Narrative of a Genome III

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He fell from heaven! Is what the Yoruba of Nigeria say about our most distant paternal ancestor and it’s the same thing I’ve said while searching for our origins . Sometimes the desire to know something gets so clouded with urgency that frustration usurps reality and myth is crowned king. Although, he arrived in West Africa like a drop of dew to a blade of grass and quickly spread to cover the field. He did have a paternal origin that was passed from father to son. His haplogroup was E1b1a* and it is by his nomenclature (E-V38) that he is known. Let’s call him Oduduwa! This is his family tree.


Haplogroup DE-YAP is the progenitor of haplogroup E. He was born in East Africa in the then moist Saharan savanah. The Sahara was once an abundant garden,with lush fields of green grasslands, forest and swamp areas that watered the lands. It was filled with wild life and the people there hunted with bow and arrow. DE-YAP was of Cushite origin primarily Ethiopian. Let’s call him Ounania. The Ounanian culture occupied the Sahara from 8500 B.C. In the region of the eastern Sahara from that period broad portions of Egypt, Chad, Libya and the Sudan experienced a gradual onslaught of humidity and people followed the rains as land became arable. Around, 10,500 years ago monsoon rains pelted the desert and transformed it into a savanah environment that lasted a few hundred years.

The unique thing about our most distant paternal ancestor Ouanania is he was  born with the YAP insertion in his genetic make-up, it’s caused when a strand of DNA called ALU copies itself and then inserts a copy into  the Y chromosome. When a Y chromosome has the YAP insertion  the mutation is called Y positive. Our distant father’s arrival in Western Africa nearly removed the earlier haplogroups A1b, A2, A3 ,and B-M60 that are so common in populations such as the Mbuti and Khoisan speakers.

Winters C. Origin of the Niger-Congo Speakers. WebmedCentral GENETICS 2012; 3(3):WMC00314

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