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dnaancestry beta From Ancestry.com

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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 with DNA testing. Currently in beta, DNA Ancestry is another way we’re helping people expand their family trees and connect with family across distance and time.

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GINA: An Update II

I’ve written about GINA at least twice before.  GINA, or the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, is a piece of legislation that would protect individuals from discrimination based upon their genetic information by employers or insurance companies.

I just learned at the PCD Foundation Blog that a “hold” has been placed upon GINA in the Senate.  The bill flew through the House of Representatives, and President Bush has said that he would sign the bill into law, but it is now stuck in the Senate.  Senator Tom Coburn, M.D., A Republican from Oklahoma, has placed the Hold on the bill.  According to Senator Coburn’s Wikipedia article:

“According to the Boston Globe, Tom Coburn has blocked passage of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), a bill that would prevent health insurers and employers from using genetic information in decisions of employment or insurability. Senator Coburn objected to provisions in the bill that allow discrimination based on genetic information from embryos and fetuses. Recently, the Boston Globe stated that the embryo loophole has been closed, and that Tom Coburn is reevaluating his opposition to the bill.”

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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.”

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NYT Article – Latest Genealogy Tools Create a Need to Know

An article in today’s New York Times discusses some of the major players in genealogy, including the Generations Network, a brief mention of DNA testing, and the Family History Library in Utah.
Although the article, “Latest Genealogy Tools Create a Need to Know” is hardly groundbreaking or thorough, it might be interesting to those who are new to genealogy.

HT: Tim at Genealogy Reviews Online.  Thanks Tim!

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Spencer Wells on the Colbert Report – Genetic Genealogy Goes Mainstream

Earlier this week, there was a lot of coverage of Spencer Wells’ interview on the Colbert Report. Spencer Wells, of course, leads the Genographic Project.

Epidemix has the video on his blog, along with the video of last month’s interview with Craig Venter. EyeonDNA has a brief review , and it got a mention on Megan’s Root World. If you have a moment, hop over and watch the video.

The Celebrity Genome Debate Rages On

Jason Bobe over at The Personal Genome has a great post this week called “False Alarm: The Celebrity Meme” about the use of ‘famous’ scientists in early genome sequencing.  He poses a number of interesting and thought-provoking questions about the topic.  Make sure you read the comments that others have left.  Hsien at EyeonDNA wrote so much that she made her answers a full-length post.

The subject is traveling all over the blogosphere.  The Rocketfish Manifesto addresses personal genome sequencing with a little bit of humor.  And John Hawks’ Anthropology Weblog has a lengthy post with some new insights.  There is a lot of great reading material available if you’re interested in the Personal Genome Project.

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Genetic Genealogy in the News

A couple of interesting news articles from Megan’s Root World:

  1. Megan’s post, An Avoidable DNA Error, comments on the mistaken identification of an infant who died on the Titanic. As it turns out, the mistake was due to dental error, NOT to genetic genealogy – see Megan’s follow-up post, Blame the Dentists!
  2. Megan and the Genealogue mention an article in The New Republic about The Genealogy Craze in America.
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The Personal Genome Project’s “First 10″

Here they are, the “First 10″, the first ten volunteers of the Personal Genome Project, announced today:

  • Misha Angrist, Ph.D. is Senior Science Editor at the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy in Durham, N.C. His work has appeared in The Michigan Quarterly Review and the Best New American Voices anthology, among other places. Dr. Angrist is also an independent consultant to the life sciences industry. He earned his M.S. in biology from the University of Cincinnati and his Ph.D. in genetics from Case Western Reserve University. His doctoral work focused on the complex inheritance of Hirschsprung disease. Following completion of his post-doctoral in 1998, Dr. Angrist covered the life sciences industry as an analyst for The Freedonia Group and was portfolio manager for the hedge fund Biotech Horizons Fund, LP. Dr. Angrist also holds a M.F.A. from the Bennington Writing Seminars. His firm, Ars Vita Consulting, Inc., provides insight to clients in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and broader healthcare arenas. For recent news by or about Dr. Angrist, see The New Atlantis and Future Medicine.
  • Keith Batchelder, M.D. is the founder and CEO of Genomic Healthcare Strategies. Dr. Batchelder received an MD from Hahnemann University School of Medicine, an MS in Materials Science from New York University, a DMD from the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, and a BA in physics from Middlebury College. Dr. Batchelder has been a consultant for personalized health and wellness companies such as Lineagen and an officer in several health-care organizations. He was chief technical officer of Worldcare Clinical Trials, and was a core member of the team that created Harvard Salud Integral, a new HMO in Mexico City, where he helped secure angel funding in a newly privatized healthcare environment and helped to grow the plan to cover 150,000 patients. He was also an early principal with Amicas, a company that was successfully sold for approximately $30 million cash and stock equivalents. For recent news about Dr. Batchelder, see Nature, Mass High Tech, and an interview with our own EyeonDNA!
  • George M. Church, Ph.D. is a Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Health Sciences & Technology at Harvard and MIT. With Walter Gilbert he developed the first direct genomic sequencing method in 1984 and helped initiate the Human Genome Project in 1984 while he was a Research Scientist at newly-formed Biogen Inc. He invented the broadly-applied concepts of molecular multiplexing and tags, homologous recombination methods, and DNA array synthesizers. Technology transfer of automated sequencing & software to Genome Therapeutics Corp. resulted in the first commercial genome sequence, (the human pathogen, Helicobacter pylori) in 1994. He initiated the Personal Genome Project (PGP) in 2005 and research on synthetic biology. He is director of the U.S. Department of Energy Center on Bioenergy at Harvard & MIT and director of the National Institutes of Health (NHGRI) Center of Excellence in Genomic Science at Harvard, MIT & Washington University. He has been advisor to 22 companies, most recently co-founding (with Joseph Jacobson, Jay Keasling, and Drew Endy) Codon Devices, a biotech startup dedicated to synthetic biology and (with Chris Somerville) founding LS9, which is focused on biofuels. He is a senior editor for Nature EMBO Molecular Systems Biology. See the Boston Globe, Technology Review, his departmental page, his lab webpage, and our very own PersonalGenome.
  • Esther Dyson is an active member of a number of non-profit and advisory organizations. From 1998 to 2000, she was the founding chairman of ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. She has followed closely the post-Soviet transition of Eastern Europe, and is a member of the Bulgarian President’s IT Advisory Council, along with Vint Cerf, George Sadowsky, and Veni Markovski, among others. She has served as a trustee of, and helped fund, emerging organizations such as Glasses for Humanity, Bridges.org, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the Eurasia Foundation. She is also a member of the board for The Long Now Foundation, trustee for the Santa Fe Institute, the Advisory Board of the Stockholm Challenge Award and is a part-owner of the First Monday journal. She is a member of the President’s Export Council Subcommittee on Encryption and sits on the boards of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Scala Business Solutions, Poland Online, Cygnus Solution, E-Pub Services, Trustworks (Amsterdam), IBS (Moscow), iCat, New World Publishing and the Global Business Network. She is on the advisory boards of Perot Systems and the Internet Capital Group, and a limited partner of the Mayfield Software Fund. She has also been a board member or early investor in tech startups, among them Flickr, PowerSet.com, ZEDO, Medscape, Medstory, XCOR, Constellation Services, Zero-G,Icon Aircraft and Space Adventures. Ms. Dyson is the daughter of Freeman Dyson, a physicist, and Verana Huber-Dyson, a mathematician. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard University (1972). For recent news about Ms. Dyson, see The Huffington Post, Media Visions, MediaPost, and The Wall Street Journal.
Rosalynn Gill-Garrison

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Finnish Genealogy and Evolution

 

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There’s a great recent article in Scientific American entitled “What Finnish Grandmothers Reveal about Human Evolution” highlighting the research of biologist Virpi Lummaa.I’ve mentioned before that while genetics is a useful tool for genealogical research, genealogy can also be a useful tool for genetic research!Dr. Lummaa’s research does exactly that.

Dr. Lummaa used 200 years of genealogical records to study the influence of evolution on reproduction”

“The 33-year-old Finnish biologist, aided by genealogists, has pored through centuries-old tomes (and microfiche) for birth, marriage and death records, which ended up providing glimpses of evolution at work in humanity’s recent ancestors.”

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