4

Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation Collects Mongolian DNA


mongolia2.jpg
A news release announces the completion of a DNA collection project by SMGF (Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation) in Mongolia. The goal of the project is to study the descendants of ancient nomads from the Eurasian steppes. The collection was performed in conjunction with the National University of Mongolia and represents “the most comprehensive [DNA collection project] in the history of Mongolia, incorporating all of the country’s geographic regions and major ethnic populations.” In total, more than 3,000 DNA samples and pedigree charts were obtained from 24 different ethnic groups.

According to the news release, the “global fascination with Mongolian icons such as Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun” played a role in promoting the project:

“For many centuries, Mongolians have held an ongoing fascination in genealogy, spurred in part by reverence for ancestors and for oral traditions – with some family and clan names stretching back as far as the 10th Century (AD). Under Genghis Khan’s rule in the 13th Century, Mongols invaded Eurasian territory, then ruled there for more than two centuries. In the 20th century the then-USSR gained political control of Mongolia and its leaders systematically worked to eradicate Mongolian national identity – especially the Khan connection – executing or imprisoning an estimated 100,000 Mongols between 1922 and 1940. In recent years, however, there has been a renaissance of Mongolian national identity, accompanied by a widespread search for Mongolian genetic roots – which the SMGF-NUM partnership will continue to foster.”

… Click to read more!

4

dnaancestry beta From Ancestry.com

dna_logo.gif

As I mentioned back in June,  Ancestry.com has teamed up with Sorenson Genomics to offer DNA testing.  Today I received the following notification announcing the beta launch of dnaancestry.com.  A Y-DNA test with 33 markers will be $149, while a Y-DNA test with 46 markers will be $199 (if you look at the sample results page, you’ll see a list of the 46 markers tested).  An mtDNA test will be $179, although the exact testing parameters for the mtDNA test are unclear at this point (the website only states that HVR1 and HVR2 will be sequenced).

Introducing DNA Ancestry
We want you to be one of the first to know we’re adding a powerful new dimension to genealogical research by integrating the world’s largest online collection of historical records and family trees … Click to read more!

5

DNA From the Dead: DNA Banking is Legal, but is it Ethical? Part II


Yesterday we saw that many funeral directors offer DNA retrieval and storage as one of their services. Today, we’ll look into the WHY of DNA storage, and bring up some of the ethical questions it raises.

Why store DNA from the recently deceased?

Undoubtedly, someone who has never heard of DNA retrieval and storage will probably ask WHY we should store a dead relative’s DNA.

The reason most commonly quoted is that the DNA can be used in the future to identify inherited traits such as genetic disorders and other phenotypic characteristics. In 2006, the New England Historic Genealogical Society published an article by Edwin M. Knights, M.D. entitled “DNA Banking for Medical Information.” In the article, Dr. Knights gives a number of reasons for banking DNA from both living … Click to read more!

20

DNA From the Dead: DNA Banking is Legal, but is it Ethical? Part I

The field of genomics is exploding.Every day, the mysteries of our genome are revealed and we learn more and more about the power of DNA.Soon, with affordable whole-genome sequencing, we will be able to analyze our own personal genome for clues about our ancestry, our propensity for disease, and insight into our body and our personality.In fact, this is already well underway.

Undoubtedly, each of us will be faced with a decision in our lifetime – do we want to learn the secrets of our genome, or do we want to live without that knowledge, as all of our ancestors have done for millions of years.This decision is a personal one, and at this point I don’t think there’s any right or wrong answer.

But what about those who are unable to make that decision?For example, an infant is unable to give consent for genetic testing, but many states in the USroutinely … Click to read more!

DNAPrint Genomics Introduces Doggie DNAPrint


Dogs, just like humans, have interesting genealogical histories. And a new DNA test unveiled by DNAPrint Genomics will help you examine your dog’s genetic past. The test is aimed at uncovering the relative percentages of four ancient ancestral breeds in a modern dog – wolf-like, herders, hunters, and mastiff. The test, which will retail for $99, examines 204 canine Ancestry Informative Markers (AIMs) in the dog genome. For more information, go to www.doggiednaprint.com (not working as of 08/18).

“The test will contain a consent form, mouth swabs, swab envelope, as well as a return envelope. Simply fill out the consent form, follow the step-by-step cheek swab instructions and send the completed consent forms and test swabs in the enclosed return envelope. Within six to nine weeks, participants will receive the results of their dog’s DNA test. These will include raw genetic data, a graphic depiction of the animal’s DNA plus information on how to interpret the results of this DNA test.”

The test also represents a new venture by DNAPrint – a DNA database. Pet owners will be allowed to compare their dog’s score to DNAPrint’s database of purebred and mixed breeds to allow accurate breed identification. I think … Click to read more!

5

The YHRD Database

One of the steps in analyzing the results of a Y-DNA test is to search through Y-DNA databases to look for potential matches. These matches, depending on how well they match, might be relatives, either close or distant (in recent genealogical terms – we’re all distantly related, of course).

One of those databases is YHRD (Y-STR haplotype reference database). The project has two main goals:

  1. The generation of reliable Y-STR haplotype frequency estimates for minimal and extended Y-STR haplotypes to be used in the quantitative assessment of matches in forensic and genealogical casework, and;
  2. The assessment of male population stratification among world-wide populations as far as reflected by Y-STR haplotype frequency distributions

According to the YHRD website:

“To this end, a growing number of diagnostic and research laboratories have joined in a collaborative effort to collect population data and to create a sufficiently large reference database. All institutions contributing in this project, participated in an obligate quality control exercise.
“This database is interactive and allows the user the search for Y-STR haplotypes in various formats and within specified metapopulations. Related information i.e. STR characteristics, mutations, population genetic analyses etc. is documented.”

The YHRD database is contantly being updated, and on August 10th, Release 22 was added:

“Release 22 is out with 52,655 haplotypes in 464 populations. 50,867 haplotypes of these are completely typed for 9 (Minimal haplotype) and 23,981 for 11 loci (Extended or SWGDAM haplotype). Twenty populations were added or updated today: two Amerindian tribal populations from the Formosa province in Argentina (Pilaga, Toba), one from Venezuela (Caracas), two from provinces in Colombia (Boyaca, Cundinamarca), three from Siberian nomad populations (Western and Central Evens, Iengra Evenks), one from Belarus (Pinsk), three from Ukraine (Kiev, Lviv, Lugansk), three populations from Capetown in South Africa, three from Ravenna, Rimini and Val Marecchia in Italy, one from Hungary, one from Peru and one from Oran in Algeria. We would like to thank the following colleagues for submissions and updates: Daniel Corach and his group (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Brigitte Pakendorf and her group (Leipzig, Germany), Neal Leat and his group (Capetown, South Africa), Susi Pelotti and her group (Bologna, Italy), Pamzsav Horolma and her group (Budapest, Hungary), Ignacio Briceno Balcazar and his group (Bogota, Colombia), Lisbeth Borjas and Tatiana Pardo (Venezuela), Sergey Kravchenko and his group (Kiev, Ukraine), Gian Carlo Iannacone and his group (Lima, Peru) and Carlo Robino and his group in Torino, Italy. Please refer to the section YHRD contributors to get more information.”

HT: … Click to read more!

3

Ethical and Legal Issues Surrounding Large-Scale Genomic Databases


I recently came across a review article by Henry T. Greely, a Professor of Law, Professor (by courtesy) of Genetics, and Director of the Center for Law and Bioethics at Stanford. The article is entitled “The Uneasy Ethical and Legal Underpinnings of Large-Scale Genomic Biobanks (pdf)” and was recently published in the Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics.
According to Mr. Greely, the identity of participants in large-scale genomic biobanks cannot effectively protected. A biobank is defined as a database of genotypic and phenotypic data. Using genetic information, physical information, or a combination of the two, people can identify an individual in such a large database:

“Someone really interested could get a DNA sample from me – from a licked stamp, a drinking glass, or some tissue – and have it genotyped for a few hundred dollars, but few will have to go to the genomic data; the phenotypic and demographic data will often be sufficient.”

“Eliminating name, mailing address, and social security number does not eliminate identifiers; it just eliminates the easiest identifiers, making the search somewhat more difficult and expensive.”

Unfortunately, it is impossible to remove all the data one could use to identify biobank … Click to read more!

1

“Genetic Genealogy and the Ancestries of African Americans” at the U of C


On June 28, the University of Chicago’s Newberry Library presented a panel discussion entitled “Genetic Genealogy and the Ancestries of African Americans” with Rick Kittles. In addition to being an associate professor of medicine at the University, Mr. Kittles is also the science director of AfricanAncestry.com.
The panel also included Christopher Rabb, a genealogist. The two discussed the difficulties facing African Americans who are interested in discovering their roots. After exhausting paper records, Mr. Rabb used DNA testing to learn more about his paternal and maternal lineages.
Despite the successes of genetic genealogy, “[b]oth Rabb and Kittles recognized that genetic testing for ancestry complicates the history and social reality of race in the United States,” noting that 30% of African Americans descend … Click to read more!

3

Genetic Genealogy in the Czech Republic – A Hot Topic!

Two weeks ago, EyeonDNA posted about genetic genealogy testing in the Czech Republic by two companies, Genomac and Forensic DNA Service. A recent article in the Prague Post details the animosity over ethical concerns which exists between these two competitors.

A few days later, Ludvik Urban responded to the article via Rootsweb, and EyeonDNA shared Mr. Urban’s response with her readers. Today, you can read Genomac’s response (from one of the founders, Dr. Marek Minarik) to Mr. Urban’s concerns about the company.

Whew! Luckily, both sides were able to share their side of the story – it makes for some interesting … Click to read more!

The Genographic Project Database

With Friday’s release of a paper in PLoS Genetics, the Genographic Project also released a spreadsheet with the results of over 16,000 mtDNA tests, including HVS-I and SNP results (available here). In addition to sequencing the HVS-I region of mtDNA samples the Project is now testing 22 SNPs. These SNPs were chosen based upon a number of factors, which are discussed in the paper.

“Twenty one SNPs and the 9-bp deletion make up the total of 22 biallelic sites. For simplicity, we will refer to all biallelic sites as SNPs. The number of SNPs tested was gradually increased from ten at inception of the project to the 22 currently used. The ten initial SNPs were 3594, 4580, 5178, 7028, 10400, 10873, 11467, 11719, 12705, and 14766 (numbers refer to the nucleotide position in the mitochondrial genome). The panel was augmented to a total of 20 coding-region SNPs by including the following additional ten SNPs: 4248, 6371, 8994, 10034, 10238, 10550, 12612, 13263, 13368, and 13928. The panel was further augmented by the addition of SNP 2758, to a total of 21 coding-region SNPs and finally by including the 9-bp deletion at position 8280 to a total of 22 coding-region SNPs (Figure 4). Two further changes were made: positions 8994 and 13928 used in some early work were respectively replaced with their phylogenetic equivalents 1243 and 3970. Therefore, the current panel includes the following SNPs, with their respective gene locations shown in brackets [33]: 2758 (16S), 3594 (ND1), 4248 (M), 4580 (ND2), 5178 (ND2), 6371 (COI), 7028 (COI), 8280 (9-bp deletion) (NC7), 8994 (ATPase6), 10034 (G), 10238 (ND3), 10400 (R), 10550 (NDRL), 10873 (ND4), 11467 (ND4), 11719 (ND4), 12612 (ND5), 12705 (ND5), 13263 (ND5), 13368 (ND5), 13928 (ND5), and 14766 (Cytb).”

The early mtDNA samples were not tested for all SNPs, so your results may not be included in this particular spreadsheet. If you log into the Project with your Project ID #, then click on “See Your DNA Results” overlayed on the map, you will see a circle for SNPs. Click there and you’ll be able to see which of the SNPs you tested positive for.

If you download the … Click to read more!