RootsTelevision & Megan Smolenyak at the FGS Conference

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!

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Gene Genie #13: Into the Future

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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.Let’s start off with something fun.I don’t know if we’ll ever try to splice our genes with those from famous or successful people, but here’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 – Blog adds to the discussion with 6 Tips on Staying Up-to-Date in Genetics (and Any Specialty).

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Argus BioSciences Now Testing Y-DNA

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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.”

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Beothuk DNA in Newfoundland

Yesterday I wrote about a study that used SNPs to haplotype the Y chromosomes of ancient DNA obtained from skeletons found along the Yangtze River in China.The ability to extract and use SNP data from ancient Y-DNA is a relatively new scientific development.Indeed, the author’s of the study I highlighted yesterday stated: “The first reported ancient Y SNP data was typed from a Native American sample of an extinct tribe (Kuch et al. 2007).”I thought I’d briefly mention this earlier study as well since it contains a lot of interesting information.

The Beothuk were a Native American group that lived on Newfoundland at the time of John Cabot’s arrival in 1497.Although estimates vary widely, they may have been as few as 500 to 1000 individuals.The Beothuk avoided Europeans, and eventually disease and conflict led to their extinction in the 1820s.

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Y Chromosomes of Prehistoric People Along the Yangtze River

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In the past, scientists have primarily examined the mtDNA of ancient DNA.After all, mtDNA is much more prevalent (100’s to 1000’s of copies per cell) than nuclear DNA (just 1 copy per cell) and thus it is easier to find samples that are not degraded by time.New amplification techniques as well as improved anti-contamination procedures have made it possible for Y chromosomal DNA to be

In a new study (epub ahead of print – which means that it is available online before it is published in Human Genetics), researchers examined the remains of male skeletons that were buried in the loessal soil in Maqiao, Xindili, Wucheng, Daxi, and Taosi, areas along the Yangtze River.Interestingly, these skeletons were buried without chests or coffins.Using a well-established set of anti-contamination procedures, DNA was extracted and five SNPs were typed for each individual (when possible): M119, M95, M122, M7, and M134.According to YCC nomenclature, those SNPs delineate the O1, O2a, O3*, O3d, and O3e haplogroups.The scientists found that:

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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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Ethical and Legal Issues Surrounding Large-Scale Genomic Databases

I recently came across a review article by Henry T. Greely, a Professor of Law, Professor (by courtesy) of Genetics, and Director of the Center for Law and Bioethics at Stanford.The article is entitled “The Uneasy Ethical and Legal Underpinnings of Large-Scale Genomic Biobanks (pdf)” and was recently published in the Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics.

According to Mr. Greely, the identity of participants in large-scale genomic biobanks cannot effectively protected.A biobank is defined as a database of genotypic and phenotypic data.Using genetic information, physical information, or a combination of the two, people can identify an individual in such a large database:

“Someone really interested could get a DNA sample from me – from a licked stamp, a drinking glass, or some tissue – and have it genotyped for a few hundred dollars, but few will have to go to the genomic data; the phenotypic and demographic data will often be sufficient.”

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The Phylogeography of African Brazilians

southamerica2.jpg A recent study (epub ahead of print) published in Human Heredity examines the Y-DNA and mtDNA haplogroups of 120 black males from Sao Paulo, Brazil.Approximately four million Africans were taken as slaves to Brazil where they interbred extensively with Amerindians and Europeans.Previous studies from this group have shown that while white Brazilians have predominately European Y-DNA, they have high a proportion of African and Amerindian mtDNA.

Interestingly, the study showed that while only 48% of the Y-DNA was characteristic of sub-Saharan Africa, 85% of the mtDNA appeared to be of African origin.The authors also used the results to estimate the ancestral contribution of Central-West, West, and Southeast Africa to African Brazilians from Sao Paulo.I can’t reveal those time estimates, however, because I don’t have access to the article.

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