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.
- DNAdirect mentioned a recent study in the New York Times that examined the ancestry of Pacific Islanders. According to the study, “each individual was originally genotyped for 751 microsatellite and 481 insertion/deletion autosomal polymorphisms.” That’s a lot of genetic genealogy! Similar studies include autosomal analysis of Polynesian DNA (abstract here, Yann Klimentidis’ discussion here) and a recent paper that identified 300 informative autosomal markers that delineate types of European ancestry (paper here, Henry’s discussion here). What a great time to be either an anthropologist or a genetic genealogist. As more genomes become available, these types of studies will be easier to conduct.
- After winning the recent contest here at TGG, Jasia of Creative Gene was “Excited“, and then had to choose between an mtDNA and Y-DNA test. She ultimately chose the mtDNA test, and the DNA collection kit has already arrived and been mailed back.
- The New York Times has launched The Root, which is “an online magazine primarily for a black audience, with news and commentary on politics and culture, and tools for readers to research their family histories.” Epidemix recently discussed The Root as well. According to an announcement in the NYT:
- “The third major part of the new site, titled â€œRoots,â€ will have online tools for people to build their family trees, link to or add information to other peopleâ€™s trees and construct maps showing their ancestral trails. It will also urge people to have DNA testing, which can help them trace their backgrounds to specific ethnic groups and parts of the world. It will offer links to companies that do the testing.”
- VentureBeat:life sciences discusses deCODEme’s science and 23andMe’s recent “European vacation” (more about that at TechCrunch). Genetic Future, a new member of the DNA Network, discusses genetic genealogist Ann Turner’s response to the VentureBeat deCODEme piece. Over at a great post on Eye on DNA, Ann Turner shared some thoughts about whole genome testing.
- And finally, John Reid at Anglo-Celtic Connections writes “Where Has Your DNA Been?” He uses Google maps to pinpoint the locations of his Y-DNA and mtDNA in 1808 and 1908. What a great idea! I can picture entire applications where users enter the locations of the Y-DNA or mtDNA ancestors at certain points in time (perhaps lining up with census information) to get a “DNA Trail.” Then maybe you could line up with other users to create DNA migration patterns for haplogroups, haplotypes, or surnames. For instance, how did the Smith Y-DNA modal haplotype distribute throughout the United States and the world? I guess this would just be a microcosm for the Genographic Project, but it would still be interesting.