GENE201 Module 3 M3D1: Y-DNA Article Review


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GENE201 Module 3 M3D1: Y-DNA Article Review

Now that you have read about Y-DNA testing and how the results of these tests can be utilized for genealogical research, let’s check your knowledge. In this activity, you will review, analyze, and discuss an article written about the use of Y-DNA to solve a genealogical question.

The following article and the discussion questions will help evaluate your understanding of Y-DNA testing, including the inheritance pattern of Y-DNA, and the use of test results to examine a real-life genealogical question.

Read the following article:

Alvay Ray Smith and Robert Charles Anderson, “Proposed Hawkshead, Lancashire, Origins of Edward Riggs of Roxbury, Massachusetts, and Thomas Riggs of Gloucester,” The American Genealogist 82(2007): 120-29. Available online at (Links to an external site.) [PDF file size 94.6 KB]
Proceed to the discussion area and engage in the following questions. For best grading results and to shape the discussion, read the accompanying rubric. Post at least one original comment and at least two thoughtful responses to classmates for each question. This discussion will open the first Monday, closing when the module does. Posting your original comments no later than Thursday night gives your classmates time to respond and maximizes your possible points.

Discussion Question #1: The authors do not provide the actual Y-DNA results of any of the test-takers, only providing what they term the “Y-chromosome ‘signature’ (haplotype)” of the two ancestors. For example, we know only that the two tested descendants of Thomas Riggs “genetically match at 35 of 37 markers on their Y chromosomes.” Is the identity of the two discordant markers vital to your interpretation of the authors’ conclusions? Why or why not?

Discussion Question #2: Is the authors’ conclusion that “[t]he DNA evidence proves that Thomas1 Riggs of Gloucester, Massachusetts, in 1658 and Edward1 Riggs of Roxbury, Massachusetts, in 1633 were related” sufficiently supported by the evidence? Based on the Y-DNA evidence presented, should the authors pursue research in Hawkshead to try to find the parentage of Edward Riggs, or is it premature? Why or why not?