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The DNA Network

the_dna_network_logo1.jpgThe Genetic Genealogist has been invited to be a member of the new genetics blogging group The DNA Network, founded by Rick Vidal of My Biotech Life and Hsien Lei of Eye on DNA. The group is “a network (double helix?) composed of life science enthusiasts with specialized views in areas such as genetics, biology, biotechnology, health care, and much more.”

Not only is the network a great way to discover new blogs, but it is an opportunity to stay current on events and developments in the field of genetics. The following blogs are currently members of the network:

My Biotech Life
DNA Direct Talk
Epidemix
Epigenetics News
evolgen
Eye on DNA
Gene Sherpas: Personalized Medicine and You
Genomicron
henry: the human evolution news relay (genetics)
Mary Meets Dolly
Microarray and Bioinformatics
Omics! Omics!
ScienceRoll
And me, The Genetic Genealogist.
If you’d like to subscribe, the feed is available … Click to read more!

Famous DNA Review, Part I – Thomas Jefferson


Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States, has been at the center of a DNA controversy for over 200 years. In September 1802 journalist James T. Callender wrote in Richmond Reporter that Jefferson had for many years “kept, as his concubine, one of his slaves. Her name is Sally [Hemmings]. The name of her eldest son is Tom. His features are said to bear a striking though sable resemblance to those of the president himself.” Although these rumors had reportedly already been passed around quietly, this article spread the rumor far and wide, setting off many years of debate.
In 1998 analysis of a male descendant of Jefferson’s paternal uncle showed that Jefferson’ Y chromosome belonged to haplogroup K2 (Thomas Jefferson did not have any male … Click to read more!

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Are aboriginal Australians and New Guineans the modern-day descendants of the extinct species Homo erectus?

Some scientists have hypothesized that Australian aboriginals received a portion of their DNA from an ancient hominid species called Homo erectus, which for a short time was contemporaneous with modern man. A recent study published in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences) set out to answer this question by analyzing mtDNA and Y-chromosome samples from aboriginals.

A total of 172 mtDNA and 522 Y-chromosome previously published and new sequences from aboriginal Australians and New Guineans were analyzed for mtDNA and Y-chromosome variation and were compared to the current world haplogroup tree. All of the mtDNA sequences were members of the M and N founder branches, and all of the Y-chromosome sequences fell into the C and F founder … Click to read more!

Big News for Both Genealogists and Archivists


FamilySearch (a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) announced today that it will provide FREE services to any and all archives and records custodians who wish to digitize, index, publish, and preserve their collections. This is, of course, on top of the ambitious project already underway to digitize and make freely available the 2 million rolls of microfilm stored in the Granite Mountain Records Vault.
This is a huge benefit for genealogists, since many more records will be freely available online. This is also a huge benefit for archivists and record depositories, since they can digitize and make available their collections for free using FamilySearch’s many years of scanning experience.
Thanks to … Click to read more!

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A New Design

I spent the morning doing a redesign of the blog.  I should have been studying, but I’ve been meaning to give the site a new look for a while now.  My goals were (1) to make the content the center of attention; (2) to quickly and easily provide information about the blog and subscription options to newcomers; (3) to minimize the impact of advertising (since I don’t make that much anyway!); and (4) to make the site more visually pleasing and professional.  If you have any problems accessing information or using the site, please be sure to let me know.  If you like the new design, let me know that too! … Click to read more!

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Ask a Geneticist

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Do you have a burning question about genetics that’s been keeping you up at night? Ever wonder why the combination of red hair and brown eyes is so rare? There are two great resources currently available online for anyone who is curious about genetics.
AsktheGeneticist is a partnership between the Department of Human Genetics at Emory University and the Department of Genetics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The mission of AsktheGeneticist “is to answer questions about genetic concepts, and the etiology, treatment, research, testing, and predisposition to genetic disorders.” AsktheGeneticist has a genetic genealogy section, but it’s pretty sparse.
The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, California has partnered with the Department of … Click to read more!

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Top 5 Reasons to Save Your Grandmother’s DNA


1. You got those big blue eyes from your grandmother, but chances are you inherited less desirable genes as well. We inherit our DNA from our parents, who inherited it from their parents. Since we all possess genes that can cause or contribute to disease, knowing one’s DNA and family medical history can be a great resource for someone who learns they have a genetic disorder.
2. Full genome sequencing is right around the corner! The X-prize quest for the $1000 genome will lead to efficient and affordable whole-genome sequencing. As commercial companies crop up and compete for customer’s business, leading to even lower prices.
3. Your grandmother’s DNA contains clues to her ancestry. X-chromosome, mtDNA, and … Click to read more!

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Can Scientists Have a Sense of Humor?

Scienceroll just posted a hilarious video called the “DNA-ting Game“, an advertisement for Caliper Life Sciences which is a spoof on 1970′s “The Dating Game.” If you think science humor is funny, you’ll love this video. I highly recommend you go check it out. For a little background information, they talking about analyzing DNA samples using gel electrophoresis. The video is actually an elaborate advertisement for an alternative to electorphoresis.

There are some other funny videos I’ve seen as well, including the great advertising campaign from Biocompare. There are three commercials – here, here, and here. They’re another example of biotechnology companies jumping into this field of advertising. In our lab we typically made decisions based … Click to read more!

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Native American DNA in England

I was very surprised when genetic testing revealed that my maternal lineage was not European. I’m sure, however, that my surprise was nothing compared to that of two British women who recently discovered that their maternal lineage was of Native American descent (the original article is available through the BBC).

Doreen Isherwood and Anne Hall learned that their mtDNA belonged to Haplogroups A and C, traditional Native American Haplogroups. As the BBC story explains, Native Americans were brought back to England as early as the 1500s.

Said Ms. Hall: “I was thrilled to bits. It was a very pleasant surprise. To have Native American blood is very exotic.”

Thanks to … Click to read more!