Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Three Announcements from last week

There were three big announcements last week: Louis Henry Gates has started AfricanDNA with Family Tree DNA; deCode Genetics announced the release of its deCODEme product; and 23andMe announced the release of its product. Only the first product, AfricanDNA has a direct genetic genealogy impact for people wanting to know their ancestry using the current generation of DNA tests developed by FTDNA and others.

The latter two are more oriented toward medical aspects of one's DNA. Each uses a vastly expanded set of SNP tests accross the whole of the human genome. Neither test tests all the SNP sites used by the tests from FTDNA and other genetic genealogy testing companies. Until we see some results from their tests, it is not possible to tell how useful they will be for genetic genealogy.

The medical orientation of the tests is emphasized by the fact that deCODE had to enter into a consent decree in order to be able to off the test in all American states. As it is, eleven states will not allow their citizens access to the medical analysis portion of the results: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Wyoming.

Two questions arise in my mind: Will the deCODEme test be covered by medical insurance; does this mean we can expect to see prices fall for traditional genetic genealogy tests as the labs adopt the large test chips developed by Illumina and other companies?

More news later.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

More on Descendants of Joseph Smith

DNA tests rule out 2 as Smith descendants

Scientific advances prove no genetic link
By Carrie A. Moore
Deseret Morning News
Published: Saturday, Nov. 10, 2007 12:13 a.m. MST

After more than a century of speculation about whether LDS Church founder Joseph Smith had children with any of his plural wives, a local geneticist said he recently has crossed two such purported descendants off the list of potential candidates.

Ugo Perego, director of operations at the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, told the Deseret Morning News that technological advances in DNA testing during the past couple of years have helped prove with "99.9 percent certainty" that two early Latter-day Saints thought by some to be Smith's children are not his descendants. They are:
• Mosiah Hancock, son of Clarissa Reed Hancock, who was married to Levi Hancock.
• Oliver Buell, son of Prescindia Huntington Buell, who was married to Norman Buell.

Continue reading here: http://deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,695226318,00.html

I have a particular interest in Joseph Smith's descendants since his wife is a cousin of mine on several lines of descent.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Alex Haley's nephew tests R1b

"Honoring Our Ancestors: Haley Family of Roots Fame Joins the DNA Game,
by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak

Chris Haley
Many of you have probably heard or read about the entry of Ancestry into the genetic genealogy world. And some of you may have also heard that one of the first in line to get tested by DNA Ancestry was Chris Haley, Director of the Study of the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland at the Maryland State Archives and –oh, yeah–the nephew of Alex Haley.

The Haley Line
While we strongly associate the Haley name with “Roots,” the classic book that has inspired so many avid genealogists, that particular book isn’t actually about the Haley line. But “Queen,” a later book by Alex Haley and David Stevens, gives a brief accounting of this branch of the family tree:

“Following the common custom among slaves, Alec had taken the name Haley from his true Massa, although his real father’s name was Baugh. William Baugh was an overseer . . .”

Alec was the grandfather of Alex and the great-grandfather of Chris. And his father had been an overseer. So to the best of the family’s knowledge, the progenitor of the Haley line was of European origin, not African."

Continued here: http://blogs.ancestry.com/circle/?p=2025