A few days ago I wrote about John Reid’s “Where Has Your DNA Been” post at Anglo-Connections a few days ago. This is similar to another meme which has been circulating the genealogy blogosphere for a few weeks now, including “Where was your family in 1908?” at 100 Years in America and “Where was your family 200 years ago?” at What’s Past is Prologue. Steve at Steve’s Genealogy Blog has also given the ‘Map Your DNA’ meme a try. I thought it was a fun idea, and had a number of potentially interesting applications, if I were a programmer and if I had any free time. Absent that, I thought I would at least try to replicate John’s idea by mapping my location in 2008 versus the locations of my Y-DNA and mtDNA in 1808, 200 years ago.
January 2008 has been another interesting and busy month for genetic genealogy and personal genomics. Keeping track of the latest developments can be a challenge, so I thought I’d do a brief round-up of some of the headlines that I thought were particularly interesting. Happy reading!
- Hsien at Eye on DNA discusses the use of DNAWitness, a Bio-Geographical Ancestry analysis, to narrow the pool of potential suspects in a crime. This hotly debated test has been used in over 200 crimes. And am I the only one who thinks that DNAPrint Genomics needs to invest a little money to upgrade its web design? Hsien also highlights the genetic genealogy pages of Kevin Duerink, pages that I myself have found to be quite useful.
As I recently mentioned, SeqWright has launched a new Personal Genomics Service. Using a saliva sample, this service will analyze 930,000 SNPs from a customer’s genome using the Affymetrix 6.0 Human SNP Genotyping microarray. SeqWright will then report information back to the customer about “Genetic Health,” “Ancestral Origins,” and “Genealogy.” The cost of the service is $998. According to the website, they “will begin accepting orders for Genetic Profiling Services on Monday January 28 2008.” The official press release is available here.
From the consent form available on the SeqWright website:
“SeqWright will generate its clientâ€™s personal genomic data on the Affymetrix 6.0 Human SNP Genotyping microarray. This Array is capable of recognizing approximately 930,000 unique human SNPâ€™s. However, due to individual sample and test variation the number of SNP genotypes that SeqWright will report for a given individual will be a fraction of those SNPâ€™s.”
A potentially very useful new tool for mitochondrial DNA sequences has just launched. The mitoWheel, announced today on Attila CsordÃ¡s’ blog “Pimm – Partial immortalization” is a web-based graphical interface to visualize mtDNA. Attila is actually a member of the developing team for this project. According to the mitoWheel website:
“The mitoWheel is a graphical representation of the human mitochondrial genome. Use the left and right arrows to start browsing the sequence. You can also search for a nucleotide position, a gene, or a sequence motif by clicking in the search field, typing a term and pressing ENTER. Be sure to return soon for updates introducing further tools.”
The DNA Network was full of news about 23andMe, Knome, and the newly-announced 1000 Genomes Project, which plans to sequence (can you guess?) 1,000 genomes from around the world. The 1GP will “receive major support from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, England, the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) Shenzhen, China and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).” Source.
Here’s a brief roundup of all the latest regarding the 1GP:
- Forbes.com, “Project Will Map Genomes of 1,000 People Worldwide.“
- Genetic Future, “1000 Genomes Project launched.”
- Cosmic Log, “Let a thousand genomes bloom.”
New information about 23andMe, including the launch of their new blog, the spittoon:
- 23andMe now available in Canada and Europe (press release).
- Scienceroll, “23andMe in Europe: Donation Makes Sense!” And speaking of donations: Buzzyeah, “$1,000 Raised! Just Ordered My 23andMe DNA Kit.”
- Eye on DNA, “Latest Launches at 23andMe.“
- Microarray Blog, “The 1000 Genomes Project to Study Human Genetic Variation to Support Disease Studies.”
- Genetic Future, “UK Controversy over 23andMe.”
- Scienceroll, “Knome Begins Sequencing First Clients.” Remember that Knome is currently charging customers $350,000 to have their entire genome privately sequenced. As I recently commented at Eye on DNA, I think the price tag is too high in light of recent developments in technology. This is actually amazing, considering that $350,000 would have been a bargain in January 2007. Companies hoping to make money from sequencing are going to learn to act quickly and adapt even faster.
- SEQanswers.com, “deCODEme opens sample data set, check it out!“
And last but not least, are you worried about hair loss? A new company called HairDX offers a test that will examine SNP(s) on the X-chromosome, but the specifics are extremely vague at the moment, including a lack of information on their website. For more information, see My Biotech Life, “HairDX – the genetic test for hair loss” and Eye on DNA, “HairDX – Genetic Test for Male Pattern Baldness (be sure to read the comments to see information from Dr. Ann Turner).”
Jasia of Creative Gene! Jasia’s winning entry was from a post she wrote about the contest. If Jasia accepts the prize, she will discuss her testing experience or her results either on her blog or here at The Genetic Genealogist, which should be a lot of fun and will help genetic genealogy newbies gain some insight into testing. Congratulations Jasia!
If Jasia doesn’t claim the prize, or decides she doesn’t want it, the runner-up for this contest is Yann of Yann Klimentidis’ Weblog.
Thank you to everyone who wrote about the contest on their blog, subscribed to my feed, subscribed to my mailing list, or left a comment at the original post. Overall, 34 people entered the contest with a total of 117 entries! I met some new readers and read some fantastic posts about the blog. At the end of this post is a list of all the blogs that mentioned the contest.
Here are few of the latest sources of information or discussion about 23andMe:
Mark Fletcher at Wingedpig.com writes about some “23andMe Updates.” Fletcher notes that Andrew Scheidecker has written a program that will extract and download your own raw SNP data from 23andMe (http://www.scheidecker.net/personal-genome-explorer/). Scheidecker writes that the program doesn’t violate 23andMe’s terms of service, but I recommend confirming that for yourself before you use this program. Fletcher also links to Kevin Kelly at the Quantified Self, who writes “23andMe, Alzheimer’s disease, and ApoE.” Kelly notes (as has Fletcher) that the rs1702 and rs4420638 SNPs tested by 23andMe are resulting in “no call” for many individuals. These two SNPs are believed to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
This is just a last reminder that my contest to give away a free genetic genealogy test ends tonight at 11:59PM (EST). The contest rules are here. Don’t forget that you can enter multiples times by:
- Leaving a comment on the original contest post (here), or;
- Write a short review of the blog or the contest with a link to http://www.thegeneticgenealogist.com using the anchor text â€œgenetic genealogyâ€ and then leave a comment here with a link to the review, or;
- Subscribe to my feed and then email me (blaine_5 at hotmail.com) your name and the secret password found in the feed, or;
- Subscribe to my blog by email using the form in the far right sidebar.
Kimberly Powell of About.com:Genealogy recently posted “10 Genealogy Blogs Worth Reading.” I was honored to see that I was included as one of those blogs, along with some outstanding company. The others are:
1. Genea-Musings – “Randy’s musings bring out the genealogist in all of us…”
2. The Genealogue – “His unique brand of genealogy humor puts a special spin on just about everything genealogy…” I was saddened to hear that The Genealogue is on temporary hiatus as the author deals with a family situation. I wish Chris and his family all the best and look forward to his return.
3. Ancestry Insider – “…provides the “insider” point of view you won’t easily find elsewhere.”
As many of you know, I am currently a second-year law student preparing for a career in intellectual property. Last semester, I began work as a research assistant for one of my first-year professors. The project we worked on, examining portrayals of the United States patent system in the newspaper media, turned into two papers. Naturally I think the papers are great and it was interesting to see the results, especially considering all the attention the patent system has received lately.
- Dolak, Lisa A. and Bettinger, Blaine T., “The United States Patent System in the Media Mirror.” Syracuse Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1084420.
- Dolak, Lisa A. and Bettinger, Blaine T., “Ebay and the BlackberryÂ®: A Media Coverage Case Study” (December 11, 2007). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1082220.