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In which I am a unique and special mutant - Tactical Ninja

Apr. 11th, 2012

10:23 am - In which I am a unique and special mutant

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So it turns out Squishy is actually Squishies, and the reason that Squishies let me know of their existence through pain is that they are cysts of the fibrous kind, which apparently respond to hormonal changes as you go through your cycle. It's relatively normal for women my age to have a few of these, but mine are all having a group hug at 8 o'clock apparently, which is why they make a noticeable lump.

Prognosis: nothing much. If it changes let them know. Having spent many years getting close up views of sheeps' udders, I have some idea of the variations that can take place before anything becomes a problem, eh?

So, sweet. No need to do anything further or get any grey hairs over it. Keep up the monthly breast check (I hope you do yours too folks - men included) and keep on keeping on.


Nearly a year ago I spat in a test tube and sent off my genes for sequencing. In due course the result came back and I found out that I have increased risk for Alzheimer's and heart disease and reduced risk for various cancers and congenital deafness (not that that helped me any, eh?). Also, I'm a slow metaboliser of caffeine, which could explain a lot.

*noms some coffee*

Meanwhile, the stuff that really interested me was the family stuff. I don't know if it's because I'm an expat and never knew my extended family, but I've always been interested in where I came from, and spent some time about 10 years ago researching the family tree back to some dude called John who was born in Thirsk in the 1700s. All of which is fairly easy if you follow the paternal line. However, this DNA business only shows me my maternal ancestry because, you know, XX.

I am trying to convince my brother to spit in a test tube for me, but meanwhile, I have discovered that my historic laydeez are from a relatively uncommon haplogroup that originated in northern Pakistan 25000 years ago and is still most common there, while being spread fairly thinly throughout Europe. I found a guy called Mark who is analysing this particular haplogroup and sent him the sequence of my mitochondrial DNA.

Within a couple of hours he'd analysed it by comparing with others of the same haplogroup and placed me on a map which follows the mutations to a point where mine diverge:



The green boxes show the line of mutations I have that match others, the red show the ones I don't have. As you can see, I get my own wee twig in this tree. Lalala.

Anyway, this guy's done a fair bit of analysis and was able to tell me that people in this subgroup (W4) with related sequences are from Finland, Sweden, Britain and Ireland. He's also traced the migration of W4 from where it diverged from the main subgroup about 12000 years ago:



It's a reasonable guess that my lot took the northern route given that my DNA matches with others whose ancestors lie along that line. Apparently W4 ended up in the British Isles about 1000 years ago.

All of which makes me curious about my ancestral laydeez. So last night I dragged out the old books and had a hunt around and discovered that quite a lot of stuff that I could easily research a few years ago is now behind paywalls. I suspect people spotted a business opportunity in other folks' fascination with navel gazing and ancestry research. Also, the Mormons used to have quite a good site but now it's kind of crap (at least, in my brief foray there last night it was). I'm loathe to pay money to do things like this - anyone out there who's done this sort of thing know of a free option that I haven't found yet?

I did discover that going direct to the source for BMD certificates is about half the price of going through some of the genealogy websites - but once upon a time you could look at that sort of thing online and it seems that now you can't. Bollocks.


The other thing that took my fancy yesterday was skull shaping. Don't worry, I'm not about to rush off and do it, but I couldn't stop staring at the pictures of skulls and wondering why people would do it.

"Hey Mum, I want to be a pinhead, all the cool kids are doing it! Can I? Huh, huh?"

Comments:

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From:polychrome_baby
Date:April 10th, 2012 10:30 pm (UTC)
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Yeah. About as far as I got is knowing that my girl peeps are from the Basques. Umm, okay? I also am considering getting my brother to spit into a tube... Dammit, I really love having two Xs, but it's not so convenient when trying to figure out your ancestry.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 10th, 2012 10:35 pm (UTC)
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That and the name-change-when-you-get-married business.

I reckon even with my brother's help there's gonna be a gap between how far back you can go with historical records and how far forward you can go with DNA sequencing - and that's probably one of the more interesting bits, between 1000 and 1600 AD.
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From:raincitygirl
Date:April 11th, 2012 12:29 am (UTC)
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Good to know re: the squishies. Must be a relief.

As to your Pakistani origins, that's SO COOL.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 11th, 2012 01:56 am (UTC)
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Yep, definitely good to know my squishies are domesticated.

Also, I wonder what Pakistan was called in Ye Olden Tymes? Not Pakistan, I bet. It's pretty frickin cool that they can work all that lineage stuff out from a few mls of spit though, eh?
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From:tatjna
Date:April 11th, 2012 03:33 am (UTC)
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Yeah, by the time the Mergarh appeared, my lot had cleared off already. They probably got lost on their way to the dairy.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 11th, 2012 05:04 am (UTC)
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What is up with her right thigh?

AND THOSE FINGERS
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From:rivet
Date:April 11th, 2012 10:53 am (UTC)
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The fingers are definitely creepy, but I think the right thigh problem is just the top of her (?) stocking, rolled down a bit.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 11th, 2012 08:21 pm (UTC)
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When I saw this painting in a cafe the other day I thought it was supposed to be a guy in a swannie.
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From:vernacularity
Date:April 11th, 2012 01:17 am (UTC)
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check with the library, WCL provides access to a lot of databases and tracing ancestry is one of the major social pastimes to which they cater.

many databases can be accessed from your home PC via the library website, using your library membership as authorisation. currently there is a project under way to improve authentication but see what there is.

eg http://wcl.govt.nz/popular/genealogy2.html

Might be worth talking to someone in the library itself.

Also you can ask a question via http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/334185/Enquiry-Form



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From:tatjna
Date:April 11th, 2012 01:54 am (UTC)
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Well gosh, I hadn't even thought of that! Thanks! ;-)
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From:vernacularity
Date:April 11th, 2012 09:22 am (UTC)
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they might not have anything, but they'd know where to go
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From:russiandolls
Date:April 11th, 2012 02:11 am (UTC)
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Bryan Sykes wrote a pretty good book about his part in mitochondrial DNA research, called The Seven Daughters of Eve. Worth a read if you're interested, and can deal with his humongous ego. The final chapters are a bit Clan of the Cave Bear too... ;-)
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From:tatjna
Date:April 11th, 2012 02:28 am (UTC)
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Interesting.. I just looked the book up on Wikipedia and apparently my haplogroup and common ancestor (dubbed Wilma by the dude that's analysing it) doesn't get a mention. I think they came along later - I guess genetic sequencing is still a pretty new field.

Also, apparently my genes are 2.7% neanderthal, and if I wanted I could get a t-shirt.
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From:dreadbeard
Date:April 11th, 2012 02:26 am (UTC)
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whoa. that whole dna thing is crazy.
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From:wildilocks
Date:April 18th, 2012 12:56 pm (UTC)
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When we were in Salt Lake City Jeremy had a look in the big Mormon genealogical library, they had subscriptions to most of the big online paywalled sites which you could search there for free, so if you are going there anytime soon, or know someone who does, might be an option. But you have to physically go to the physical library and use one of their computers.

I expect Google will come up with something along these lines at some point though....

And how about trepanning for weird skull practises?? *shivers*

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