01 June 2004

Where are we now? Update #4

This is the fourth update on the MacGregor DNA project. The number of participants in the project has now exceeded 100 – it currently stands at 104, although the number of active participants is in fact 89.

There has been a steady trickle of new members since the last update in September 2003 and at the time of writing this there are still a good number of test results outstanding.

Table 1 - Marker Comparison (click to enlarge)

In order to understand this update, it is really necessary to follow through the previous ones as I have only labelled the newest test results on the phylogenetic trees of this update. I have adopted this approach simply for clarity, and to enable newer participants to determine how connected they are to the various branches. Rather than present the whole graphic, I have chosen this time to concentrate on the central group – virtually all of whom are from the Haplogroup R1b (once called Celtic, now properly referred to as Palaeolithic).

Chart 1 - Simplified Haplogroup R1b (click to enlarge)

Chart 1 shows a simplified version (compared with charts in previous updates) of all the tests completed to date. To avoid cluttering up the chart, I have only labelled those new results previously unplaced. It will be obvious however that the group of results around the MacGregor bloodline (the large yellow circle) is too dense to make out the detail.

Chart 2 - Main MacGregor Bloodline (click to enlarge)

Chart 2 therefore, concentrates only on the MacGregor bloodline – which corresponds, more or less, to Haplogroup R1b found across Europe (Spain, France, North Italy, Germany and the Low Countries). Basically this is the result of expansion from an ancestral Y chromosome which developed during the last Ice Age in Iberia. Note that the Viking line on this chart goes off towards the top of the page rather than towards the bottom as in Chart 1, but otherwise is unaltered.

Chart 3 -MacGregor Bloodline: Wide Range (click to enlarge)

Chart 3 is a magnified version of Chart 2, focusing on those results which make up the MacGregor bloodline (elliptical shape labelled ‘Main’) and those tests results which might be directly connected but have more mutations than would be expected (Wider Group). New test results are given on this chart to enable participants to see where they lie. As in Chart 1, the main MacGregor bloodline is the largest yellow circle. Individual members of the project should contact me for clarification if required.

Chart 3 -MacGregor Bloodline: Narrow Range (click to enlarge)

Chart 4 narrows the results down even further to concentrate only on the MacGregor bloodline and those most closely related. [All charts are derived from phylogenetic software from: http://www.fluxus-engineering.com/]

Chart 5 - Genetic Distance Relationships 1 (click to enlarge)

Chart 6 - Genetic Distance Relationships 2 (click to enlarge)

Charts 5 and 6 are two new charts which look very much like a traditional family tree. It is important NOT to read these as ‘family trees’ which show ‘family’ connections. I have included two because careful examination will show that there are different ways of interpreting the genetic relationships. However, the Viking and ‘recent Irish’ groups are still clearly grouped together. They are marked off by two parallel lines //. I have marked off the MacGregor bloodline group in the same way.

I am reasonably confident that these three particular groups show common descent from
1) Gregor the name father of the clan (or his immediate forebears) for the MacGregor bloodline;
2) a common Irish ancestor within historic time for the Irish group; and
3) a common’ pre-Viking’ ancestor for the Viking group.

All the individuals named Orr are related, but not to any of the last three groups, and various Grier and McAdam families are definitely related to each other but again not to any of the three lines above. There is evidence for separate origins for McAdam(s), one Irish and one probably not, and similarly for Grier (Greer), one Irish, one probably not. No other relationships are identifiable. On Charts 5 and 6 the kit number and surname is given.

Remember these trees indicate genetic distance and we can be talking about thousands of years (that is, relating to colonisation following the last Ice Age).

The tree software uses ‘Phylip’ from http://evolution.genetics.washington.edu/phylip.html to generate the necessary grids, and the Tree Drawing software is from http://taxonomy.zoology.gla.ac.uk/rod/treeview.html.

Richard McGregor
Chairman Clan Gregor Society
DNA Project Coordinator