Eddie Izzard - Wikipedia
Edward John Izzard is an English stand-up comedian, actor, writer and political activist. Izzard's mother died of cancer when Izzard was six and his brother, Mark, He has appeared in a number of episodes of BBC 1's Have I Got News For . met while she was running a Fringe venue at the Edinburgh Festival in Eddie Izzard's Photo Eddie Izzard, Marathon Man, Transgender, Toast, . Eddie Izzard's, photo,"Out running in Cardiff Bay, just down from Penarth Eddie Visits Nelson Mandela's prison cell - Eddie Izzard: Marathon Man - BBC Three - YouTube .. Meet The Izzards Eddie Izzard on an epic journey in a new travelogue for. Meet the Izzards is a two-part documentary broadcast by the BBC in February in which the .. This clip can be seen on YouTube.
Debbie Kennett was invited by Sense about Science to blog on their website clarifying this point and correcting some inaccurate media coverage of the guide. Briefly, the principal criticisms in the guide apply to claims about an individual's ancestry based only on uniparentally-inherited sections of DNA Y-chromosome or mtDNA.
These genetic systems can provide some indication of the history of populations, but say little about individual ancestry. Ancestry inferences from Y-chromosome or mtDNA are often much less convincing or specific than is widely believed, or claimed by ancestry testing companies.Meet the Izzards 2 Father
However, when used in conjunction with other evidence, say from historical documents, uniparental data can be used to provide support for genealogical relationships among individuals. Even the normally-very-good Michael Mosley was somehow induced to participate in a meaningless stunt promoting the names given by BritainsDNA to haplogroups: This was a good effort, but it was the BBC's only counterbalance to the large number of scientifically dubious interviews, articles and shows inspired by Britain's DNA.
They set up a Senate investigation panel, who concluded that parts of the solicitor's letter were " The story was well-covered by The Saint student paperdespite attempts to bully them, as reported in Nature.
Meet the Izzards
Debbie Kennett puts the record straight: The Wikipedia editors stood up against a determined campaign to stifle the story entirely, but they lost the battle for fair coverage.
The current version says for example that Moffat's claims in the Today interview amounted to "a couple of inaccurate statements" and it also makes the partisan and inaccurate claim that MGT and DJB "attacked There is no mention of the upholding of complaints by St Andrews University and the BBC, and the article lacks links to the extensive coverage of the story in the media, particularly in The Saint and also The Sunday Times.
The article also fails to mention Moffat's previous unsuccessful libel action. The Wikipedia article says "The content of messages has never been published and is disputed between the various parties. There was no response. The ancestor at the centre of this story was recorded as being an Armenian woman living in India, but BritainsDNA claimed to prove that she was Indian rather than Armenian, despite not saying whether or not there were any Armenians in their databases.
This story is debunked by Debbie Kennett, who also points out the shameful blending of news and advertising by The Times, and also by Razib Kahn in Discover Magazine. Apparently, other news organisations are by now beginning to wake up to the flood of phoney press releases from BritainsDNA: The BBC at last began to show some judgment, and gave the story limited coverage. He also made the extraordinary claim that "farming changed the world because of the invention of porridge" based on the mistaken assumption that the duration of breastfeeding was reduced with the adoption of farming.
A recording of the talk is available online. A Genetic Journey is published. Of note is that it contains no mention of the genetics expert at BritainsDNA, Jim Wilson, who had previously been advertised as a co-author. Moffat alone has no credibility as a geneticist, as was shown by the Radio 4 interview that started this saga. The launch was accompanied by the now familiar misleading press coverage disguising the commercial nature of the enterprise as a "project" to determine the ancestral origins of the Welsh.
Celebrities were once again recruited to advertise the company, and fanciful stories were told about their ancestry. It was claimed that Dafydd Iwan, the former President of Plaid Cymru, is " descended from ancient Welsh-speaking kings who once ruled England ". In what appears to be a serious misuse of public funds they are broadcasting a series of programmes which will serve as a promotional tool for the company. Genetic genealogists realise the limitations of the tests but still form an emotional attachment with their Y-line or mtDNA line, in the same way that genealogists often develop a particular interest in a specific surname or a particular ancestor in their family tree, so I think such an approach is valid.
The first programme started with Eddie providing his DNA sample "for science" and focused on the results of his mitochondrial DNA test which tells the story of his matrilineal ancestors. Eddie's mother died when he was six years old, and so the opportunity to explore his female line was of particular interest to him. Eddie started his genetic journey in Africa, which is where mitochondrial Evethe most recent common ancestor of all living humans on the mtDNA line, is thought to have lived.
Out of Africa
The first genetic cousins he met were the San Bushmen who live on the edge of the Kalahari desert in Namibia. These are one of the last remaining peoples to preserve the hunter gatherer lifestyle practised by our distant ancestors, and Eddie was given a taste of the hunting and gathering lifestyle. Eddie was told by Dr Jim Wilson that the point at which his line connected with his African cousins occurred aroundyears ago. I have been unable to verify how such a precise date was calculated but it should be noted that there are considerable uncertainties over the date of mitochondrial Eve.
Indeed, two studies published last year, albeit after the programme had aired, produced wildly differing estimates. Eddie's next significant marker was the N branch haplogroup of the mtDNA tree. Haplogroup N is not found in Africa today but is prevalent in Arabia, and possibly points to the place where modern humans first left Africa 60, years ago.
The programme did not make clear that these proposed journeys are highly speculative and have not been scientifically proven. Nevertheless Eddie was transported to the small country of Djibouti to see for himself the possible route that his ancestors might have taken, a spot which is the lowest place in Africa and where the sea is saltier than the Dead Sea.
From here it is just 35 kilometres across the sea to the Arabian country of Yemen where "it is thought that modern humans first stepped out of Africa". Bizarrely Yemen is the country where Eddie was born, though political unrest prevented Eddie from seeing his birthplace.
Eddie's journey jumped forward 42, years to look at the T2 branch of Eddie's mtDNA tree which is thought to have originated around 18, years ago, and is today most common in the Middle East and Turkey. We were told that Eddie's ancestors probably moved north up the Fertile Crescent to Turkey and were there for the birth of agriculture about 10, years ago, which provided a good excuse for Eddie to travel to the Black Sea coast in Turkey to learn how agriculture and the domestication of animals transformed our lives.
The programme then took a very confusing turn. Rather than focusing on the mitochondrial line we had a digression into autosomal DNA to learn about the development of a genetic change which occurred in most Europeans which allows them to digest milk. There was also a brief discussion of how Eddie Izzard came to have blue eyes, another trait which is inherited autosomally.
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We were told that the most up-to-date research from a team of researchers at the University of Copenhagen had found that everyone with blue eyes can be traced back to one person who lived on the Black Sea coast 10, years ago. This appears to be a reference to the study by Eiberg et al which discovered a set of SNPs in " blue-eyed individuals from Denmark, and in 5 and 2 blue-eyed individuals from Turkey and Jordan" that were suggestive of a common founder mutation.
It is therefore somewhat premature to draw conclusions at this stage on the geographical origin of a specific trait. The next stage of the journey took Eddie to Istanbul on the pretext that his ancestors would most likely have travelled to Europe across the Bosphorous Straits, the narrow stretch of water which separates Asia and Europe.
It transpired that Eddie's parents spent their honeymoon in Istanbul, and he was given the opportunity to stay in the very same room that they shared. He was then whisked off to Pompeii where he was introduced to the skeletons of some of his "genetic cousins" who died in 79 AD after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Geneticists were able to extract DNA from the teeth of the skeletons. Although not explained very clearly in the programme the reason for the diversion to Pompeii is that some of the skeletons were thought to belong to haplogroup T2b, a sister branch of Eddie Izzard's own mtDNA haplogroup.
The letters T2f2a1 flashed up on the screen and although the word haplogroup was not mentioned these letters referred to Eddie Izzard's haplogroup assignment. A test covering such a small number of markers is not going to be sufficient to provide such a detailed haplogroup assignment so we must presume that the mtDNA testing was not done by BritainsDNA.
Eddie Izzard was told that T2f21a confusingly described as a "marker" dates back about years, or fewer than 70 generations ago. Jim Wilson then went on to inform Eddie that his "mother's mother's mother's people were Vikings". Eddie was promptly despatched to a Viking port in Denmark to meet a Danish brother and sister who share his marker or more specifically his T2f21a haplogroup.
A somewhat absurd conversation followed whereby Eddie and the two Danes tried to find some traits and interests in common.
Cruwys news: BritainsDNA, the BBC and Eddie Izzard
As Eddie and the Dane are only very distantly related through their mitochondrial DNA any traits they share in common will be purely by chance rather than through a shared genetic inheritance. Continuing with the Viking theme Eddie was put into a replica Viking longboat to recreate the journey his supposed Viking ancestors would have made to Britain.
Haplogroups do tend to cluster in specific geographical locations but the mtDNA of living people is not necessarily representative of the DNA of past populations, and it is simply not possible to determine that a specific ancestor from years ago was a Viking, a Norman, a Celt or any other such tribe. Jim Wilson also conveniently overlooked the fact that there was no such group known as the Vikings years ago! Only four matches were found.
We were informed that they shared a maternal line ancestor within the last to years. However, Eddie was told that he has a "unique motherline marker" so I presume that his sequence was not an exact match with that of the sisters.
With one mismatch the common ancestor could have lived well over years ago. Nevertheless, Eddie proceeded to share a cup of tea with the sisters while they discussed their shared "Viking" heritage. The sisters had considered themselves to be Anglo-Saxons and were therefore somewhat surprised to be told that they were "Vikings"! It is a pity that they were not informed that if you go back just a few thousand years we all have so many ancestors that we will invariably have multiple ancestors who were Vikings, Anglo-Saxons or indeed any other group that takes our fancy.
Meet the Izzards Part 2: The Dad's Line The second programme began with Eddie visiting his father in Bexhill-on-Sea and reviewing his father's genealogical research. SpanishGerman, French and English. In JulyIzzard received an honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of East Anglia, Norwichfor "pro-Europe campaigning", "his contribution to promoting modern languages and tolerance of other cultures and lifestyles", and for having "transcended national barriers" with his humour.
Izzard appeared in literature to support changing the British electoral system from first-past-the-post to alternative vote for electing Members of Parliament to the House of Commons in the Alternative Vote referendum in During his time at the university he established the now-defunct Alternative Productions Society in the Union of Students with the aim of promoting fringe-based arts. During an interview for the Stripped tour, he spoke about becoming more active in European politics as well as running for political office in Europe within the next decade.
Izzard added a stop in New Orleans during his Stripped tour. In Septemberhe declared his ambition to stand for the party in the future as an MPMEPor Mayor of London announcing an intention to stand for the London mayoral election in He ran from London to Cardiff to Belfast to Edinburgh and back to London, carrying the flag of the country — England, Scotland, or Wales — in which he was running.
In Northern Ireland he carried a self-designed green flag bearing a white dove. The blog Eddie Iz Running documented his 43 marathons in 51 days, covering at least 27 miles per day totaling more than 1, milesending on 15 September Izzard completed his first marathon on 23 February. He attempted such a project in South Africa inbut withdrew with health concerns.
Because he had spent one day in hospital, he had to run two consecutive marathons on this last day.