History and the DNA Worm

dna image

History & the DNA Worm

DNA Worm

Have you ever looked at your children or yourself and seen some resemblance to your parent or maybe your grandparent ? One of my sons has the same nose and smile as his father, his grandmother and also his great grandfather. I cannot go back further than that although I know that branch of my husband’s family can trace their roots right back to fourteenth century England where a cathedral built by one ancestor still stands today.

How many of my children’s ancestors survived wars, famine, plague and disease so that they can live in one of the most beautiful places in Australia? Wouldn’t you like to have a little DNA worm that buries into your genes’ cells and sends little messages back to you?

The red hair gene; a little digital message holiographs in front of me; now that comes from


Erik the Red, a hulking brute who ravaged his way across Ireland and Northern England.

My blue eyes, from Agnetha the Fair, a blonde, braided maid from Northern Europe, my eldest son having her ash blonde hair gene, as well. My daughter’s eyes, green with brown tones, a mirror of her father’s, come from the Celtic ancestor, Oswald. Now should another son marry is long-time girlfriend, their children will have ancestors from almost every continent; her ancestry includes Chinese, native Cherokee Indian and Alaskan predecessors. Their children’s DNA worm will be going into overdrive.

And then there is the blood group story. After the eldest son was born with rh O negative blood group, each successive pregnancy meant huge ampoules of blood being sucked out to test for rhesus antibodies. After all the children were born with the same blood group, ( yes, the Blood Bank does love our family, O blood being able to be transfused into all other blood groups) we finally concluded that my husband and I, are compatible right down to the same blood groups.

The O blood group, one of the oldest blood groups, descended from the original nomadic hunters, the Cro-Magnons. Meat eater’s, they followed the migrating herds of animals, in time supplementing their diets with berries, grubs nuts and roots. They populated the coastlines, lakes and rivers, following the food supply.

As the population moved to less temperate climates their skins became lighter, less bone mass and straighter hair. Lighter skin was better able to metabolize vitamin D, in the land of shorter days and longer nights.

The Type A blood group appeared somewhere in Asia or the Middle East in the time frame from 25,000 to 15, 000 BC. This was a people who settled and cultivated the soils – the A-grarian peoples. Today, Type A is still found in highest concentration among western Europeans.

The Type B blood group, developed some time between 10,000 and 15,000 BC in the area of the Himalayan highlands – in the area now known as Pakistan and India. The new blood group, characteristic of the great tribes of steppe dwellers, spread though the Eurasian plains, compliments of the Mongolian raiders. The Mongols, dependent on their herding and domesticated animals spread across into Asia and north into northern Europe. Two distinct Type B blood groups developed as the pastoral nomads pushed into Asia: an agrarian, comparatively sedentary group in the south and the east, and a nomadic, war-like society conquering the north and the west.

So, start your own DNA worm search, by first identifying your blood group type. Does anything ring a bell?  Does the blood of the Mongols run in your veins?  Or are you happiest, munching wholegrain, crusty loaves? I think there is still a lot of the Cro-Magnon in my husband. He would be happiest out there, hunting for his supper; the spirit of the hunter still lives in his veins, not to mention other cave man tendencies, but that’s another story.

As we get older our interest in our predecessors increases. We wonder which member of the family made that momentous decision to emigrate to Australia. We have such a short history here and most peoples ancestors have been here less than two hundred years. Most of us have descended from branches in the United Kingdom, but in the last fifty years we have seen the pattern of immigration change to accept the Italians, the Greeks, the Vietnamese and now Middle Eastern, African nations and other close Asian neighbours. We are such a wonderful melting pot of cultures,with each new seasoning requiring an assimilation of taste.


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