Congratulations to RootsTelevision, co-founded by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak and Marcy Brown, which just won FOUR Telly Awards! The press release is included below. And don’t forget that you can watch RootsTelevision right here at TGG!
RootsTelevision.com Wins Four Telly Awards in Its First Year
PROVO, UT, March 26, 2008 â€“ RootsTelevision.com, an online channel dedicated to all aspects of genealogy and family history, has been recognized in the 29th Annual Telly Awards for four of its original productions. Selected from more than 14,000 shows were â€œDNA Stories: A Tale of Two Fathersâ€ (documentary), â€œHeir Jordan: Extreme Genealogyâ€ (entertainment), â€œRoots Books: Psychic Rootsâ€ (talk show), and â€œFlat Stanleyâ€™s Family Treeâ€ (childrenâ€™s audience).
Here are a few of the many interesting links from the DNA blogosphere:
- DNA Testing Firms Eye Consumers (BBC) – yet another article that looks at both sides of the “should you test” debate.
- Genetic Testing Gets Personal (Washington Post) – a lengthy discussion of many different types of DNA testing.
- The Scientific Studies/Papers Page at ISOGG – I’ve been meaning to share this one for a while. The page describes methods for obtaining and reading scientific papers about genetic genealogy (or any other scientific topic, for that matter). This is a helpful resource for anyone who is interested in learning more about the science behind genetic genealogy.
The International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) has just launched a new newsletter. The first edition, March 2008, is available here. This edition discusses GINA, a DNA Success Story by Shoshone, a segment called “The Armchair Geneticist: Where Hobby Produces Science”, What’s New in ISOGG, and a Featured DNA Project.
The newsletter is well-written and has some great graphics, so be sure to subscribe to this FREE newsletter (see the bottom of the newsletter for subscription information).
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day and my Irish DNA, here is picture of one of the many beautiful places I visited on my trip to Ireland – Slea Head, the tip of the Dingle peninsula, as a storm rolls in (2004):
If you’re interested in DNA, Native American History, or genetic genealogy, then you’re undoubtedly heard of a new paper from PLoS ONE called “The Phylogeny of the Four Pan-American mtDNA Haplogroups: Implications for Evolutionary and Disease Studies.” The authors, from all around the world (including Ugo A. Perego from SMGF and Antonio Torroni from Italy) analyze over 100 complete Native America mtDNA genomes. From the abstract:
“In this study, a comprehensive overview of all available complete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genomes of the four pan-American haplogroups A2, B2, C1, and D1 is provided by revising the information scattered throughout GenBank and the literature, and adding 14 novel mtDNA sequences. The phylogenies of haplogroups A2, B2, C1, and D1 reveal a large number of sub-haplogroups but suggest that the ancestral Beringian population(s) contributed only six (successful) founder haplotypes to these haplogroups.”
MSNBC has a very short article entitled "DNA Testing: Would You Do It?" Last Friday, Linda Avey and Anne Wojcicki – co-founders of 23andMe – were interviewed by NBC News Correspondent Peter Alexander and Today show host Ann Curry to discuss the company. The 7.5 minute video is below:
As of Monday the 17th of March, David Paterson will be the Governor of New York State. Lt. Gov. Paterson recently sat down with Susan Arbetter of WHMT’s NYNOW to discuss the results of his genetic genealogy test results. Paterson is probably the first governor in the United States to have undergone genetic genealogy testing, and might be the highest government official to do so and then speak openly about it. These videos are very enjoyable, and it’s interesting to learn more about the future Governor.
In the first segment, Arbetter and Paterson discuss some of Paterson’s genealogy. They also discuss Paterson’s Y-DNA, which is of European origin. Arbetter writes on her blog: "On the Lt. Governor’s paternal side, like almost 25% of all African Americans, he’s got white progenitors from England, Ireland and Scotland."
I often get emails from people who are new to genetic genealogy asking questions about their newly-received DNA testing results. They are unsure about about what the results mean, how to find more information, or what to do next. I also see people ask these questions in all of the DNA forums and mailing lists that I subscribe to. Although I do my best to help the people that email me, I often wish there was more I could do.
In an attempt to assist people with the interpretation of their genetic genealogy testing results, I’ve written an eBook that takes the reader step-by-step through an analysis of their Y-DNA or mtDNA results, including estimating a haplogroup and sub-clade from testing results, finding resources to learn more about particular haplogroups, and finding haplogroup and haplotype matches, among many other topics. Here is the Table of Contents from the 28-page eBook:
An article entitled “Gene Test Kits – Can They Lead To Dating Services” by Annalee Newitz discusses the author’s thoughts on the implications of genome sequencing offered by the number of companies that have sprung up in the past year. As a genetic genealogist who is interested in the intersection of law, science, and ethics, I’m always interested in articles that examine the ethical issues associated with affordable genome sequencing. Unfortunately, this article turned out to have little substance behind some serious accusations.
Newitz begins by mentioning companies 23andMe and deCODEme, both of which recently launched genome scanning services. She then proceeds to her thesis, which is that these services are not only not useful, they are dangerous. She states:
This post isn’t exactly about genetic genealogy. Rather, it is about what I can learn from my visitors in order to make The Genetic Genealogist a better place to visit. By analyzing statistics at the end of each month, I hope to continue to refine the direction of the blog to create and present the best content possible. Here are a few of the things I learned from my visitors this month:
The Top Ten Most Visited Posts:
- The Family Tree of Blue Eyed Individuals
- Where Was My Y-DNA and mtDNA in 1808?
- Family Tree DNA Launches DNATraints, A New DNA Testing Company
- 23andMe Revisited
- African American Lives 2 (February 2008)
- African American Lives 2 (A preview from April 2007)
- Buick And Ancestry DNA Team Up For a DNA Contest
- Genetic Genealogy is SO Mainstream – More Black History Month Events
- Famous DNA Review Part III – Niall of the Nine Hostages
- The First Personal Genomic Sequencing Test Offered for $985
What did I learn from this list? Well, here are a few interesting facts about these posts:
- Only 5 of the top 10 articles were actually written in February 2008! This tells me that previously-written content is important, and that I should consider reviewing and updating popular older posts.
- Four of the top 10 articles were about genetic genealogy and Black History Month. In addition to older content, new content about current topics (such as Black History Month) is equally as important.
- The first two posts were popular among StumbleUpon readers. I’m not surprised by the first article, as it has obvious popular appeal – but I was surprised by the second article. You can never be sure what posts will be picked up and popularized by social media.
Top 15 Keywords in February 2008:
What can I learn from the keywords used by readers to find my blog?
- african american lives 2
- dna articles
- genetic genealogy
- articles on dna
- genetic genealogist
- sorenson genomics
- buick ancestry
- famous dna
- genetic genealogy blog
- genealogy test
- megan smolenyak
Analytics allows me to track other information about these keywords, including (1) how many pages were viewed by people who came to the site via a particular keyword; and (2) the bounce rate of visitors who came via a keyword. Bounce rate is the percentage of people who exit a site from the first page they visit. So, for instance, for my first keyword “african american lives 2″, the average pages read was 2.4, and the bounce rate was 59% (which are both right around my average). What did I learn from my keywords?