I’ve written about GINA at least twice before.Â 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.Â 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.Â Senator Tom Coburn, M.D., A Republican from Oklahoma, has placed the Hold on the bill.Â 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.”
Some interesting news in the field of personal genomics:
- A terrific article by David Hamilton at VentureBeat Life Sciences about Navigenetics, a new competitor for personal genomics business.Â However, Navigenetics has stated that rather than being a direct competitor to 23andMe, the companies can compliement each other.Â According to the article:
The results of a Y-DNA test are either a string of plusses and minuses, or a series of numbers.The plusses and minuses are the result of a SNP (single-nucleotide polymorphism) test and denote the testeeâ€™s Haplogroup, while the string of numbers are the result of a STR (short tandem repeat) test and denote the testeeâ€™s haplotype.
To learn more oneâ€™s haplotype, or to compare it to otherâ€™s results, most people enter those results into a database such as Ysearch, Ybase, SMGF, YHRD, or the Y-STR Database.To do this, however, it is sometimes necessary to â€˜normalizeâ€™ the numbers.For instance, one testing company might find a result of 27 for DYS481 while another finds a result of 23 on the same individual.This is typically due to different sequencing primers used by each company to characterize each particular STR.
Dogs, just like humans, have interesting genealogical histories.And a new DNA test unveiled by DNAPrint Genomics will help you examine your dogâ€™s genetic past.The test is aimed at uncovering the relative percentages of four ancient ancestral breeds in a modern dog â€“ 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).
â€œThe 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.â€
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.Â Thanks Tim!
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.
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:
- 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;
- 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.”
For all you lucky people that live in or near Indiana, note the following, from DearMYRTLE:
Roots Television at FGS
Roots Television would like to invite you to join us at exhibit booths 318 and 320 at the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 2007 Conference from August 15-18!
Come meet Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, Dick Eastman and a special surprise guest (on opening day) in Fort Wayne, Indiana at the Grand Wayne Convention Center, 120 West Jefferson Blvd. Throughout the conference, we’ll feature the latest and greatest programs from the Roots Television website. Visit us to be among the first to learn about our Societies & Libraries contest ($1,000 prize to the winning organization!) and to watch Dick Eastman and our surprise guest conduct interviews (or maybe even be interviewed yourself!). Be sure to come by to share in the excitement!
Welcome to edition #13 of the Gene Genie. There were many interesting and exciting submissions for this issue, so I hope you do a little exploring and learn something new about genes, personal genetics, and personalized medicine.
Splicing Genes.Letâ€™s start off with something fun.I donâ€™t know if weâ€™ll ever try to splice our genes with those from famous or successful people, but hereâ€™s at least one conversation that might result!
With new genetic discoveries being announced every day, how does one keep up-to-date?Well, luckily we have a few helpful suggestions from our fellow bloggers.Scienceroll gives us 7 Tips: How to be up-to-date in genetics/genomics?And Clinical Cases and Images â€“ Blog adds to the discussion with 6 Tips on Staying Up-to-Date in Genetics (and Any Specialty).
Argus BioSciences is now testing Y-DNA:
“The Y-chromosome test looks at 96 key single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to determine your paternal haplogroup. Your report includes a phylogenetic tree of global Y-chromosome haplogroups. The SNP assays are carried out in collaboration with Marligen Biosciences, a leader in the development of cutting edge multiplex assays.”
“These kits employ a two tiered strategy that efficiently detects 96 polymorphic markers in multiplexed PCR and detection reactions. Samples are first analyzed with a screening multiplex (A-R) that determines the major haplotype group of each sample. Subsequently, samples are analyzed with one of the haplogroup-specific multiplexes (AB, CD, E, FGHI, J, KLMN, O1, O2, PQ, R1 or R2) to determine the precise haplotype of each sample.”