DNA

CES Letter Core Question

Do we know the DNA of those mentioned in the Book of Mormon? Should it be Asian DNA?

DNA analysis has concluded that Native American Indians do not originate from the Middle East or from Israelites but rather from Asia. Why did the Church change the following section of the introduction page in the 2006 edition Book of Mormon, shortly after the DNA results were released?

...the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indiansto...the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians

UPDATE: The Church conceded in its January 2014 Book of Mormon and DNA Studies essay that the majority of Native Americans carry largely Asian DNA. The Church, through this essay, makes a major shift in narrative from its past dominant narrative and claims of the origins of the Native American Indians.

CES Letter, Page 11

The recent criticisms against the Book of Mormon and DNA are better classified as propaganda rather than scientifically based discoveries.

In order to imply that DNA studies contradict the claims of the Book of Mormon, critics embrace extremely narrow interpretations of the Book of Mormon text that are not justified. The criticisms break down when the the claims are placed in an historical setting.

Recent research published in the National Geographic by Brian Handwerk declares: "Nearly one-third of Native American genes come from west Eurasian people linked to the Middle East and Europe, rather than entirely from East Asians as previously thought, according to a newly sequenced genome." Click Here 

Another separate study demonstrates that DNA that was present as recent as 500 years ago on the American continent could be completely lost in today's indigenous inhabitants. Researchers  "sequenced 92 whole mitochondrial genomes from pre-Columbian South American skeletons dating from 8.6 to 0.5 ka [8600 to 500 B.C.E], allowing a detailed, temporally calibrated reconstruction of the peopling of the Americas in a Bayesian coalescent analysis. . . All of the ancient mitochondrial lineages detected in this study were absent from modern data sets, suggesting a high extinction rate."  (Bastien Llamas, et al, "Ancient mitochondrial DNA provides high-resolution time scale of the peopling of the Americas," Science Advances,  [Accessed April 6, 2016].)

Critics who demand that Lehi's DNA be detectable today possess unrealistic expectations and are uninformed. See also Bec Crew, "Girl mummy reveals how early American lineages were wiped out by European migration."

Scientific studies also indicate that the Americas were populated with so many people in 600 BC that the DNA of one family would have changed nothing.

Despite the claims of several publications, no genetic studies have been designed or performed to identify the original DNA genome of the Lehites. Consequently, claims that they never inhabited this continent are based upon speculation.

It is impossible to accurately identify the DNA sequencing that could be used to positively identify individuals of Jewish ancestry despite its easily identifiable social grouping through the ages. The Lehites were not Jewish, and discovering their exact genome would be even more difficult.

Lehi’s colony comprise perhaps two dozen members. That they might have had a detectable impact in the gene pool already existing on this continent is naïve.


 Additional Resources:

Statements by 20th century Church leaders regarding the relationship between native Americans and Lehi 

FAIRMORMON: The Book of Mormon and DNA

Does DNA evidence refute the Book of Mormon by Jeff Lindsay

“DNA and the Book of Mormon,” from LDS.org

“The Book of Mormon and the Origin of Native Americans from a Maternally Inherited DNA Standpoint,” by Ugo Perego

The Tempest in a Teapot: DNA Studies and the Book of Mormon by Brant Gardner

DNA and the Book of Mormon: A Phylogenetic Perspective –  by Michael F. Whiting

DNA and the Book of Mormon –  by David G. Stewart Jr.

DNA and the Book of Mormon (2006 FAIR Conference) by David Stewart

DNA and the Book of Mormon by Greg Kearney

DNA and the Book of Mormon by J. Cooper Johnson

DNA and the Book of Mormon (2005 FAIR Conference) by Ryan Parr

Dr. Scott Woodward: DNA and the Book of Mormon by Dr. Scott Woodward

Is an Historical Book of Mormon Incompatible with DNA Science? (PDF) by Michael Ash

Nephi’s Neighbors: Book of Mormon Peoples and Pre-Columbian Populations (2003 FAIR Conference) by Matthew Roper

The Book of Mormon and the Origin of Native Americans from a Maternally Inherited DNA Standpoint by Ugo Perego

The Children of Lehi: DNA and the Book of Mormon (2003 FAIR Conference) by D. Jeffrey Meldrum

Who Are the Lamanites? (PDF) by Michael Ash

Addressing Questions surrounding the Book of Mormon and DNA Research –  by John M. Butler

“A Nation Now Extinct,” American Indian Origin Theories as of 1820: Samuel L. Mitchill, Martin Harris, and the New York Theory –  by Richard E. Bennett

A Few Thoughts From a Believing DNA Scientist –  by John M. Butler

Before DNA –  by John L. Sorenson, Matthew Roper

Detecting Lehi’s Genetic Signature: Possible, Probable, or Not? –  by David A. McClellan

How Many Nephites?: The Book of Mormon at the Bar of Demography byJames E. Smith

Nephi’s Neighbors: Book of Mormon Peoples and Pre-Columbian Populations –  by Matthew Roper

New Light: The Problematic Role of DNA Testing in Unraveling Human History –  by John L. Sorenson

Often in Error, Seldom in Doubt: Rod Meldrum and Book of Mormon DNA –  by Gregory L. Smith

Prolegomena to the DNA Articles –  by Daniel C. Peterson

The Book of Mormon and the Origin of Native Americans from a Maternally Inherited DNA Standpoint –  by Ugo A. Perego

The Lamanites Portrayed in the Book of Mormon –  by Sidney B. Sperry

Who Are the Children of Lehi? –  by D. Jeffrey Meldrum, Trent D. Stephens

Is Decrypting the Genetic Legacy of America’s Indigenous Populations Key to the Historicity of the Book of Mormon?, Ugo E. Perego and Jayne E. Ekins

Adding Up the Book of Mormon Peoples by Steven J. Danderson

DNA and the Book of Mormon by David Stewart

Best of Fair 8: DNA and the Book of Mormon

FAIR Issues 49: More Limitations in Book of Mormon DNA study, Michael R. Ash

FAIR Issues 50: Book of Mormon DNA issue one of science, not theology, Michael R. Ash

FAIR Issues 46: Who were Nephites scattered and smitten by?

FAIR Issues 47: Using DNA to prove or disprove the Book of Mormon

FAIR Issues 48: Founder effect, genetic drift, bottlenecks and the Book of Mormon, Michael R. Ash

FAIR Issues 52: Do Mormon scientists have competency on Book of Mormon DNA, Michael R. Ash

FAIR Issues 53: Does DNA prove or disprove the historicity of the Book of Mormon, Michael R. Ash

Mormon Fair-Cast 211: What has the Church said about DNA studies and the Book of Mormon?

Mormon FAIR-Cast 132: The Book of Mormon and New World DNA

Mormon FAIR-Cast 103: Does DNA Research Disprove the Book of Mormon?

Mormon FAIR-Cast 111: More on DNA Evidence and the Book of Mormon

pt 1, Nephi’s Neighbors, Others in The Book of Mormon

pt 2, Nephi’s Neighbors, Others in The Book of Mormon

pt 3, Nephi’s Neighbors, Others in The Book of Mormon

pt 4, Nephi’s Neighbors, Others in The Book of Mormon

pt 5, Nephi’s Neighbors, Others in The Book of Mormon

pt 6, Nephi’s Neighbors, Others in The Book of Mormon

Part 1 The Book of Mormon and New World DNA

Part 2 The Book of Mormon and New World DNA

Part 3 The Book of Mormon and New World DNA

The Book of Mormon and New World DNA

pt 1 Daniel C. Peterson on DNA and the Book of Mormon

pt 2 Daniel C. Peterson on DNA and the Book of Mormon

pt 3 Daniel C. Peterson on DNA and the Book of Mormon

pt 4 Daniel C. Peterson on DNA and the Book of Mormon

pt 5 Daniel C. Peterson on DNA and the Book of Mormon

pt 6 Daniel C. Peterson on DNA and the Book of Mormon

pt 1- DNA and The Book of Mormon

pt 2- DNA and The Book of Mormon

pt 3- DNA and The Book of Mormon

pt 4- DNA and The Book of Mormon

pt 5- DNA and The Book of Mormon

pt 6- DNA and The Book of Mormon

pt 1 The Children of Lehi: DNA and the Book of Mormon

pt 2 The Children of Lehi: DNA and the Book of Mormon

pt 3 The Children of Lehi: DNA and the Book of Mormon

pt 4 The Children of Lehi: DNA and the Book of Mormon

pt 5 The Children of Lehi: DNA and the Book of Mormon

pt 6 The Children of Lehi: DNA and the Book of Mormon

Book of Mormon No Jewish DNA

Cohen Haplotype and the DNA argument

DNA and The Book of Mormon by Dr. Ryan Parr

DNA and The Book of Mormon clip, part 1

DNA and The Book of Mormon Explained full-length video

Hebrew DNA among Mayan populations?

Populating the Americas: DNA and The Book of Mormon

Problems with DNA Being Used as Evidence Against The Book of Mormon

Origin of the Native Americans (full-length)