So by now you’ve no doubt heard that on November 22, 2013, the Direct-to-Consumer genetics testing company 23andMe received a uncharacteristically biting letter from the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), a federal agency that protects public health by monitoring and regulating various products such as food, medicine, and supplements.
In the letter, the FDA expresses its belief that the 23andMe Personal Genome Service (“PGS”) is a medical product because “it is intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions or in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or is intended to affect the structure or function of the body.” Accordingly, the FDA concludes, the PGS requires “premarket approval or de novo classification” by the FDA.
The 9th International Genetic Genealogy Conference for Administrators is currently being held by Family Tree DNA in Houston, Texas. As they try to do every year, there have been several buzz-worthy announcements already.
Family Tree DNA has announced the new Big Y test:
Here are some of the basics about the new Big Y test:
- 10 million bp sequenced
- ~25,000 SNPs
- Cost = $495 until December 1, 2013, then $695.
The “Y-DNA SNP testing chart” page at the ISOGG wiki has already been updated to reflect the Big Y test.
For more about the test, see these great posts:
“9th Annual International Conference on Genetic Genealogy – Day 1
” – at Ancestor Central by Jennifer Zinck
“The new Big Y Test from Family Tree DNA
Understanding the complexities of autosomal DNA can be very challenging for newbies.
However, there are a few basic tenets that I believe can help these newbies. These tenets are essentially tools that newbies can use to analyze an autosomal DNA problem for themselves.
For example, here are the two very basic tenets that I typically introduce in my autosomal DNA lectures especially for the newbies:
- You only have to go back about 5 generations to start losing ancestors from your Genetic Family Tree.
So many of the issues that newbies run into can be resolved or prevented through understanding of these concepts.
The Coop Lab
The lab of Graham Coop, an associate professor in the Department of Evolution and Ecology at UC Davis, maintains a blog where they often discuss genetics. Today they published an interesting blog post entitled “How much of your genome do you inherit from a particular ancestor? In the post, they perform a handful of different analyses using data they had for one generation of transmissions which was compounded over multiple generations.
23andMe today launched the African Ancestry Project, which has been in the works for some time now. Participants in this project will receive 1 free 23andMe kit.
The project aims to shed light on the health and ancestry of people with African ancestry, an underrepresented group in almost every database (both genealogical and health-related.
Participants in the African Ancestry Project will receive 1 free kit per family, if they are eligible. Eligible individuals must:
- Have four (4) grandparents from the same sub-Saharan African country;
- Be at least 18 years of age;
- Have Internet access, be willing to take an online survey about ancestry and provide a saliva sample;
- Live in the United States in a state that allows 23andMe shipping. (i.e., not Maryland)