Tuesday 22 November 2016

New DNA Results from the Clan Gathering

Back in August this year we had a very successful Gleeson Clan Gathering in and around Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, the heartland of Gleeson territory. You can view the various presentations of our Lecture Programme on the dedicated YouTube Channel here.

A gaggle of Gleeson's

Altogether, 35 people had their DNA tested at the Gathering and the last of the results are now in. Twenty seven people did the Family Finder test (autosomal DNA) and eleven did the Y-DNA test, nine of them Gleeson men. In addition, since the Gathering, three additional Gleason/Gleeson males have joined the project, bringing the total to twelve who have recently joined the Gleason/Gleeson ranks. 

Of these 12 men, one is a member of Lineage I (the English Gleason's), 8 belong to Lineage II (the North Tipperary Gleeson's) and 3 of them are currently ungrouped. Thus the vast majority of those who tested in Nenagh recently are all related to each other along their direct male line. Somewhere back in the dim and distant past they all share a common Gleeson patriarch in Tipperary.

These new results have expanded the numbers in Lineage II and currently we have 31 members in this group and in the next blog I will give an update on the current status of Lineage II together with an updated version of its Mutation History Tree (this is in essence a Descendancy Chart for the people in this group).

We also have Big Y data from 9 people within the Lineage II group and we will shortly be receiving the results of a tenth person (our Gathering Chairman, Michael G Gleeson). Thanks to the generosity of the people who have tested, the rest of the group has benefitted. The Big Y data has helped define the branching structure within the group and will help segregate all current and future group members into different subgroups or sub-branches within the overall Lineage II group. 

Based on the Big Y results so far, I have been making enquiries with YSEQ (another DNA testing company) about the feasibility of future cost-effective SNP testing for the group and the CEO Thomas Krahn has proposed a very streamlined approach. This will ultimately save a lot of money for group members and will help further define the finer branching structure within the group. In the next post, I will make specific recommendations for further testing for individual group members.

I'll also be writing a separate blog post about the autosomal DNA results (the Family Finder test). It turns out that many of the people who tested at the Gathering are related to each other! They are turning up in each others matches ... and I hear that people are having a lot of fun trying to figure out how they are related.

For now, all new members are encouraged to read these three essential Blog Pages and in particular, supply their Most Distant Known Ancestor (MDKA) information and Gleeson pedigree (you can simply email me with the information at mauricegleeson@doctors.org.uk) ... 

Maurice Gleeson
Nov 2016

Sunday 13 November 2016

The Chairman joins Lineage II

There's been a recent development with Lineage II. A very distant relative has just joined the group.

Michael G. Gleeson
Chairman of the Clan Gathering
Michael Gleeson (MGG-1202), Chairman of the recent Gleeson Clan Gathering, has been sitting in the Ungrouped section since he joined the project some 6 months ago. On his Y-DNA-37 test, his Genetic Distance to members of Lineage II was 8/37 or greater, suggesting no close relationship.

However, on reviewing Michael's results, it became apparent that the terminal SNP markers of his closest matches were usually below Z255, the upstream SNP marker shared by everyone in Lineage II. This got me thinking ... could Michael possibly be a distant match to everyone else in Lineage II?

We set out to explore if this hypothesis could be correct.

First off we tested him for the single SNP marker Z255, just to confirm that he was indeed positive for this upstream SNP. And he was. 

Then we did the Z255 SNP Pack which contains 108 SNP markers below Z255 (i.e. further downstream on the Human Evolutionary Tree, the Tree of Mankind). And (surprise, surprise) he tested positive for the downstream SNP markers Z16437 and BY2852. This is illustrated by the green text in the diagram below (green text means he tested positive for these particular SNP markers, red means he tested negative, muddy yellow means he is "presumed positive" for those SNPs, and blue are downstream SNPs that he has not as yet been tested for).

Michael's current position on the Tree of Mankind
(he's making good progress)

The SNP marker BY2852 (red arrow below) is also shared by all the Gleeson's in Lineage II, but not exclusively so. There are two Carroll's who share this SNP marker. So theoretically, whilst it looks most likely that Michael does indeed belong in Gleeson Lineage II, there is an outside chance that he could be a Gleeson by name and a Carroll by DNA. For example, some time back in the 1500's, a Carroll baby might have been adopted by a Gleeson neighbour. The baby was Carroll by DNA but became Gleeson by name. And so too all his descendants ... Carroll by DNA, Gleeson by name. 

However, this seems unlikely because Michael is more genetically distant from the Carroll's (minimum GD = 11/37; calculated from the Z255 Project Results Page) than he is from other Gleeson's in Lineage II (min GD = 8/37). And in addition, an alternative explanation could be that the two Carroll's are Carroll by name but Gleeson by DNA. It is difficult to know which came first - the Carroll chicken or the Gleeson egg.

The Gleeson portion of the Tree of Mankind
(from http://ytree.net/DisplayTree.php?blockID=16)

Furthermore, shortly after Michael's results came in, a new member joined the project (PG-4241), and this member was a close match to Michael (Genetic Distance of 4/37). They appeared in each other's matches list. And shortly after that, another close-ish match (5/37) joined the group (WG-7908; someone who tested at the Clan Gathering in August). So it looks like the three of them have formed their own particular sub-branch of the Gleeson Family Tree, with a common ancestor born sometime around 1600-1700 or so.

Confirmation that they belong in Lineage II could be achieved by further testing with the Big Y test. This would identify which further downstream SNP markers they test positive for. And it would also help give us an estimate for when this particular sub-branch broke away from the rest of Lineage II (it may have been shortly before 1600).

In any case ... welcome to Lineage II, Mr. Chairman.
Maurice Gleeson
Nov 2016

Update (19th Nov 2016)
I am very happy to announce that Michael has just ordered the Big Y test in the FTDNA Christmas Sale. The price is reduced to $525 from $575 but we used an additional $100 off coupon to get it for $425 - the cheapest it has ever been.

The results should be back some time after Christmas and I suspect they will create a whole new branch on the Tree of Mankind above. And if we are very lucky, they may even split up the SNP Block at the A5629 level (which currently consists of 4 SNPs). The results will also help us get more accurate date estimates for the various branching points in this portion of the Tree. And they will also help in putting together the SNP Panel for Gleeson Lineage II which will make it easier and cheaper for project members to do downstream SNP-testing. I am currently putting this panel together with Thomas Krahn from YSEQ.