Calif. Families McBride/McCormack/McKenzie DNA Bryan Sykes DNA testing of the MacDonald Clan

An Oxford University scientist (Bryan Sykes) has traced the Y-chromosome, which determines maleness, of the founder of Clan Donald - the great Somerled of Argyll, who was born around 1100 and drove out the Viking invaders.

He and researcher Jayne Nicholson had taken thousands of DNA samples from men in the Highlands and Western Isles, and spotted a group that stood out.

They were at first puzzled, then Miss Nicholson looked at the donors' names. These revealed that among the men with the identical Y-chromosomes were MacDonalds, MacAlisters and MacDougalls.

He approached Lord Godfrey Macdonald, Sir Ian Macdonald of Sleat, Ranald MacDonald of Clan Ranald, William McAlester of Loup and Ranald MacDonnell of Glengary, enclosing a DNA brush.

The result was conclusive: 'They all shared the same chromosome. There was now no dought we had identified the legacy of Somerled.'

Now the only one whose lineage is in doubt is Somerled himself. Tradition says he descended from the ancient Irish kings - but Prof. Sykes says the chromosome proves his Norse ancestry.
Source: The Norse Code Article by Neil Macphail in the Main on Sunday, 28th September 2003. Post to on

Is Genghis Khan an Ancestor? - Bryan Sykes testing - Article at NY Times.
Heritage & Culture article at 2005.
Mark MacDonald, Administrator of the Clan Donald USA DNA Project has deduced the founder genetic signature of Colla Uais.
Adam's Curse: A Future Without Men, by Bryan Sykes, describes some of the MacDonald testing.

Updated June 8, 2007