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From the NYT: DNA Tests Offer Immigrants Hope or Despair

dna2.JPGAlthough the article in today’s New York Times – “DNA Tests Offer Immigrants Hope or Despair” by Rachel L. Swarns – uses traditional paternity or maternity tests and not genetic genealogy tests, the emotional results of the tested can often be the same. What if DNA proves that your father isn’t your biological father? What happens when there is uncontestable proof that there was an NPE (non-paternal event) in your great-grandfather’s ancestry?

According to the article, federal officials in the Immigration Department are using “genetic testing to verify the biological bonds between new citizens and the overseas relatives they hope to bring here, particularly those from war-torn or developing countries where identity documents can be scarce or doctored.”

For example, Isaac has … Click to read more!

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23andMe Revisited

logobig.pngI get visitors from search engines nearly everyday looking for information about the startup business 23andMe. I’ve briefly mentioned 23andMe before, but I thought I’d see how much information I could gather doing a brief online search.
The website describes the venture:
“23andMe is an early stage startup developing tools and producing content to help people make sense of their genetic information. Our goal is to take advantage of new genotyping technologies and help consumers explore their genetics, informed by cutting edge science.
“Combining computer science, biology and informatics, we are at the cutting edge of a new era of genetics. Genome deciphering technologies have reached affordable levels, allowing consumer access. This information … Click to read more!

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“Do It Yourself Genetic Research” at the Learn.Genetics Website

r1_c2.jpgI recently profiled the website DnaTube which hosts videos and animations that explain various facets of genetics and DNA. Another source of valuable information is the Learn.Genetics website hosted by the Genetic Science Learning Center at the University of Utah.
According to the website:
“The Genetic Science Learning Center is an outreach education program located in the midst of bioscience research at the University of Utah. Our mission is to help people understand how genetics affects their lives and society. Our educational resources provide accurate and unbiased information about topics in genetics and bioscience. Designed for non-research audiences, our materials are interactive and jargon-free, target multiple learning styles, and often convey concepts through … Click to read more!

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Who Owns Your DNA?

An article in today’s New York Times, “Stalking Strangers’ DNA to Fill in the Family Tree” by Amy Harmon, looks at the extremes that some genetic genealogists have gone to to ‘obtain’ DNA from other people for analysis. The genetic genealogists in the article have stalked potential relatives and one keeps a DNA kit in his fridge awaiting his uncooperative father’s demise.

I recently asked my father’s first cousin to take a DNA test since he possessed the only surviving mtDNA from my great-grandmother, and orphan. The two lines had connected in 30 or 40 years, but once I made contact he was very interested in taking the test. The results provided the only clues I have regarding my great-grandmother’s ancestry. If that source had been unwilling to participate, I own some letters that my … Click to read more!

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Learning More About DNA and Genetics at DnaTube

I just happened across a new site called DnaTube.com Scientific Video Site. According to the website:
“DnaTube is a scientific research site providing video based studies, lecturers and seminars. Our goal is to contribute science by generating self-growing community who shares their scientific experiences. Most of DnaTube members are graduate students from universities of all countries.”
There’s a very brief introduction to DNA, genes, and inheritence.  Even better, I watched a FASCINATING video showing the 3D structure of a mitochondria.  For anyone who’s purchased a mtDNA genealogy test, this is a great video to understand more about mitochondria. I also watched a very cool video about red blood cells.
It looks as thought DnaTube is just starting, so check back often to see … Click to read more!