Hakka DNA – Part I

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(The following is a research email I wrote to a very dear friend – and fellow Hakka researcher – WL- on the 28.4.2016.  One lineage of Hakka women now living in the UK – but who are originally from Sai Kung in the New Territories area of Hong Kong, share what Oxford Ancestors define as ‘Chie’ maternal [mitochondrial) DNA that is found in Siberia amongst the Evenki people toda.).  ACW 28.4.2016

Email Extract 1.

When I get time, I intend to examine the academic definition of ‘Han’ DNA in both its ‘Southern’ and ‘Northern’ designations, as I suspect that both are geographically derived, and do not, in and of themselves, represent ‘singular’ DNA-types.  I know that Southern Han is an admixture of a number of DNA lines – some deriving from South-east Asia – as well as ‘Han’ (Tang?), and I suspect that considering the genetic diversity associated with the Euro-Asian Steppe, I suspect that the Northern Han is also diverse.  However, in all this ‘difference’, there must be some type of genetic ‘commonality’ that Chinese science uses to ‘define’ Chinese-ness – although of course, this is the over-lay of science upon the practice of culture.  In the UK, for instance, there is a common European designation (amongst others) but this is common throughout the many cultures of Europe – and in and of itself, tells us nothing about the culture of the different European peoples.  Although genetic designations routinely change in emphasis and refinement (due to improved scientific understanding), from what I remember the European DNA-marker is R1A1 – but around 70% of Indian men also share this exact marker (so in and of itself, it tells us nothing about culture, language and religion)!  Again, culture cannot necessarily be derived from DNA – but I notice that assessment of teeth gives clues of geographical origination.  Many early Christian monastics in the UK, for instance, came from France, (I think traces of ‘lead’ can be discerned in the teeth enamel).  What seems to be the case in China, is that the Chinese culture has become associated with certain genetic-markers – as if ‘genes’ define ‘culture’ – rather than the peculiarities and necessities of the outer environment (i.e. that which drives adaptation and evolution through natural selection).  Just pondering from the hip, so to speak, it would seem that ‘Han’ is a cultural definition used within Chinese science to denote otherwise diverse genetic-markers, giving the (unintended) impression (to those ‘looking in’ at progressive Chinese science) that Chinese DNA is of a single type, and is ‘pure’, etc.  Of course, I am hesitant to state this fully, just in case there is information I do not yet know or understand – but it certainly looks this way to me at the moment.  If correct, this would mean that there is not actually a ‘Han’ DNA (just as there is not an ‘English’ DNA), but rather two, broad Chinese cultural designations (North and South) that are in-effect ‘catch-alls’ for two extensive (and diverse) geo-cultural-DNA areas.  This would logically mean that ‘Northern Han’ and ‘Southern Han’ (both associated with Hakka DNA identity) could mean virtually anything!  I suspect (but cannot yet prove) that there ‘IS’ European (i.e. ‘Caucasian’) DNA within the ‘Northern Han’ designation, but that it is a small and probably insignificant amount when compared to all the other DNA lineages present.  However, again I am of the (as of yet unverified) opinion that a ‘high’ percentage of this small amount of European DNA probably occurs in an unusually ‘high’ amount amongst Hakka populations.  This is all speculation on my part, and more research is required.

(This edited extract is from a research email regarding Hakka Chinese DNA research in the UK to ‘DS’ – written on the 8.3.2009).  ACW 28.4.2016

Email Extract 2.

My daughters, (their mother) and about 30 female relatives from China, have the mDNA of Haplogroup C. This is rare in China, about 2%, so is not the norm for Chinese women. Both the Chan and Yin clan females have this marker.  Interestingly, a direct match for these women has been found amongst the Evenki nomads of Siberia, who look very Chinese, but speak a Siberian, Russian like language. This does fit with the Hakka stories of northern origination, and subsequent migration southward. My daughters have exactly the same mDNA as certain lineages of Evenki women living today.

Interestingly, Haplogroup C is also one of the main groupings of Native American women – across tribes, but mainly in the Sioux, Apache and Blackfoot tribes. As there has always been a link between the East, and the Native Americans.  My male line is E3B – which is around 4% of the UK, and bout 2% around the world, with a large percentage in East Africa. My haplogroup corresponds to Japan, and the Qiang of China, particularly the Pume subgroup.  This is the Wyles side. Brian Sykes of Oxford University (who did the analysis), thinks this group arrived about 4000 years ago in Britain, but research is ongoing.

 

 

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