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Columbia Professor Alondra Nelson Reviews The PBS Series “Faces of America”

Faces of America

In October 2008, I reviewed an article by Dr. Alondra Nelson in the journal Social Studies of Science entitled “Bio Science: Genetic Genealogy Testing and the Pursuit of African Ancestry” (Social Studies of Science 2008 38: 759-783).  The article was about the complex interpretation of the results of genetic genealogy testing by African-Americans and black British.  Dr. Nelson is Associate Professor of Sociology at Columbia University in NY.

On Friday, an article by Dr. Nelson appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education entitled “Henry Louis Gates’s Extended Family,” which is an introduction and review of the current PBS documentary miniseries Faces of America. Regarding the genetic testing aspect of the show, Nelson writes:

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Personalized Genomics: A Very Personal Post

Both 23andMe and deCODEme (using my 23andMe data) have interpreted my SNP results to indicate that I have a greatly increased genetic risk for Type 2 Diabetes.  This post interprets the information from both companies and applies some of the primary research that the companies relied upon to predict my risk.  Hopefully, this information will be useful to me as I strive to more completely understand my own risk factors, and will be useful to others as an example of using SNP data to potentially understand more about your health.

I. The Genetics

My 23andMe analysis makes it clear that I have an elevated risk for type 2 diabetes:

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And, upon clicking upon the link, I receive the following additional information:

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deCODEme, which used my 23andMe data, provides a similar interpretation:

... Click to read more!