ROYALS, RED HAIR, AND DÜRER-PART I

Copyright Feb 15, 2014 by Dr. Elizabeth Garner and Joe Kiernan

Prince Harry, the standard “ginger”

BIOLOGICAL PROTECTION OF RED HAIR

Natural red hair is very uncommon within the total gene pool of humans.  DNA research regarding the existence of natural red hair has uncovered that there is a biological advantage to having red hair in the areas of the world where red hair occurs statistically above the norm.Scientists have found that ginger (red) hair and a pale skin offer an important advantage in the survival game. Redheads, it would seem, boast a secret genetic weapon which enables them to fight off certain debilitating and potentially deadly illnesses more efficiently than blondes or brunettes. A pale complexion permits more sunlight into the skin, where it encourages the production of vitamin D. This helps to prevent rickets, a disease which progressively weakens bone structures, and the lung disease tuberculosis, which can be fatal. A recent study in the U.S. suggested that people with red hair are more sensitive to pain than blonds and brunettes.

MC1R AND R1a1, BASICALLY THE SAME THING

The gene that determines red hair is MC1R, which used to be referred to as R1a1

Researchers consider strawberry blond and auburn hair to be different from “real” or fiery red hair. About 90% of the time, it is indeed having two copies of variant MC1R that leads to having fiery red hair. However, there are a number of different variants of MC1R, only some of which lead to having red hair. One variant, for example, seems to lead to having fair (blond or light brown) hair.

Three variants of MC1R, known as an allele,  seem to strongly promote having red hair, and having two copies of these variants (in any combination) almost guarantees having fiery red hair. If a person has only one copy or no copies of the red hair variants, that usually means that the person will have either non-red hair, strawberry blond hair, or auburn hair. That fits in with the classic model of a recessive trait. However, if a person has one of those three strong variants plus the variant for fair hair, red hair acts as a dominant trait.

ARE YOU IN DANGER?

Red Hair Mutations and Hair Color

Allele

Phenotype

R151C

red hair, increased melanoma risk

R160W

red hair, pale skin, increased melanoma risk

D294H

red hair, pale skin, increased melanoma risk

R142H

red hair, pale skin, increased melanoma risk

D84E

red hair, increased melanoma risk

V60L

Weak red hair gene, increased melanoma risk

V92M

Weak red hair gene, increased melanoma risk

R163Q

Weak red hair gene, increased melanoma risk

http://hubpages.com/hub/Redheads-The-Genetics-of-Hair-Color

WHERE ARE ALL THE REDHEADS?

THIS MAP SHOWS FREQUENCY OF RED HAIR IN THE WORLD.
THIS MAP SHOWS FREQUENCY OF RED HAIR IN THE WORLD.

 

THIS MAP SHOWS THE FREQUENCY OF THE GENE GROUP ASSOCIATED WITH RED HAIR. ALTHOUGH THE GENE CAN BE FOUND IN SOUTHERN EUROPE, THE FREQUENCY OF REDHEADS DROPS DRAMATICALLY BELOW THE 45TH PARALLEL. MAPS COURTESY OF EUPEDIA.COM
THIS MAP SHOWS THE FREQUENCY OF THE GENE GROUP ASSOCIATED WITH RED HAIR. ALTHOUGH THE GENE CAN BE FOUND IN SOUTHERN EUROPE, THE FREQUENCY OF REDHEADS DROPS DRAMATICALLY BELOW THE 45TH PARALLEL. MAPS COURTESY OF EUPEDIA.COM

THE REAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MALES AND FEMALES 

Y CHROMOSOME AND X CHROMOSOME CHARACTERISTICS

Geneticists study genes differently depending upon whether they are studying the Y chromosome, which makes males, and the X chromosome, which comes from the mother and is referred to as mitocondrial-DNA.  Mitocondrial DNA tells us much different stories.

There of course have been enormous advancements in the studies of genetics and paleogenetics in the last decade, and therefore, geneticists started needing to  to rename the whole classification.

Ultimately, what is now called the red hair MC1R gene used to be called the R1a1 haploid group. The historic naming system commonly used for R1a was inconsistent in different published sources and there are now very complicated conversion tables about these renaming conventions.  For our purposes, we really need to only concern ourselves with the fact that it is within the R1a1 haploid group that natural red hair occurs genetically.  We know that the British Isles have the highest concentrations of redheads and thus R1a1 is much higher statistically in those populations but most people don’t know that the highest other concentration of redheads came from Persia.

“PERSIA”

One version of Persian Empire in history

“Persia” covered an enormous area of land historically where natural red hair occurred. And we get complicated again.

Besides modern Iran (Persia), ethnic Persians are also found in Central Asia (Afghanistan Tajikistan, Uzbekistan) where they are usually called “Tajiks” and “Fariswans”, as well as in south Iraq (Babylonia), a region which has been historically an integral part of Persia. Some names such as “Tat”, “Tajik”,”Sart” and “Ajam” have also been used, especially by Arabs and Turks, in reference to Persians. The terms Parsi, Tajik, and Tat have been used interchangeably for Persian and Persian-speakers during the Middle Ages

 

Albrecht Durer’s red hair from his 1493 Self Portrait painting

As it turns out, Jews have been enormously interested in tracing their genetic heritage and there is much data about the R1a and R1b haploid groups that has been gathered and published.  Much of this research focuses on the ethnic sources of Jews in the Persian area, whether distinctions of Cohanim and Levites, two important Jewish priestly classes, could be determined, and how much of the evidence told us about the mysterious Khazars, known for their red hair, the only entire country that formally converted to Judaism in all of history, roughly 600-900 a.d. The Khazars are the most likely ancestors of the Durers, since the father lived emigrated to Nuremberg from the second biggest Khazar area ever found.

 

Margret Durerin, the co-artist redhead

The Dürer family originates from one of the major Khazar regions formally known as Bihar or Grosswardein and now Oradea in the Rumanian part of what used to be the medieval Wallachia, next to Translyvania of Dracula (Vlad Teppisch the Impaler) fame. Albrecht and Margret had red hair.

WHO’S YOUR DAD?

Mutations which occur within genes usually cause a malfunction or disease and is lost due to selection in succeeding generations. However, mutations found in so-called “non-coding regions” of the DNA tend to persist. Since the Y male chromosome consists almost entirely of non-coding DNA (except for the genes determining maleness), it would tend to accumulate mutations. It is passed from father to son without recombination, thus the genetic information on a Y chromosome of a man living today is basically the same as that of his ancient male ancestors, except for the rare mutations that occur along the hereditary line. A combination of these neutral mutations, known as a haplotype, can serve as a genetic signature of a man’s male ancestry. Maternal genealogies are also being studied by means of the m-DNA (mitrocondrial DNA), which is inherited only from the mother from the egg.

 JEWISH PRIESTS

Cohanim Gravestone

The highest priestly class in Judaism is known as the Cohanim. Cohanim (plural of Cohen) are the priestly family of the Jewish people, members of the Tribe of Levi. The books of Exodus and Leviticus describe the responsibilities of the Cohanim, which include the Temple service and blessing of the people. Aaron, the brother of Moses, was the first High Priest (Cohen Gadol).  The Cohen line is patrilineal — passed from father to son without interruption for 3,300 years, or more than 100 generations. The results of the analysis of the Y chromosome markers of the Cohanim and non-Cohanim were indeed significant. A particular marker, (YAP-) was detected in 98.5 percent of the Cohanim, and in a significantly lower percentage of non-Cohanim. This was called the CMH group.

The finding of a common set of genetic markers in both Ashkenazi (Jews from Germany and Eastern Europe) and Sephardi Cohanim (Jews from the Iberian peninsula-Spain and Portugal) worldwide clearly indicates an origin pre-dating the separate development of the two communities around 1000 CE. Date calculations based on the variation of the mutations among Cohanim today yields a time frame of 106 generations from the ancestral founder of the line, some 3,300 years — the approximate time of the Exodus from Egypt, the lifetime of Aaron HaCohen, the name given by scientists to the supposed progenitor.

INFIDELITY

Calculations based on the high rate of genetic similarity of today’s Cohanim everywhere resulted in the highest “paternity-certainty” rate ever recorded in population genetics studies — a scientific testimony to family faithfulness.

Stated Dr. David Goldstein of Oxford University: “For more than 90 percent of the Cohens to share the same genetic markers after such a period of time is a testament to the devotion of the wives of the Cohens over the years. Even a low rate of infidelity would have dramatically lowered the percentage.”

THE LEVITE PRIEST CLASS-The DNA of the Jewish Khazarian Priests

The other Jewish priestly caste is known as the “Levites.”  Like the Cohanim, Levites are recorded in the Hebrew Bible as direct descendants of Aaron, Israel’s first High Priest.  In fact, the Cohanim are actually a special subsection of the Levites (Telushkin 1997, p. 125).

The Levites were shown to have a common set of genetic markers – just not the CMH set of the Cohanim.  These markers were not even part of the same J1 haplogroup as found in the Cohanim.  The majority of Levites shared a common haplotype, indicating a shared common ancestor among them, but this haplotype occurred within haplogroup R1a and, more specifically, within subgroup R1a1-RED HAIR.  Furthermore, this haplogroup was found only in the Ashkenazi Levites; it was not shared with the Sephardic Levite population in the same fashion as the CMH.  Given the fact that the Ashkenazi Levites did not share R1a with their Sephardic counterparts, it appeared that this haplogroup had entered the Jewish population sometime during the Diaspora.

Researchers found that R1al formed a “tight cluster” within the Ashkenazi Levites (Behar et al. 2003).  This suggested to the researchers a very recent origin of this group from a single common ancestor (Behar et al. 2003).

We know from subsequent research that R1a1 comprises nearly 12% of Ashkenazi results, while the Levites only make up about 4-5 % of the entire world Jewish people (Nebel et al. 2005).  Thus, these results extend well beyond the Levite priestly class to approximately 5-8% of the Cohanim and Israelites (the non-priestly Jewish population) as well.

Haplogroup R1a1 is relatively rare within Middle Eastern populations, but very common among Eastern European and Scandinavian populations (Behar et al. 2003).  It is found at a frequency of 7% in some Near Eastern groups (Behar et al. 2004b).  However, given that Sephardic Jewish (Iberian) groups did not share R1a1 frequencies with the Ashkenazim, it was apparent that Jewish R1a1 was probably not of ancient Israelite origin.  In other words, red hair was not common in the Middle East.

R1a1 is spread fairly evenly in haplotype distribution and frequency throughout the Ashkenazi populations from various countries (Germany, Lithuania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Russia and the Ukraine)

 

THE JEWISH KHAZAR NATION

KHAZARIA

The mysterious Khazar nation is the only group of people known in the entire history of the world to have converted to Judaism and to have required their top nobles to do so.  Lesser nobles and non-nobles were allowed to maintain any religion they wanted, Jewish, Christian or Muslim. They were known from the small amount of historical documents that survived to have had flaming red hair.

There are no historical accounts of any large scale conversions or Eastern European groups entering the Jewish community at this time – except the Khazars.

 

Additionally, given the relatively late date of introgression and the large number of founders, these males must have already been very closely related to each other, sharing the R1a1 haplotypes that are later reflected in the Levite results.  Behar (2003) noted that the lack of Levite R1a1 haplotype diversity suggested that all the founding lineages were very closely related to each other if, in fact, a large number of founding lineages contributed to the Levite R1a1 gene pool.  The ancient reports on the Khazars indicate that the majority of the Jewish converts were from the Khazarian royalty and ruling classes (Koestler 1976, p.15).  Although speculative, it seems likely this group would have intermarried heavily amongst itself, helping to preserve the group’s elite status.  Thus, it is probable that they would have already possessed a set of closely related R1a1 haplotypes, which they simply passed on to their Levite descendants.

 

The Khazars were already Jewish, having converted around 600 CE.  Although of a different ethnic make-up than the Ashkenazim of the 13th century, they were not “non-Jews.”  They probably already had their own Levite caste in place who may have simply continued their priestly functions among the Ashkenazim.

 

As for when the R1a1 red hair gene first entered the Jewish community, Behar (2003) estimated a mean time of 663 years before the present. This calculation was striking because it fit precisely within the time period that Koestler believed the mass migration and absorption of the Khazars by the larger Eastern European Jewish communities occurred, in other words when the Khazar nation was conquered and absorbed by other groups.

JEWISH RED HAIR GENES ARE THE SAME AS CHRISTIAN RED HAIR GENES

R1a1 is found in very high frequencies not only in the area of Eastern Europe where the Khazarian kingdom is reported to have existed, but also in many Central Asian populations as well, where some of the Khazarian population may have originated (Nebel et al. 2005).  Furthermore, the most common Ashkenazi haplotype, H6, is identical to the most common haplotype found among European R1a1 (YHRD 2003).  Ashkenazi H10 is identical to the fifth most common European R1a1 haplotype.  In other words, Jewish red hair genes are identical to Christian red hair genes as they are dispersed around Europe.

IN THE NEXT ARTICLE OF THIS SERIES WE ARE GOING TO LOOK AT SOME VERY SURPRISING REDHEADS.



[1] http://www.aish.com/ci/sam/48936742.html

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