Saturday, November 18, 2006

Neanderthal DNA Center at Nature

Nature magazine has created a Neanderthal DNA center on their website at this location:

Most of the material is freely accessible.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

New DNA Test Is Yielding Clues to Neanderthals

SCIENCE | November 16, 2006
New DNA Test Is Yielding Clues to Neanderthals

The archaic human species that dominated Europe until 30,000 years ago is about to emerge from the shadows. With the help of a new DNA sequencing machine that operates with firefly light, the bones of the Neanderthals have begun to tell their story to geneticists.

One million units of Neanderthal DNA have already been analyzed, and a draft version of the entire genome, 3.2 billion units in length, should be ready in two years, said Dr. Svante Paabo, the leader of the research project at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

Continued, (may require login) here

Friday, October 20, 2006

Legendary pilot 'Earthquake McGoon' heads home

From CNN:
Legendary pilot 'Earthquake McGoon' heads home POSTED: 7:29 p.m. EDT, October 19, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) -- More than a half century after he died in the flaming crash of a CIA-owned cargo plane and became one of the first two Americans to die in combat in Vietnam, a legendary soldier of fortune known as "Earthquake McGoon" is coming home.

The skeletal remains of James B. McGovern Jr., discovered in an unmarked grave in remote northern Laos in 2002, were positively identified on September 11 by laboratory experts at the U.S. military's Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Hawaii.

They will be flown back to the mainland next week for a military funeral in New Jersey on October 28, said McGovern's nephew, James McGovern III, of Forked River, New Jersey.

"Bottom line, it's closure for my family and a great feeling," McGovern said.

Continued at

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Who really sailed the Ocean Blue in 1492?

Who really sailed the ocean blue in 1492?
Spanish scholars are on a mission to demystify Christopher Columbus's life, long shrouded in a veil of mythic heroism.
By Lisa Abend and Geoff Pingree | Correspondents of The Christian Science Monitor

MADRID – Genovese nobleman or Catalan pirate? Adventurous explorer or greedy tyrant? What if the Italian gentleman who discovered America was in fact a brutal torturer and slave owner? And what if he wasn't even Italian?

Schoolchildren may learn about a daring hero who proved the Earth wasn't flat, but because his biography is pocked with holes, Christopher Columbus is a figure around whom elaborate theories and enigmatic rumors have long circulated. This year, the 500th anniversary of his death, two Spanish scholars are working to clear up some of the mysteries.

José Antonio Lorente, a geneticist at the University of Granada, is attempting to resolve one of the greatest enigmas - the question of Columbus's origins. In 1927, Peruvian historian Luis Ulloa Cisneros claimed Columbus was from Catalonia - in what is today northwestern Spain - rather than from the Italian port city of Genoa.

Continued at http://

Monday, October 16, 2006

Readers surveyed on software, DNA

Readers surveyed on software, DNA
By James M. Beidler
Lebanon Daily News

Several times since “Roots & Branches” first debuted in 1998, the column has surveyed readers on what genealogy software packages they use and why.

Since it’s been some time since the readers were last asked about this — here’s your chance to weigh in on what products you are using. Just send an e-mail (preferably with your name and city and state of residence) to

But, in addition to the software survey, I’m also asking readers to write me if they have joined genealogy’s “DNA revolution” in any way.

Continued at ci_4500801

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A road, and Web, map to finding heritage

A road, and Web, map to finding heritage

The Norman Transcript

— There is so much interest in DNA testing in family research that every genealogical magazine I subscribe to has an article telling me everything I ever wanted to know about the process.

The Family Tree Magazine for October 2006 has a good article titled "Adventures in Genetic Genealogy," written by Maureen A. Taylor. Lots of definitions were included for the various tests, however the more I read the more confusing it all sounds. I did know that to check my paternal line I must use my brother's DNA, and my mother's paternal line can be proven by using her brother's DNA.

According to the above article, the Family Tree DNA site has the only public database of mtDNA test results. That Web site is The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is the genetic material mothers pass on to their children. The cost of this test begins at approximately $129, but can be as expensive as $495 for the mt Full Sequence test.

The mtDNA test can identify our ethnic and geographic origins and this can be our recent ancestors as well as those in the distant past. If you have Native-American ancestry in your lineage this can be identified down to five major groups. In researching this test I found the definitions for Eve's Daughters at

Continued at keyword=secondarystory

Thursday, October 12, 2006

FTDNA Press Release about new lab and new tests

Breakthroughs in Genetic Research for Genealogy
Thursday October 12, 9:30 am ET
Family Tree DNA's New Houston-Based Lab to Offer Latest in DNA Testing for Genealogy Purposes, Including First X-Chromosome DNA Tests

HOUSTON, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Family Tree DNA, whose growing array of DNA tests for genealogical purposes has established them as the world leader in genetic genealogy, will introduce ground-breaking new X chromosome tests (X-STR) in early October. The X-STR tests are the first ever available for genealogy applications by focusing on linked "haplotype blocks" which are inherited intact over several generations. This test will be processed locally at the company's recently established Genomic Research Center. Headed by Thomas Krahn, whose German-based DNA-Fingerprint company was recently merged into Family Tree DNA, the state of the art Genomic Research Center is located at Family Tree DNA's Houston, Texas headquarters.

Continued at

Monday, October 09, 2006

Scanning African American Genomes

Monday, 9 October 2006 Scanning African American Genomes Topic: Genetics

Scientists at Boston University's center for genetics and genomics and Howard University are searching for genes associated with obesity, hypertension and "metabolic syndrome" in African Americans.

It's the first genome-wide scan of an African American cohort, according to a press release from Affymetrix, the company supplying its GeneChip technology to perform the work.

Affymetrix says the resulting data will be free and available to anyone, as part of its Affymetrix Control Program.

Continued here: http://

Video here:

Friday, September 29, 2006

Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation's Newsletter

The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation has published Issue 1 of Molecular Connections, its newsletter. It can be read on the web at

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Britain's Human History Revealed

Britain's human history revealed:
By Jonathan Amos
Science reporter, BBC News, Norwich

Eight times humans came to try to live in Britain and on at least seven occasions they failed - beaten back by freezing conditions.

Scientists think they can now write a reasonably comprehensive history of the occupation of these isles.

It stretches from 700,000 years ago and the first known settlers at Pakefield in Suffolk, through to the most recent incomers just 12,000 years or so ago.

The evidence comes from the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain Project.

This five-year undertaking by some of the UK's leading palaeo-experts has reassessed a mass of scientific data and filled in big knowledge gaps with new discoveries.

The project's director, Professor Chris Stringer from London's Natural History Museum, came to the British Association Science Festival to outline some of the key findings.

What has been uncovered has been a tale of struggle: "In human terms, Britain was the edge of the Universe," he said.

Continued at

Sunday, August 20, 2006

So you reckon you're Scots?

"Scientist's gene test traces Pictish roots

By Dean Herbert

HELP is at hand for the millions of people around the world who claim to be Scottish.

A new test will be able to prove if that's just wishful thinking or if someone really has a Caledonian connection.

A leading scientist has developed a "Scottishness" test that searches people's DNA to trace their origins.

Geneticist Dr Jim Wilson is offering the £130 diagnosis, which determines how Scottish people are."

Continue reading here:
So you reckon you're Scots?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

DNA Shoah Project

Further details are now available about a project to use DNA to identify victims of the Holocaust:

"The DNA Shoah Project strives to establish a genetic database of those who lost family during the Holocaust. A DNA database can help identify those victims who were murdered by the Nazi regime and/or who died because of wartime-related issues and are buried throughout Europe in unmarked and mass graves. Most of the 6 million Jews who were murdered were not cremated but buried after their death. In many cases, DNA can be obtained from the bones of these victims when they are disinterred. Remains of Holocaust victims continue to surface throughout Europe because of continual land development and until this project, there is no means to positively identify the victims. Establishing the DNA database now will begin a process that will carry far into the next millennium. The DNA Shoah Project can also serve to unite loved ones and further establish closure for families who have missing relatives. The database is being created to assist European governments in the identification of victims and will not be used for any other purpose."

Continued at

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

DNA and Jamestown Anniversary project

A Press Release from Relative Genetics and Genealogy/Found: "

Partnership Looks to Link Millions Genetically and Historically

This partnership combines genealogy, family history and DNA genetics to link nations and people in celebrating “America’s 400th Anniversary” There is a possibility of 145,000,000 descendants.

Salt Lake City, UT (PRWEB) August 1, 2006 -- Heirlines Family History & Genealogy is merging genealogy with modern science. It has teamed up with Relative Genetics and GenealogyFound to show that after 400 years millions of Americans can trace their family tree back to the Jamestowne colony and Colonial Virginia. DNA testing and genealogical research is combining to help Jamestown descendants jump the pond and find their immigrant origins from Europe and other nations.

The year 2007 marks the 400th anniversary of the original Jamestown settlement -- the first permanent English colony in what is now the United States of America. Heirlines, Relative Genetics, and GenealogyFound are using traditional genealogy along with genetic genealogy to link millions of living people to their roots in that 17th Century colony. They are building a public database of Jamestown and 17th Century Colonial Virginia descendants that will be available beginning in 2007."

Continued at site above.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Sailor identified by DNA

Vernon couple plays role in identifying remains of sailor

By Jason Rowe, Journal Inquirer

Nearly 64 years after a deadly naval accident in Narragansett Bay, R.I., the brother of one of the sailors who died finally knows what happened to his brother's body.

DNA testing has successfully identified the remains of a sailor who turned up in the bay in August 1943 as Seaman 1st Class Raymond S. Johnson of Fort Wayne, Ind.

Johnson was one of 15 sailors from the then newly commissioned USS Gherardi who died when the whaleboat they were traveling on capsized in the bay's cold, stormy waters in December 1942.

Cont. here:

Friday, June 16, 2006

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Journal of Genetic Genealogy has posted issue 3, Spring 2006

2006 Y Haplogroup tree from ISOGG

The ISOGG has posted a re-worked 2006 Y Haplogroup Tree at This tree continues the work previously done by the Y Haplogroup Consortium. and Family Tree DNA.

A presentation on Anglo-Saxon migration

The link above will take you to a site where a 12.5 minute presentation will discuss evidence for an Anglo-Saxon mass migration to Britain within the past 2,500 years. You will need sound capability to hear the narration.

The original paper can be read here:

Friday, April 14, 2006

Chief Blue Jacket is not a Swearingen

A new scientific study has shown that Chief Blue Jacket is not a member of the Swearingen family. Y DNA tests on his descendants and on Swearingen descendants show that he is a Native American and not a European as had been believed.

The paper reporting on the tests wll be presented at an upcoming meeting of the Ohio Academy of Science.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

MSNBC page on Genetic Genealogy

MSNBC has a web page on Genetic Genealogy at this address: Several of the NBC journalists have participated in DNA testing. The page has regular updates on Genetic Genealogy stories.

Ethnic Origins DNA Testing Company Comparison

The ISOGG, has a web page with a chart comparing companies which purport to identify your ethnic origin using Y chromosome (Y DNA), mitochodrial (mtDNA), or autosomal (atDNA) DNA.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Spencer Wells and John Hawks on Radio Open-Source

The Genetics of Genealogy is a page on Radio Open Source web site dedicated to the broadcast of a discussion with Spencer Wells, John Hawks and Andy Carvin, on genetics and genealogy.

The actual program can be heard at this link:

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

FTDNA has 59 marker test

FTDNA has announced a new 59 Marker test for the Y chromosome. The link above will take you to their page about Y DNA testing and the 59 marker test.

They have also revised their Time to Most Recent Common Ancestor (TMRCA) chart to show how this test will help to lower the number of generations one needs to search for the common ancestor: How many markers to test?

The theoretical reality of these calculations will be tested when 59 marker results start to come in from know relatives.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

10 SNPs sufficient to determine main biogeographic ancestry

This article will be available 6 months after publication:
Am J Hum Genet. 2006 Apr;78(4):680-90. Epub 2006 Feb 14.
Proportioning whole-genome single-nucleotide-polymorphism diversity for the identification of geographic population structure and genetic ancestry.
Lao O, Duijn K, Kersbergen P, Knijff P, Kayser M.
Department of Forensic Molecular Biology, Erasmus University Medical Centre Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

The identification of geographic population structure and genetic ancestry on the basis of a minimal set of genetic markers is desirable for a wide range of applications in medical and forensic sciences. However, the absence of sharp discontinuities in the neutral genetic diversity among human populations implies that, in practice, a large number of neutral markers will be required to identify the genetic ancestry of one individual. We showed that it is possible to reduce the amount of markers required for detecting continental population structure to only 10 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), by applying a newly developed ascertainment algorithm to Affymetrix GeneChip Mapping 10K SNP array data that we obtained from samples of globally dispersed human individuals (the Y Chromosome Consortium panel). Furthermore, this set of SNPs was able to recover the genetic ancestry of individuals from all four continents represented in the original data set when applied to an independent, much larger, worldwide population data set (Centre d'Etude du Polymorphisme Humain-Human Genome Diversity Project Cell Line Panel). Finally, we provide evidence that the unusual patterns of genetic variation we observed at the respective genomic regions surrounding the five most informative SNPs is in agreement with local positive selection being the explanation for the striking SNP allele-frequency differences we found between continental groups of human populations.

PMID: 16532397 [PubMed - in process]

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

New Study discusses linking surnames to Y chromosome DNA in criminal investigations

From the BBC:

"Forensic scientists could use DNA retrieved from a crime scene to predict the surname of the suspect, according to a new British study. It is not perfect, but could be an important investigative tool when combined with other intelligence. The method exploits genetic likenesses between men who share the same surname, and may help prioritise inquiries.

The technique is based on work comparing the Y chromosomes of men with the same surname. The Y chromosome is a package of genetic material found only in males."

Abstract from Current Biology:
Curr Biol. 2006 Feb 21;16(4):384-388.
Genetic Signatures of Coancestry within Surnames.
King TE, Ballereau SJ, Schurer KE, Jobling MA.
Department of Genetics, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, United Kingdom.

Surnames are cultural markers of shared ancestry within human populations. The Y chromosome, like many surnames, is paternally inherited, so men sharing surnames might be expected to share similar Y chromosomes as a signature of coancestry. Such a relationship could be used to connect branches of family trees , to validate population genetic studies based on isonymy , and to predict surname from crime-scene samples in forensics . However, the link may be weak or absent due to multiple independent founders for many names, adoptions, name changes and nonpaternities, and mutation of Y haplotypes. Here, rather than focusing on a single name , we take a general approach by seeking evidence for a link in a sample of 150 randomly ascertained pairs of males who each share a British surname. We show that sharing a surname significantly elevates the probability of sharing a Y-chromosomal haplotype and that this probability increases as surname frequency decreases. Within our sample, we estimate that up to 24% of pairs share recent ancestry and that a large surname-based forensic database might contribute to the intelligence-led investigation of up to approximately 70 rapes and murders per year in the UK. This approach would be applicable to any society that uses patrilineal surnames of reasonable time-depth.


Friday, February 17, 2006

DNA test on remains of Joan of Arc

Researchers will perform DNA tests on the remains of Joan of Arc.

MSNBC has a more detailed article here:

Monday, February 06, 2006

New DNA testing Company: GeneBase

A new genetic genealogy DNA testing company has started advertising: GeneBase, They are based in Canada and offer 20 and 44 marker Y DNA tests.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

African American Lives starts tonight, 1 Feb 2006

"AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES, an unprecedented four-part PBS series, takes Alex Haley's Roots saga to a whole new level through moving stories of personal discovery.

Using genealogy, oral history, family stories and DNA analysis to trace lineage through American history and back to Africa, the series provides a life-changing journey for a diverse group of highly accomplished African Americans: Dr. Ben Carson, Whoopi Goldberg, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Dr. Mae Jemison, Quincy Jones, Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, Chris Tucker and Oprah Winfrey.

The program is hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois professor of the Humanities and chair of African and African American Studies at Harvard University,

The "African American Lives" website provides detail on the program and on the techniques used in the research."

Genetic Genealogy is used throughout the series, with emphasis in the first and fourth programs.

Monday, January 30, 2006

National Genealogical Society Theme Issue on Genetic Genealogy

Genealogy and Genetics, A Theme Issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, vol. 93, no. 4, December 2005:
The Science of Molecular Genealogy Ugo A. Perego, Ann Turner, M.D., Jayne E. Ekins, and Scott Woodward, Ph.D.
Powerful but Requiring Caution: Genetic Tests of Ancestral Origins Tony N. Frudakis, Ph.D.
David Meriwether: Descendant of Nicholas Meriwether? A DNA Study Anita A. Lustenberger, CG
Sorting Relationships among Families with the Same Surname: An Irish-American DNA Study Donn Devine, CG, CGI
Genetic Genealogy: Issues and Considerations Thomas H. Shawker, M.D.
Editor's Corner Adding Genetic Testing to the Genealogical Tool Kit
The National Genealogical Society's website is at:

VIdeo on Genographic Project

Bennett Greenspan of Family Tree DNA and Dr. Spencer Wells appeared on the Today Show with Michael Okwu to discuss the National Geographic Society's Genographic Project.

Newsweek Cover article on Genetic Genealogy

"DNA Testing: In Our Blood" is an article by Claudia Kalb in the current issue of Newsweek, is a good introduction to the subject of Genetic Genealogy. Included are several other links to the African-America Lives, PBS series, and to testing companies.

Friday, January 06, 2006

New lists: DNA-Newbie and DNA-Anthrogenealogy

Charles Kerchner has started a new list on Yahoo Groups called DNA-Anthrogenealogy. This joins another Yahoo list, DNA-Newbie.

Both lists are recomended for those interested in DNA testing for Genealogy. DNA-Newbie is for the beginning Genetic Genealogist and DNA_Anthrogenealogy is for those searching for their deeper genetic roots in population demography rather than personal genealogy.

Personal Genome Project

There is an article in the Mercury News on the Personal Genome Project being sponsored by Dr George Church at Harvard:
In a few years, knowing your own personal genome may improve your health

Dr Church is also the author of the article on DNA testing in the current Scientific American, Genomes for All.