A few days ago I wrote about John Reid’s “Where Has Your DNA Been” post at Anglo-Connections a few days ago. This is similar to another meme which has been circulating the genealogy blogosphere for a few weeks now, including “Where was your family in 1908?” at 100 Years in America and “Where was your family 200 years ago?” at What’s Past is Prologue. Steve at Steve’s Genealogy Blog has also given the ‘Map Your DNA’ meme a try. I thought it was a fun idea, and had a number of potentially interesting applications, if I were a programmer and if I had any free time. Absent that, I thought I would at least try to replicate John’s idea by mapping my location in 2008 versus the locations of my Y-DNA and mtDNA in 1808, 200 years ago.
Kimberly Powell of About.com:Genealogy recently posted “10 Genealogy Blogs Worth Reading.” I was honored to see that I was included as one of those blogs, along with some outstanding company. The others are:
1. Genea-Musings – “Randy’s musings bring out the genealogist in all of us…”
2. The Genealogue – “His unique brand of genealogy humor puts a special spin on just about everything genealogy…” I was saddened to hear that The Genealogue is on temporary hiatus as the author deals with a family situation. I wish Chris and his family all the best and look forward to his return.
3. Ancestry Insider – “…provides the “insider” point of view you won’t easily find elsewhere.”
I started The Genetic Genealogist nearly a year ago, in February of 2007. To celebrate the approaching one-year anniversary of the blog, I am announcing a contest to give away a FREE genetic genealogy test from one of my sponsors, DNA Heritage.
Why offer a free genetic genealogy test? I know that there are many genealogists out there who are interested in genetic genealogy, but are reticent to spend the money for a test or think they know too little about genetic genealogy to buy a test. Hopefully, readers of The Genetic Genealogist know a lot more about the technology than they did before they were readers, and now one of you will win a free test! The winner may choose from the following tests offered by the company:
- The Y-chromosome STR (23 marker) Test valued at over $135
- The Y-chromosome SNP Test valued at $129 (sample report)
- The mtDNA Test (HVR-I, HVR-II, and HVR-III for a total of 1145 bases) valued at $219 (sample report).
The contest rules are below, but I wanted to point out that DNA Heritage has an FAQ section, as well as a Tutorial section and a Glossary. I would highly recommend that anyone who is not familiar with DNA testing or genetic genealogy read these sections carefully and completely to understand all the benefits and limitations of genetic genealogy. It is important that anyone who is interested in any form of genetic testing understand all the implications of that testing. Note also that genetic genealogy does NOT instantly reveal the names and dates of ancestors – this can only be accomplished by comparing your results to others (using free public DNA databases) in conjunction with traditional genealogical techniques!
The footnote Maven created an ‘angelic’ collage of genealogy bloggers at “A Choice of GeneaAngels.” I was graciously included in the collage. Can you find me without looking at the list? Sure would be fun to hear us all sing together, wouldn’t it?
On a related note, the footnote Maven also started a Blog Caroling meme where we post the lyrics from our favorite Christmas carol. Since my favorite song was already taken, I thought I’d go with my second favorite. In high school my French teacher would have us sing Christmas carols in French and one of my favorites was the following:
Bring A Torch, Jeannette, Isabella:English Bring a torch, Jeanette, Isabella! Bring a torch, to Bethlehem come! Christ is born. Tell the folk of the village Mary has laid him in a manger. Ah!* Ah! beautiful is the Mother! Ah! Ah! beautiful is her child! It is wrong when the Baby is sleeping, It is wrong to speak so loud. Silence, now as you gather around, Lest your noise should waken Jesus. Hush! Hush! see how the Baby slumbers; Hush! Hush! see how the Baby sleeps! Softly now unto the stable, Softly for a moment come! Look and see how charming is Jesus, Look at him there, His cheeks are rosy! Hush! Hush! see how the Child is sleeping; Hush! Hush! see how he smiles in dreams! French Un flambeau, Jeanette, Isabelle – Un flambeau! Courons au berceau! C’est JÃ©sus, bons gens du hameau. Le Christ est nÃ©; Marie appelle! Ah! Ah! Ah! Que la MÃ¨re est belle, Ah! Ah! Ah! Que l’Enfant est beau! C’est un tort, quand l’Enfant sommeille, C’est un tort de crier si fort. Taisez-vous, l’un et l’autre, d’abord! Au moindre bruit, JÃ©sus s’Ã©veille. Chut! chut! chut! Il dort Ã merveille, Chut! chut! chut! Voyez comme il dort! Doucement, dans l’Ã©table close, Doucement, venez un moment! Approchez! Que JÃ©sus est charmant! Comme il est blanc! Comme il est rose!
According to Wikipedia, the song was first published in 1553 in France and is unique among Christmas carols in that it is in 3/8 time (the fast pace is one reason I enjoy the song so much).
Genealogists spend many of their days (and much of their money!) tracking the history of their ancestors. They hunt through ancient records to elucidate even the smallest clue as to some facet of their ancestors’ lives. Since the majority of genetic genealogists started their journey as traditional genealogists, it is only natural that they enjoy record-keeping and tracking as well.
The DNA Genealogy Timeline is a free public resource maintained by Georgia K. Bopp and hosted by rootsweb.com. The timeline attempts to track the significant developments associated with genetic genealogy. It begins with “Before 1980″ and was updated most recently as of October 2007.
What immediately stands out is that genetic genealogy has been around much longer than people realize, especially given the recent media attention. I began my exploration of genetic genealogy in 2003, but by 2000 there were already as many as 4 surname projects begun by hobbyists! As of September 2007, one company (Family Tree DNA) had over 4,200 surname projects that contained more than 66,000 surnames. There are even more surname projects hosted by other companies, including Heritage DNA.
Welcome to the November 4, 2007 edition of the Carnival of Genealogy.The topic for this edition was actually more of a questionâ€¦ Do you have a family mystery that might be solved by DNA?I offered to analyze a submitted post for questions or family mysteries that might be solved using genetic genealogy.There were a number of interesting and challenging articles, and everyone kept me very busy!If youâ€™ve ever considered using DNA to analyze your ancestry, youâ€™ll want to read all the way through this Carnival!
I wanted to start off with a post from the footnoteMaven entitled â€œAsk The Genetic Genealogist.â€In the post, she refers to me as â€œDr. DNAâ€ â€“ I could really get used to that!The footnoteMaven has a cousin on her fatherâ€™s side who was recently diagnosed as having sickle cell trait.Sickle cell is caused by any one of a number of identified mutations of the hemoglobin gene on chromosome 11.Sickle cell trait means that the cousin has one good copy of the hemoglobin gene and one bad copy â€“ one from each parent.Since this is autosomal DNA, the traditional tool of genetic genealogy, Y-DNA and mtDNA tests, wonâ€™t be of much help.There are a number of DNA testing companies that will sequence the hemoglobin gene to check for mutations, but testing your cousinâ€™s siblings wonâ€™t reveal which parent had the mutated gene.It would be best to test the parents, but they have passed away.Unfortunately, answering your mystery would most likely be very expensive and time-consuming, at least at the current stage of technology.In 5 to 10 years, as whole genome sequencing becomes cheaper, it might be a much easier project.There are some autosomal genealogy tests which purport to reveal ancestral origins (such as Africa, Europe,
1.Genetic genealogy is only for hardcore genealogists.
Wrong!If youâ€™ve ever wondered about the origins of your DNA, or about your direct paternal or maternal ancestral line, then genetic genealogy might be an interesting way to learn more.Although DNA testing of a single line, such as through an mtDNA test, will only examine one ancestor out of 1024 potential ancestors at 10 generations ago, this is a 100% improvement over 0 ancestors out of 1024.If you add your fatherâ€™s Y-DNA, this is a 200% improvement.Now add your motherâ€™s mtDNA, and so on.However, with this in mind, please note the next myth:
2.Iâ€™m going to send in my DNA sample and get back my entire family tree.
A lot of people write me to ask me questions about genetic genealogy, and a few have asked if there are any books on the subject that might help them learn more about it.Â I thought I should provide a list of great reading material to help someone who might not have time to ask (but keep the questions coming!).
Great beginner books which are specifically about genealogy and DNA:
Trace Your Roots with DNA: Use Your DNA to Complete Your Family Tree by Megan Smolenyak and Ann Turner (Published October 7, 2004):
The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry by Bryan Sykes (Published July 9, 2001):
How to Interpret Your DNA Test Results for Family History & Ancestry: Scientists Speak Out on Genealogy Joining Genetics by Anne Hart (Published December 2002):
1.You got those big blue eyes from your grandmother, but chances are you inherited less desirable genes as well.We inherit our DNA from our parents, who inherited it from their parents.Since we all possess genes that can cause or contribute to disease, knowing oneâ€™s DNA and family medical history can be a great resource for someone who learns they have a genetic disorder.
2.Full genome sequencing is right around the corner!The X-prize quest for the $1000 genome will lead to efficient and affordable whole-genome sequencing.As commercial companies crop up and compete for customerâ€™s business, leading to even lower prices.
3.Your grandmotherâ€™s DNA contains clues to her ancestry.X-chromosome, mtDNA, and autosomal genealogy tests contain clues to a personâ€™s ancestry, both recent and ancient.
23andMe has been the subject of much discussion in the biotech and personalized medicine circles of the blogosphere (See here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here for plenty of information/speculation/discussion).
In August, 23andMe announced (â€œ23andMe and Illumina Forge Consumer Genomics Goliathâ€) that they have partnered together to offer â€œconsumer genotypingâ€ – more about that in a minute.Illumina produces â€œSNP chipsâ€, chips that can test a genome for thousands of SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) at a time.For example, the company has one chip that tests one million SNPs for as little as $600, and another chip that tests 550,000 SNPs (the HumanHap550) for only $300-$450.Interestingly, Illumina is also able to custom build chips to add specific SNPs if the customer so desires.Additionally, as the announcement touted, Illumina is also exploring the world of inexpensive whole-genome sequencing, suggesting that this partnership with 23andMe could transition from cheap SNP testing to cheap whole-genome sequencing at some point in the future.