The Keep DNA Project
World Wide   All Keeps   All Countries

DNA:  GENETIC LINKS

 

The University of Leicester’s Department of Genetics in England carried out research into genetic links between people with a shared surname, which produced an amazing discovery.  The methodology was to examine the Y-chromosomes of a sample of a 150 pairs of male volunteers with the same surname but no apparent common ancestry, to try and establish genetic links.  Whilst examining the DNA samples provided, they isolated a very rare African Y-chromosome from a person originating from Yorkshire in England.  This particular Y-chromosome had only previously been found in 25 people, all living in West Africa. The male in question had traced his ancestors back to the mid 1700s, using the traditional genealogists’ research tools--birth, marriage, and death certificates--but had found no indications that he had an African ancestry.  As a result of the findings, DNA samples were taken from a further 18 males with the same surname, of whom seven were found to have the same Y-chromosome.

 

Whilst there was significant immigration into Britain in the mid 20th century, this can be discounted in this case, because the family line has successfully been traced back to the 1700s without any notable African ancestry emerging.  It has been suggested that the line may date back to the Roman invasion and settlement of Britain, because their army in about 200AD included a garrison of North African soldiers.  However, a more plausible explanation lies with the 18th century slave trade.  During this era approximately 10,000 African slaves were domiciled in Britain.  Whilst there is little direct evidence to show that they had any impact on British genetic links, the fact that many of them were abducted from West Africa cannot be ignored.

 

In another piece of research undertaken by the University, some interesting facts emerged about Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the USA.  It was found that he fathered at least one illegitimate sibling, a son, by one of his slaves, Sally Hemmings.  Again this was found by studying the Y-chromosome.  Jefferson had an unusual “K2”, Y-chromosome, which is common to the Middle East and Eastern African region, but also has been traced to France, Spain, and England. The chromosome in question was also traced to two males from Yorkshire and the west Midlands.  They were part of a random sample of 85 males sharing the surname Jefferson, who can now claim that Thomas Jefferson is part of their ancestry.

 

By joining and taking part in this project, you will be sharing an exciting and unknown adventure, as we attempt to unravel the mysteries of our ancestry.  Who knows what we will discover in our amazing journey back in time, and where it will take us?  Whilst we are attempting to resolve the age old enigma of the ancestry ofJohn Keep of Longmeadow, what else will we discover?  Do we share genetic links with other well-documented Keep Lines, and where did we originate from? The only way we can succeed is by attracting a wide ranging group of participants, so why not join us?  You can find out more by going to other pages on this site.

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Table of Contents

If we consider the diagram above in respect of the three generations, i.e. grandparents, parents and children, we can see that the DNA, shown in colour under the relevant photograph, for each generation is completely different pattern from the others in the line. It is not only a mix from that of their parent, but shuffled around by recombination. If we consider anyone of the children’s DNA on the diagram it can be seen that the process is continuing, and that their DNA is completely unique to them when compared to their contemporaries. You will also note that it is already becoming difficult to trace back just three generations, therefore, by including more generations in a search it becomes virtually impossible. If, for example, we go back ten generations an individual will have up to 1,024 ancestors.

Not all of our DNA comes in the form of chromosomes; if we now consider the maternal line shown on the diagram, you will see blue arrows passing from mother to daughter. Inside the nucleolus of every cell, some DNA can also be found in structures known as mitochondria. They are small organelles, i.e. a specialized part of a cell that has its own function, which lie in the human cytoplasm of eukaryotic cells. Their primary purpose is to provide energy to the cell. Mitochondria are thought to be the vestigial remains of symbiotic bacteria that were able to live or move independently. This is evident because they contain a relatively small circular segment of mtDNA. An individual inherits their cytoplasm, which is a thick liquid residing between the cell membrane holding all the cell's internal sub-structures, called organelles that come exclusively from their mother, as these are derived from the ovum and not from the sperm.

An advantage of the mitochondrial is that it does not recombine between generations, and because all mtDNA is passed from mother to her child without recombination, we all descend from Mitochondrial Eve’s mtDNA by definition. The same applies to our Y-DNA that can be passed by a male only to his sons, which is shown as red arrows on the diagram, and in turn leads back to Y-chromosomal Adam. A very good explanation of the DNA testing process for genealogical purposes is provided on this site, so I will not cover it, but would recommend it to you. Instead I will now consider the results of our genealogical DNA test

The genealogical DNA test looks at the nucleotides, which are a sub-unit of DNA made of a molecule of sugar, a molecule of phosphoric acid, and a molecule called a base. These results do not have any medical value, but instead give genealogical information that can be compared to other participant’s results. Y-chromosomes have series of repeating nucleotides, known as short tandem repeats (STRs). The number of repetitions differs between males, however, a particular number of allele, which refers to a count of the number of repeats in an STR provide a genetic marker. Each STR has been assigned a unique name given by the HUGO nomenclature committee. When a mutation arises in a DNA molecule, the mutation is passed in a direct line of descent. These rare mutations are derived from copying mistakes, i.e. when the DNA is copied it is possible that a single mistake occurs in the DNA sequence, an outcome which is called a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). A change to a nucleotide in a DNA sequence is ideal for tracing or establishing genetic links. Each SNP is allocated a letter code and a number. The letter indicates the Institute or research team that identified it, and the number designates the order in which it was found. An STR test furnishes the personal haplotype, and the SNP the haplogroup.

A haplotype is the numbered result of a genealogical Y-DNA test. Each allele value has a distinctive frequency within a population. To explain this, the actual test results that established the link between Walter Kep and John Keep of Longmeadow, within the “East Midlands Keeps” are given below:

 

67 Marker Test

 

 

38

39

40

41

42

43

44

45

46

47

48

49

50

51

52

53

54

55

56

57

58

59

60

61

62

63

64

65

66

67

 

 

D

Y

S

5

3

1

 

D

Y

S

5

7

8

 

D

Y

F

3

9

5

S1

 

D

Y

S

5

9

0

 

D

Y

S

5

3

7

 

D

Y

S

6

4

1

 

D

Y

S

4

7

2

 

D

Y

F

4

0

6

S1

 

D

Y

S

5

1

1

 

D

Y

S

4

2

5

 

D

Y

S

4

1

3

 

D

Y

S

5

5

7

 

D

Y

S

5

9

4

 

D

Y

S

4

3

6

 

D

Y

S

4

9

0

 

D

Y

S

5

3

4

 

D

Y

S

4

5

0

 

D

Y

S

4

4

4

 

D

Y

S

4

8

1

 

D

Y

S

5

2

0

 

D

Y

S

4

4

6

 

D

Y

S

6

1

7

 

D

Y

S

5

6

8

 

D

Y

S

4

8

7

 

D

Y

S

5

7

2

 

D

Y

S

6

4

0

 

 

D

Y

S

4

9

2

 

D

Y

S

5

6

5

J

 

11

8

15-15

8

12

10

8

9

9

12

22-24

15

10

12

12

16

8

14

25

20

13

13

11

12

11

11

12

11

M

 

11

8

15-15

8

11

10

8

9

9

12

22-25

15

10

12

12

16

8

14

24

20

13

13

11

12

11

11

12

11

S

 

11

8

15-15

8

11

10

8

9

9

12

22-25

15

10

12

12

16

8

14

25

20

13

13

11

12

11

11

12

11

 

12 Marker Test

25 Marker Test

37 Marker Test

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

37

 

 

D

Y

S

3

9

3

 

D

Y

S

3

9

0

 

D

Y

S

1

9

 

D

Y

S

3

9

1

 

D

Y

S

3

8

5

 

D

Y

S

4

2

6

 

D

Y

S

3

8

8

 

D

Y

S

4

3

9

 

D

Y

S

3

8

9

I

 

D

Y

S

3

9

2

 

D

Y

S

3

8

9

ll

 

D

Y

S

4

5

8

 

D

Y

S

4

5

9

 

D

Y

S

4

5

5

 

D

Y

S

4

5

4

 

D

Y

S

4

4

7

 

D

Y

S

4

3

7

 

D

Y

S

4

4

8

 

D

Y

S

4

4

9

 

 

D

Y

S

4

6

4

 

D

Y

S

4

6

0

 

Y-

G

A

T

A

-

H

4

 

Y

C

A

II

 

D

Y

S

4

5

6

 

D

Y

S

6

0

7

 

D

Y

S

5

7

6

 

D

Y

S

5

7

0

 

C

D

Y

 

 

D

Y

S

4

4

2

 

D

Y

S

4

3

8

 

J

14

22

15

10

13-14

11

14

11

12

11

28

15

8-9

8

11

22

16

19

28

13-13-15-15

10

10

18-21

14

14

17

20

34-35

12

10

 

M

14

22

15

10

13-14

11

14

11

12

11

28

15

8-9

8

11

22

16

19

28

13-13-15-15

10

10

18-21

14

14

17

20

34-35

12

10

 

S

14

22

15

10

13-14

11

14

11

12

11

28

15

8-9

8

11

22

16

19

28

13-13-15-15

10

10

18-21

14

14

17

20

34-35

12

10

You will see that the above tables relate to a 67 marker test, and give the marker numbers on the blue row at the top of the table, under which are the assigned names on the yellow row, and the individual test results are given on the three red rows. The red rows are labeled accordingly: row “J” relates to John Keep of England, who can trace his line back to Walter Kep of Astwood, Buckinghamshire, who was born ca 1230; row “M” relates to Marcus Keep of America, who can demonstrate his line back to John Keep of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, who appeared in the town in 1660; and row “S” relates to Scott Keep of America, who can also follow his line back to John Keep of Longmeadow. The results are compared to other participant’s results to establish a genetic link. The more markers that are tested, the more reliable the results will be. A 12-marker test is not discriminating enough to provide conclusive results for a common surname, and because of that we ideally recommend any participant to take a 67 marker test, but are aware of the financial implications. A participant can take a lower number of markers test, and later upgrade to more.

If we consider the test result for John and Marcus we will see that they vary by one point at three marker locations, namely marker 43, marker 49/50, and marker 59, however, when we introduce Scott into the equation  the differences is only two, when compared to John, at markers 43, and  49/50. This demonstrates that a mutation has occurred at marker 58 in John Keep of Longmeadow’s descendants over the last nine generations. There are other mutations within the John Keep of Longmeadow’s descendants. The tables below relates to all the East Midland Keeps tested so far and shows that Marcus (M), his father Charles (C), brother Jonathan (Jo) and Paul (P) all have identical results in all 67 markers, and one different to Scott’s results (S). If we now look at Donald (D), a descendant of John Keep of Longmeadow, his marker 1 is different by one to all the others. Also Philip (Ph), another descendant of John Keep of Longmeadow, who took a 37 marker test, varies from the others by one at marker 13, therefore, in just nine generations there have been three mutations within this section of the family line.

25 Marker Test

25 Marker Test

37 Marker Test

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

37

 

 

D

Y

S

3

9

3

 

D

Y

S

3

9

0

 

D

Y

S

1

9

 

D

Y

S

3

9

1

 

D

Y

S

3

8

5

 

D

Y

S

4

2

6

 

D

Y

S

3

8

8

 

D

Y

S

4

3

9

 

D

Y

S

3

8

9

I

 

D

Y

S

3

9

2

 

D

Y

S

3

8

9

ll

 

D

Y

S

4

5

8

 

D

Y

S

4

5

9

 

D

Y

S

4

5

5

 

D

Y

S

4

5

4

 

D

Y

S

4

4

7

 

D

Y

S

4

3

7

 

D

Y

S

4

4

8

 

D

Y

S

4

4

9

 

 

D

Y

S

4

6

4

 

D

Y

S

4

6

0

 

Y-

G

A

T

A

-

H

4

 

Y

C

A

II

 

D

Y

S

4

5

6

 

D

Y

S

6

0

7

 

D

Y

S

5

7

6

 

D

Y

S

5

7

0

 

C

D

Y

 

 

D

Y

S

4

4

2

 

D

Y

S

4

3

8

J

 

14

22

15

10

13-14

11

14

11

12

11

28

15

8-9

8

11

22

16

19

28

13-13-15-15

10

10

18-21

14

14

17

20

34-35

12

10

M

 

14

22

15

10

13-14

11

14

11

12

11

28

15

8-9

8

11

22

16

19

28

13-13-15-15

10

10

18-21

14

14

17

20

34-35

12

10

C

 

14

22

15

10

13-14

11

14

11

12

11

28

15

  8-9

  8

11

22

16

19

28

13-13-15-15

10

10

18-21

14

14

17

20

34-35

12

10

P

 

14

22

15

10

13-14

11

14

11

12

11

28

15

8-9

8

11

22

16

19

28

13-13-15-15

10

10

18-21

14

14

17

20

34-35

12

10

Jo

 

14

22

15

10

13-14

11

14

11

12

11

28

15

8-9

8

11

22

16

19

28

13-13-15-15

10

10

18-21

14

14

17

20

34-35

12

10

D

 

13

22

15

10

13-14

11

14

11

12

11

28

15

8-9

8

11

22

16

19

28

13-13-15-15

10

10

18-21

14

14

17

20

34-35

12

10

Ph

 

14

22

15

10

13-14

11

14

11

12

11

28

16

8-9

8

11

22

16

19

28

13-13-15-15

10

10

18-21

14

14

17

20

34-35

12

10

S

 

14

22

15

10

13-14

11

14

11

12

11

28

15

8-9

8

11

22

16

19

28

13-13-15-15

10

10

18-21

14

14

17

20

34-35

12

10

USING DNA TO TRACE OUR ANCESTRY

 

We are often asked why our project’s DNA testing programme focuses only on tracing the male’s Y-chromosome (Y-DNA) parental line, and not the female mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) maternal line. The reason is quiet simple; our project is a Keep surname study using genealogical DNA testing to determine the level of genetic relationship between individuals. It is common practice within Western Societies for a child to inherit their father’s surname, and for a woman to change her surname upon marriage to her husband's surname, so that is the simply reason why.

 

Human genetics dictate that everything about an individual is transmitted via their DNA called chromosomes, which we get from our parents, their parent’s parent, and so on back through time. Each human cell in our body contains 23 chromosomal pairs; 22 pairs of autosomes that transmit all genetic traits and conditions other than those relating to sex, and one pair of sex chromosomes. In females, the sex chromosomes are in the form of a pair of X chromosomes, whereas, males have one X chromosome; obtained from their mother, and one Y chromosome; obtained from their father. Apart from a tiny section of the Y chromosome which can recombine, i.e. unite in a close union or whole, with an X chromosome, recombination, between X and Y chromosome pairs does not happen, therefore, Y chromosomes are passed down the male line unchanged. Random mutations do occur on occasions, but in the main the Y chromosomal DNA is unaffected. To this end all living males can be traced back to one common ancestor, Y-chromosomal Adam.  Likewise all living females can trace their lineage back to Mitochondrial Eve.

 

67 Marker Test

 

 

38

39

40

41

42

43

44

45

46

47

48

49

50

51

52

53

54

55

56

57

58

59

60

61

62

63

64

65

66

67

 

 

D

Y

S

5

3

1

 

D

Y

S

5

7

8

 

D

Y

F

3

9

5

S1

 

D

Y

S

5

9

0

 

D

Y

S

5

3

7

 

D

Y

S

6

4

1

 

D

Y

S

4

7

2

 

D

Y

F

4

0

6

S1

 

D

Y

S

5

1

1

 

D

Y

S

4

2

5

 

D

Y

S

4

1

3

 

D

Y

S

5

5

7

 

D

Y

S

5

9

4

 

D

Y

S

4

3

6

 

D

Y

S

4

9

0

 

D

Y

S

5

3

4

 

D

Y

S

4

5

0

 

D

Y

S

4

4

4

 

D

Y

S

4

8

1

 

 

D

Y

S

5

2

0

 

D

Y

S

4

4

6

 

D

Y

S

6

1

7

 

D

Y

S

5

6

8

 

D

Y

S

4

8

7

 

D

Y

S

5

7

2

 

D

Y

S

6

4

0

 

 

D

Y

S

4

9

2

 

D

Y

S

5

6

5

J

 

11

8

15-15

8

12

10

8

9

9

12

22-24

15

10

12

12

16

8

14

25

20

13

13

11

12

11

11

12

11

M

 

11

8

15-15

8

11

10

8

9

9

12

22-25

15

10

12

12

16

8

14

24

20

13

13

11

12

11

11

12

11

C

 

11

 8

15-15

 8

11

10

 8

 9

 9

12

22-25

15

10

12

12

16

 8

14

24

20

13

13

11

12

11

11

12

11

P

 

11

8

15-15

8

11

10

8

9

9

12

22-25

15

10

12

12

16

8

14

24

20

13

13

11

12

11

11

12

11

Jo

 

11

8

15-15

8

11

10

8

9

9

12