryos would remain as females (the default state) and all babies would be girls.

Why do only males have Y-chromosomes?

It is because of the sex-determining gene on the Y-chromosome. Half the sperm cells made by men contain a    Y-chromosome. An egg fertilised by one of these sperm develops into a male; an egg fertilised by a sperm without a Y-chromosome will develop into a female. It follows that a man inherits his Y-chromosome from his father, who got it from his father, who got it from his father and so on back through time.

How do you produce the Y-ClanTM signature?

The small brush that you returned to us held on its bristles a few cells from your inner cheek. as we received it, the following laboratory procedures were carried out:

As soon as we received it, the following laboratory procedures were carried out:

Step 1. Your Y -chromosome is in the nucleus of the cells on the brush so, before we do anything else, we have to purify your Y -chromosome DNA away from other parts of the cells, which might interfere with the later stages of the analysis. We do this by stirring the DNA brush in a hot cocktail of enzymes and chemicals. 'The cells break open, releasing their contents, and then the chemical cocktail breaks down everything except the DNA.

Step 2. Even though we have now purified your DNA there is very little of it - only about a thousand millionth of a gram at this stage. To read your Y -ClanTM signature, we need at least a million times more than that, so we have to make copies. Fortunately, DNA is very easy to copy­it needs to be because it has to duplicate itself every time one of your cells divides. We now adapt this natural mechanism to copy your DNA in the test tube using a simple but brilliant technique, called the 'Polymerase Chain Reaction' (PCR), for which its inventor, Dr Kary Mullis, won the Nobel Prize.

Step 3. Our next procedure is to measure the exact length of each of the ten sets of DNA repeats. This we do by first tagging them with a fluorescent dye. Next, we pass the DNA through a gel matrix using an electric current. The speed at which the DNA squeezes through the matrix depends on how many repeats it contains (in effect, its size). The fewer the number of repeats, the smaller the fragment and the faster it travels through the gel.

Step 4. At the other end of the gel matrix, we use a laser to record the exact time that each DNA fragment arrives at the detector. The time that they take to travel through the -gel is then converted into a precise measurement of the number of repeats in each of the ten sets. These are used to build up your Y -Clan TM signature, which appears at the bottom of your certificate.

 How do I interpret my Y-Clan TM certificate?

The "Paternal Clans" certificate that you have received is made up of interconnecting circles and each of these circles represents an ancient Y-chromosome clan. On the certificate, the colours of the circles indicate the geographical distribution of the modem day descendants of the clan. The lines connecting the circles trace the evolutionary pathways of our ancestors.

The grey star, or node, near the bottom of the certificate represents the ancestral father through whom all men are related, the man known as "Y -chromosome Adam". It is through him that we are related to the other, now extinct, species of human, Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis, shown on the chart as a dotted line.

How does my DNA fit into the chart?

The golden star indicates the chart position of your ancient paternal clan. It belongs to one of the 15 groups or clans that have been identified to date. The members of each clan are all descended from a single male ancestor through the direct paternal line traced on the chart. We call these men "clan fathers" and from your Y-ClanTM signature we are able to assess to which clan your Y-chromosome is most likely to belong.

How did you assign me to a clan using my Y-ClanTM signature?

Your Y-chromosome signature allows us to assess to which clan your Y-chromosome is most likely to belong. We compare your precise ten-digit signature, shown at the bottom of your certificate, to a reference database of ha plo groups (ancient paternal clans).

The latest scientifically-accepted clan structure was worked out mainly using the SNP system. However, the correlation between the clan assignments based on SNPs and on your Y -chromosome signature is good and we are confident of an accurate clan assignment in the great majority of cases. Sometimes, however, the assignment may be a "best estimate" because it is based on a probabilistic correlation.

Who were our clan fathers?

There was actually nothing remarkable about any of these clan fathers when they were alive. We know that each one of them must have survived long enough to father children and that each had at least two sons, starting-off expanding lines of descent that reach right down to all of us living today. These were real people, real men who hunted and fought for their families, but who lived in very different circumstances to those that we enjoy today. These really were our true ancestors.

The Paternal Clans

The 15 clusters (or clans) that have so far been identified vary in frequency across geographical locations, but there is no specific association between genetic clans and tribal structures. This is a reflection of the great antiquity of our genetic roots, which predate our modem notions of race, tribe or other ethnic classification system by thousands of years.


**The Saami

An indigenous people numbering over 60,000 (1996) and living in northern Finland (7,000), Norway (36,000), Sweden (17,000) and Russia (2,000). Traditionally fishermen, hunter-gatherers, and nomadic reindeer herders, the Saami have lost large areas of pasture since 1965 due to forestry, mining and other economic activities. Today many are settled and have entered the professions. Their religion was originally animist, but most Saami now belong either to the Russian Orthodox or Lutheran churches. Their language belongs to the Finno-Ugric group.

The Saami have inhabited the area for thousands of years and recent genetic studies indicate that they are among the oldest people in Europe. As a nomadic people they are not seen to possess land, and although recognized as people with some political rights in all the countries they inhabit, the question of rights to the land, water, and natural resources remains

 ++Professor Bryan Sykes:

"Is Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Oxford, and has had a remarkable scientific career in genetics. After undertaking medical research into the causes of inherited bone disease, he set out to discover if DNA, the genetic material, could possibly survive in ancient bones. It did and he was the first to report on the recovery of ancient DNA from archaeological bone in the journal "Nature" in 1989. Since then Professor Sykes has been called in as the leading international authority to examine several high profile cases, such as the Ice Man, Cheddar Man and the many individuals claiming to be surviving members of the Russian Royal Family.

Alongside this, he and his research team have over the last ten years compiled by far the most complete DNA family tree of our species yet seen. He has always emphasised the importance of the individual in shaping our genetic world."

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