TruGenetics Offers Free SNP Scans

TruGenetics is a genomics company offering at least 10,000 free SNP scans to those who register at their website.  Unlike most other personal genomics companies, TruGenetics users complete a survey to create a “personalized risk assessment survey.”  Not surprisingly, the tests are currently not available to New York residents:

New York residents: We are currently working with your state authorities to receive permission to operate in New York. We cannot take your information at this time.

There is much more information at and Genetic Future, including insight into TruGenetic’s business model.  If you are considering this service, be sure to read and completely understand all the terms & conditions, as well as ALL potential outcomes.  You can also follow twitterer “achamedian” to learn more.

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BBC NEWS – Americans seek their African roots


An article at BBC News – Americans seek their African roots – briefly discusses genetic genealogy in America.

One interesting quote from the article: “Of the half a million Americans who have purchased DNA tests, around 35,000 of them are African American.” Interesting article, although I at a complete loss for where the “35,000” number was obtained.

The article also includes some criticism from Deborah Bolnick of African Ancestry‘s interpretation of their genetic genealogy tests.

Via Anglo-Celtic Connections, where John provides some very cogent input regarding this topic.

Posted via web from Blaine Bettinger’s Lifestream

Family Tree DNA Discovers Y-DNA Signature That Might Represent the Prophet Mohammed

DNA An article in the United Arab Emirate newspaper The National (wikipedia) does a terrific job of highlighting recent research from Family Tree DNA.  The story – “DNA could illuminate Islam’s lineage” – discusses research that has attempted to elucidate the Y-DNA signature of Mohammed.  Although Mohammed did not have a son, he had a daughter who married her paternal second cousin, thus passing to Mohammed’s grandchildren the same Y-DNA.  From the article:

“For almost 1,600 years, the title Sharif, Sayyed, or Habib has been bestowed on Muslims who have been able to trace their roots back to the Prophet Mohammed through intricate family trees, oral histories and genealogical records. But now an American DNA lab says it may have identified the DNA signature of descendants of the Prophet Mohammed, and perhaps the prospect of a direct, more accurate means of confirming or identifying such a connection.”

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The Latest in Genetic Genealogy and Personal Genomics News

A quick digest of some of the most interesting news and developments in the field:

10 Great Blogs for Genetic Genealogists

I made this list of 10 Great Blogs for a few months ago.  It contains 10 blogs that I believe are vital reading for anyone interested in personal genomics, including genetic genealogy.  Here are my picks, but check out the link for my description of each blog:

  1. DNA – Genealem’s Genetic Genealogy
  2. Dienekes’ Anthropology Blog
  3. European Genetics and Anthropology Blog
  4. Eye on DNA
  5. Genetic Future
  7. Megan’s Root World
  8. The Daily Scan
  9. The Personal Genome
  10. The Spittoon, deCODEyou, DNAction

Genetic Genealogists Assist Studies

In addition to the articles published in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy (the Spring 2009 issue was just released), genetic genealogists have often assisted researchers publishing studies in other journals.  This reinforces my suggestion to researchers that they interact with the genetic genealogy community to facilitate research.  For instance, here is a quote from a new article in PLoS ONE examining the Y-DNA Haplogroup G:

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“You Can’t Handle the Truth” – an Article Arguing Against Increased Federal Regulation of DTC Genetic Testing

Alzheimer disease A recent article by Ronald Bailey in reasononline asks whether genetic tests actually need more federal regulation.  It’s probably clear that I strongly support the individual’s right to their own genetic information via DTC testing, but this viewpoint is rarely seen or endorsed in the press.  Bailey concludes:

“There may well be some inaccurate tests and there will certainly be people who mislead customers about the meaning of certain tests. But do we really need additional federal regulation to weed out bad actors? Most evidence suggests that the current tests are fairly accurate, and that customers are not being misled by the results that are reported. All new technologies involve a societal learning process in which some early adopters try it out, explain to others how it works, and find out its flaws—which newer innovators then fix.”

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GeneTree and Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation Team Up to Offer Y-DNA Participants of SMGF Database a Greatly Reduced Price on Genetic Profile

SALT LAKE CITY (May 26, 2009) – GeneTree and Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) today announced a special offer to the tens of thousands of men who donated their Y-DNA samples and pedigree information to the non-profit SMGF’s genetic genealogy database. At a deeply discounted price, participants now may access their Y-DNA profiles through GeneTree and employ the site’s extensive tools, including the SMGF database, to search and connect with genetic relatives.

SMGF has been building the database-the world’s most diverse collection of genetic genealogy information-since 2000 through donation of DNA samples and four-generation genealogy questionnaires by people interested in helping the foundation succeed in its goal of connecting the human family through genetic genealogy. Until the launch of GeneTree in Oct. 2007, SMGF did not have a way to provide participants with their genetic profiles in a meaningful form. Now for $49.50, or about one-third of the typical price, SMGF participants can receive their Y-DNA profiles through GeneTree.

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The Mystery of Benjaman Kyle (Powell?) – An Update

image In January I wrote about Benjaman Kyle, an amnesiac who was found on August 31, 2004 next to a dumpster behind a Burger King in Richmond Hill, Georgia.  In that post, “Using Genetic Genealogy to Solve the Mystery of Benjaman Kyle,” I suggested that a Y-DNA test might be helpful in elucidating Mr. Kyle’s biological surname.  Y-DNA testing has shown to be highly useful for identifying unknown surnames (see here and here), and so I contacted Mr. Kyle to suggest the possibility.

The Results Are In

Shortly thereafter, Mr. Kyle took a 67-marker test from Family Tree DNA.  The results, announced it seems by Kimberly Powell of Kimberly’s Genealogy Blog, suggest that his surname might actually be POWELL or a variant thereof.  His results are now part of the Powell Surname DNA Project as kit #140314 where he very closely matches the “Joseph Powell Group.”  See more here.  From Kimberly’s post:

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Pathway Genomics Testing Kit

Pathway Genomics, a new DTC genetic testing company that I discussed earlier at “Pathway Genomics Goes Live,” has begun sending out test kits.  The following quote and picture are from “DishyMix: Susan Bratton Podcasts & Blogs Famous Executives”:

“I Twittered a week or so ago that my friend, Chris D’Eon is a founder of Pathway Genomics and I was going to get my DNA tested. I got a lot of response to that one little Tweet, so I thought I’d share more with you about it.”

Pathway Genomics

Disclosure: I am currently a consultant for Pathway Genomics.

Personal Update:

I also wanted to let everyone know that my second son was born 3.5 weeks ago, and yesterday I graduated from law school.  It’s been a crazy few weeks, and now it’s time to start studying for the NY bar before starting work full-time in the fall.  Wish me luck!

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Knome Lowers Price of Full Genome From $350,000 to $99,000

imageI’ve talked about the personal genomics company Knome here at TGG a number of times.  The company is one of the few, if not only, entity offering customers the opportunity to receive their entire genomic sequence.  After paying for sequencing, customers receive their genetic sequence on an 8-gigabyte USB drive in an engraved silver box.  The USB is encrypted and contains special genome browsing software (KnomeXplorer).

The Cost of Sequencing Crashes

According to an article at MSN Money entitled “$99,000 to see your future?,” Knome recently lowered the price of sequencing from $350,000 to $99,000.  This isn’t very surprising considering how quickly the cost of sequencing is dropping.

From the article:

“Just to give you some context, the U.S. government finished sequencing the first genome in 2003, and it took 13 years and about $3 billion,” says Jorge Conde, the 31-year-old CEO of Knome. “We’re now at the point that we can do it for $99,000 in three months. Our goal is to eventually be able to offer this to a large segment of the population for around $1,000.” (Just a year ago, Knome was asking $350,000 for its services.)

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