The Family’s Silk Route Connection from the Orient to the Levant – 9.6% Baloch

 

Apparently we share 9.57% of our genetic material with the people of the region that straddle Pakistan (Balochistan) and Iran (Baluchestan).  This region lies along and roughly in the western-middle of the ancient collection of overland and sea highways known as the Silk Road or Silk Route stretching from China to Turkey.  Much of the over-land route is to the north of Baluchestan.

Why did we not know this before?

The nature of DNA genealogical analysis is that it is a relatively young field of study–roughly 10 years old.  From a start of, for all intents and purposes, a  zero population of DNA samples this field is adding DNA samples at an exponential rate.  However, this means two things  that are relevant to answering the question of “why now?”  First, sample collection is not even world wide.  There seem to be higher concentrations in certain populations determined by societal wealth, education, ethnic motivation, and marketing.  For the most part, homogeneous populations are not as interested in learning their DNA genealogy when their parents and ancestors as well as their archaeology and written records provide both oral and written records going back  hundreds or thousands of years thereby satisfying their curiosity–they know who they are.

Relatively recent immigrants to “new world” regions don’t have these resources, particularly if they were forced by conflict to migrate thereby losing their family records. Intermarriage between immigrant groups confuses the oral tradition and often newly developed regions in the past t-500 years haven’t had  religious or civic record keeping.  Aside from large cracks through which data could fall, this also provided a vast canvas upon which individuals could paint new identities for themselves further obscuring their ancestral trail.  Gramps, Frank, stand up and take a bow.

Major forces in collecting genealogical material, by DNA and other means, have been Jews and Mormons–for different reasons.  European antisemitism from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s was a major people and record destroyer motivating contemporary Jews to learn who they are and who their ancestors were as well as locating lost living relatives.  The Mormons have their own, more open-ended, motivation which they have developed into a thriving business world wide.  They are omnivorous.

Into this mix has come a new generation of academics, geneticists, genealogists and genetic entrepreneurs bringing new DNA data collection and analysis and new analytic tools.  The world wide web has made this available to us all.

Even as data is being collected, the analysis of  that data is becoming more sophisticated.  Researchers are sharing their databases, their analytic approaches and even their tools making them and us smarter, more knowledgeable and increasingly more accurate.

The terminology is standardizing.  Terms like Admixture Analysis and Painting are becoming more comprehensible to the likes of us amateurs.

Our Baloch/Baluch is such an evolutionary product of this growth of data and understanding.

Admixture Analysis examines “the interbreeding between two or more previously isolated populations within a species”.  We are species that sleeps around.

The admixture of the child of one Caucasian parent and one Chinese parent is roughly (47-53%) 50% Caucasian and 50 % Chinese.  However, each parent is also an admixture of their ancestors.  The greater the amount of DNA analysis from an ever growing sample of DNA tests, the more refined is the researcher’s ability to match specific genetic fragments to specific populations both farther back in time and more specific to geographical locations.

Previously, our admixture analysis was based on samples and analysis more heavily European and North American.  The most motivated, therefore the most active groups providing samples and doing analysis were Jews, African Americans and Indigenous Americans–for obvious reasons.

My first use of Admixture Analysis was provided by 23andMe, then FTDNA and then analysis of my DNA by separate sources other than specific DNA labs.  I used GEDmatch and then Dienekes Pontikos’ Dodecad Project  made available by GEDmatch.

Dodecad was weighted to northern Europe.  Two weeks ago I used a new one, Harappa Ancestry Project (HarappaWorld), which focuses on Asia and Africa.  You can find a table below comparing the analysis of my DNA by these two analytic engines.

The 4 Admixture analysis engines produced results not that far off each other, in the macro, such as Mediterranean and Western/Northern/Eastern Europe and Asian/East Mediterranean.  The analysis by first 3 engines identified lots of general regional (Asian and Eastern Mediterranean) fragments without attachment to specific national geography.  However, Harappa appears to have pulled many of the fragments together and assigned a specific region and national group–Baloch.

The technology is more nuanced and sophisticated than I can adequately represent but as far as I have examined, they are reasonable presentations.  Will they change? Probably.  But they will become more precise as the years go on, perhaps even pinpointing specific small geographic regions, such as a province and a specific point in time.

So what’s the big deal about only 10% of my/our DNA being Baloch?  Big deal is a stretch but fascinating is closer to the truth–for me anyway.

For one thing, our major Y-haplogroup, E, came out of Africa.  We all originated there but not all haplogroups originated there.  Recent analysis suggests, contrary to previous analysis, that the migratory route was NOT up the Rift Valley from Kenya through Egypt into the Eastern Mediterranean. “The patterns of recombination diversity in the X chromosome from 30 populations Old World suggest that anatomically modern human first left Africa through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait rather than through present Egypt.”  This was about 60,000 years ago when the oceans were much lower and the straits were much shallower or dry, allowing a series of emigrations along the southern coast of Asia.  They went across the now 80 mile long and minimum width 20 mile strait located between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula, Djibouti and Eritrea, north of Somalia, in the Horn of Africa.

From there they then went either across the Arabian Peninsula (Yemen et al) or by sea north across to Balochistan (Iran or Pakistan). Alternatively it could have been overland towards the Mediterranean and then back east along the Silk Road through Iran.  Our E Y-chromosome, even E1b1b1c1a (M-84), is found in Yemen. I don’t know yet if there are many M-84s in Balochistan but I presume that there are.  Stay tuned.

The further importance is that the flow, as the scientists suggest, was then west along the Silk Road by land and by sea.  Overland arrives at the small triangular region bounded by the upper coast of the northeastern Mediterranean and then over to the Syrian/Turkish border near Haran where Abraham lived and, according to a genealogical study, may have been an E1b1b1c1a like us.  Analysis suggests that in this triangular region of about 300x150x400 km is where our most recent mutation, giving us E1b1b1c1a, is believed to have taken place in our Most Recent Common Ancestor about 1515 BCE, give or take a few hundred years.

A further fascinating question about the Baloch connection, the answer to which might lead to further fascinating revelations, is “why is my Baloch fragment 10%?”   Clearly, or perhaps not so clearly, my mother and grandmother should have diluted my Baloch connection substantially–by at least 75%.  If they had no Baloch DNA themselves, then Frank would have had Baloch DNA of approximately 40%.   Bear in mind that this extrapolation math is being done by a DNA amateur.  But if true, one of Frank’s parents would have had Baloch DNA approximating 80%.  Obviously, this would have implications for ancestry migration prior to Eastern Europe where Frank seems to have come from.

Stay tuned.

In 10 years all this analysis will look quite primitive as then we will better know the migratory steps.

Below you will find some of the information and sources on the Balochs and Baluchs for you to explore, if you are interested.

Note: Eventually I will edit the following material  but it is sufficiently clear to get you started–if you are curious.

 

The ancient Silk Route straddles it and ends up near Harran in Turkey at the eastern tip of the area where our Y-chromosome originated. As the crow flies it is 2,643 km from Quetta in Pakistan to Harran.  It just skirts (40 km) the southern suburbs of Tehran en route.

 

The Silk Route or Silk Road meandered over 6,500 kms over land and there were sea links as well. See the map.

  1.  IRAN Baluchestan Province Wikipedia
  2. PAKISTAN ·  Balochistan, Pakistan – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

Balochistan (بلوچستان) is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and the largest, constituting approximately 44% of its total land mass. It is bordered by Iran to the …

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balochistan,_Pakistan

·  Balochistan – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Balochistan (Balochi: بلوچستان) or Baluchistan Land of the Baloch. Is an arid, mountainous region in the Iranian plateau in Southwest Asia; it includes part of …

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balochistan

·  Balochistan travel guide – Wikitravel

 

Open source travel guide to Balochistan, featuring up-to-date information on attractions, hotels, restaurants, nightlife, travel tips and more. Free and reliable advice written …

wikitravel.org/en/Balochistan

Cities (Pakistan)

Other destinations

  • PC Gwadar Beach resort [1] and Gadani beaches
  • Archaeological site of Mahargarh
  • Makran Coastal Highway (Over 770 km From Karachi to Gwadar) is unique fascination for tourists. It is pertinent to mention here that Alexander had passed through the coastal belt of Balochistan in 325 BC covering a long trail
  • Juniper Forests in Ziarat Valley – One of the largest Juniper forests in the globe

Understand

Balochistan provincial region of SW Pakistan has an area of 134,051 mi2 or (347,190 km2). It covers 48% of Pakistani territory;

Stay safe

You should seek advice from tourist offices and embassies about which areas are safe and which are not. Travel to some portions of Balochistan is not advisable or requires an armed escort.
 

 

Judaism and the Silk Route

Richard Foltz

The History Teacher
Vol. 32, No. 1 (Nov., 1998), pp. 9-16
Published by: Society for History Education
Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/494416

To read a page go to  http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/494416?uid=3739448&uid=2&uid=3737720&uid=4&sid=47699056402647

Admixture Comparisons

Harrappa Admixture Dienekes Admixture
Population Population
NE-Euro 46.56% East_European 15.97%
Caucasian 8.61% West_European 44.99%
Siberian 0.79%
Mediterranean 29.54% Mediterranean 25.30%
West_Asian 6.92%
Baloch 9.57%
SW-Asian 4.17% Southwest_Asian 3.72%
South_Asian 0.76%
NE-Asian Northeast_Asian 0.74%
SE-Asian 0.27% Southeast_Asian
S-Indian
Papuan
San (South Africa) 0.22%
W-African Northwest_African 1.61%
E-African East_African
Neo_African
Pygmy Palaeo_African
American 0.25%
Beringian (ancient Asian migrants to America via Siberia and land bridge over the Bering Straits)

 

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