DNA here, there and everywhere

It was careless of me to be in Canada for St George’s Day when I should have at home doing English things like drinking beer and eating a curry.   Of course it took some explaining how and why a Greek or Turk came to be our patron saint and that he never came to England and likely never slayed a dragon on our shores (red or white or any other colour, despite the history of Geoffrey of Monmouth). 

As you may recall, I have been ploughing through some literature on DNA testing and getting very interested in how to use this to prove or disprove the links between some of my Spurrett clusters.  I have been eyeing up living distant cousins but it is going to take a bit of care to get potentially unrelated strangers to donate DNA.  Fortunately, the Guild of One Name Studies gives good advice to make sure the privacy and other legal issues are covered for all parties – yet more reading and learning for me to do. 

My current read is Blood of the Isles, which is an excellent account of the genetic make-up of the British Isles by the Oxford professor Brain Sykes.  The good Prof did the original research tracing mDNA of Europeans back to seven matriarchs that is described in his book Seven Daughters of Eve.  Blood of the Isles also gives short summaries of historical facts and myths (including St George) related to the Isles and compare these to his genetic archaeology findings. 

The day after St George’s day I noticed that the top story on the BBC website was one related to the DNA.  It seems that DNA is featuring in every direction I look at the moment, unfortunately largely to prove negative things (paternity, horse meat, etc.) I am convinced that the use of DNA will become commonplace for positive things too (in place of PIN numbers and passwords maybe) and we will continue to discovery new ways to use genetic archaeology for the benefit of genealogists.

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