Genetic Distance

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This is just random residue that I don't want to lose yet. It might get incorporated into other pages.

The lengths of these STRs provide a DNA fingerprint that can be compared to any other human male. How similar these fingerprints are indicates how recently we had a common ancestor along the direct father to son line. The results of that DNA fingerprinting will be a part of the The Kerchner project already includes several family names that are genetically unrelated, one more won't hurt. The sounds are similar enough that they just might be related somewhere in the distant past.

I understand that Family Tree DNA cannot have whole seperate projects for every family name as small as the Kerschens. Charles F. Kerchner, the administrator of the Kerchner DNA project has made me an assistant administrator. I will be attending the Family Tree DNA conference in Houston in October as a representative of the Kerchner project. Being webmaster for and being a geneticist myself probably helped to distinguish the Kerschens, of which there are only a few hundred, from the thousands of Kerchners and related families.

On Monday October 8, 2007, results from the first 12 genes, as well as 21 others, were made available. I use the term "gene" loosely since the segments studied are not linked to any trait and some think they are just "junk DNA" in the space between actual genes. The number of single tandem repeats at each gene site is measured. Those who have exactly the same number of single tandem repeats have the same "allele" at that gene. I use the term allele loosely again, since it is normally used to describe genes that function the same way, such as the blue or brown allele for eye color. Using single tandem repeats is an easy way to get a very precise, numerical value for a feature of the y-chromosome DNA that is heritable. Changes in the allele, the number of single tandem repeats, at any gene from generation to generation are the result of mutation. The number of differences between the alleles of two males can give you some idea of how far back thier most recent common ancestor was, going father to son only.

Results, in raw numbers for those who can use the data:
PANEL 1 (1-12)

Adam Kerchner, the base Kerchner from whom others are judged, mismatches me at 4 of the 12 alleles. This suggests we are probably seperated by about 172 generations, give or take 100 generations. Our nearest common ancestor is probably about 86 generations ago. The generations of seperation is going up to the nearest common ancestor and then back down to the present, so it is double the distance to the most recent common ancestor. That's still over 2000 years ago (probably), so we are probably not really related.

All the direct male descendants of Johannes Balthesarius Kerschen are 15 generations (or less) seperated from me, Arthur Henry Kerschen III. There is a 59% chance that any of them will be an exact match, 32% chance of 1 mismatch, 8% chance of 2 mismatches, and a 1% chance of 3 mismatches. That's 100%, but there is still a tiny fractional % chance that someone less than 16 generations distant could have 4 or more mismatches, but it is unlikely. The complete DNA test includes 67 genes, so this is only the first small part. Family Tree DNA can tell us what is likely, not what is absolute. My son could have a mutation at all 12 genes and not match me at all, but still be my son genetically. The odds of that are 1 in 1881676423158920745670732969417, which is not very likely (assuming a mutation rate of 0.003 per gene per generation which is just about right).

There were 4 family names that matched my first 12 genes exactly:

The Palmers: In medieval times there were three great christian pilgrimages; to Santiago de Campostella, Rome, and to the Holy Land. Those that made it to the Holy Land, affixed palm branches to their staves and returned home to England; whereupon everyone called them "palmers". Therefore there were many unrelated families that began to use "palmer" as a surname. We do seem likely to be related to at least one of them. Did we descend from crusaders who settled in Luxembourg on the return journey from the holy land? Perhaps Raoul of Sterpenich himself was a crusader whose relatives became the Palmers.

The Turners: Originally focused on Turner families with roots in the mid-Atlantic and Southern US, the Turner project now welcomes all Turners who wish to identify their genetic cousins throughout the world through DNA testing and sharing of information. At least one Turner is an exact match and a whole group of them mismatch at only one allele. The Turners may be related somehow to the Kerschens.

The Walls (specifically one in Australia): This DNA genealogy project was created by Jean “Wall” McCullough and is being conducted by Family Tree DNA. The goal of this project is simple – Let’s match WALL family DNA to see who is related to whom. There's alot of genetic variation among the Walls. One living in Australia is an exact match. Other Walls have two or more mismatches from my Kerschen DNA.

The Rich Family: Two members of the Rich family, descendants of Charles Coulson Rich, born in 1809 in Kentucky, are an exact match to my alleles at all 12 of the base genes, and 6 out of 7 additional genes. They both have tested 43 of the known genes, so when I get additional data, we may yet have alot more alleles in common.

The Bradburys: One Bradbury only tested 9 of the first 12 genes, but they were all an exact match to me.

The Haplogroup my DNA was identified as is R1b1c. The R1b1c group is belived to be among the first modern humans to enter Europe. This is consistent with the theory that we Kerschens were among those ones who settled on the Titleberg mountain in Kerschen in 10,000 B.C. A little Roman blood mixed in 2000 years ago, some crusader blood 800 years ago, and you get a high quality, guaranteed for life, Kerschen!

The Family Tree DNA Project has two types of DNA that they track: 1) y-chromosome DNA, which is passed from father to son with no genetic mixing between the parents and 2) mitochondrial DNA, which is passed from mother to child with no genetic mixing between the parents. These are only a small fraction of total DNA, but most of the other DNA is produced by combining of the DNA of the two parents. These two types of DNA are pretty much the only DNA that can be tracked over many generations with reasonable accuracy. It's possible using these methods to determine if you are likely to have a common ancestor going back father to father with the y-chromosome DNA, or mother to mother with the mitochondrial DNA. Your father's mother, or your mother's father in common would not be detected using Family Tree DNA, even though your cousins share ~12.5% of your DNA.

Parent exactly 50% DNA in common
Sibling approximately 50% DNA in common
half-sibling "" 25%
uncle/Aunt "" 25%
half-uncle/Aunt "" 12.5%
cousin "" 12.5%
half-cousin "" 6.25%