GeoGene Goes Out of Business

I just received word that the genetic ancestry testing company Geogene has gone out of business. From the website:

1 OCTOBER 2008: We are very sorry to announce that, due to ongoing technical issues and increasing competition from National Geographic’s similar ‘Genographic Project’, GeoGene is unable to continue trading. If you are interested in finding out about your genetic ancestry, we recommend you use National Genographic’s service instead.

Posted via web from Blaine Bettinger’s Lifestream … Click to read more!


Using mtDNA to Suggest Kinship – A Case Example Involving Lucille Ball

Cropped version of :Image:Lucille Ball - YankA...
Image via Wikipedia

There is an article in yesterday’s Greenwich Times entitled “Woman out to prove kinship to Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz” about Cassandria Carlson, a woman from Schaumburg, Ill. who believes she is the granddaughter of Lucille Ball.

According to Carlson, her mother was born to Lucille Ball in 1947 and was then put up for adoption “because her very existence would have interfered with Ball’s career.”  Among her evidence, Carlson cites a 1946 newspaper clipping which described Ball as pregnant as well as her mother Madeline Jane Dee’s memories of a red-headed woman named “Mrs. Morton” bringing her to the playground as a child (Ball’s second married was to a Gary Morton).  Unfortunately, Ms. Dee died just a few years ago.

Ball had two confirmed children: Lucie Desiree Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, … Click to read more!


Latest Genetic Genealogy Series “Faces of America” Expected From PBS in 2010

http://www.thefoodsection.com/.a/6a00d8341c4ec753ef01157198f61a970b-pi Via ” Mapping the Mario Batali Genome” Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is working on a new four-part genetic genealogy series for PBS called “Faces of America”, expected to air in 2010.  Unlike the previous African American Lives series, the latest work will examine the genetic ancestry of Americans from all walks of life.  From the press release (“THIRTEEN, Kunhardt McGee Productions and Inkwell Films, in Production on New PBS Series, Faces of America“):

Global in scope, Faces of America will look beyond the black experience to explore American identity with guests who are Asian, Hispanic, Irish, Italian, Jewish, Syrian, West Indian, and Native American. Joining Professor Gates in this new series are poet Elizabeth Alexander, who composed and read the poem at President Barack Obama’s inauguration, chef Mario Batali, comedian and television personality Stephen Colbert, writer Junot Diaz, writer Louise Erdrich, writer Malcolm Gladwell, actress Eva Longoria, cellist Yo Yo Ma, writer and director Mike Nichols, former monarch of Jordan Queen Noor, actress Meryl Streep, and Olympic gold medalist and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi.

An interesting mix of celebrities!  In addition to peering into the genomes of others, the series will follow Professor Gates and his father as their ENTIRE genomes are sequences and analyzed (to the extent currently possible):

Too expensive for popular use, to date, less than 20 people have had their entire genome sequenced. Working with Illumina and Knome and geneticists at the Broad Institute and the Harvard Medical School, Faces of America will make medical history by filming the sequencing and interpretation of the genomes – six billion base pairs – of Professor Gates and his father, Henry Louis Gates, Sr. In addition, each guest will undergo dense genotyping to trace their father’s line, mother’s line and their admixture (that is, their percentages of European, Asian, Native American, and African ancestry).

Here’s a link to a video of Professor Gates with Colbert from February 3, 2009.  I should also note that Professor Gates just recently won the 2009 Ralph Lowell Award for his work with public television to … Click to read more!


Ancient Ancestry Finder From Ancestry.com – A Best Guess at Ancient Origin of Your Y-DNA or mtDNA

via blogs.ancestry.com Ancestry.com DNA offers a Y-DNA and mtDNA haplogroup predictor – the Ancient Ancestry Finder – based primarily on location of your most distant known paternal or maternal ancestor. From the site:

To give everyone a sampling of these results, with Finder™ we’ve built a simple experience that takes a best guess at describing your ancient ancestors. You answer 2 or 3 questions with the most basic info about your family (facts almost everyone knows). And then we provide a few options for likely ancient ancestral groups, along with descriptions of those groups…The spirit of Finder™ is a bit different from what you may have experienced on our site. It’s part of our effort to introduce ancestry and genealogy to a wider audience.

The results aren’t meant to be accurate, merely a best guess based on location. The guess is the broadest category of the haplogroup, such as “Y-DNA Haplogroup R” or “mtDNA Haplogroup H.” Both of my predictions were accurate. I’m curious to see what the percentage of accuracy is for others, so leave a comment to let me know. Posted via web from Blaine Bettinger’s Lifestream … Click to read more!

The Potential Impact of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis on Discrimination of the Disabled: Analysis of Mitigating Factors

via slideshare.net This is a little off-topic for The Genetic Genealogist, but I thought I would share this paper which I wrote for a Genetics & Ethics class this spring. The paper examines all the biological and behavioral limitations on the ability of humans to create so-called “designer babies” solely from selecting embryos before in vitro fertilization. Although many are worried about the impact of being able to choose which embryo to implant, the paper argues that the impact is significantly limited by a number of factors. Note that this paper does NOT factor in the potential for creating designer babies by changing an embryo’s DNA; that’s a whole different can of worms! Posted via web from Blaine Bettinger’s Lifestream … Click to read more!

The mtDNA of Ötzi the Iceman: A New Subclade of Haplogroup K1

The mtDNA of Otzi, the Iceman discovered in the Alps, was recently re-analyzed. The results suggest that the previous mtDNA sequence was contaminated by a modern mtDNA source, and that the mtDNA belongs to a previously unidentified subclade of Haplogroup K1.  For more information, see Dienekes’ Anthropology Blog. via biomedcentral.com Posted via web from Blaine Bettinger’s Lifestream … Click to read more!


TruGenetics Offers Free SNP Scans

TruGenetics is a genomics company offering at least 10,000 free SNP scans to those who register at their website.  Unlike most other personal genomics companies, TruGenetics users complete a survey to create a “personalized risk assessment survey.”  Not surprisingly, the tests are currently not available to New York residents:

New York residents: We are currently working with your state authorities to receive permission to operate in New York. We cannot take your information at this time.

There is much more information at genomeboy.com and Genetic Future, including insight into TruGenetic’s business model.  If you are considering this service, be sure to read and completely understand all the terms & conditions, as well as ALL potential outcomes.  You can also follow twitterer “achamedian” to learn more. Disclosure: I am a consultant for Pathway Genomics. Posted via web from Blaine Bettinger’s Lifestream … Click to read more!

BBC NEWS – Americans seek their African roots

via news.bbc.co.uk An article at BBC News – Americans seek their African roots – briefly discusses genetic genealogy in America. One interesting quote from the article: “Of the half a million Americans who have purchased DNA tests, around 35,000 of them are African American.” Interesting article, although I at a complete loss for where the “35,000″ number was obtained. The article also includes some criticism from Deborah Bolnick of African Ancestry‘s interpretation of their genetic genealogy tests. Via Anglo-Celtic Connections, where John provides some very cogent input regarding this topic. Posted via web from Blaine Bettinger’s Lifestream … Click to read more!


The Latest in Genetic Genealogy and Personal Genomics News

A quick digest of some of the most interesting news and developments in the field:

10 Great Blogs for Genetic Genealogists

I made this list of 10 Great Blogs for blogs.com a few months ago.  It contains 10 blogs that I believe are vital reading for anyone interested in personal genomics, including genetic genealogy.  Here are my picks, but check out the link for my description of each blog:

  1. DNA – Genealem’s Genetic Genealogy
  2. Dienekes’ Anthropology Blog
  3. European Genetics and Anthropology Blog
  4. Eye on DNA
  5. Genetic Future
  6. Genomeboy.com
  7. Megan’s Root World
  8. The Daily Scan
  9. The Personal Genome
  10. The Spittoon, deCODEyou, DNAction

Genetic Genealogists Assist Studies

In addition to the articles published in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy (the Spring 2009 issue was just released), genetic genealogists have often assisted researchers publishing studies in other journals.  This reinforces my suggestion to researchers that they interact with the genetic genealogy community to facilitate research.  For instance, here is a quote from a new … Click to read more!