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About.com:Genealogy – 10 Genealogy Blogs Worth Reading

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.”

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It’s Not Genetic Genealogy, But Here’s What I’ve Been Working On

As many of you know, I am currently a second-year law student preparing for a career in intellectual property. Last semester, I began work as a research assistant for one of my first-year professors. The project we worked on, examining portrayals of the United States patent system in the newspaper media, turned into two papers. Naturally I think the papers are great and it was interesting to see the results, especially considering all the attention the patent system has received lately.

  1. Dolak, Lisa A. and Bettinger, Blaine T., “The United States Patent System in the Media Mirror.” Syracuse Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1084420.
  2. Dolak, Lisa A. and Bettinger, Blaine T., “Ebay and the Blackberry®: A Media Coverage Case Study” (December 11, 2007). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1082220.

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New Associate Editor For The Journal of Genetic Genealogy

If you stop by the Journal of Genetic Genealogy‘s front page and look through the list of Associate Editors, you might see a new name there! If you’re not familiar with the JoGG, there’s a brief write-up here. The JoGG is a free, open-access journal that presents peer-reviewed articles about genetic genealogy to the public. The first issue of the JoGG was released in the Spring of 2005.

I’m honored to be a part of this endeavor, and to join this wonderful group of individuals. I believe that this represents a great opportunity to contribute to the community that I enjoy and respect.

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Win A FREE Genetic Genealogy Test From The Genetic Genealogist!

DNA HeritageI 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:

  1. The Y-chromosome STR (23 marker) Test valued at over $135
  2. The Y-chromosome SNP Test valued at $129 (sample report)
  3. 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!

... Click to read more!

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My 2008 Blogging Goals

2008small.jpgAs 2007 comes to a close, I thought I would take a moment to reflect upon the past year of blogging and set some goals for the coming year.

The Genetic Genealogist was created just 10 months ago.My first post on February 12, 2007 was “New estimates for the arrival of the earliest Native Americans.”Interestingly, this research was just named one of the Top 100 Science Stories of 2007 according to Discover Magazine.

Since the debut, I have written a total of 211 posts.There have been over 32,000 visitors and almost 100,000 page views since February.My eBook, “10 DNA Myths Busted, and Other Favorite Posts”, has been downloaded almost 150 times.My top 10 most viewed posts are the following, which represent a wide array of topics:

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The Genetic Genealogy Market, Part II

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Yesterday, I looked at the size of the Genetic Genealogy market, and concluded that as of November 2007, there had been as many (or perhaps ‘at least’) 600,000 to 700,000 genetic genealogy tests performed, with 80,000 to 100,000 new tests per year. As the footnoteMaven mentioned, it might be interesting to see if we could turn those numbers into dollar amounts.

The following is a very rough attempt to translate the numbers into market value, with the following caveats: (1) I am not an economist, and I haven’t taken an economics class since high school; (2) the numbers do not take into account testing upgrades, which are offered by a number of companies; (3) the numbers do not take into account sequencing of the entire mitochondrial genome, specialized allele tests, or combination tests (e.g. Y-DNA and mtDNA) and; (4) the average cost of testing only reflects the companies included in yesterday’s accounting, and do not include the free SMGF test.

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Carnival of Genealogy, 35th Edition

Welcome to the November 4, 2007 edition of the Carnival of Genealogy.The topic for this edition was actually more of a question… 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 you’ve ever considered using DNA to analyze your ancestry, you’ll want to read all the way through this Carnival!

I wanted to start off with a post from the footnoteMaven entitled “Ask The Genetic Genealogist.”In the post, she refers to me as “Dr. DNA” – I could really get used to that!The footnoteMaven has a cousin on her father’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 – one from each parent.Since this is autosomal DNA, the traditional tool of genetic genealogy, Y-DNA and mtDNA tests, won’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 cousin’s siblings won’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, Asia, etc..), but this would not reveal any information about the source of the mutated hemoglobin gene.

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If You Just Can’t Get Enough of The Genetic Genealogist…

I recently took a few moments to stitch together some of my favorite and most-visited posts from the blog into an easy to read eBook. It has a wide array of posts for anyone interested in DNA, including people who are new to genetic genealogy and those who have had experience in the field. The title is:

10 DNA Testing Myths Busted, and Other Favorite Posts

The eBook, which is in pdf form, can be downloaded from the following link. Feel free to put it on your website or email it to anyone you think might be interested. I think you’ll find that it’s full of interesting material!

Favorite Science Blogs at The Scientist

The Scientist is attempting to compile the list of the most popular science blogs:

“We at The Scientist are asking you to help compile the first list of the best life science blogs. Tell us what your favorite life science blogs are and why by clicking the button and leaving a comment, and we will publish a list of the most popular choices across the different areas of life sciences. With your help we hope to provide a list of who is currently hot in the science blogosphere, and why you should be reading them.”

It’s not a popularity contest (oh wait, it is!), but if you think of any great science-related blogs (ahem), stop by and let them know!

And if you don’t feel like nominating anyone, just scroll through the list and click on some links!  It’s a great way to discover new science blogs.

... Click to read more!