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, a company based in England, recently released a report entitled “Wireless Based Disease Management: Google, Microsoft and IBM in the Healthcare Market.” Naturally, I can’t read this report because it costs almost $400 USD. I noticed it, however, because it addresses the impact of online availability of genomic/genetic testing results. Specifically, the report addresses (at least I believe it does!) the advisability of online advertising displayed alongside health care records.
“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.”
The only thing I didn’t like was the picture of Mr. Sorenson touching the human femur being tested in the forensic DNA lab – the scientist in me grimaced at the potential contamination!
(Thanks to Hsien for the link!)
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?
On June 28, the University of Chicagoâ€™s Newberry Library presented a panel discussion entitled â€œGenetic Genealogy and the Ancestries of African Americansâ€ with Rick Kittles.In addition to being an associate professor of medicine at the University, Mr. Kittles is also the science director of AfricanAncestry.com.
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.
From the Genetic Genealogist, wishing all my readers a fun and safe summer holiday!Â Don’t forget, family gatherings are a great place to talk about genealogy, or to gather money for a fun and interesting genetic genealogy test!