The LDS section at About.com has an interesting post on DNA and the Book of Mormon, which was alluded to in a recent comment on my blog by Doug Forbes (thanks, Doug!). Here is the comment:

The best evidence against anti-Mormon claims about DNA is the 1999 Hammer study. In the current nomenclature, this relates to Q-P36. The presence of Q-P36 in modern Jews is also supported by later research. (Shen 2004 & Behar 2004) Shen also found Q-P36 (a.k.a. M242 a.k.a. 1C) in 5% of Iraqi Jews. He also finds a rare Q sublineage (Q-M323) in Yemeni Jews. This is interesting because it suggests that Q existed in Ancient Israel as well as modern Jews. I’ve been working on short responces to the anti-Mormon DNA lie that I use a lot on the web. Below is one example.

Assertions that DNA contradicts the Book of Mormon are rubbish. There are a dozen or so male lineages in modern Jews. None of them are unique to Jews and almost all of them are found in American Indians. Some of this can be written off as post-Columbian admixture, but the gulf between a plausible explanation and absolute proof is vast. Furthermore, some shared lineages are undoubtedly pre-Columbian; Q-P36 is a prime example.

For support, I usually cite the following sources to support the accompanying statements.

Despite denials, the genetic link between Jews and American Indians has been established fact since 1999 [1].
[1] Hammer et al, 1999, Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations share a common pool of Y-chromosome biallelic haplotypes (PNAS | June 6, 2000 | vol. 97 | no. 12 | 6769-6774). See [5]
M. F. Hammer – Laboratory of Molecular Systematics and Evolution, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.
The Q-P36 lineage group is found in 31% of US American Indians [2]
[2] Hammer et al, 2005, Population structure of Y-chromosome SNP haplogroups in the United States and forensic implications for constructing Y chromosome STR databases. Page 5 Figure 1
M. F. Hammer – Laboratory of Molecular Systematics and Evolution, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.
[Q-P36 is found in] 5% of Ashkenazi Jews [3]
[3] Behar et al, 2004, Contrasting patterns of Y chromosome variation in Ashkenazi Jewish and host non-Jewish European populations. (Human Genetics, Volume 114, Number 4, March 2004, Pages: 354 – 365). Page 357 Table 2 and Page 362 quote=“Because they have similar distributions as these major founder lineages, albeit at lower frequencies, we suggest that haplogroups G-M201 and Q-P36 are minor AJ founding lineages.”
Doron M. Behar – Faculty of Medicine and Research Institute, Technion and Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel
[Q-P36 is found in] 5% of Iraqi Jews [4]
[4] Shen et al, 2004, Reconstruction of Patrilineages and Matrilineages of Samaritans and other Israeli populations from Y-Chromosome and Mitochondrial DNA Sequence Variation. (Human Mutation, Volume 24, Issue 3 , Pages 248 – 260) Page 251 Figure 1 (M242 a.k.a. Q* a.k.a. Q-P36) also page 249 quote=”Nine of the 30 markers were genotyped only in individuals carrying the following proximal markers: ……..; M242 in individuals with M45”
Peidong Shen – Stanford Genome Technology Center, Palo Alto, California; Department of Genetics
[Q-P36 is found in] a significant number of Iranian Jews [5].
[5] Hammer et al, 1999, Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations share a common pool of Y-chromosome biallelic haplotypes. (PNAS | June 6, 2000 | vol. 97 | no. 12 | 6769-6774) Page 6770 Table 1, See translation for 1C in Y Chromosome Consortium.
M. F. Hammer – Laboratory of Molecular Systematics and Evolution, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.

Have to run right now, but will look at this in more detail this weekend. Doug, care to provide further commentary? Anyone familiar with the Hammer work and the significance of the Q-P36 lineage? The 1999 Hammer study is available here.

Update: In my opinion, the presence of these markers in native Americans is not relevant to the Book of Mormon. In the 2005 Hammer et al. study, there was no effort to reduce the effects of admixture and no intent of understanding ancient roots. The Native Americans studied clearly had ancestry from modern Europeans – so why is it interesting that they shared some genes with European and Middle Eastern groups?


Author: Jeff Lindsay

13 thoughts on “Q-P36?

  1. Does it really make sense to link descendants of Lehi to Jews anyway? Lehi and Ishmael were not of the tribe of Judah; they were of the tribe of Joseph. Ephraim and Manasseh had an Egyptian mother. Isn’t it all traced through the DNA of the mother? Basically what I’m trying to say is, it should be no surprise if the descendants of Lehi have no Jewish origins.

  2. ROFL…Okay, I’ll bite.

    Statement #1:

    “Despite denials, the genetic link between Jews and American Indians has been established fact since 1999 [1].”

    Not a single, not one single American Indian sample was involved in this study. Read for yourself under the “Subjects and Methods” section Click me. I really fail to see how this statement by Mr. Forbes is anything but complete rubbish.

    My suggestion is to read the paper for yourself.

    By the way, Hammer goes out of his way to point out just how little genetic drift has affected genetic distances in Jewish populations. Not very supportive of the Lamanite DNA as a “needle in the haystack” theories.

    Statements #2-5


    The “Q” and subsequent “P” markers appear to have originated in Asia about 12,000 years ago roughly. From there migrations westward (towards the middle east), and migrations eastward (towards the Americas) account for it’s presence in much of the worlds populations, not just the Jew and American Indian.

    In fact, if I’m not mistaken the introduction of “Q” into jewish populations occured during the diaspora and not sooner. Lehi’s separation happened obviously before that time.

    Regardless, it’s very certain Q didn’t originate with the Hebrews and therefore makes it’s presence in American Indians quite irrelevant to the BOM question.

  3. Just so this doesn’t take all my time I will no longer comment after this post so there is no need to try to respond, ‘cause I am not listening.

    If someone were to write, something pointing how DNA doesn’t trump the BoM after all you simply say something to effect of ‘They’re not being honest’ or ‘They’re not looking at the whole picture. Alternatively, you simply question their credentials.

    As for the article, I read it and don’t see how it proves or disproves anything. I think we can agree on that.

    Oh, and I have worked with genetics for quite a while (The Origins of the Native Americans is truly my favorite subject.) and am a convert to the Church. Moreover, I have read a large amount of anti-Mormon marital. The ones I laugh at the most are the DNA arguments. Anyway, as I said, I lack desire and the time to have a long drawn out war of words like most DNA threads have been. I doubt I will even read this thread anymore anyway.

  4. Wow! Talk about hit and run.

    So you’re not going to listen, and have non-descript genetics credentials, and an unknown argument in favor of the historicity of the BOM? You won’t even put up a recognizable moniker so that we can get to know you and your arguments.

    You didn’t even answer my question as to why I’d say Mr. Forbes wasn’t going to be honest!

    Why even post if you’re going to be so paranoid? lol…

    DNA does offer a clear contradiction to a literal interpretation of the Hemispheric Model for the History of the Book of Mormon.

    That alone was enough for me to leave the Church.

    Now you’re right that we can quibble over LGT, binding prophecy, or the sundry details of population genetics. And I’m with you that we shouldn’t.

    But Mr. Forbes statements are plainly wrong, and in the spirit of maintaining high scientific standards I feel it pertinent to call him on his bull**** assertions.

    My qualifications are a Bachelors in Micro/Molecular Biology from BYU, and three years working at a reference lab working with Molecular Sequencing and cladistics. I am very familiar with Bioinformatic theory as well as a fair knowledge of mtDNA/Y chromosome lineage tracing methodology.

    So if you want to have an intelligent conversation we certainly can. I really think with all due respect that the whole not engaging thing is juvenile.

  5. Sorry to be so late in answering these posts, but I only saw them recently.

    1. Jeff Lindsey points out correctly that no attempt is made in the 2005 Hammer study to exclude Native American (NA) subject with European ancestry.

    Although no attempt is made to confirm pre-Columbian ancestry, all Q lineages are presumed to be pre-Columbian. The relative frequency of Q-P36 in NAs and whites is sufficient to support this view. More than 31% of NAs in the US are Q-P36 compared to 0.6% of whites. In Europe Q-P36 is about as rare as it is among the US white population. The European lineages other than Q-P36 in the NA population (R, I, J, etc) are roughly proportionate to their respective frequencies in Europe. I do not know any prominent researcher who doubts that Native American Q-P36 is pre-Columbian. For example, Zegura used Q-P36 for comparison between NA, Siberian and Central Asian populations in his 2004 study.

    2. Alter Ego says that the 1999 Hammer study included no Native American subjects.

    True, but I am not aware of any research that includes both Native Americans and Jews and directly compares their DNA. If this is a requirement to draw conclusions about the relationship between the two groups, than no conclusions can be drawn. The Y Chromosome Consortium translates Hammer’s 1999 C1 into a cluster of lineages that include all Q lineages except Q3 as well as some rare R and P lineages. In the current nomenclature it is P*(x Q3, R1b, R1a). Separate studies of Jews and NAs have found the Q-P36 lineage in both groups just as separate studies have failed to find certain MtDNA lineages in both groups. If the latter fact is sufficient to claim NAs and Jews are not closely related maternally, then the former fact is sufficient to claim they are closely related paternally.

    3. Alter Ego points out that the “hemispheric” view of the BoM is discredited by DNA evidence.

    I think that is a bold statement given the limited evidence. Consider Puerto Rico (PR). More than 60% of Puerto Ricans have Native American MtDNA. Yet nothing remains of the NA culture; not even their name. Taino and Arawak are European or Carib names for the pre-Columbian people of PR. Genetically PR is about as NA as it is European, but culturally it is totally European or almost totally European with a few African elements. The Lamanites described in the later chapters of the BoM may have been more Jaredite than Lehite genetically. Mormon even introduces himself as a “pure descendant of Lehi” as though that were a distinction. Culturally, however, they were not Jaredite, but a new people.

  6. 4. Alter Ego points out that the Q lineage did not originate with the Jews.

    True, but neither did any other lineage that I am aware of with the possible exception of the “Levite haplotype”. All the main lineage groups such as J, E, R, I, Q, etc originated in prehistoric times as, did more specific lineages such as R1b, R1a, E3b, etc. All of them pre-date the Israelite nation or any other ethnic group in existence today.

    5. Alter Ego asserts that Q entered the Israelite gene pool after the Diaspora.

    No scientific study in existence has ever attempted to determine when Q entered the Israelite gene pool. At present, nobody knows when the Q lineage entered the Israelite gene pool. It existed for 17,400 years before Lehi left Jerusalem. There is no particular reason to think that Q only entered the Israelite gene pool in the last 2600 years of its existence as opposed to the first 17,400 years. In all probability Q entered both Europe and the Middle East before it entered America. Why do I say this? From its supposed origin in Kazahkstan or Siberia, Q need only walk south or southwest to find its way into the Mid East and it need only walk due west to get to Europe. Getting to America was a lot more complicated.

    One more thing – A rare strain of Q called now Q5 or Q-M323 is found in Yemenite Jews. As far as we know now, this branch of Q exists only in Jews. Future discoveries may well find M323 to be more widespread, but so far it has only been found in Jews. The existence of a distinct branch of Q in Jews and only Jews suggests that this branch arose within the Israelite gene pool and that Q* has been in that gene pool for a long, long time.

  7. Seeing as it is better to start with the known to find the unknown, wouldn’t it be better to look for a famale line that has a divergence between egypt and israel as that is where joseph had his wife? The question the changes to; is there an mtDNA line sepporated from egypt connected with Israel and found in America with only recent admixtures of it in the rest of the world.
    This is our barried tresure, surely X must mark the spot.

  8. Really appreaciated some of the comments. Love Jeff's work, Doug Forbes, etc.
    I'm just an amatuer.
    Since these comments were last posted more information has come out. For me it supports the BoM mroe than ever. Don't have time to post it all (Q-p36 info, some articles sayiing First Americans only share 1% DNA with later, NA Morphology is not Asian, NA DNA in Asia may be from backflow from America to Asia etc) but right now I'm looking for info on the 9-repeat allele. Some Native Americans are using it to support their belief that they didn't come from Asia. 9-repeat isn't found in any Asian populations, but seems to be fairly common in Jews. Anyone know anything about it?

    I've come across some research on

    Someone posted a comment almost identical to BYU alter ego on a Michael Ash article on the DN. Seems to be a professional AM.

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