Gedrosia and our DNA

Attribution: Fielding Lucas, Jr. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This post is partly an excuse to upload and store the above creative commons image.  My Y-DNA terminal SNP (L-SK1414) twin was a Balochi speaker in Makran, SW Pakistan.  In classical times, Makran was located in the Kingdom of Gedrosia.  It's almost ironic that an open source range of autosomal DNA testers on GEDmatch have been named after Gedrosia.

Gedrosia was a dry, mountainous country along the northwestern shores of the Indian Ocean.  The indigenous name for Gedrosia is thought to have been Gwadar.  It was conquered by the Persian king Cyrus the Great (559-530 BC). The capital of Gedrosia was Pura, which may survive today as modern Bampûr.  In 326 BC, The Macedonian king, Alexander the Great disastrously crossed the Gedrosian Desert, on the return from his campaign in India, and lost 12,000 of his men to the savage conditions.

Image of Gwadar Bay by wetlandsofpakistan (Gwadar - West Bay) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

So, although the GedrosiaDNA GEDmatch heritage calculators may have little to do with the legendary land that may have been host to my Y ancestors, out of interest, how do our atDNA test results tally with the GedrosiaDNA calculators?  These calculators are designed to measure Ancient Eurasian Admixture.

My results (using an FT-DNA raw file) against those of my mother (23andMe raw file).

My Eurasia K9 ASI Oracle:

  • 39% Western Hunter-Gatherer
  • 27% Early Neolithic Farmer
  • 15% Eastern Hunter-Gatherer
  • 12% Caucasus Hunter-Gatherer
  • 7% SW Asian
  • 1% Siberian East Asian

Mother's Eurasia K9 ASI Oracle:

  • 40% Western Hunter-Gatherer
  • 26% Early Neolithic Farmer
  • 14% Eastern Hunter-Gatherer
  • 12% Caucasus Hunter-Gatherer
  • 6% SW Asian
  • 1% Siberian East Asian

My Gedrosia K3 Oracle:

  • 97.5% West Eurasian
  • 2.5% East Eurasian

Mother's Gedrosia K3 Oracle:

  • 96% West Eurasian
  • 4% East Eurasian

My Gedrosia K15 Oracle:

  • 40% Western Hunter-Gatherer
  • 25% Early European Farmer
  • 21% Caucasus
  • 5% Burusho
  • 5% SW Asian
  • 3% Balochi
  • 1% Siberian

Mother's Gedrosia K15 Oracle:

  • 40% Western Hunter-Gatherer
  • 24% Early European Farmer
  • 18% Caucasus
  • 4% Burusho
  • 3% Kalash
  • 2% Siberian
  • 1% Balochi

My Ancient Eurasia K6 Oracle:

  • 40% West European Hunter-Gatherer
  • 39% Natufian
  • 21% Ancient North Eurasian
  • 1% East Asian

Mother's Ancient Eurasia K6 Oracle:

  • 41% West European Hunter-Gatherer
  • 38% Natufian
  • 19% Ancient North Eurasian
  • 2% Ancient South Eurasian
  • 1% East Asian


We both appear to have inherited around 40% of our DNA from ancient Western (European) Hunter-Gatherer populations, nothing unexpected there.  Western Hunter-Gatherers not only lived in Europe, but appear to have contributed to some later Eurasian populations such as the Yamnaya and Early European Farmers.

We both have low counts of Ancient North Eurasian - particularly my mother, who scores only 19% ANE (Upper-Paleolithic genomes from the Lake Baikal region of Siberia, identified as Malta, Afontogora 2, and Afontogora 3, dated to 17 to 24 kya).  It has been noted during online discussions, that the English appear to have slightly lower percentages of ANE than do their close neighbours.  ANE is sometimes used to indicate Yamnaya ancestry (ANE was a component), that spread from the Eurasian Steppes into Western Europe during the Early Bronze Age.

I have 3% Balochi compared to 1% Balochi for my mother.  It may mean nothing, but it could just perhaps indicate something in the autosomes that associates on my paternal side with my Y-DNA story.  The indicators (particularly K15) suggest that I have more SW Asian ancestry, presumably from my paternal side - again, it just could associate with what we know about my Y haplogroup L-SK1414.

We have around 24-25% Early European Farmer ancestry, representing early Neolithic descendants of an admix of WHG and "Basal Eurasians".  This signal apparently peaks around 80% in modern Sardinians.  However, the "Natufian" reference are higher - 38-39%.  According to GEDmatch: "Natufian was an Epipaleolithic culture that existed from 12,500 to 9,500 BC in the area of Israel. They were derived about 50% from an original Out-of-Africa population, referred to as Basal Eurasians. If you are a European and show Natufian admixture, this does not imply that Natufians interacted with your ancestors. All it means is that Natufian like admixture was mediated to you via intermediaries, such as the early European Farmers from the Near East".  I'm not sure what to make of that.

The Other SK1414. My Cousin in Baluchistan

By Baluchistan on Flickr under a Creative Commons Licence. No, this young man is not the SK1414 tester, but the mandolinist in me found this photo kind of cool.  A young man from Makran.  The other SK1414 tester was also a male Makrani Baloch.

I'm hot on the trail of my Y or paternal line, following my FTDNA Y111 STR, then Big Y tests.  These tests analysed the DNA on my Y chromosome.  It is passed down strictly from father to biological sons.  the mutations (SNP and STR) that can be identified in the Y-DNA, can be used to assess relationship, and in some cases, to date the time of most recent common ancestry.  So, with the assistance of Gareth Henson, administrator of the FT-DNA Y haplogroup L Project, and with help from my new distant cousins, what have I learned over the past few weeks?

The Smoking Gun of Y-DNA

Between 45,000 and 13,000 years ago, my paternal ancestors most likely were hunter-gatherers, that lived in the region of what is now Iran and Iraq, during the last Ice Age.  Some sharp changes in glaciation, and cold extremes towards the end of that period, may have generated a number of adaptations, and subsequently, split new sub clades of my Y haplogroup L.

13,000 years ago (based on the Big Y test), I share a common paternal great x grandfather with a number of distant cousins, that descend from Pontic Greek families from the Trabzon region in Turkey.

Between 3,000 and 1,000 years ago (based on the less accurate STR evidence at 111 marker), I share common paternal great x grandfather with another cousin, who's paternal line Habibi, can be traced back to the 1850's in the town of Birjand, Southern Khorasan, Eastern Iran, close to the modern Afghanistan border.  This closer cousin now lives in Australia.

Human male karyotpe high resolution - Y chromosome

My Big Y test produced no less than 90 previously unrecorded or known SNP (pronounced "snip") mutations.  That might be because my Y-DNA is rare, or / and, that it is mainly found in parts of the World where very few people test at this level.  The last SNP on the roll that had been seen before, has been called SK1414.  Because now two of us have tested for this SNP, it is my terminal SNP, so at the moment (although it still has to be submitted to the YFull Tree), I can declare my Y haplogroup sub clade designation to be L-SK1414.  Only one of two so far recorded in the World.

So, who is this Y cousin that shares my SK1414 mutation?

My Baluchistan Cousin

By Baluchistan on Flickr under a Creative Commons Licence.  Another photo from Makran, Balochistan.

The other SK1414 turned up during an early survey, back in the early 2000s by the Human Genome Diversity Project.  It turned up in a sample of the Baluchi in Makran, South-west Pakistan.  Could this cousin be closer than the Habibi tester?  Could my Habibi cousin, from an eastern Iranian family also carry SK1414?

The Baluch, are an Iranic people, that speak Baluchi, an Iranian language that belongs, as do most European languages, to the Indo-European linguistic family.  According to the Iran Chamber Society website, they moved to Makran during the 12th Century AD.  Traditionally the Baluch claim that they originated in Syria, but a linguistic study has instead suggested that they actully originated from the south east of the Caspian region, and that they moved westwards between the 6th and 12th centuries AD in a series of waves.  No other Y sub clade L1b (L-M317) have been found in Southern Asia outside of two samples of this survey, so perhaps the tester did have ancestry from Western Asia.

Iran regions map fr

It would seem likely that I do have a number of Y cousins, most likely in the region of Eastern Iran and South-Western Pakistan.  That doesn't necessarily follow though, that our most recent common Y ancestors lived there.  As I said above, the Baluch of Makrani, Pakistan are said to have migrated from further north-west, from the Caspian Sea region.

There is a tentative suggestion of a link to the Parsi. A Portuguese STR tester with a genetic distance (based on 67 markers) of 22, has (thanks again Gareth) "a distinctive value of 10 at DYS393. In the Qamar paper this value is found in the Parsi population".  So there is just the possibility also, of the Parsi ethnicity carrying L1b from Western Asia into Southern Asia.  Perhaps this marker was picked up by a Portuguese seafarer link to Southern Asia.  It could even be the link to my English line, via the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance.  A lot of speculation.  I don't think that M317 has been found yet in India.

Into England

I have found STR links with four people that carry the surname Chandler.  They live in England, Australia, and the USA.  These cousins appear to descend from a Thomas Chandler, that lived in Basingstoke during the 1740s.  That is 32 miles away from my own contemporary surname ancestor, John Brooker, who lived at the same time at the village of Long Wittenham in the Thames Valley.

Unfortunately three of the Chandlers have only 12 markers tested, and the fourth at 37 markers.  Therefore time of most recent ancestor is not accurate, but it looks as the Chandler and Brooker Y hg L testers of Southern England, most likely shared a common paternal great x grandfather sometime between 800 and 350 years ago.

That only these two lines have turned up, and that they are geographically and genetically so close, might suggest that our Y-DNA lineage arrived in Southern England around the late medieval, perhaps from between the 13th and 17th centuries AD.  It could just be through a Portuguese navigator link, or it could be through thousands of other routes.  More L-M20 testers could turn up in England in the future, that could push the arrival to an earlier date.


I could have any number of cousins from south England.  The Brookers and Chandlers may well have other paternal line descendants living in the Thames Valley, Hampshire, London, or elsewhere.  I'd love to prove a Brooker from the Berkshire / Oxfordshire area, as sharing ancestry.  I believe for example, that the journalist Charlie Brooker descends from one of the Thames Valley families, although not necessarily from mine.  Do they carry the Y hg L?

My great great grandfather Henry Brooker, did not appear to have any more sons, other than my great grandfather John Henry Brooker - who in turn, only had one son, my grandfather Reginald John Brooker.

I have one Y haplogroup first cousin.  He has I believe, a son, and a grandson.