An Identifying Allele Found Among All Native American populations


A recent study by has characterized an allele that is present in all Native American populations tested. The allele, 9RA (9 repeat-allele) is a 9 tetranucleotide repeat allele composed of 275 bp at autosomal (meaning non-sex chromosome) microsatellite locus D9S1120 (on chromosome 9). Microsatellites are small DNA repeats that are typically neutral and are often used as molecular markers for population studies. According to the report, 9RA was found at an average percentage of roughly 30% among all the populations.
Although 9RA was found among Chukchi and the Koryaks of Western Beringia (on the eastern edge of Siberia), the allele was not identified in the large number of Asian populations tested (perhaps because this is a mutation that arose in populations as they approached the land bridge or because … Click to read more!

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MyCellf – The Science of You


Sciona, Inc., a Boulder, Colorado company that sells personalized genetic tests for lifestyle counseling based on an individual’s diet, exercise, lifestyle, and genetic screening, has recently launched the website MyCellf to explore the growing field of nutritional genomics. Nutrigenomics is the study of the interaction between genes and diet.
According to a recent press release, MyCellf is designed to:
“provide a balance between information, customer interaction and commerce for interested consumers and healthcare professionals. The company offers a unique non-medical, lifestyle counseling based on an individual’s diet, exercise and lifestyle history and a confidential genetic screening. By supplying this information direct to consumers through a … Click to read more!

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An Interview With Dr. Brian M. Kemp

I recently highlighted an article published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology entitled “Genetic analysis of early holocene skeletal remains from Alaska and its implications for the settlement of the America”.

I thought it might be interesting to ask one of the authors, Dr. Brian M. Kemp, his thoughts on the relationship between genetic genealogy and anthropological research, the future of Native American anthropology, and how he entered the field. Dr. Kemp, who is currently doing a post-doc at Vanderbilt University, was kind enough to share some of his valuable time.
Will genetic testing of the public through companies such as Family Tree DNA and Oxford Ancestors have any impact on the study of anthropology?

“Well, it certainly places … Click to read more!

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23andMe – A Biotech Startup Aimed at Helping People Manage and Understand Their Genetic Information

23andMe is a startup company in California that describes themselves as “an early startup developing tools and producing content to help people make sense of their genetic information.  Our goal is to take advantage of new genotyping technologies and help consumers explore their genetics, informed by cutting edge science.”
What are the goals of 23andMe? The website claims that a person’s personal genetic information “will provide personal insight into ancestry, genealogy and health. For society, the collection of genotypic and phenotypic information on a large scale will provide scientists with novel avenues for research. “It should also be noted that 23andMe has ‘strong financial backers” and is looking for “talented, motivated individuals in many areas who have a passion … Click to read more!

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Whoopi Goldberg’s DNA Testing Creates Ripples in Small African Nation

Whoopi Goldberg, like many others, is turning to DNA testing to learn more about her ancestry. Goldberg participated in the PBS program African American Lives which used DNA testing in conjunction with traditional genealogical research methods to elucidate the genealogy of famous African Americans (including, among others, Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Dr. Mae Jamieson). The results of Goldberg’s mtDNA testing has revealed that her maternal line descends from the Papel and Bayote tribes who are found in the tiny West African Nation of Guinea-Bissau. Her admixture test suggested that her ancestry was 92% sub-Saharan African and 8% European. As with all DNA testing, Goldberg’s results only examined a small fraction of her actual ancestry.
After hearing of the results of the … Click to read more!

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MITOMAP Publishes an Updated mtDNA Phylogenetic Tree


MITOMAP, the human mitochondrial genome database, has recently published a paper in Nucleic Acids Research (Free Full Text Here) announcing the completion of a full human mtDNA phylogenetic tree.
This tree, available here(pdf) was constructed from 2959 mtDNA coding region sequences (using the rCRS as the reference). In addition to listing mutations and the study that identified each particular sequence, the tree labels each mutation as a substitution mutation, a silent mutation, a tRNA or rRNA mutation, a mutation in the noncoding region, or a pathological mutation. MITOMAP also provides another valuable tool, tables of mtDNA polymorphisms with source information.
The tree will potentially be very useful to both researchers and genetic genealogists by providing … Click to read more!

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New estimates for the arrival of the earliest Native Americans


 
Scientists have analyzed the mitochondrial and Y-chromosomal DNA from a 10,300-year-old human remains found in On Your Knees Cave on Prince of Wales Island in Alaska. These remains, the oldest human remains known from Alaska or Canada are from a young man in his early twenties.

DNA sequencing showed that the individual’s mitochondrial DNA belongs to an ancient subhaplogroup of haplogroup D that was brought to the Americas rather than mutating from haplogroup D once it arrived in the Americas. Interestingly, a sample of almost 3,500 Native Americans revealed that only 1.5% belonged to the same subhaplogroup of D (characterized by 16223T, 16342C, and 16241G). Those that did were found mostly along the Pacific coast of North and South … Click to read more!