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Links From The Genetic Genealogist – October 31, 2007

In order to clean out posts I’ve been saving in Google Reader (does anyone else keep posts in Reader until you’ve blogged about them?), I decided to have a potpourri day. The following are links to interesting articles around the blogosphere. And Happy Halloween!

Pedro at Public Rambling has The Fortune Cookie Genome, a ‘science fiction’ post about picking up the results of his whole genome scan from his genetic advisor. Of course, it’s only science ‘fiction’ until it’s science ‘reality’!

The Women’s Bioethic Project has an article about DNA Testing Without Consent, which asks whether there should be a ‘reverse’ statute of limitations for testing DNA from famous dead people. The article was written in response to a recent story in Parade. I talked about this briefly back in August (see “DNA From the Dead“), and I’m working on a post about “Discarded DNA and the Constitution”, so stick around. HT: … Click to read more!

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Navigenics and 23andMe From VentureBeat: Life Sciences

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David Hamilton at VentureBeat: Life Sciences recently wrote about the potential business plans of two popular genomic companies – Navigenics and 23andMe. It appears that the post was motivated by the recent article in Portfolio. David writes:

“Over the last few months, startups like 23andMe and Navigenics have attracted a fair bit of attention for promising to let ordinary people search through their own genomes to better understand their disease risk, genealogy and ancestry. One of the first major efforts to figure them out, however — courtesy of the November issue of Portfolio — left me with the distinct impression that these companies may not actually be anywhere near as revolutionary as they seem.”

There’s some discussion in the comment section, and David presents a number of links to the many previous articles he’s written about 23andMe and … Click to read more!

Should We All Be Testing Our DNA?

That’s the title of an article at BBC News yesterday. The article’s header states that:

“More and more people in the UK are following America’s lead in spending hundreds of pounds on private genetic tests.”

The article is about genetic testing for health concerns, not for genealogical purposes. Although the article is very short, the author does manage to highlight a few of the potential benefits and downfalls of genetic testing. … Click to read more!

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10 DNA Testing Myths Busted

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1. Genetic genealogy is only for hardcore genealogists.
Wrong! If you’ve ever wondered about the origins of your DNA, or about your direct paternal or maternal ancestral line, then genetic genealogy might be an interesting way to learn more. Although DNA testing of a single line, such as through an mtDNA test, will only examine one ancestor out of 1024 potential ancestors at 10 generations ago, this is a 100% improvement over 0 ancestors out of 1024. If you add your father’s Y-DNA, this is a 200% improvement. Now add your mother’s mtDNA, and so on. However, with this in mind, please note the next myth:

2. I’m going to send in my DNA … Click to read more!

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Genetic Genealogy in Newsweek and The Courier-Journal (Kentucky)

Last week there were a couple of other articles in the news about genetic genealogy:

1. Newsweek.com – “Shaking the Family Tree with Recreational Genetics.” The article is largely in response to last week’s article in Science (see my previous coverage). There are a number of interesting comments following the Newsweek article – I would recommend browsing through them if you have the time.

2. The Courier-Journal – “DNA Discovery.” The article is mostly about Oxford … Click to read more!

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Sorenson Genomic’s GeneTree Launches

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As I mentioned earlier today, GeneTree has been redesigned, and actually launched this morning. There is a FAQ page, and a new blog. There’s also an extensive Press Room, with logos and screen shots – one of the most impressive I’ve ever seen.

So what is GeneTree? According to the FAQ:

“GeneTree is a family history sharing site created to help people everywhere understand how their personal stories belong within the framework of the greater human genetic story – by discovering their genetic heritage and identity, connecting and collaborating with living relatives, and sharing meaningful information and perspective through personal stories, photos, video and documents.”

I’m sure there will be a lot of media coverage today and over the course of the week, but here is an article at Computerworld. Following is the official press release:
Sorenson Companies Launch GeneTree, a Unique Genetic-Genealogy Social Networking Web Site

‘You Belong Here’ Is Motto of New Web Site that Provides Unrivaled Tools and Resources for Millions of People Who Are Researching and Sharing Their Genealogies Online. New Type of Family History Networking Site Includes DNA … Click to read more!

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Roots – Chris and Alex Haley’s DNA, and the Launch of JeanTree (GeneTree.com)

At the 2007 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in August, Alex Haley, the nephew of the Chris Haley – the author of “Roots”, joined the many people who have tested their DNA for ancestral information.  It turns out that his Y-DNA is of European origin.

There’s a post at Megan’s Roots World, a news report at KUTV.com, and the video of Alex swabbing his cheeks for DNA from Roots Television:

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The article at KUTV also contains what MUST be a mistake:

“Next week, The Sorenson Cos. plans to roll out a separate DNA-based Web site called jeantree.com. Chief Executive James L. Sorenson declined to discuss details Tuesday, although it will rely on a larger DNA database.”

Either Sorenson is planning to sell denim-related products, or the journalist misunderstood “Genetree.com”. Stay tuned for further details about the re-launch of this … Click to read more!

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The Genetic Genealogy Community Responds to Last Week’s Article in Science


 
Last week I provided an analysis of the article in Science, “The Science and Business of Genetic Ancestry Testing“, which examined the benefits and pitfalls of genetic genealogy.
There’s been considerable discussion of the article and the author’s conclusions at the Genealogy-DNA mailing list. One of the most interesting posts was by Kim Tallbear, a long-time member of the list and co-author of the Science article. The post, “Response to Genetic Genealogists From Authors of Oct. 19th Science Article“, is important reading for anyone who is following the development of this story. The following is a quote from Dr. Tallbear’s post:

“We orginally had language in the article that noted the expertise of genetic genealogists such as some of you on this list. (My interactions on this listserv taught me well that there is a good deal of expertise here.) But with space constraints the editors cut that language.)”

The post also contains “an email response from lead author, Deborah Bolnick, a biological anthropologist at the University of Texas, to a genetic genealogist who was unhappy with our article.” Dr. Bolnick’s email … Click to read more!

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J. Craig Venter at the Web 2.0 Summit

The Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco just ended.  One of the first speakers was J. Craig Venter, whose genome was recently sequenced.  He gave a lecture about personalized medicine, personal genetics, and his new book, “A Life Decoded: My Genome, My Life.”

To read more, there’s coverage of his presentation at All Things Digital, Barron’s, Information Week, and … Click to read more!