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Review of Science Writing and News Reports on DNA Testing and Popular Genetics

Elvis DNA

Monday, September 12, 2011

For Bobbi Bacha of Blue Moon Investigations it was the chance of a lifetime. Attending a celebrity auction more than a decade ago, she put in the winning bid for some blood and semen stained sheets. Nearly 20 years old, but carefully preserved, they were reputed to come from the hotel room where Elvis Presley stayed on his Farewell Tour in 1977. She won't tell us how much she paid but says, "I could have bought a comfortable medium-sized home."

Bacha is no stranger to high-profile mysteries, crimes and misdemeanors. Part Cherokee, she is also of verifiable Melungeon descent. "As you know," she told us from her swanky glass headquarters building in Houston, "Nevil Wayland is my grandfather, and it was he who first coined the term Melungeon." We didn't know, but we soon got an earful. "We believe his wife was the daughter of Chief Red Bird as his son was the Scribe to Chief Red Bird.  Nevil built the first church in Arkansas after the family told of a great war against the Indians and he took them to Arkansas and built Stoney Creek Church. That's the name of it."

Bacha has also been in the movies, or at least her character has. The plucky Texas private eye is played by actress Sela Ward in “Suburban Madness.” This film is based on the real-life story of Clara Harris, convicted February 2003 of killing her cheating orthodontist husband by repeatedly running him over with the family Mercedes. Bacha was an eyewitness.

So what of Bacha's expensive sheet set? She tried for years to extract DNA, to no avail. The discipline had some growing up to do. Finally, she contacted DNA Consultants. Through the efforts of laboratory director Lars Mouritsen in Salt Lake City, we were able to succeed where others had failed. We obtained the first DNA profile, Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA results for what everyone believed was a thirty-year-old sample of the King.

The alleged Elvis sample turned out to have a Cherokee-specific form of mitochondrial haplogroup B on the mother's side and a Scottish Y chromosome on the father's. The autosomal profile confirmed these results with high matches for American Indian populations, Scotland and Spain.

There was not a high match for Melungeon, however, or Jewish . . . but wait! You'll have to read the whole story in Donald Yates' new book, where it is included in the DNA chapter, along with the results of our Cherokee DNA Studies.

The title of the book is The Cherokee Anomaly:  How DNA, Ancient Alphabets and Religion Explain America's Largest Indian Nation. It will be published by McFarland & Co. next year, with an introductory note by Cyclone Covey, foreword by Richard Mack Bettis, maps, figures and illustrations covering the entire history of the Cherokee from the third century BCE to the nineteenth century.

More information about Melungeons
Toward a Genetic Profile of Melungeons in Southern Appalachia
Melungeon Studies
Melungeon Match


Bobbi Bacha commented on 12-Sep-2011 05:19 PM

My grandfather Nevil will be very proud !!!!! The Waylands meet every year at Stoney Brook its a pilgrimage for my family and also at Wayland Arbor. Stoney Brook was the first church of mixed race and Nevil and his wife and their son built it along with
Nevil's Indian friend and families ! There is a story in my family that Nevil was a great Indian Fighter turned Indian Lover after seeing a great massacre in Virgina. We believe it was Chief Redbird's tribe. Tale is a woman a female daughter saved the rest
of the tribe. Nevil's wife ? Zekiah was her name I believe.

Jay in Phoenix commented on 07-Oct-2011 11:57 PM

I read with some interest the article on Elvis's DNA in the recent newsletter. It made me think of the fact that there are several people claiming to be his biological children, conceived in various alleged liaisons of Presley. If he was as promiscuous
as the article indicates, then some if not all of these claims could be valid. I wonder if these claimants are aware of your research. It could settle the question once and for all. Here's an article about one of them, who apparently tried to get DNA off that
sheet previously, before your more advanced approach was used: http://blog.mlive.com/bradosphere/2008/09/man_still_hunting_to_see_if_el.html Here is his blog: http://www.iselvismydad.blogspot.com/ His posts there show that for years he has been trying to use
DNA to settle the question of his parentage, but he hasn't been able to get an adequate sample.

Bobbi Bacha commented on 18-Jan-2012 12:44 PM

In response to Jay in Phoenix I agree that this DNA may help many that may be of blood relation to Elvis. I get calls all the time to compare or match to the Elvis DNA that we have uncovered. In teh 1950's birth control was not available. I was born in
1959 and it was as a result of no ready birth control Im told. The math implications could be endless but lelts just say Elvis slept with 1 different female each week for ten years prior to marriage and birth control. He possibly could have a child by each
woman every month which would mean 12 children a year times ten years leaving the possibility of over 120 children. Some could have been lost at birth or back room aborted and others born and adopted out. An adopted child would have no legal connection to
Elvis but would none the less be his blood. On a conservative note If Elvis slept with 1 woman a month the odds would go down but reports are as many as five women a week and therefore the number of possible children rise. People must remember that Elvis was
a modern day Pharoh, women were wanting to be with him and have his children. I dont think we have had that happen often in our modern times but Elvis was someone that definately had many women in his bed but I doubt only a handful ever held his heart. I get
many calls from people claiming to be a child of Elvis and this could definately be the best way to determine relations. Cross testing this DNA would be very interesting even in answer to the Melungeon question. This would be a very interesting project indeed
and it may actually help some lost souls searching for thier parentage.

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