The Observer has an article, â€œThe genes that build Americaâ€ which is a summary of every popular genetic genealogy new story to appear in the past year.From the story header:
â€œFrom the discovery that presidential hopeful Barack Obama is descended from white slave owners to the realisation that the majority of black Americans have European ancestors, a boom in ‘recreational genetics’ is forcing America to redefine its roots. Paul Harris pieces together the DNA jigsaw of what it really means to be born in the USA.â€
An interesting article about J. Craig Venter, including his new endeavors and his forthcoming book (let’s face it, I can’t wait to read it) at Forbes.com.Â It’s a great read and even has a little controversy – the article is called “Hype in the Genes.”Â I highly recommend checking it out.
Hsien at EyeonDNA has a great post about patenting genes, including a poll and a discussion in the comments.
Dr. Lei links to a recent symposium on the topic at the Genetics & Public Policy Center at Johns Hopkins and mentions legislation proposed in February 2007 that would ban the patenting of human genetic material.
I think it would be great if you stopped by and voted, or left your thoughts in the comments. This is a very controversial topic, and it would be very interesting to see how others feel about it!
The BBC has an article about genetic genealogy testing of nine celebrities in Brazil for a project called Afro-Brazilian Roots by the Brazilian Service of the BBC. These lucky individuals received Y-DNA, mtDNA, and autosomal testing, and most were surprised with the large proportion of European genealogy revealed by the tests.
“Brazil has more people with black ancestry than any other nation outside Africa, and its mix of Indians, Africans and Europeans gave rise in the past to the claim that the country was a ‘racial democracy.’ ”
“No one is pure in Brazil. That’s why the country has the face of the future,” said Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., coordinator of a similar project in the U.S.”
“Wireless Healthcare forecast patients gaining access to their genetic profile and managing their health using an online patient record, but they expressed doubts about the efficacy of banner advertisements as revenue model for companies that offer such services.”
I received word this week that The Genetic Genealogist has been approved for HONcode accreditation from the Health On the Net Foundation. Sites with HONcode accreditation follow the code of conduct described here.
Earlier this week I posted about my rare surname and the genetic bottleneck my particular branch of the family tree is experiencing. Later that day a visitor stopped by and left their own story (as a comment) relating to family trees and genetic genealogy, and it was so interesting that I thought I’d share it:
â€œYou would think that after 193 years there should be hundreds of us, but thatâ€™s not how genealogy or genetics works.â€
I was shocked when I realized that my brothers are at the end state of our yDNA.
Lorenzo P. (our gr-grandfather)from Italy had three sons. Two â€œdaughtered out.â€ Our grandfather Agostino had two sons. One son had a son, the other son had two sons. None of those sons have had children. One had died, and the others are no longer married, and not likely to do so again. That is the end of Lorenzoâ€™s line in the US. Perhaps he had brothers in Italy that we have yet to find, and the yDNA line continues.
Last Thursday, Michael Neill, a noted genealogist and author of rootdig.com, posted an article entitled â€œIs DNA That Big of a Deal?â€
Mr. Neill, who states that he is â€œtired of all they hypeâ€ writes:
â€œWhile I admit there are times where DNA analysis can be helpful, in the vast majority of cases DNA does not provide the type of relationship precision we need. Knowing that two people are related “somehow” “somewhere” “an unknown number of generations back” is typically not the kind of information genealogists need.â€
He also believes that instead of spending money and effort on genetic genealogy, researchers should be digitizing and preserving records.
I agree with much of what Mr. Neill says â€“ DNA doesnâ€™t always work, DNA isnâ€™t for all genealogists, and genealogists MUST help preserve endangered records.But, unfortunately, paper records donâ€™t hold all the answers.Iâ€™ve always believed that genetic genealogy works best when it is combined with traditional genealogical research.Inside each one of my three trillion cells are a few strands of DNA that serve as records of their own â€“ why shouldnâ€™t genealogists get excited when exploring the most personal record theyâ€™ll ever find?
The panel also included Christopher Rabb, a genealogist.The two discussed the difficulties facing African Americans who are interested in discovering their roots.After exhausting paper records, Mr. Rabb used DNA testing to learn more about his paternal and maternal lineages.
Despite the successes of genetic genealogy, â€œ[b]oth Rabb and Kittles recognized that genetic testing for ancestry complicates the history and social reality of race in the United States,â€ noting that 30% of African Americans descend from Europeans.