... one of the most significant findings of the Human Genome Project: that human beings have only (approximately) 20,000 genes.
Let’s do some math. You share exactly 1/2 of your genetic material with either of your parents. Move to an individual a generation back, and that person shares only 1/4 of your genetic material with you. You see what’s coming? How many generations back do you think you have to go before you pass the 1/20,000 threshold? The answer is that you share virtually no genetic material with your ancestors who were contemporaries of Christopher Columbus. Let me repeat that in more general terms: you are no more genetically related to your distant ancestors than you are to any randomly selected individual from anywhere on the planet. On the other hand, you do share an astonishingly high (compared to other species) percentage of your genetic material with virtually every person now living or who has ever lived.
So what does this mean in terms of tribal lineage? The blog writer draws this conclusion:
This means that being the literal, biological descendants of Abraham, or Noah, or Ham, or Seth, or Cain, or Adam is meaningless. Meaningless in the sense that, well so what — everyone else is too; and meaningless in the sense that you are not any more genetically related to any of them any more than you are to anyone else.
So really, we're all the tribe of Dan and the tribe of Ephraim, genetically speaking. Now if you read the entire article (which I highly recommend), you see that these conclusions don't automatically mean OH NOES! THE CHURCH ISN'T TRUE!! You really have to draw your own conclusions, but I like where the blog author goes with this. It makes the sudden blood transformation I pictured when I first heard this doctrine a little less dramatic. But it allows for a lot of 'what if' speculation that people like me love to think about, and most gospel doctrine teachers dread.
So what if that stake patriarch from my Young Women's class was right, and lineage really is like hair color or eye color? If we really are genetic descendants from every tribe (that has descendants), what determines dominant and recessive "tribe" genetics? Does that give new or different meaning to the literal gathering of Israel? I will quickly expose the limit of my knowledge on lineage doctrine and genetics pretty quickly if I keep going with the what ifs, so I'll stop. I guess this whole lineage thing still fascinates me, and this article just renewed my interest in it.