Category Archives: DNA & Genealogy

DNA-Related News

History is in Your Genes

Joseph Hall has an article, History is in your genes, about the Genographic Project – the ambitious 5-year plan to use DNA and map out global migration patterns, that is being sponsored/handled by National Geographic and IBM.

Excerpts from the article:

As part of the worldwide Genographic Project — the largest-ever attempt to trace genetic ancestries across the globe — Royyuru and his colleagues are trying to map the entire scope of human migration throughout history.

“This is probably the most ambitious and fantastic population genetics study ever attempted,” says Royyuru, who spoke at a Toronto computer conference yesterday about the project, which is sponsored by the National Geographic Society and IBM. “Genetic evidence is the strongest evidence — it’s the history book that we all carry,” he says.

Royyuru says genealogical, anthropological and historical data can currently trace human ancestries back no further than a few thousand years.

“So if you want to infer ancestry and geography going back, let’s say, 40,000 or 50,000 years, genetic evidence is the only evidence you can bank on,” he said in an interview.

I disagree about the genealogy tracking back to a few thousand years, although I’ve ran into people who claim they are descended from this or that Roman emperor or whatever. In my opinion, and this is not meant to offend anybody – unless your ancestors were in one spot for very long lengths of time, and you have direct evidence, perhaps DNA even, anything past 500-700 years gets real dicey. I’m not saying that it can’t be proven or documented, but the evidence can get very slim at that point, especially when you look at all of the wars/upheavals/plagues/etc. over that timespan.

It’s not that I don’t think it can be done, I just think that a lot of people use evidence that wouldn’t hold up too well under scrutiny – basically evidence that wouldn’t be accepted by many genealogy professionals.

But I digress, this is a very interesting project, and it’s already causing some heads to turn – especially when it comes to North American migration patterns (Africa/Europe vs Asia).

DNA, Genealogy, and Islam

I wasn’t going to post this, as several other sites have posted it, but it is interesting. The Arab Times is reporting that using DNA for genealogical purposes is not a good thing in their culture:

Using DNA fingerprinting technology to identify genealogy is against Islamic Sharia and will lead to social problems by disintegrating many families, Al-Anba quoted several Islamic preaches as saying. Dean of the Faculty of Sharia and Islamic Studies at Kuwait University Dr Mohammed Al-Tabtabaei said “Islam does not allow the use of DNA fingerprinting to prove genealogy and no family can reject any of its members based on results of such tests.”

Consumers Turn To Their DNA For Answers

The Boston Globe has a business article from the Associated Press, by Adam Geller, Consumers turn to their DNA for answers, about, you guessed it, DNA testing and its uses, and its growing market. While they focus on one genealogist, Art Thomas, and mention quite a bit of detail about what all is involved when it comes to DNA testing and genealogy, they also focus on what is apparently a booming business. They also mention some of the other uses (genetic diseases, paternity, etc.).

Excerpt from the article:

Last fall, Thomas, a retired information technology manager in Springfield, Ohio, turned to his body for answers. He scraped a cell sample from inside his cheek, mailed the swab to a test lab and waited for science to supplement his extensive genealogical research.

Thomas’ quest to unlock the secrets of his own DNA is far from a solitary one. A small, but fast-growing number of consumers are paying for a proliferation of partly self-administered genetic tests, hoping to determine everything from paternity to their propensity to develop certain diseases to their own ancestry

I didnt’ realize that Target sold DNA kits. Who new?