On June 9, 2008, the California Department of Public Health sent cease and desist letters to 13 companies that offer genetic testing. According to the letters, the companies are in violation of certain sections of the Business and Professions Code of California, including offering “a clinical laboratory test directly to the consumer without a physician order” since such tests “must be ordered by a physician or surgeon” (according to these officials). Copies of the letters are available here. The companies receiving letters are:
- CGC Genetics
- deCODEme Genetics
- DNA Traits
- Gene Essence
- HairDX LLC
- New Hope Medical
- Sciona Inc
- Smart Genetics
- Suracell Inc
I’m entering this discussion late, although I’ve been watching with great interest. What I’ve noticed is that much of the discussion, both in the blogosphere and the media, is confusing or ignoring the fact that there are actually … Click to read more!
Although itâ€™s not really genetic genealogy, this story was too interesting to pass up.
Mars food company announced on Friday that it is partnering with IBM and the Department of Agriculture to sequence and analyze the entire cocoa genome. Mars will provide more than $10 million and will make the sequencing and analysis results freely accessible through the Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture.
Unfortunately for those of us that love chocolate, the cacao tree is under attack. According to an article in the Washington Post, â€œWest Africa, which produces 70% of the worldâ€™s cocoa, has been hammered by bad weather in the past few years.â€ Additionally, the cocoa industry in Brazil has been almost completely destroyed by a … Click to read more!
Ann Turner has been a member of the genetic genealogy community since 2000, and during that time she has made great contributions to field (as will become obvious from her interview). According to her brief biography at the Journal of Genetic Genealogy:
Ann Turner is the founder of the GENEALOGY-DNA mailing list at RootsWeb and the co-author (with Megan Smolenyak) of “Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree.” She received her undergraduate degree in biology in 1964 and her M.D. from Stanford University in 1970. In recent years, she developed software for neuropsychological testing and wrote utility programs for the PAF genealogy program. One of these utilities provided a way to split out all people in a database who were related via their mitochondrial DNA, six years before mtDNA tests were commercially available. The inspiration for this feature came from the (then) forward-looking predictions of Dr. Thomas Roderick, now associate editor of JoGG.
As stated in her bio, Ann is the co-author of “Trace Your Roots With DNAâ€, the premiere book on genetic genealogy (the other co-author, Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, was featured earlier in this series). Ann continues to contribute frequently to the GENEALOGY-DNA mailing list at Rootsweb, and has been especially active in genetic genealogical analysis of new SNP testing by companies such as 23andMe and deCODEme. Once again, I highly recommend subscribing to the GENEALOGY-DNA mailing list if you are interested in genetic … Click to read more!
The name Whit Athey is undoubtedly very familiar to many genetic genealogists. Whit’s Haplogroup Predictor, used to predict an individual’s paternal haplogroup based on DNA test results, is one of the most valuable online (and FREE) tools for genetic genealogists.
Among Whit’s many contributions to the field, he is also the Editor (and frequent contributor) of the Journal of Genetic Genealogy. From his biosketch:
“Whit Athey is a retired physicist whose working career was primarily at the Food and Drug Administration where he was the chief of one of the medical device labs. He received his doctorate in physics and biochemistry at Tufts University, and undergraduate (engineering) and masters (math) degrees at Auburn University. For several years during the 1980s, he also taught one course each semester in the Electrical Engineering Department of the University of Maryland. Besides his interest in genetic genealogy, he is an amateur astronomer and has his own small observatory near his home in Brookeville, MD.”
In the following interview, we talk about Whit’s introduction to genetic genealogy, the creation of the JoGG, and Whit’s thoughts about the future of the field.
TGG: How long have you been actively involved in genetic genealogy, and how did you become interested in the field?
Whit Athey: I have always been interested in molecular biology, and my graduate work, … Click to read more!
Today’s interview is with Alastair Greenshields, founder of the genetic genealogy testing company DNA Heritage. Alastair is also the founder of Ybase, a Y-DNA database. I recently wrote about a helpful and informative video series by Alastair for DNA newbies (see “New Videos for Genetic Genealogists“).
In today’s interview, I ask Alastair about his introduction to genetic genealogy, some of the ethical issues raised by the recent launches of personal genomics companies, and about the future of genetic genealogy.
TGG: How long have you been involved in genetic genealogy, and how did you become interested in the field? Have you undergone genetic genealogy testing yourself? Were you surprised with the results? Did the results help you break through any of your brick walls or solve a … Click to read more!
Terry Barton is co-founder of WorldFamilies.net (along with Richard Barton), a website devoted to helping genealogists host Surname, Geographic, or Haplogroup Projects and learn more about genetic genealogy. When I began the Bettinger Surname DNA Project, Terry helped me through the entire process of setting up the site. From the WorldFamilies website:
“Terry is co-founder of WorldFamilies.net, President of the Barton Historical Society (BHS) and Co-Leader of the 193 member Barton DNA Project. He is the â€œLine Leaderâ€ for the Thomas (1,2,3) Barton family of Stafford Co VA and for the David Barton married Ruth Oldham family. He has made a number of presentations about using DNA in Genealogy, the Barton DNA project and his great-grandparent’s “Barton House” and has written many articles for the BHS Newsletters and website.”
In the following interview, I ask Terry about … Click to read more!