Joseph Smith prophesied ASHG 2012

By Razib Khan | September 6, 2012 12:19 am

The ASHG 2012 website says that their abstract search feature will go online “on/after September 6, 2012.” It’s 13 minutes after on the west coast of the USA as I write this, so I guess after? So I decided to double-check the teasers where you can page through authors last name by last name. Under “A” there was this entry that intrigued me:

I Googled the author.  The first hit really surprised me, I guess I can connect the dots for the rest of the poster. Because of the Nephites, Jaredites, and all the other mythological peoples in the Book of Mormon I can see how Saints are motivated to tease apart the genealogy of Amerindian populations. I don’t think they’ll find what they’re looking for, but if it furthers science I can’t complain too much.



  • TonyGrimes

    Lots of Mormons seem to be obsessed with Bigfoot.

  • Razib Khan
  • B.B.

    Razib Khan Says:
    is this for real?

    Looks like it. The Journal of Mormon History looks to be open access if anyone wishes to read:

  • Dm

    I can see how Saints are motivated to tease apart the genealogy of Amerindian populations. I don’t think they’ll find what they’re looking for, but if it furthers science I can’t complain too much

    The first “not finding it” aha! moment already transpired 5 years ago, and resulted in a change in the preamble to the BoM no less. It used to say that the Lamanites are the main ancestors of the American Indians, but from then on, it just says that the Lamanites are one of their ancestors (no longer the ancestors).

  • Slim

    I’m a Mormon, but I agree with you that I don’t think that these scientists will find what they are looking for. I think that many of us who use the Book of Mormon make too many assumptions about Lamanite DNA.

    The Book of Mormon says that Lehi and Ishmael were from the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim. Is it even reasonable to assume the DNA of their descendants 2,600 years later will resemble modern Jewish DNA?

    In any case, for those that believe that the Book of Mormon is true, the lack of middle-eastern DNA gives support for the “limited geography” theory of the Book of Mormon– that there was a large existing population that mixed with Lehi’s descendants and the Nephite and Lamanite cultures only existed in a small portion of the Americas. My question is how big would the pre-existing population have to be to totally drown out Lehi’s DNA? Are there examples of this happening elsewhere?

    As far as Bigfoot goes, I’ve only heard that once in my life. Probably only a small minority of us are obsessed with Bigfoot, but I think that linked article from the Journal of Mormon History does describe the folklore accurately. But folklore isn’t the same as doctrine, and I’m pretty sure Cain died thousands of years ago.

  • Dm

    #5 The specific problem with both modern Native Americans and modern Jews is that both groups underwent substantial bottlenecks, and therefore, some of the ancestral diversity is lost to drift in both groups. Then specifically wrt Native Americans, they may have a more recent – but ancient still – admixture from the early colonial Spanish settlers, many of whom had Sephardic Jewish or Morisco roots, and it complicates interpretation of any Mid Eastern matches. Moreover, the tribes have their own ancestral myths too, and few may be willing to lend their DNA to testing Mormon vs. Native ancestral myths.

    Otherwise two and half millennia isn’t too bad. The Hispanos of NM, or the Indians of South Asia, frequently share the same “Jewish” snippet of BRCA1 gene as all the other peoples tracing their descent back to the enprisonment of Babylon. And of course even older blocks are found in the genomes, like the famous Denisovan admixture in Papua.

  • Dr. Warren Smith

    There is a better reason to anticipate that the Native American DNA will not yield what some Mormons are anticipating — the narrative in the Book of Mormon indicates that God changed the skin color of the “Lamanites” to differentiate them from the “Nephites” (with both groups being non-Jews to begin with) and that this change was handed down from generation to generation. How would a diety do such a thing? To the 21st-century critic, one would assume that it can only be done through a change in DNA. The faithful must assume that the DNA itself was changed. I don’t know why any Mormon would anticipate a similarity to Jewish DNA.

  • Laurence shore

    no idea what this is about but yes it has been shown that the 150 samaratins left have the gene from ephraim and menasheh very similar to the Jewish y gene. many years ago i saw that there should be about 40 million people today with this gene about 13 million are still Jewish.


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Gene Expression

This blog is about evolution, genetics, genomics and their interstices. Please beware that comments are aggressively moderated. Uncivil or churlish comments will likely get you banned immediately, so make any contribution count!

About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


See More


RSS Razib’s Pinboard

Edifying books

Collapse bottom bar