MyHeritage Ethnicities

As of May 30, 2017, MyHeritage finally released their Ethnicity Estimate (beta) to those who uploaded their raw data.  So far this service is still free.  Not sure if they will discontinue that service.  Currently their tests are at a reduced price of $79.

 

Not only does MyHeritage (MH) have an Oceanian category but they included Polynesian along with Melanesian and Papuan.

 

Last year and probably the year before that, they reached out to people who had a tree at MH whose 4 grandparents were listed in a given geographic area confirming ties to that particular place or country.  And while they seem to have obtained more than Ancestry’s 18 Polynesian samples, they did not take into consideration that these people may be admixed.

A lot of admixed Polynesians who did test with MH are reporting to have lost a lot of their European while simultaneously having an increased percentage of Polynesian.  There seems to be about 10% difference.

Here are my mother, my maternal aunt and my own results.

Click for larger image

My mother and her sister are 85% Hawaiian while 15% is of European background.  My mother gets about 17% European at the varying DNA testing companies.

Several Polynesians have shared their Ancestry results with me.  Comparing it to MH it seems that the numerous samples that they used for the Polynesian category included some admixed Polynesians of European heritage.  I have been hearing the same situation for those with admixed Native American background reporting 20% to 30% more Native American while reducing the amount of European.

What is interesting about MH is that they did have other populations not covered by the other testing companies.  They separated the Melanesian and Papuan, commonly grouped together and labeled as “Oceanian” by other companies or at GEDmatch, and provided a separate Polynesian category.  They did something similar for the Asia group.

MH has specific groups within the Southeast Asia area, such as Filipino, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian.  While the thinking is that if you come from that particular background which they tested, you should score perfectly with that group.  This may not apply for some either due to the limited number of samples and/or where they got their samples from, such as taking samples from one specific area.  I have only seen a few Filipinos’ results where they score 100% Filipino/Indonesian/Malaysian.  A couple of Chinese people received majority Chinese and Vietnamese and a smaller percentage of Filipino/Indonesian/Malaysian.

My guess is that this breakdown of the various Southeast Asian groups helps separate Polynesians (and Micronesians) who also have some Southeast Asian background.  At Ancestry, Chinese people were reporting about 10% Polynesia, Vietnamese as high as 15% and Filipinos around 32%.  Ancestry has no Southeast Asian category, so those of Southeast Asian background will get some of the East Asian, or what Ancestry has as “Asia East” along with a small percentage of Polynesia.

Aside from MH engulfing the European for admixed Polynesians, it seems fairly accurate at least for me being that I am half Filipino and 43% Hawaiian and about 12% European background.  I am going to assume that the West Asian below is part of my European background while the South Asian is part of my Filipino backgroundc

New 5th Cousin connection helps map out chromosome!

HOW WE CONNECT

Now that I had figured out who my mother’s biological parents were it has become easier to find connections.  (You can read about it here: https://hawaiiandna.wordpress.com/2015/08/01/finding-a-dna-connection-despite-endogamy/)

While there is one branch where I find a lot of relatives on my great-grandmother Rose Holbron’s side, I am slowly finding distant connections on my great-grandfather Frank Kanae’s side.  Frank Kanae was Rose Holbron’s husband.

Earlier this week I received an email from a woman named Raychelle who saw me and my numerous kits of family members that I manage on GEDmatch.com as a match to her.  I began the normal response, almost ready to dismiss her since many of these matches appear to be close when in reality we are usually distant, and for others, much more distant.  And from what I could see, it wasn’t such a huge amount.  At GEDmatch, Raychelle and my mother shares 62.9cM total, with a large segment of 10.7cM.  So at least a 4th cousin level.

After I told her that she could find me on Ancestry (since she uploaded to GEDmatch via Ancestry) and look at my HOLBRON family tree, she found out that we have the LEWIS connection.

She is a 5th cousin to my mother, and a 5th cousin once removed (5C1R) to me.  I come from Isaac Lewis who was known as Isaac Lewis Kanae or Isaac Kanae Lewis, and also known by the Hawaiianized version – Aikake Lui.  While Raychelle comes from John George Lewis, and his Hawaiianized name was Keo Lui.  My assumption is that Keo was short for Keoki (George).  Keo could also be short for Keoni (John) and then there was the catholic version – Ioane for John.

But what was interesting is that she had this genealogy and I had updated mine from this to reflect what a couple of people have been researching.

According to the information that has been circulating at various sites on the internet, Isaac’s father – Captain Isaiah Lewis was the son of Captain Ezra Lewis.  And John G. Lewis was the son of Captain John Lewis, who was Captain Ezra Lewis’ son but through a different wife.  I listed them as spouse #1 and spouse #2 because different sites and people will switch the spouses showing Isaac as the son of one spouse, and another will show Isaac as the son of the other spouse, and vice versa for John G. Lewis.

Click to see larger image
So the question is, were Isaac and John full brothers, or (maternal) half-brothers?  And if they were (maternal) half-brothers, were their fathers paternal half-brothers?

While all of this information going back that far is based solely on people creating these trees without further documentation, for now I am only going by what was documented.  The trees habitually say that Polly was known as Sarah Pauline “Polly” Holmes.  While I can understand that Polly could be a diminutive for Paula and Mary, I’m not so sure that these are the same person, especially since a lot of the information lists this Sarah Pauline “Polly” Holmes having been born in Massachusetts and died there,  and that her husband Captain Isaac Lewis from Massachusetts too.

What we know for a fact according to testimonies from people who lived during the time of Polly Holmes and her father Oliver Holmes.

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-12-32-31-pm

I am still in the process of confirming and documenting all of these ancestors, so for now I am considering Raychelle and I 5C1R, and that her 3x great-grandfather John George Lewis (Keo Lui) and my 4x great-grandfather Isaac Lewis Kanae (Aikake Lui) were full-brothers.

 

SHARED DNA SEGMENTS & CHROMOSOME MAPPING

I compared Raychelle to all of the relatives to see which segments we all had in common.  Any common segments or segments that multiple relatives share would indicate that segment was inherited from a common ancestor.  In this case, Polly Holmes and her husband Isaiah Lewis.

And while autosomal DNA inherited from our common ancestor can remain in our genome for about 5 – 6 generations, there are some cases where it can span several generations and for some as we have seen, in larger segments. These larger segments tend to be passed on within generations entirely intact and having not recombined.

With endogamy, that may confuse things as it isn’t guaranteed that the shared segment came from that same common ancestor.  Especially for Polynesians where we share many small segments.  And these multiple segments may not be in common with other relatives, or rather these segments may not overlap as what I am about to demonstrate.  So when looking to map out these segments, and at the 4x great-grandparent level, if the segments are really small, that may be suspect to being segments randomly inherited.  It may or may not be from the common ancestor, or may come from the same common ancestor multiple times through their different descendants.

I first compared my brother Kaimi and Raychelle and looked for the chromosomes that should match my mom.  Kaimi and I have different fathers, so I decided to use his to compare because his father is also Hawaiian.

I use Kaimi’s unphased and phased data to be sure that if there are extra segments that does not match our mother, then the presumption is that the segment came from Kaimi’s father.  These were the results.

screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-2-08-35-pm

You can easily see how with the phased data the size of the segment is somewhat smaller if it doesn’t remain the same or disappear altogether.

The real work comes in when I compare Raychelle to my mom’s brother’s son Chris, her half-brother’s daughter Lena and her maternal half-sister Aunty Stella.  The detailed specification of their relationship is to help you understand how they are related and know what is to be expected as far as sharing DNA with different relationships go.

What I did first was compare Raychelle to all of those family members mentioned and then see which of those matching segments actually matches up with what my mother matches.  Here’s a diagram of how we are related and descend from Isaiah Lewis and Polly Holmes.

screen-shot-2016-12-03-at-6-55-03-pm

I’ll start first with Chris, the son of my mother’s brother Joseph.

screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-7-33-00-am

While there were other segments that Raychelle shared with Chris, I am only comparing overlapping segments that are shared with my mom.  There are 3 chromosomes where they share overlapping segments.  Ch 6, 7 and 20.

With Aunty Stella, there were segments on different chromosomes, sometimes on the same chromosome but in different parts of the chromosome that did not overlap.

screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-7-45-56-am

Only one overlapping segment which is on ch 7.

Then with Lena, the daughter of my mom’s half-brother George.

Lena also shared different segments and different chromosomes with Raychelle that my mom does not have, except for ch 7.

So what is consistent with all of them is that a segment on chromosome 7 is shared with Raychelle.

The diagram above  shows how everyone matches each other, with the last one again showing my mom with Raychelle and that consistent block of segment.

So the fact that we all shared an overlapping segment in common with each other indicates that particular segment was inherited from our common ancestor.  In this case, both Isaiah LEWIS and Polly HOLMES.  But how do we figure out if that segment came from Isaiah vs. Polly?  Remember that there was a discrepancy that Polly’s two husbands – Isaiah LEWIS and John LEWIS were paternal half-brothers according to some other genealogy and that Isaac LEWIS KANAE was Isaiah’s son, while John George LEWIS was John LEWIS’ son.  Both Isaac and John had the same mother – Polly HOLMES.

The best way to distinguish that inherited segment being inherited from Isaiah LEWIS or Polly HOLMES is to test members of each of those families.  That would be distant relatives of whom we cannot find a connection to just yet.  Instead, I used another method.

Since my mother tested at 23andme, they have the ability to show the ancestry broken down by each chromosome. This is what my mother’s 7th chromosome looks like.

 

screen-shot-2016-12-03-at-7-36-33-pm

23andme identifies portions of the Hawaiian segments of the chromosome as a combination of East Asian & Native American, and Oceanian.  I simplified it by just indicating Hawaiian.  Both of my mother’s parents were Hawaiian, but her mother Rose KANAE also had European ancestry.  Which is why in that diagram one chromosome is labeled as the paternal chromosome, the other as the maternal.

My mother’s maternal grandmother was Rose HOLBRON.  Rose’s paternal grandfather John HALBORN was from Hull, England, and her maternal grandfather William LUDLUM was an American whaler from Jamaica, Queens, New York.  Rose HOLBRON’s grandmothers were Hawaiian (Kanaka).

But it is Rose KANAE’S father – Frank KANAE whose paternal grandmother Mary LEWIS KANAE’s father was Isaac LEWIS KANAE.  Isaac’s father was Captain Isaiah LEWIS.  Isaac’s mother Polly HOLMES was the daughter of Oliver Holmes of Kingston, Plymouth, Massachusetts and Mahi, daughter of the chief Kalanihooulumokuikekai of Ko’olau.  My assumption was that the European portion from Rose KANAE’s father is too far back.  In other words, the European portion of that chromosome that my mother inherited from her mother could have only come from John HALBORN or William LUDLUM, or a combination of both.

There are a few factors that could make a segment remain in tact for several generations:
1) The length of the chromosome.
2) How many cross-over events there were for that particular chromosome.
3) Location on the chromosome (some areas are more SNP dense than others).
4) The possibility of having fewer cross-over events or none at all (we see this happening as well).
This segment seems to match nicely ranging from 7.1cM (my mom) to 9.1cM (Aunty Stella) with all the relatives.

So when I visually compare the section of chromosome 7 that matches up with the shared overlapping segment for all of us, this is where they line up.


If you have read my other posts, you would have read that multiple segments for Polynesians can remain for awhile given that we come from a few common ancestors multiple times.  This paritcular segment had to have come via Polly HOLMES’ mother – Mahi who got it from her parents Kalanihooulumokuikekai and his wife.  And since Raychelle is also a descendant of Polly HOLMES and Isaiah LEWIS, this portion of chromosome 7 did not come from my HOLBRON side.

While my family members used for comparison descend from Isaac LEWIS KANAE’s daughter Mary LEWIS KANAE, there are other descendants through Mary’s sister Papanaha LEWIS KANAE who got DNA tested.  But only one of them was a match to Raychelle.

screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-4-00-56-pm

This cousin shares an overlapping segment of 8cM on chromosome #7.  But when I compared that relative to my mother, they did not share that particular overlapping segment, although all my other close relatives did share that overlapping segment with this cousin.  After looking into it further, I found out that my mother seemed to have inherited a smaller section of that overlapping segment compared to other family members, and her matching criteria just did not qualify as a match according to GEDmatch.com where all of this analysis was done.  After all, she shares the least out of all the relatives only 7.1cM of this segment and Aunty Stella shares 9.1cM.  And while she gave me and my brother Kaimi this segment, my brother Travis did not inherit this segment.  Which means this portion of chromosome 7 for him was from our grandfather, not our grandmother Rose KANAE.

But that is what is complicated about mapping out segments for Polynesians. These segments could be from any of these lines going back to the same common ancestor multiple times. That means that Raychelle could just so happen match all of us via my maternal grandmother Rose KANAE’s mother’s side, or my great-grandfather Frank KANAE’s mother’s side, or John KANAE’s father’s side, and so forth.  It could also be just by chance, that we share the segment with any other of her Hawaiian ancestors.

Since many Polynesians share multiple small segments and as small as 7cM, as well as having these segments line up very close to each other if not right next to each other, it makes chromosome mapping very difficult to do.  For example, I mentioned one of Papanaha LEWIS KANAE’s descendants share that same overlapping segment on chromosome 7 with the rest of us, while the other descendants  share multiple non-overlapping segments.  I cannot easily assign them to our common ancestor – Isaac LEWIS KANAE, or presume that all of these multiple segments came from our common ancestor.

Since Polly HOLMES is 6 generations away from my mom and all of her descendants share this same overlapping segment, it is safe to presume that this segment came from Polly HOLMES’ mother – Mahi.  And now I can assign at least this small portion to Mahi.

screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-4-11-13-pm

East Asian category for Polynesians

My mother told me today that she received from the First District Circuit Court that handled her adoption, the non-indentifying form, which is where it lists her biological parents’ ancestries.  They indicated that both parents are Hawaiian and Chinese.  I find that to be an error since my mother had her DNA tested at 3 companies.  Maybe that was based on an assumption or the biological parents may not have known too much about their ancestries.

At the age of 5, she met her biological father and described him as a “pure Hawaiian.”  This made sense since she gets the following percentages from each company.

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 3.25.31 PM

 

So this meant that one parent was just Hawaiian while the other parent was admixed with some European.  Based on all the companies she has tested with and analysis [from Dr. McDonald], my mother gets the following averages.

European = 16%
Oceanian = 25%
East Asian = 55%

Those are based on 23andme, FTDNA’s old Population Finder and Dr. McDonald’s analysis.  FTDNA’s current myOrigin lumped their former Oceania category under Southeast Asia, or the more broader East Asian category.  AncestryDNA however created a Pacific Islander category with the subgroups Polynesia & Melanesia and between myOrigins and Ancestry, the average total is 83%.

In reality, the East Asia category is just one of two components that make up the genome of Polynesians.  The other is Melanesian/Papuan (Oceania).  For Polynesians, autosomally they are 79% East Asian and 21% Melanesian1.

In Population Genetic Structure and Origins of Native Hawaiians in the Multiethnic Cohort Study they applied ADMIXTURE on genome-wide SNP data to finely estimate the degree of admixture in Native Hawaiians.  They found that with Native Hawaiians, “an average of 32% and 68% of their genomes to be derived from Melanesian and Asian origins, respectively”.  But that “[r]ecently, Kayser et al. surveyed the nuclear genome with 377 microsatellite markers in 47 Pacific Islanders and identified 79% Asian and 21% Melanesian proportions of ancestry for Polynesians.”

So while other studies revealed that Polynesian genome consist of 79% Asian and 21% Melanesian components, the study with Hawaiians averaged 32% Melanesian and 68% East Asian2.  The higher amount of Melanesian could be attributed to the repeated bottleneck effects throughout the centuries specifically for eastern Polynesians, i.e. French Polynesians, Rapa Nui, Cook Island Maoris, Maoris from New Zealand and Hawaiians.

My mother averages 25% Oceanian and 55% East Asian.  The two combined equals 80%.  25% (Oceanian) is 31% of the entire Polynesian (80%) percentage.

Just over a year ago I was going through my mother’s matches on GEDmatch and began running their kits through various admixture tools to see their totals of Oceania versus East Asia.  I wanted to see if they fell within the 27% to 32% Melanesian/Papuan/Oceanian.

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 5.20.34 PM

This is only a partial list.  There are more lines on the bottom but I am just showing the first several.  I use various calculator admixture tools at GEDmatch that had the specific Oceania/Papuan/Melanesian category.  Dodecad World9 uses “Australian” instead. I created a column that totaled the average.  And the columns to the right of that shows those who tested at other companies and their Oceania percentages.  What is not shown in the list is the proportion of East Asian that would prove it does fall within the 27% – 32% Oceania.

The first row (in red) belongs to my mother, followed by my averages and then my brother’s.  The following lines in bold are for those at least 95% Polynesian.  I took the lowest and the highest percentages of Oceanian to see if it falls within the range consistent with the research.  Since these admixture calculators did not have just a single East Asia category alone, I listed the other categories that are known to split off from the East Asia category.

Eurogenes K9b
Oceania = 17.74%
Southeast Asian = 48.87%
Northeast Asian = 13.32%
Native American = 1.55%

Adding the Southeast Asian, Northeast Asian and Native American categories total 63.74%.  17.74% Oceanian makes up 27.8% of the total (East Asian compiled categories) of the Polynesian genome.  Consistent with the research.  Looking at the highest percentage.

MDLP World
Melanesian = 20.78%
East Asian = 56.31%
Artic Amerind = 1.65%
Mesoamerica = 0.13%

There was an Indian category showing 3.74%, but I did not add that in.  Adding it, changed the overall percentage to 33%, but leaving it out made it 35.7% of the Polynesian portion. For the others listed on that list, they also picked up a small 1 – 3% of the Indian category, and leaving it out made their average 30%.  If I look at the average column for all the admixture calculators for my mother, it comes out to 30%.

But what happens when there is a higher percentage of East Asian?  In my case, it is higher because my father was Filipino. My portion could easily be verified simply by removing 50% (my father’s contribution) from my average total of 85% East Asian giving me 35% East Asian that would be my Hawaiian/Polynesian side.  My average (GEDmatch) showed 32%.

There are many Hawaiians admixed with Chinese, Japanese, Filipino or Korean, being that they were all immigrant groups to the Hawaiian islands.  Are you able to tell if they have an Asian admixture?  Can it be distinguished from the East Asian that is part of the Polynesian genome?  This is something I have been seeing more now particularly with adoptees.

Any excess East Asian percentage  compared to the Oceanian percentage [79% to 21%], would indicate that the person is admixed with some other Asian ancestry.  Since my mother’s genome does not indicate any more East Asian than what it should for Polynesians, it is clear that she does not have any additional Asian ancestry.

Footnotes

1. Genome-Wide Analysis indicates More Asian than Melanesian Ancestry of Polynesians
2. Population Genetic Structure and Origins of Native Hawaiians in the Multiethnic Cohort Study

Polynesia category – Ancestry.com (part 2)

Last December I blogged an entry entitled Polynesia Category – Ancestry.com.  It was about their new Pacific Islander category and how I noticed Filipinos had been coming up with that category as well.  I have been noticing other people of mainly Southeast Asian ancestry having small percentages of Polynesia in their ancestry composition.

A Taiwanese aboriginal would have about the same amount as Filipinos, ranging around 25% – 29%.  A friend that I know whose mother is a Taiwanese aboriginal and he got DNA tested came up with 13% Polynesia and 37% Asia East.  That is nearly identical to what half Filipinos would get.  A Taiwanese person who has Fujian ties centuries ago and is not a Taiwanese aboriginal showed up having 8% Polynesia and 92% Asia East.  Another friend whose mother is from the Moluccas (Indonesia) and tested himself came up with 19% Melanesia, 12% Polynesia and 17% Asia East.  I have had three Chinese people who got tested with Ancestry.com and told me that they also had Polynesia show up within the 10% – 11% range.

All of these are the results of picking up that Southeast Asian component that exists for these people including Polynesians, of which makes up about 80% of their genome.  A few weeks ago I spoke to Ross E. Curtis, Ph.D., a computational biologist, specializing in genetics and visual analytics, and has been with Ancestry.com since 2012.  I informed him of the small sampling size that they had, just 18 samples (see Polynesia Category – Ancestry.com) and the problem that provided.  He was not too familiar with the details behind, mentioned a colleague that helped to put that category together but was unable to provide any real insight into that specific category.  So whatever I am learning about this comes from actual testees and especially those who are not of Polynesian ancestry.

My mother finally did test with Ancestry.com back in March when I made an emergency trip to Wai’anae, O’ahu, Hawai’i and had my mother retake that test since it got rejected.  I had predicted that she would basically show up as 80% Polynesia and 20% European, but this is her actual results.Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 7.33.11 AM

 

It is as almost that Ancestry tends to give us the lowest possible amount of European.  I got 8% while my mother got 11%.  And just as it did with FTDNA’s myOrigins, it gave my mother a bit more  Scandinavian.  Actually with myOrigins my mother gets 19% while I show 11% Scandinavia.

We will probably see more people of Southeast Asian origin come up with the Pacific Islander/Polynesia/Melanesia category as a proxy for Southeast Asian as more get tested.

No surprise however when I looked at her matches, a lot of close 2nd – 3rd cousin matches.

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 3.45.00 PM Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 3.45.11 PM

 

My mother has three 1st – 2nd cousin matches, Extremely High confidence.  But for the 2nd – 3rd cousin range, she has sixty-seven matches, Extremely High confidence and a total of two-hundred sixty-seven matches for 3rd – 4th cousins, all Extremely High confidence as well.  Others not familiar with Polynesian endogamy, or endogamy in general insisted that these close matches have to be actual close matches.

I managed to match two of my mother’s 2nd – 3rd cousin matches on GEDmatch.com.  Assuming that the matches are listed in order of closest to the least closest, these are how the two matches up with my mother.

The 7th 2nd – 3rd cousin match:
510cM – total shared
26.9cM – largest segment

The 40th 2nd – 3rd cousin match (out of 67):
331.9cM – total shared
22.2cM – largest segment

These are one of the few larger segment matches that she has while most rarely go up to 15cM.  Something common with endogamous groups.  Only uploading to GEDmatch can it be clear if the 2nd – 3rd cousin matches are real 2nd – 3rd cousin matches, or an endogamous ones that has numerous segments rarely going higher than 15cM for the largest segment.  Other than that, any Polynesian testing at Ancestry cannot assume that the 1st – 2nd or 2nd – 3rd cousin matches are actually that close as estimated.

Comparing Western and Eastern Polynesians

In my last blog entry “Tiny Segments from the Same Common Ancestors“, I began comparing Western Polynesians (Samoans & Tongans), and Eastern Polynesians (Maori and Hawaiians), and compared them to each other in order to show how the tiny segments appeared like missing teeth on the chromosome browser.  Now I will show how people compare to each other based on total centimorgans and their longest block (FTDNA).

First I compare Tongans and Samoans to each other.  Both Samoans and Tongans are Western Polynesians and are the most diverse.   Polynesian settlement began in the west in the Tonga/Samoa/Fiji area.  I mentioned this in a previous entry “Loss of heterozygosity – from Western Polynesia to Eastern Polynesia.”

T = Tongan
S = Samoan
– = no match

I colored it to make it easier to see or compare Tongans to Tongans in light green, and Samoans to Samoans in light blue.  The ones not colored are comparing Samoans to Tongans.  The top number is the total shared in centimorgans, while the bottom number is the longest block (largest segment).  The average totals seem to be between the upper 200s to mid-300s. The lower numbers (in the hundreds) is due to the fact that the person is admixed.  In other words, they are not pure Samoan/Tongan, and usually have some European ancestry.

WestPoly

Comparing Tongans to themselves:
TOTAL
lowest –  117cM (part Tongan)
highest – 340cM
average – 258cM

LONGEST BLOCK
lowest – 5.79cM
highest – 10.51cM
average – 8.54cM

Comparing Samoans to themselves:
TOTAL
lowest – 165cM (part Samoan)
highest – 366cM
average – 271cM

LONGEST BLOCK
lowest – 5.66cM
highest – 16.54cM
average – 9.20cM

Comparing Tongans to Samoans:
TOTAL
lowest –  143cM
highest – 321cM
average – 248cM

LONGEST BLOCK
lowest – 5.79cM
highest – 11.07cM
average – 7.81cM

This is what it looks like when I compare those same Tongans and Samoans to Hawaiians and Maoris who are Eastern Polynesians.

H = Hawaiian
M = Maori
T = Tongan
S = Samoan
? = unable to determine if a match
– = no match

In this graph, I again colored it for easy comparison.  Hawaiian vs. Tongans in light brown, Hawaiians vs. Samoans in golden yellow, Maoris vs. Tongans in pink, and Maoris vs. Samoans in light green.

West-EastPoly

Most of the Eastern Polynesians are admixed except for two Hawaiians and one Maori.  But those that are admixed are still more than 75% Polynesian which still keeps the totals fairly high as you can clearly see it still above one hundred with the exception of one Hawaiian who is admixed to the Tongan that is admixed.  In fact, that admixed Tongan only shares with one Hawaiian and one Maori, both less than 100cM.  Yet their longest block still falls within the range.

Comparing Hawaiians to Tongans:
TOTAL
lowest – 72cM
highest – 341cM
average – 199cM

LONGEST BLOCK
lowest – 5.34cM
highest – 12.12cM
average – 7.94cM

Comparing Hawaiians to Samoans:
TOTAL
lowest –  135cM
highest – 314cM
average – 213cM

LONGEST BLOCK
lowest – 5.09cM
highest – 11.50cM
average -7.57cM

Comparing Maoris to Tongans:
TOTAL
lowest –  68cM
highest – 240cM
average – 202cM

LONGEST BLOCK
lowest – 5.31cM
highest – 10.94cM
average – 7.87cM
Comparing Maoris to Samoans:

TOTAL
lowest –  147cM
highest – 278cM
average – 229cM

LONGEST BLOCK
lowest – 5.28cM
highest – 10.94cM
average -7.81cM

When looking at the average, it seems to be consistent as far as comparing Eastern Polynesians to any Western Polynesian.  However that changes drastically when comparing Eastern Polynesians to themselves.

H = Hawaiian
M = Maori
? = unable to determine if a match
– = no match

I colored Hawaiians in light blue and Maoris in light green when comparing to themselves.  The non-colored portion is when they one group is compared to the other.

EastPoly

Comparing Hawaiians to Hawaiians:
TOTAL
lowest –  225cM
highest – 780cM
average – 463cM

LONGEST BLOCK
lowest – 8.45cM
highest – 23.58cM
average -14.90cM

Comparing Maoris to Maoris:
TOTAL
lowest –  581cM
highest – 694cM
average – 641cM

LONGEST BLOCK
lowest – 12.51cM
highest – 19.98cM
average -16.66cM

Comparing Maoris to Hawaiians:
TOTAL
lowest –  291cM
highest – 773cM
average – 514cM

LONGEST BLOCK
lowest – 8.98cM
highest – 29.68cM
average -16.20cM

So to recap, showing just the average total shared and the average longest block size:Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 4.45.54 PM

Although I used only 3 Maoris compared to 8 Hawaiians, it was based on the top matches to my mother.  There were a few more Maoris but I did not have access to their data and that would have allowed more “?” in the charts.  But as we can see, the Western Polynesians tend to have lower totals since they are more diverse unlike the Eastern Polynesians.  More admixed Polynesians will result in lower totals, but the longest block is not that much difference from those not admixed.

In the future I will probably attempt to look at admixed Polynesians and compare them to show the average longest block sizes compared to those not admixed.

Tiny segments from the same common ancestors

Disclaimer: This post demonstrates the use of 1+cM when comparing specific groups of people in order to see patterns of multiple descent from a few ancestors.  It should not be used to validate connections with matches, particularly in this example where connections are beyond a genealogical time frame reaching at least up to 500 years.

Recently I have been comparing both western Polynesian (Tongan and Samoan) and eastern Polynesian (Hawaiian and Maori) matches.  I compared western Polynesians among themselves, and  did the same thing with eastern Polynesians comparing them among themselves.  Then I compared the two groups to each other.

To those who are not familiar with Polynesian origins and/or are new to reading my blog, I will recap.  The ancestors of Polynesians originated from the Melanesia area and thrived there for thousands of years. Thousands of years later a group of “Austronesians” originating from Southeast Asia moved into the area, intermingled briefly and continued to move into western Polynesia where Polynesian culture was born.  At least a couple of thousand of years would pass before they would continue to expand further eastward.  As Polynesians moved from west to east, their genome became less diverse due to repeated founder’s effects and bottle necking.

oceania

I analyzed my mother’s results and compared her to a Hawaiian (orange), and a Maori (blue) below.  The Hawaiian is her top match, sharing a total of 693.60cM, longest block 15.52cM, consisting of 158 segments.  The Maori is her 4th top match sharing a total of 517.90cM, longest block 18.08cM, consisting of 119 segments.  FTDNA counts all the tiny segments as low as 1cM once the criteria of a match is met, which is why the number of segments is high.

tinyseg-mom

With the default at 5+cM I did not see anything unusual other than ordinary small segment matches.  But when I reduced the setting down to 1+cM (above), you can see a lot of tiny segments resembling a comb.  The slightly bigger gaps are just the missing teeth of a comb.  Some of these patterns begin to appear at 3+cM, although most do not appear until you reduce it down to 1+cM.  In my mother’s example above I show only chromosomes 1 – 20 since there were no segments that looked like a comb on the other chromosomes.

Then I looked at a Maori woman’s results (below) and compared hers to other Maoris and one Hawaiian.  She also shows the missing teeth at 1+cM, but only in a few areas.  Some areas have the comb pattern while other areas seem random.  The random segments could be IBS (Identical by State) or IBD (Identical by Descent).  Polynesians lack genetic diversity, particularly eastern Polynesians more than western Polynesians, so the random looking segments could be both IBS and IBD segments.

tinyseg-mary

Then I looked at two Tongan men and compared them to other Tongans and Samoans.  With Tongans & Samoans there seem to be more randomness.  A few of the tiniest segments may be close to each other, but nothing resembling too much like my mother’s results, a definite comb-pattern.  Take the purple and green colors for example for this one Tongan man below.  Notice how on some chromosomes they seem to be closer together while on others it just looks random.  Again, these are only using the bare minimum 1+cM.

tinyseg-peni

The other Tongan example.

tinyseg-keni

As you can see, it is hard to look for patterns that resembles a comb, and instead you see random colors all over the chromosomes.  What was interesting to see was how little X these Tongans had.  Unlike with the Maoris and Hawaiians, many of them shared multiple segments with each other.

But what does all of this mean?  These are very small island populations.  They have had repeated emigration from these small islands that resulted in a series of founder’s population.  There there was also bottle necking that occurred a few times.  All of these combined would leave only a few closely related ancestors to populate and repopulate new areas every time.

So the multiple, very small segments that represents a comb with missing teeth is the result of people descending from just a few ancestors who contributed that particular segment, but was inherited from multiple lines going back to the same ancestor over and over again.

Below is an image where I compare my mother with two Samoans (yellow & green) and three Tongans (orange, blue & purple).  There seems to be more randomness, however, there are a few of those comb patterns.

tiny-mom&western

Notice how the X chromosome is much more full, unlike what we saw when comparing the western Polynesians (Tongans & Samoans) among themselves. The yellow color belongs to a Samoan woman. The fact that women have 2 X chromosomes may be the reason why there is a long match versus using two Tongan men whose matches included two women in their examples above.  But these are Polynesians, so you would expect more of a match on the X.  My observance of matches for the past 2 years was limited to only my mother being compared to others, which means I have seen a lot of X matches for her, and the same for myself and my brother.

From what I am noticing so far is that these patterns look like what is mentioned in research papers about Polynesian genome and the loss of heterozygosity going from west to east.  The last place in Polynesia to be settled was in the east, ending at the extreme points of the Polynesian triangle, namely Rapa Nui (Easter Island) in the south east, Aotearoa (New Zealand) to the south west, and the Hawaiian islands in the north.  This explains why my mother and the Maori woman have less random looking tiny segments compared to the Tongans and Samoans.  And if we compare western and eastern Polynesians to each other, we may see some randomness but not as much as we would see with western Polynesians alone.  Other types of Polynesians getting DNA tested would help to exhibit any other additional patterns that I cannot currently see with the majority of Hawaiians and Maoris getting tested.

Loss of heterozygosity – from Western Polynesia to Eastern Polynesia

Genetic research on Polynesians will frequently mention the loss of heterozygosity.  This is more noticeable when comparing eastern Polynesians to western Polynesians.

oceania

Map outlining migratory paths of Austronesian speaking populations, including estimated dates. Adapted from Bellwood et al., (2011) “Are ‘Cultures’ Inherited? Multidisciplinary Perspectives on the Origins and Migrations of Austronesian-Speaking Peoples Prior to 1000 BC.” [doi: 10.137/journal.pone.0035026.g001

Polynesian populations are relatively homogenous both phenotypically and genetically. Over a span of 3,200 years they moved throughout the Pacific, and unlike in Europe and other large continents, they did not mix with other populations due to isolation.  These small founder populations have experienced several bottleneck effects, which further caused this loss of heterozygosity ending with the settlement of eastern Polynesia.  Polynesians’ lack of genetic diversity is less evident in western  Polynesia where initial settlement began.  Hawai’i, New Zealand and Easter Island are considered to be eastern Polynesia, and these places were the last places of Polynesia to be settled.

Recently I have been able to look at the autosomal matches among Samoans and Tongans of western Polynesia.  Previously, I have been only studying Hawaiian matches and noticed that top matches were both Hawaiians and Maori people.  Looking at Samoans and Tongans was very interesting as I now could compare the two different regions.

My mother is 80% Hawaiian, while I am 40%.  And as admixed as I am, I still get 1st – 3rd cousin predictions on Family Tree DNA (FTDNA), while on 23andme I get 2nd cousin and 3rd to distant cousin predictions.  The centimorgan totals that I show with my matches reach as high as 369cM on FTDNA, and 161cM on 23andme.  For my mother, 693cM on FTDNA and 376cM on 23andme.  I see the same happening with Maoris, ranging between 300cM – 700cM (FTDNA) for the top 20 people.  And for a non-admixed Hawaiian, their top matches are in the 600 – 700cM range.   An admixed Polynesian would logically have lower totals. But even an admixed person can still have a fairly high amount of totals shared, as when I am comparing myself being less than half Hawaiian.

When comparing two Tongans, the highest that they shared was 335cM.   A Samoan compared to another Samoan was 366cM.  And both of these Tongans and Samoans had their remaining top matches in the range of 100cM to 200cM.  Many of their matches are the same Hawaiians and Maori that match each other at a much higher total.  It is amazing to see these autosomal matches and how diverse the western Polynesians are, or rather how Hawaiians and Maoris are not as diverse.  And even if it is an admixed Hawaiian or Maori, the matches to each other are still pretty high, and as high as what non-admixed western Polynesians would have to each other.

When comparing the longest block (largest segment) with Tongans and Samoans, they seem to rarely get close to 15cM, averaging around 10cM.  Anything more than that could indicate a possible closer relationship or perhaps a specific common geographic origin.  The Hawaiians and Maoris usually range between 10cM – 15cM for the largest segment, but can go as high as 28cM which is usually in admixed Hawaiians and Maoris compared to each other.  In other words, all Polynesians in general will have high totals exceeding 100cM, but whose largest segment rarely exceeding 10cM.

I look forward to more western Polynesians getting tested so we can see if there is any pattern to specific islands in their own island group, something I have been trying to do with Hawaiians with the few haplogroups that there are for Polynesians.  What also needs to be analyzed are people from Tahiti and the Marquesas being that they were key dispersal points for eastern Polynesians.  I managed to only see the results of one admixed Tahitian woman and her match totals are identical to mine when comparing totals.  I am curious to find out what non-admixed Tahitians will show, if it is more identical to eastern Polynesians, or to western Polynesians.

Small segments on the X; male vs. female

Kitty Cooper put out a blog post where she entitled it What Can the X Chromosome Tell Us About the Importance of Small Segments? by Kathy Johnson.   Kathy Johnson had gone through the males in her project and began analyzing and compared to females, determining how much of the females were producing false positives vs. the men.  Because not many men would get a lot of X-matches.  This seems to be an ongoing investigation with various people blogging about the validity of phasing, or rather how effective if not necessarily is it to weed out any false positive matches. It seems to be based on FamilyTreeDNA’s X-matches where they include many tiny segments as little as 1cM.  And the more substantial matches with 10cM or more tends to reduce the actual X-matches significantly, which would be due to the lack of phasing.  You can read more about it on Kitty’s blog, although most of the discussion about evaluating all of these matches took place outside of the blog and on Facebook’s “International Society of Genetic Genealogy” page.

That made me curious, because others have expressed how some men had little to no X-matches.  This was not my situation at all , and went through my list of 9 pages on FTDNA and counted 47 X-matches out of the total 89 matches that I have.  I noticed that one of them was actually an X match on my father’s side of matches, a Filipino.  I knew that was wrong.  So when I looked at it, no X match showed up in the chromosome browser until I reduced the threshold down to 1+cM where I saw a 1.9cM, a false match.

Aside from one woman mislabeled as a male in my matches, I actually have 20 men and 26 females as X-matches, not counting that Filipino false match.  That’s half of my matches.  My mother has 93 X-matches out of her 159 matches, so not that much more than me.  Could that indicate that my mother’s X-matches are more, or less of false matches?  It’s an interesting idea to see how men can have less false matches but we are looking at Polynesian matches which just adds something else to it.

I know that I do have a lot of my matches below 5cM on the X chromosome, so I used dnagedcom.com’s ADSA (autosomal DNA segment analyzer) to at least look at my ICW (in common with) matches on the X, but I had increased the threshold to 700SNPs and 10cM.

Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 12.30.11 PM

I was thinking that not only would it be easier to use this tool by instantly seeing my X-matches above a specific threshold, but it would also compare me with others with whom we share the same segments, therefore decreasing the chances of false matches.  But taking into consideration that we are referring to Polynesians.  How would that affect it really?

I cannot determine from comparing my own to my mother’s X-matches if they would be false matches or not. Our problem, lack of documentation, lack of genetic diversity and the unpredictability of the X chromosome itself just to mention a few.

I have recently begun testing my first cousins on my non-Hawaiian side in order to take a closer look at the X chromosome and how that is passed on knowing the X path, that is how it is passed on unrecombined from father to daughter versus mother to children.  I also felt that knowing how it is passed on, it would be easier to distinguish which part of the chromosome was inherited from my grandfather versus my grandmother.  And not until I begin testing relatives from each of my grandparents’ side, I will not be able to fully distinguish all of them with the rest of the other 22 pairs of chromosomes.

Having said that, I cannot see how these X-matches, at least among Polynesians would be consist of a lot of false segments or not.  Especially when there are long segments with the more distant people, e.g., Maoris or Samoans and Tongans, of which I do have X matches with.  But the Samoans and Tongans are not included in the ICW due to the fact that I increased the threshold to exclude anything below 10cM.

I also used Gedmatch’s ONE TO MANY to get all my matches, sorted them by the largest segment on the X and just looked at how many were above 10cM.  There were only 20.

Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 8.21.57 PM

I did the same for my brother, he got 17 above 10cM.  I also looked at other Polynesian men just to compare and the numbers varied, usually not exceeding 20 with 10cM minimum threshold.  It is still all interesting although it is hard to decipher how much of it is true for Polynesians.  Hopefully as more Polynesians get tested, we will start to notice more differences, or confirm that we just all have a high amount of X-matches.

Polynesian mtDNA in Botocudo of Brazil

Back in mid-September Roberta Estes had a blog entry Native American Mitochondrial Haplogroups.  It’s basically a list of mitochondrial haplogroups that exists among Native Americans.  But what caught my eye was the Polynesian motif – B4a1a1.  She wrote, “B4a1a1 – found in skeletal remains of the now extinct Botocudos (Aimores) Indians of Brazil, thought to perhaps have arrived from Polynesia via the slave trade.  This haplogroup is found in 20% of the mtDNA of Madagascar. Goncalves 2013” and “B4a1a1a – found in skeletal remains of the now extinct Botocudos (Aimores) Indians of Brazil, thought to perhaps have arrived from Polynesia via the slave trade.  This haplogroup is found in 20% of the mtDNA of Madagascar. Goncalves 2013.”   And although there is the actual research out there, it started with an article back in April 2013 titled, “DNA study links indigenous Brazilians to Polynesians.”  Although the article’s title itself only mentions a link, it can be confusing to the reader and can be misleading once you begin reading through it.

The article quoted Lisa Matisoo-Smith, a molecular anthropologist at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand where she said, “But to call that haplogroup Polynesian is a bit of a misnomer,”  since the haplogroup is known to be in populations as far west as in Madagascar.  The actual research can be found here, Identification of Polynesian mtDNA haplogroups in remains of Botocudo Amerindians from Brazil. It basically says that “Here we report the identification of mitochondrial sequences belonging to haplogroups characteristic of Polynesians in DNA extracted from ancient skulls of the now extinct Botocudo Indians from Brazil.”   She does not seem to have been referring to the actual Polynesian motif but the fact that the research cited the mutations that is defined as the Polynesian motif.

The paper questions how did the presence of a Polynesian mtDNA show up in the gene pool of an extinct Brazilian Amerindian group who lived in the interior of Brazil?  There are specific mutations occurring on the mitochondrial which identifies it as the Polynesian motif,  and considering the evolutionary history of the Polynesian motif which is associated with the Austronesian expansion and the settling of Polynesia being much more recent than the peopling of the Americas.  Why hypothesizing how the introduction of the Polynesian motif could have entered into South America, the article says in part, “….considering an ancient Paleoamerican origin of the Botocudo haplotypes, we should expect new ‘private’ mutations to have appeared.  On the other hand, because we did not sequence the whole mtDNA, we cannot rule out the existence of such variations in the coding region.”

What is interesting to note is that is it not certain that these two skulls that they have analyzed were actual Polynesians or not. That is due to the fact that there was never a full sequencing test done on those two skulls that came up with the mutations that indicate the Polynesian motif.  Instead, only HVR1, HVR2 and typed specific mutations on the coding region were sequenced.  The findings mention specifically:  6719C, 15746G, 14022G and 12239T. These specific mutations on the coding region not only exists in my own mtDNA results (B4a1a1a3, now known as B4a1a1c) but so does a friend of mine who is identified as having the Malagasy motif. The paper already mentioned how these two skulls could have come back with such a haplogroup is possibly through the slave trade, originally from Madagascar.  And there were trips originating from Madagascar that eventually took these slaves into Brazil.

So the real question is were these two skulls the result of that recent slave trade originating from Madagascar, or did somehow a very few handful of Polynesians made their way all the way to Brazil?  The Botocudos lived in the interior portion of the state of Minas Gerais, so very far from the Pacific Ocean.

Lisa Matisoo-Smith  said it best, that to call that haplogroup Polynesian is a bit of a misnomer, particularly because we know it also exists in the Philippines and the subgroup – B4a1a1b (Malagasy motif) is in Madagascar.  Until a full sequencing test is done, there still may be some debate as to whether or not Polynesians have gone that far into the interior of South America, or that these skulls were the descendants of Malagasy brought over during the slave trade.

Endogamy and multiple smaller segments

The past several months after nearly a year of getting into genetic genealogy I finally started to study a bit more about my endogamous matches rather than ignore them for a long time and discouraging other Polynesians to not look into their matches. I learned how to figure out a true match or what could be a true match versus an endogamous one, which would make the relationship much more distant even beyond a genealogical time frame. Analyzing DNA matches in an endogamous group is already a challenge, but unlike other endogamous groups, dealing with Polynesian endogamy means lack of genetic diversity which translates to a large amount of shared centimorgans, smaller largest segment and multiple segments producing relationships significantly much closer than what we really are which could be very distant (over more than 5 centuries) for many of our matches. I have been noticing an average of 8cM – 15cM for the largest segment even though the total can be anywhere from 100cM – 200cM.  From FamilyTreeDNA my mother gets up to four pages of matches totaling from as low as 178.42cM to 693.60cM.  On GedMatch, the totals are different, not counting the first three listed which are her children.  From the fourth one on down is where the real puzzling matches are. The diagram below is sorted by the total shared.  And with these matches the threshold is different.  It is defaulted at 5cM, 500SNPs.

My mother's top matches based by total shared.

My mother’s top matches based by total shared.

When I sort it by the largest segment, 50.2cM is the highest, then there are a lot averaging somewhere between 10cM – 15cM (not all are shown in graph below) yet with high totals.

My mother's top matches sorted by the largest matching segment.

My mother’s top matches sorted by the largest matching segment.

The large total shared having the largest segment averaging 10cM – 15cM is expected in endogamy but for Polynesians, since we come from multiple common ancestors over centuries, even for different island nations who can claim descent to a specific person or persons such as  Mauikisikisi, or Maui-tiki-tiki (Hawaiian: Mauiki’iki’i),  or ‘Aikanaka/Kaitangata, Hema, Kaha’i/Tafa’i/Tafaki, Wahieloa/Vahieroa, and Laka/Rata, it is no surprise that our totals are still high, probably higher than the other endogamous groups such as Ashkenazi Jews, or Quakers, etc.

Sorted by predicted generation.

Sorted by predicted generation.

Below is a diagram from FamilyTreeDNA and I wanted to show by choosing 5 Maoris, comparing them to my mother.  I chose them because Hawaiians like myself and my mother have a much more distant relationship with the Maoris, given that Maoris and Hawaiians as with other Polynesians have been separated and isolated some time in the 13th century.  It was up until that time where they regularly gathered at the sacred religious spot at Taputapuatea located on the island of Ra’iatea in the Tahitian islands.  Then that stopped suddenly, and there was no more interaction among the different island nations. FamilyTreeDNA has a different criteria but because of this, it seems to work for us Polynesians  only because bringing down the threshold (usually to 3+cM, not necessarily 1+cM) it allows you to see the segments which are usually closer to the much larger ones but have small missing matched segments.

5 Maori matches

5 Maori matches

To the far left is the number of segments, and I filled in to the right the total number of segments plus the largest matching segment for each person.  I also reduced the threshold to show how in endogamous populations, what was once a compound matching segment was broken up just slightly.  This may work well for Polynesians but may or may not apply to other endogamous groups.  I definitely would discourage others from non-endogamous groups to do this. The breakup can be a bit more obvious in places like on the beginning of Chromosome 10 (purple), or chromosome 16 (yellow) as well as on the X chromosome (orange). To further illustrate, I took just chromosome 16 of the last person on that list (yellow) where a Maori woman shared a total of 468.97cM, but the largest segment is only 12.80cM.  That means there are many other small segments that totaled the 468.97cM.

Analyzing chromosome 16

Analyzing chromosome 16

Looking carefully at chromosome 16, you can see what I mean by the break up.  The first matching segment consisting of 5.31cM runs from 1074819 – 3561270.  Then there’s a break, then continues with 3989366 – 6372359, then another break.  It continues again from 6690251 – 8317168.  So if we look in between the breaks, we have the following.

3561270 – 3989366

6372359 – 6690251

On the graph it looks very close, just a small break.  What it looks like is that this once was a long segment that got broken up but due to intermarrying time and time again within a small population, the breaks were not only small but the reduction of the actual match over time was a slower one. This is what it looks like at the default 5+cM setting, and then the image after that I had set it at 10+cM.

5cM setting with the 5 Maori matches

5cM setting with the 5 Maori matches

10+cM setting with the 5 Maoris

10+cM setting with the 5 Maoris

I recently had my mother’s half-1st cousin Sam get DNA tested.  Sam’s father and my maternal grandmother were half-siblings.  Getting this cousin tested would verify if my mother was the biological daughter of the woman in question, although by the time Sam took the test, my mother admitted to remembering as a 5 year old being told by her mother that she was adopted.  Either that or she just was in denial for the past 25 years as I did the research on her mother, and only now decided to come clean about it.  But Sam’s results came back last week and this is how it showed up on FamilyTreeDNA. Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 9.49.33 AM   You can see that the largest segment/longest block is only 13.34cM even though predicted 1st – 2nd cousins with a total of 501.35cM.  A half first cousin would share about 425cM, or 6.25%.  GedMatch shows a different total, the largest segment being 14cM, still the average as I mentioned that I am seeing. Below is what it looks like on GedMatch. Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 9.50.39 AM The total is 216cM, and on 24 segments.  I previously mentioned the number of segments as a clue with Polynesian endogamy, not only are the segments not very large but the number of segments are numerous.  In this case, 24 of them.  To compare, I have a 1st cousin once removed named Andrew on my non-Hawaiian side, but he is also Hawaiian.  We share 380cM, largest segment 42.7cM on 18 segments.  Another first cousin Leroy, (non-Hawaiian) is also a 1st cousin once removed to Andrew.  They share 439cM, 71cM is the largest segment and also 18 segments.  The difference in the number of segments is obvious where endogamy produces more segments.

Comparing my cousins and what my mom has with Sam, and her two highest matches on GedMatch.  One of those matches is my friend’s father, and the other is a Maori man who says my mother is his top match on GedMatch.

Andrew & me – 1st cousins once removed:
Total shared – 380cM
Largest segment – 42.7cM
Number of segments – 18

Andrew & Leroy – 1st cousins once removed:
Total shared – 439cM
Largest segment – 71cM
Number of segments – 18

Leroy & me – 1st cousins:
Total shared – 754cM Largest segment – 80.5cM
Number of segments 30

My mother & Sam – half 1st cousins (but not biological since my mother was adopted):
Total shared – 216cM
Largest segment – 14cM
Number of segments – 24

My mother & my friend’s father:
Total shared – 300.5cM
Largest segment – 20.4cM
Number of segments – 30

My mother & Maori man:
Total shared – 140.7cM
Largest segment – 16.3cM
Number of segments – 16

And although the number of segments for first and second cousins as well as the total shared may vary from person to person, the first 3 examples comparing myself and my cousins are the average expected for a first cousin and a first cousin once removed relationship.  But it is also clear that in the case of the Maori man who is from New Zealand and whose ancestors have been there since the beginning of their time, just as my mother and our ancestors have been in the Hawaiian islands since the first people arrived in Hawai’i about 1,500 years ago, the number of segments will help in figuring out, depending on how distant the relationship is, if it is a true relationship or an endogamous one where the actual connection is much further and/or is through multiple common ancestors. So the size of the largest segment is an indicator within endogamous groups if the relationship is closer or not.  Anything near 20cM or below it compared to a huge amount for the total shared indicates that the relationship is much further back.  That can easily be determined by the amount of segments.  The more segments you have, the more times you share common ancestors with your match. Had I not known this up until last week, I would have easily assumed that my mother and Sam are actually half first cousins.  But this actually shows, based on the number of segments and definitely by the small size of the largest segment that they are not closely related at all.

Lack of Genetic Diversity

I keep telling people that when it comes to Polynesian DNA,  we lack genetic diversity.  People erroneously use “pedigree collapse”, or the more blunt “inbred” when referring to endogamous groups.  But both terms are not specific to our type of DNA situation, and research supports what Polynesians have gone through with their migratory patterns over the past few thousand years.

From oral tradition, we know that Tahiti, at one point in time was the center of religion.  From Taputapuatea, a sacred marae on Ra’iatea (old name was Havai’i) was where Polynesians from other island countries came and they worshiped.  They did this for a few centuries, while they started emigrating to the far parts of the pacific ocean, to as far south east to Rapa Nui (Easter Island), to the south west to Aotearoa (New Zealand) and north as far as the Hawaiian islands.  These three points define the Polynesian triangle and for the most part islands within these zones are known to be Polynesian.

Around 1200 A.D. is when migration ceased among these groups.  It would not be until about 500 years later when Europeans would travel within the Pacific, people such as Captain Cook who noticed that as far and isolated these islands are, that the people had similar cultures and languages.  DNA confirms that.  When Captain Cook arrived in the Hawaiian islands in 1778, he estimated a population of 300,000.  Other historians say that he under-estimated the number of Hawaiians based on what he could see from his ship, and did not take into consideration the inhabitants inland.  So they say it was about 800,000 to one million Hawaiians in 1778.  The 1890 Hawaiian Kingdom Census counted 40,622 aboriginal Hawaiians.  The 2000 US census counted about 460,000 Native Hawaiians.  The current Hawaiian population came out of the 40,000 Hawaiians from 1890, which was the last bottle neck occurrence.

Now that Polynesians are getting DNA tested, we come up as 1st, 2nd or 3rd cousins for the most part, usually sharing more than 50cM, sometimes as high as 500cM and with multiple segments, which they say is consistent with an endogamous group.  In particular are the high shared percentages among Maoris of New Zealand and Kanaka (Maoli) of Hawai’i.  But given the history of migration it is understandable why eastern Polynesians would be much more genetically similar to each other compared to the older, western Polynesians.  As Polynesians migrated further east, they became genetically closer.