A study conducted by researchers at the Institute of Human Genetics at the Center for Life in Newcastle, England discovered that only 50% of males with the last name Robson can be traced back to a recent single ancestor.The research, commissioned to create a new exhibit called â€œThe Robson Encyclopedia,â€ compared 12 markers from the Y-chromosomes of 100 male volunteer Robsons.
Apparently the Border Reiver clan of the Robsons in the Tyne Valley was notorious in the 1600â€™s and was made famous in a book called â€œThe Steel Bonnetsâ€ by George MacDonald Fraser.According to one site:
â€œThe term Border Reivers describes a number of English and Scottish families who fought a seemingly endless series of bloody confrontations from the 13th Century to the mid 17th Century. Sheep stealing and burning each otherâ€™s homes were part of everyday Border Reiver life – they were rugged, tough people who lived by their own laws.â€
Yesterday The Jewish Press announced the â€œKohen and Levi Conference: A Gathering of the Tribe.â€The conference, to be held on July 15-19, 2007, is hosted in Jerusalem by The Center for Kohanim.The Center was founded in 1985 to â€œpromote identity and knowledge among Kohanim the world over, and increase their feelings of awareness and commitment to their heritage as Kohanim.â€The conference has a main page, a press release, and a brochure (pdf).According to the press release:
Recent scientific research and DNA testing has proven that todayâ€™s descendents of the biblical Kohanim are genetically related. Molecular geneticists have discovered the â€œCohen Modal Haplotypeâ€ which is a Y- chromosome DNA lineage signature shared by a majority of both Ashkenazi and Sephardi Kohanim. This indicates a direct patrilineal descent of present-day Kohanim from a single ancient ancestor, genetically dated to have lived approximately 3,300 years ago, a time corresponding to the Exodus from Egypt.
I just wanted to take a moment to send a big thank you to everyone that reads The Genetic Genealogist and to all those who have linked here.I have a lot of posts percolating in my head, so be sure to stick around.And if you link to me on your blog, just send me an email (see here) and I will be sure to acknowledge you!
- EyeonDNA has an ongoing series looking at geeky lab t-shirts. I contributed a picture of my own geeky t-shirt for the series.
- On June 1st, Sciencerollâ€™s â€œBlogMix: the best posts of the weekâ€ included my post on Watsonâ€™s genome â€œFor the First Time, a Human Receives (Almost) Entire Personal Genome!â€
- DNA Direct thanked me for the link to the Baylor University Press Release regarding the presentation of James Watsonâ€™s genome.
- Peter Suber, author of Open Access News, also included a link to my article about James Watsonâ€™s genome.
- business|bytes|genes|molecules (bbgm) reviewed the recent developments related to 23andMe in a post called â€œGoogley bioâ€ and linked to my article “23andMe Revisited.â€œ
- For those of you unfamiliar with Postgenomic, I highly recommend visiting.According to the site, it â€œcollects posts from hundreds of science blogs and then does useful and interesting things with that data.â€I just joined recently, and the great thing about Postgenomic is that it joins stories together by subject.For instance, I have posts that are related to recent topics, here and here.
- Genomicron discusses Nicholas Wadeâ€™s incorrect terminology in his New York Times article â€œGenome of DNA Discoverer is Deciphered.â€I mentioned recently that Wade may or maynot have had a choice in the title, but as Genomicron counters the entire article was flawed and Wade has had this problem in the past.
- The Genetics Education Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center.This site, aimed at educators who want to learn more about the human genome, is actually a great site for anyone interested in genetics!Iâ€™m planning on mining it for information myself, and if I find anything interesting I will be sure to share it with you.
My four-part series called â€œYou and the $1000 Genomeâ€ gathered lots of links:
EyeonDNA included the series in the recent 8th edition of Gene Genie.There are a lot of great authors in this list of articles! EyeonDNA had also mentioned the series in a previous post requesting submissions for the Gene Genie!
Every Saturday, Scienceroll
Artist Ulla Plougmand-Turner has created paintings of The Seven Daughters of Eve using paint that contains reconstructed ancient DNA manufactured by Oxford Ancestors.
Most genetic genealogists are very familiar with Bryan Sykesâ€™ Seven Daughters of Eve, the 7 â€œclan mothersâ€ (Ursula, Xenia, Helena, Velda, Tara, Katrine, and Jasmine) from whom the majority of Europeans are believed to obtain their mitochondrial DNA.Note that there are many more â€œclan mothersâ€ located throughout the world â€“ I, for instance, am descended from clan Aiyana.
The exhibition was commissioned by Professor Bryan Sykes, the head of Human Genetics at Oxford University and the founder of Oxford Ancestors.Prof. Sykes met Ms. Plougmand-Turner by chance when he was taking DNA samples from villagers at Longleat.
The L.A. Daily News published an article yesterday titled â€œDNA testing helps find lost legacies and cements connections.â€
The article discusses the success some individuals have had using genetic genealogy. For example, Edwin Blancher suspected that his oldest known relative changed his surname from Blanchard to Blancher.DNA testing suggests that he did.
And Doug Miller of California has confirmed that neither his Y chromosome nor his mtDNA are of Native American descent.
[Thanks to Hsien at EyeonDNA for the article!]
Yesterday, the latest edition of Gene Genie was posted at EyeonDNA.Â There’s a lot of interesting articles about a number of different topics in genetics.Â If you have a moment, go check it out.
I have to admit, during the past few months I’ve worried about future of those companies offering genetic genealogy testing (there are at least 31; see the sidebar). I know it’s a funny thing to worry about, but I guess I’m just trying to figure out what the future holds for this type of testing.
My biggest concern, of course, is that whole-genome sequencing will signal the end of many of these companies, at least the ones who do not offer whole-genome sequencing. (By the way, are you sick of hearing about genomic sequencing yet? Lately I feel like I should change the name of the blog to “The Genomic Genealogist” or something like that!). Some might ask, for instance, why one should bother ordering multiple tests once whole-genome sequencing is affordable. And it’s a great question, because we are getting sooo close to that goal!
The Forbes Series â€“ Forbes has an excellent series of articles relating to genomic sequencing and genetic genealogy.It is well-timed and full of interesting things to think about.I highly recommend reading them all!
1. Will You Get Cancer?
2. The Telltale Tumor
3. Never Mind You â€“ What About Me?
4. Genes of the Rich and Famous
5. Genealogy Gets Genetic
6. 12 Genes That Could Change Your Life
â€œGenome of DNA Pioneer is Decipheredâ€-This is a write-up by Nicholas Wade in the New York Times.Unfortunately, Mr, Wade used the word â€˜decipheredâ€™ in the article rather than â€˜sequencedâ€™.Iâ€™m not convinced that this was his choice, but heâ€™s getting some flack for it.In any event, it appears that Watsonâ€™s sequence took 2 DVDs rather than just one!Â There’s a write-up at Nature News as well.
In case my readers were not aware, the Spring 2007 issue of the Journal of Genetic Genealogy is now available. This free, open-access peer-reviewed journal has been around in the Spring of 2005 and offers recent news and analysis in the field of genetic genealogy. The current issue has the following articles:
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Retirement, By T. Whit Athey, editor
Discussion of recent developments in the field as well as nomenclature issues.
Stacking the Deck: Mutation Rate in the mtDNA Coding Region, By Ann Turner
According to the article, “Genetic genealogists, who are obtaining full-sequence mtDNA tests in increasing numbers, are in a position to provide a â€œbiased sampleâ€ for the study of the mutation rate in the coding region.”