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The First Briton….Was Black

DNA is destroying the artificial construct of race. The oldest known skeleton found in England is of a dark skinned man with blue eyes. Which means lighter skin developed much much more recently than previously believed…By about 30,000 years.

DNA Tests on an Ancient Skeleton Reveal the First Briton Was Black, Not White

‘It really shows up that these imaginary racial categories we have… are not applicable to the past at all,’ said one project worker.

The first person known to have lived in Britain had dark skin, according to cutting-edge scientific analysis from London’s Natural History Museum.

In research that may raise eyebrows among modern-day white nationalists, scientists used DNA analysis from Britain’s oldest nearly complete skeleton to reveal he had dark skin and blue eyes.

The skeleton was discovered in 1903 and is known as Cheddar Man, after the area where he was found, which is also where the cheese originated. He’s believed to have lived more than 10,000 years ago and is the oldest Briton to have ever had their DNA tested—with some surprising results.

The research suggests that light skin developed in ancient Britons much later than previously thought, with experts commenting that it flies in the face of modern perceptions of Britain, Europe, and race.

Tom Booth, a Natural History Museum archaeologist who worked on the project, told The Guardian: “It really shows up that these imaginary racial categories that we have are really very modern constructions, or very recent constructions, that really are not applicable to the past at all.”

Yoan Diekmann, a biologist at University College London and another project worker, added that the connection drawn by some between Britishness and whiteness was “not an immutable truth. It has always changed and will change.”

The discovery is embarrassing for white nationalists such as Richard Spencer, who has previously linked whiteness to Europe, saying previously that he wanted the U.S. to become “a homeland for all white people, all European people.”

According to the scientists who ran the project, it was previously assumed that Europeans developed paler skin thousands of years before Cheddar Man and he was previously believed to have had pale skin and fair hair.

However, they believe the research shows that the lighter pigmentation in Europeans is a “far more recent” phenomenon and that one in 10 modern-day Brits share ancestry with the dark-skinned Cheddar Man.

Scientists obtained the DNA sample by drilling a 2mm hole in the ancient skull, which allowed them to extract some bone powder. Using the “unusually well-preserved” DNA, they then constructed a likeness of his head using a 3D printer and a high-tech scanner.

Prof. Chris Stringer, a research leader at the Natural History Museum, said: “I first studied Cheddar Man more than 40 years ago, but could never have believed that we would one day have his whole genome—the oldest British one to date!”

“To go beyond what the bones tell us and get a scientifically based picture of what he actually looked like is a remarkable (and from the results quite surprising!) achievement.”

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Posted by on February 7, 2018 in Black History, The Post-Racial Life

 

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A Black Icelander?

Seems one escaped slave ..really escaped to a new world!

Image result for Hans Jonatan Iceland

The DNA of Iceland’s First Known Black Man, Recreated from His Living Descendants

Hans Jonatan, who escaped slavery in 1802, now has hundreds of relatives in the country.

Hans Jonatan was born into slavery on a Caribbean sugar plantation, and he died in a small Icelandic fishing village. In those intervening 43 years, he fought for the Danish Navy in the Napoleonic Wars, lost a landmark case for his freedom in The General’s Widow v. the Mulatto, then somehow escaped to become a peasant farmer on the Nordic island.

Image result for Hans Jonatan Iceland

A descendent of Hans Jonatan

No one knows how he got there. No one knows where in Iceland he is buried today. But the story of the first black man in Iceland, as far as it is known, has endured in local lore, passed down from his Icelandic wife and two children to hundreds of descendants since his death in 1827.

“The old East Fjords people would often say, ‘Oh, yes, you’re descended from the black man,’” one living descendant told Gísli Pálsson in his biography of Jonatan, The Man Who Stole Himself.

Today, Jonatan’s descendants mostly lack the dark skin and curly hair that so obviously marked him as the son of a black mother, an enslaved woman named Emilia Regina, and a white father, identity unknown. But bits of his DNA live on inside his great-great-great-great grandsons and granddaughters, and it is possible, scientists have now shown, to reconstruct parts of his genome from his living descendants. And with that, it is also possible to trace his mother’s ancestry in Africa.

It could only have happened in Iceland. The country’s small and genetically homogeneous population is largely descendants of settlers who arrived from Scandinavia and the British Isles a millennium ago. This, along with, detailed genealogy records tracking centuries of family relationships, have made Iceland a genetics laboratory. The biopharmaceutical company DeCODE Genetics, whose scientists helped carry out the study of Jonatan’s genome, has also analyzed DNA from more than half of Iceland’s adult population—including 182 of Jonatan’s living descendants.

Humans share some 99.5 percent of their DNA with each other, so it is in that other 0.5 percent where geneticists go looking for variations distinguishing one group from one another. In the relatively homogeneous Icelandic background, it was easy to find the African sequences. “If you’re sequencing an Icelander, you will find about one variant per million bases that is not found in any other Icelander. But you go and sequence into the African part [of the genome], you will find at least 100 variants,” says Kári Stefánsson, the CEO of DeCODE.

No single descendant carries all of Jonatan’s original genome. But each carry a small part of it. So the team stitched together sequences found in 182 different descendants to recreate 38 percent of the African half of his genome—presumably the half that came from his mother. The sequences most closely matched present-day populations in Benin, Nigeria, and Cameroon. There are few records about Jonatan’s mother, who was also born into slavery in the Caribbean, so this may be the only hint to her and her ancestors’ origins.

“It’s the writing of history with DNA, basically,” says Hannes Schroeder, an archaeologist at the University of Copenhagen who has used DNA to trace the origins of enslaved Africans. Schroeder was also a coordinator of EUROTAST, an interdisciplinary project studying the slave trade that helped fund the reconstruction of Hans Jonatan’s genome.

Jonatan’s life story was unique, and the methods used to study his DNA may prove unique, too. It would be difficult to reconstruct the genome of any single enslaved African in regions where many of them lived and their DNA mixed together in their descendants. “It’s definitely a special case because of Iceland,” says Schroeder. “The same project wouldn’t have been possible in, say, France.”

or similar reasons, it’s almost impossible to reconstruct the European half of Jonatan’s genome—the half that came from his unknown white father. Kirsten Pflomm, a descendent of Jonatan, says this is the question she hopes DNA can answer. You actually would not need to reconstruct a genome to prove Jonatan’s paternity; you would just need to obtain a DNA sample from potential fathers or their descendants for comparison. Pálsson’s biography suggests suggests Jonatan’s father could have been a secretary named Hans Gram—or Jonatan’s master, Ludvig Schimmelmann, or a certain Count Moltke.

Pflomm, who is American, lives in Copenhagen. When she moved to the city for a job, she was astonished to find that her apartment is across the street from Amaliegade 23, where Jonatan was living when he escaped to Iceland. Pflomm eventually hopes to make it to the small Icelandic fishing village where Jonatan lived out his days—by every account an upstanding citizen. “He seems like a guy I really wish I could have met,” she says.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2018 in Black History

 

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The Obsolete Fictitious Concept of Race

The below is a picture of one of my cousins as a child. He considers himself black, and married a black woman. He could very easily have been a 50’s poster child  for middle class white America in Life or Look Magazine.

Barry

What Scientists Mean When They Say ‘Race’ Is Not Genetic

A new paper explains why it can be dangerous to think otherwise.

If a team of scientists in Philadelphia and New York have their way, using race to categorize groups of people in biological and genetic research will be forever discontinued.

The concept of race in such research is “problematic at best and harmful at worst,” the researchers argued in a new paper published in the journal Science on Friday.

However, they also said that social scientists should continue to study race as a social construct to better understand the impact of racism on health.

So what does all this mean? HuffPost Science recently posed that question and others to the paper’s co-author, Michael Yudell, who is associate professor and chair of community health and prevention at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Why is it problematic to view race as a biological concept?

For more than a century, natural and social scientists have been arguing about whether race is a useful classificatory tool in the biological sciences — can it elucidate the relationship between humans and their evolutionary history, between humans and their health. In the wake of the U.S. Human Genome Project, the answer seemed to be a pretty resounding “no.”

In 2004, for example, Francis Collins, then head of the National Human Genome Research Institute and now director of the National Institutes of Health, called race a “flawed” and “weak” concept and argued that science needed to move beyond race. Yet, as our paper highlights, the use of race persist in genetics, despite voices like Collins, like Craig Venter — leaders in the field of genomics — who have called on the field to move beyond it.

We believe it is time to revisit this century-long debate and bring biologists, social scientists and scholars from the humanities together in a constructive way to find better ways to study the ever-important subject of human diversity.

The race concept should be removed from genetics research for the following reasons: Genetic methods do not support the classification of humans into discrete races, [and] racial assumptions are not good biological guideposts. Races are not genetically homogenous and lack clear-cut genetic boundaries. And because of this, using race as a proxy to make clinical predictions is about probability.

Of course, medicine can be about best guesses, but are we serving patients well if medical decisions are made because a patient identifies as part of a certain racial group or are identified as belonging to a specific race? What if, for example, the probability is that if you are white you are 90 percent likely to have a beneficial or at least non-harmful reaction to a particular drug? That sounds pretty good, but what if you are that 1 in 10 that is likely to have a harmful reaction? That doesn’t sound so good, and that is the problem with most race-based predictions. They are best guesses for an individual.

We also believe that a variable so mired in historical and contemporary controversy has no place in modern genetics. Race has both scientific and social meanings that are impossible to tease apart, and we worry that using such a concept in modern genetics does not serve the field well….Read the Rest Here

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Genetically Inherited Trauma

This one is fascinating. While the basis of the first study is the descendants of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust – I can’t see any reason it wouldn’t apply to black folks experience in America with first, slavery, then Jim Crow Terrorism. It also appears to hold with other groups, such as Native American, and Cambodians who survived Pol Pot’s massacres. Some of the research indicates that the damage is multi-generational. 

Study Suggests Trauma’s Effects Can Register Across Generations

This could be the stuff of a scientific breakthrough: A research team out of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City has published a study that points to the possibility that trauma sustained by one generation can actually be passed down, in a sense, to children and maybe even farther down the genetic chain.

The Guardian posted details of this startling finding on Friday:

The conclusion from a research team at New York’s Mount Sinai hospital led by Rachel Yehuda stems from the genetic study of 32 Jewish men and women who had either been interned in a Nazi concentration camp, witnessed or experienced torture or who had had to hide during the second world war.

They also analysed the genes of their children, who are known to have increased likelihood of stress disorders, and compared the results with Jewish families who were living outside of Europe during the war. “The gene changes in the children could only be attributed to Holocaust exposure in the parents,” said Yehuda.

Her team’s work is the clearest example in humans of the transmission of trauma to a child via what is called “epigenetic inheritance” – the idea that environmental influences such as smoking, diet and stress can affect the genes of your children and possibly even grandchildren.

The idea is controversial, as scientific convention states that genes contained in DNA are the only way to transmit biological information between generations. However, our genes are modified by the environment all the time, through chemical tags that attach themselves to our DNA, switching genes on and off. Recent studies suggest that some of these tags might somehow be passed through generations, meaning our environment could have and impact on our children’s health.

More information to massive trauma affecting genetics through multiple generations

The case of Cambodian immigrants…

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2015 in American Genocide, The Post-Racial Life

 

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White Supremacist Seeking to Build All White Town…Turns Out to Be Not All-White

In the Southern United States, if your family arrived in America before the Revolutionary War… There is about a 30% chance you have black ancestry. Roughly 50 million “whites” in this country, wouldn’t qualify under the”One Drop Rule” of bygone days.

But this one is funny!

Video Of White Supremacist Learning He Is 14 Percent Black May Be The Best Thing Ever

A white supremacist behind an initiative to turn a North Dakota town into a “white enclave” received some shocking news — he’s not 100 percent white.

Craig Cobb, a 62-year-old man who has aimed to start a community for white supremacists and neo-Nazis, received some news that he wasn’t too happy about, although we must admit, it gave us quite a chuckle.

During an appearance on The Trisha Goddard Show, Cobb was given the results of a DNA Diagnostics test and found out he is 14 percent Sub-Saharan African, and it was all caught on camera.

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2013 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Forensic Evidence Refutes Zimmerman Claims About Trayvon Martin Killing

Yet another major hole in George Zimmerman’s story…

Trayvon Martin’s DNA not found on George Zimmerman’s gun, forensic tests say

George Zimmerman’s DNA was the only one that could be identified on the grip of the gun used to fatally shoot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, according to forensic tests made public Wednesday.

The resuts rule out Martin’s DNA from being on the gun’s grip. Zimmerman’s DNA also was identified on the gun’s holster. The tests were inconclusive as to whether Martin’s DNA was on the gun’s holster.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for fatally shooting Martin during a confrontation in a gated community in Sanford in February. Zimmerman is pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense.

Zimmerman says Martin was on top of him, slamming his head against the ground when he grabbed his gun from a holster before Martin could get it.

Other records being released today include a photo of Zimmerman’s head that was taken by a witness following a confrontation with Martin.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2012 in American Genocide

 

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Of Melungeons and Other Historical Mysteries

Arch Goins and family, Melungeons from Graysville, Tennessee, c. 1920s

Arch Goins and family, Melungeons from Graysville, Tennessee, c. 1920s

When Dr. Thomas Walker and Daniel Boone first explored what they would name the Cumberland Gap, the pass which allowed western expansion by the colonists in the Mid-Atlantic region in 1750 – they found a group of folks living in the area who were not Native Americans. They spoke English, and by appearances were neither white, black, or Native American. They became known as Melungeons, partially based on an early statement by one of the group that they were “Portugee”.

Theories have abounded as to how thee folks got there, and from where they came from. The most romantic of which claimed that they were descendants of survivors of the “Lost Colony” and Virginia Dare on Roanoke Island near the border of Virginia and North Carolina who mysteriously disappeared in 1586/7. Others have it they were the descendants of Portugese sailors and Turkish slaves who had been shipwrecked along the Barrier Islands protecting the Carolina and Virginia coasts during the 15th or 16th Century. Still another had them as descendents of slaves originating from the first Spanish Colony located on the Virginia/North Carolina Coast founded by Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón in 1526, which was destroyed by a slave revolt.

None of these historical theories was true.

Another long standing mystery is what happened to the initial African slaves brought to Virginia in 1619. Because there were no slave laws in Virgina at that time – they were purchased as Indentured Servants. Serving of a period of years to pay back the cost of their voyage – or “purchase” cost…

After which they became free, along with the hundreds of thousands of white Europeans who had been brought to the Colonies as Indentured Servants typically to pay off their debts. Permanent black slavery wasnt legally institutionalized in Virginia until about 1670, when a number of “Slave Codes” were ratified in response to several slave revolts, and complaints of slave owners about the economic cost of having to free their slaves.  So what happened in the intervening period to these black folks who were brought to America – served as Indentured labor and paid off their debt to be free? The commonly accepted story is that they intermarried with Native Americas – which is only partially true.

Laws against miscegenation between black and white were codified about 1660 in Virginia. The issue was in large part that by treaty (with Native Americans) and law – the status of a couple’s children, slave or free – was based on the status of the Mother. Thus if an African male slave married and had children with a white female Indentured Servant – any resulting children were freedmen. This posed an economic conundrum for Virginia slave holders, and a loss of valuable property in the form of new slaves. Thus we start to see laws being put into place to prevent this.

Unions between black and white was far more common than many historians would have you believe – and not just the result of the slave Master raping their slave women. By some calculations, supported by DNA tests – about 30% of what is now considered the white population of the US, whose families lived in slave states before the Civil War have black Sub-Saharan ancestry. The result of these marriages was the establishment of large bi- and tri- racial communities in Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Louisiana. The groundbreaking work of Professor Paul Heinegg, of the University of Virginia “Free  African American Families of Virginia and North Carolina” and which has been expanded to now include Maryland, Delaware, and other states  – found that the genesis of most Free African American families before the Civil War in Virginia and North Carolina was the result of these unions between black males and white women. If you will recall, Thomas Jefferson kept his offspring from Sally Hemmings in slavery.

Unions between black slaves and white indentured servants were not rare – a situation creating the need (at least from the slave owners viewpoint) for laws prohibiting such unions. Which leaves the question – where did these families, established before the permanent slave laws,  go after finishing their indenture?

Part of my own family were what is called”Atlantic Creoles” (descendants of a white Sea Captain and an “Indian” woman who moved to Montgomery County  from what is now the Norfolk/Newport News area in 1719) whose children migrated from Montgomery County, Virginia on the lower Rappahannock River to an area near the Cumberland Gap on what is now the Virginia – West Virginia border to escape re-enslavement. They would fight a nearly 50 year legal battle in the Courts to retain their freedom. There was already a thriving black (or tri-racial) community there. What they did was to follow the path after the American Revolution of many European-American settlers and move west to the “frontier”, forming stable communities along the Virginia -West Virginia border.

Indeed there is evidence through letters that Confederate troops stayed out of certain counties in Virginia and North Carolina because the majority of the residents were freedmen who took a dim view of Confederates and would shoot any Confederate who wandered into the wrong territory. I have more then anecdotal evidence that being a slave catcher wandering onto some of those counties was a terminal profession. You can track some of that looking at General Sheridan’s campaign in the Shenandoah – looking at where they DIDN’T fight the Rebs.

My Dad, who was a Historian always claimed that the Melungeons of the region were actually the descendants of the first Africans brought to America who had intermarried with white Indentured Servants and had served out their indenture and moved to the remote area to escape persecution.

Turns out he was right. He referred to these folks as “cousins” – although I never figured out why, or have proven any direct family relationship with any of the 40 or so Melungeon families. He was also good friends with one of the Goins family descendants.

Melungeon history researchers at various times have claimed that several famous people were descendants of Melungeons, including Elvis Presley, Ava Gardner, and Abraham Lincoln. That is in all likleyhood wishful thinking – as I have never heard on any evidence to back such claims. The truth of which would be explosive.

Melungeon DNA Study Reveals Ancestry, Upsets ‘A Whole Lot Of People’

For years, varied and sometimes wild claims have been made about the origins of a group of dark-skinned Appalachian residents once known derisively as the Melungeons. Some speculated they were descended from Portuguese explorers, or perhaps from Turkish slaves or Gypsies.

Now a new DNA study in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy attempts to separate truth from oral tradition and wishful thinking. The study found the truth to be somewhat less exotic: Genetic evidence shows that the families historically called Melungeons are the offspring of sub-Saharan African men and white women of northern or central European origin. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2012 in Black History, The Post-Racial Life

 

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