If you want to discover your genetic history and where you came from... you’ve found the right place!

888-806-2588

review of scientific and news articles on dna testing and popular genetics

Where Do I Come From: James Shoemaker

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Where Do I Come From: James Shoemaker

Real People's DNA Stories

Bible Studies, DNA Tests, Mother's Nursing-Home Confessions Lead to New Life

NOVEMBER 16, 2013 — Until he took an autosomal ancestry test, James T. Shoemaker had little concept of his heritage. He assumed he was just an average white European American like his Appalachian neighbors.

Although raised in a Pentecostal Church, Shoemaker always felt a strong pull toward Jewish culture. So last year he went to his doctor and asked for a DNA test. "I wanted to see if there were any Jewish lines in my ancestry," he said.

He ended up taking a DNA Fingerprint Plus, a complete analysis of one's genetic ancestry that includes ethnic markers and megapopulation admixture matches.

Fast forward from that first eye-opener and today the 53-year-old Waynesboro, Pa. resident is halfway through a conversion process to Judaism at B'nai Abraham, a Reform congregation in Hagerstown, Md., where he is being mentored by youngish Rabbi Ari Plost.

"I got all three ancestral markers for Jewish I, II and III," Shoemaker recalls, “so I went to see my mother, Jacqueline Rose, at the nursing home in Hagerstown, and she admitted, ‘Well, yeah, my parents, uh, they were both Jewish."

It was the first he had heard of it. “Mom never said a word about having Jewish ancestors. It turned my life around.”

The fact that he got a "double dose" of Jewish alleles in his marker results confirmed the truth of his mother's admission that both she and his father came from Jewish families.

Shoemaker next took a Premium Male DNA Ancestry Test to determine whether his father's Y chromosome line was perhaps Jewish. The results were delivered to him in mid-November.

His particular haplotype did indeed match several other Jewish men, including those with the surnames Brown, Hendrix, Shepard, Getz, Phillips, Lewetag and Sequeira. "The subject’s specific male haplotype (surname line) probably came from Southwest Germany or the Low Lands, to judge from the modal matches and patterns of distribution," according to the report.

As for the surname itself, the Surname History section (included in every Premium Male report, cost $325.00), had some valuable clues for Shoemaker's genealogy.

"Shoemaker is probably a translation of the Dutch or German equivalent Schuhmacher or Shumacher meaning "shoemaker." It is noted as a Jewish family name in Southwest Germany and the Saarland in France, including Lörrach in Baden (Lars Menk, A Dictionary of German Jewish Surnames, Bergenfield: Avotaynu, 2005, pp. 673-74). It could also come from Schuster, a more common Jewish German surname (p. 675)."

A Mason since 1990, and flirting at one time with Messianic Judaism, Shoemaker feels as though his earlier attempts to connect with his Jewish heritage were blind and unguided without the hard testimony of DNA. "All these things I've been interested in with my studies and religious life now fall into place," he said. "I'm finding out why."

What lies in the future? This Pesach, Shoemaker will have an official bar mitzvah, complete with ritual bath and reading from the Torah. He then plans to attend Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. "What I am really looking forward to," he says, "is making aliyah to the Land of Israel."

Comments

Please tell us what you think

Name, website, and email are optional; if we publish your comment, your name will be shown, and may be linked to your website if provided, but the email you enter will not be published.





Captcha Image

 

 

Native Americans Have Deep Ancestry in Europe: Yes, It's Official

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Shocking, Long Overdue Revision to American Indian Genetics

By Donald N. Yates

The ecstatic waters . . .

Through their ancestral patterns dance.

—William Butler Yeats, "News for the Delphic Oracle"

We've been saying it all along but it looks as though geneticists may be forced by new findings in ancient DNA to admit that early Siberian people and present-day Native Americans both have strong roots in Europe, only secondarily in Asia. The nuclear genetic bomb was dropped by Danish geneticist Eske Willerslev at a conference on "First Americans Archeology," held October 16-19, 2013, at Santa Fe, N.M. The city that gave birth to the original atom bomb hosted a glittering roster of speakers in a venue better known for its turquoise jewelry, fry bread and avante garde art, including big draws Achilli, Adovasio, Dillehay, Gonzalez and Schurr.

The paradigm-shifting conference program will be commemorated with a book Paleoamerican Odyssey ($56) to be published by Texas A&M Press later this year.

Leaked reports in the news media focused on Willerslev's paper, "Genetics as a Means for Understanding Early Peopling of the Americas," which concerned the genetic sequencing of two ancient Siberians' bones discovered in the 1920s and now in the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. Analysis of a bone in one of the arms of a boy found near the village of Mal'ta close to Lake Baikal yielded the oldest complete genome of a modern human sequenced to date.

Of the 24,000 year-old skeleton that was Exhibit A, Willerslev was quoted in The Siberian Times, as saying, "His DNA shows close ties to those of today's Native Americans. Yet he apparently descended not from East Asians, but from people who had lived in Europe or western Asia." He added, "The finding suggests that about a third of the ancestry of today's Native Americans can be traced to 'western Eurasia.'"

The 4-year-old boy, who died 24,000 years ago in a homeland previously assumed to account for all the Indians who crossed a theoretical Bering land-bridge and founded the First Americans, had a male Y-chromosomal haplogroup of R1b, the most common lineage in modern Europe, and a female mitochondrial lineage of U, the dominant prototype in pre-historic Europe. As it happens, I am the same combination, R1b for male and U for female, as are innumerable others in our in-house study on Cherokee DNA, published, lo, some five years ago.

Whereas previous "peopling of the Americas" stuff has clung to and recycled haplogroup studies (sex-lines), the new shock research relies on autosomal DNA, total genomic contributions from all ancestral lines, not just male-only, not just female-only descent. The title of a blog from Eurogenes rightly emphasizes this:  "Surprising aDNA [autosomal] results from Paleolithic Siberia (including Y DNA R)."  

When we introduced the 18-Marker Ethnic Panel as an enhancement for our main autosomal product, DNA Fingerprint Plus, lo, again, these five years now and counting, we presented a map of prehistoric human migrations showing without any equivocation that "Native Americans," even as Cavalli-Sforza demonstrated two decades ago, were closer in genetic distance to Europeans than Asians. In fact, we claimed, on the basis of autosomal DNA, that having Native American I or Native American II was a result discrete and separate from East Asian, since Native Americans obtained frequencies of its occurrence as high as 80% and Asians were on the polar opposite of the scale, at the bottom for carrying it. Other methods frequently confused Native American and East Asian to the point of invalidity, particularly those products claiming to arrive at racial or ethnic percentages.

The moral is that autosomal DNA trumps Y chromosome and mitochondrial evidence, and only ancient autosomal DNA can truly explain modern DNA. Even one of the most antipathetic students of American Indian DNA, Theodore G. Schurr, seems to rethinking the rigid definitions that have built careers and won tenure for geneticists and anthropologists for decades. For the fanatics who have been toeing the party line on haplogroup Q, as set down by Schurr's company, Family Tree DNA, and its followers, we note the following statement of recantation or at least qualification, taken from the Santa Fe program:

"Tracing Human Movements across Siberia and into the Americas: New

Insights from Mitochondrial DNA and Y-Chromosome Data."

In this paper, I present genetic data from native Siberian and indigenous

populations of North America that help to address questions

about the process and timing of the peopling of the Americas. These

new genetic data indicate that Eskimoan- and Athapaskan-speaking

populations are genetically distinct from one another, as well as each

to Amerindian groups, and that the formation of these circumarctic

populations was the result of two population expansions that occurred

after the initial expansion of settlement of the Americas. Our high-resolution

analysis of Y chromosome haplogroup Q has also reshaped the

organization of this lineage, making connections between New World

and Old World populations more apparent and demonstrating that

southern Altaians and Native Americans share a recent common ancestor.

The data also make clear that Y-chromosomal diversity among the

first Native Americans was greater than previously recognized. Overall,

these results greatly enhance our understanding of the peopling of

Siberia and the Americas from both mtDNA and Y-chromosome

perspectives.

"Genetic genealogy" has become a fashionable buzzword, but to my knowledge few research studies or blogs and hardly any commercial tests authentically combine the two concepts. According to genealogy, I myself am about one-quarter Choctaw-Cherokee and three-quarters European. But genetics says my mitochondrial line (U2e) is Eurasian, even though I have traced it to a Cherokee woman who married the Indian trader Enoch Jordan about 1790 in north Georgia.  Estimates from other "genetic genealogy" companies for my Native American ancestry, and I've taken them all, range from 0% (23&me) to 8% (Family Tree DNA, AncestryByDNA). 

DNA Consultants, the company I founded in 2003, does not give percentages of ancestry by policy, but half my top matches in our autosomal analysis are Native American, and North Asian/Siberian is No. 1 in my megapopulation result, followed by Central Asian and Native American (and only distantly by Northern European). On an autosomal approach, if not haplogroup basis, my genes are Native American, which is how I self-identify. If I were to be pulled over for being a brown person in the state of Arizona, where I currently reside, and Sheriff Joe ran my DNA profile numbers through the system he would find that I am 15 times more likely to be North Asian than Northern European, and twice as likely to be American Indian than East Asian, European American or Iberian American (Hispanic).

Read the whole analysis of my personal genetics, with actual reports from various companies, in the Cherokee Results pages on the DNA Consultants website. You may also find an extended study showing what autosomal DNA can do at:

Reconstructing Your Ancestry and Parentage (blog post, March 14, 2012)

If and when geneticists get serious about identifying the European sources of the American Indian gene pool, and hopefully they will round up not just one suspect (Denmark?), I would like for those who get paid and promoted to study us to please consider the following points:

—First New Cherokee Data Published in More Than Ten Years (announcement, August 1, 2012) - in-house study described numerous instances of U, findings published in Donald Yates' Old World Roots of the Cherokee.

—Stephen C. Jett, who taught geography at The Ohio State University 1963-1964 and then at the University of California, Davis, serving thrice as Geography chair and becoming emeritus in 2000, current editor of Pre-Columbiana, has frequently pointed out that just because Native American haplogroups match Siberian haplogroups doesn't mean the population of either Native America or Siberia was the same in remote history as today. He considered this a big fallacy of Big Science.

—Constantine Rafinesque, whose History of the American Indians was the first and most comprehensive treatment of the subject, believed all the early settlers of the Americas came "through the Atlantic," and only beginning about 1000 BCE did the Iztacans and Oguzians (Central Asian Turkic peoples) arrive. See our blog:  American Indian and Turkic People Share Deep Ancestry (June 6, 2012).

—Canadian environmentalist Farley Mowat, the author of thirty-seven books, has constantly challenged the conventional knowledge that Vikings were the first Europeans to reach North America. In The Farfarers he describes the Alban people of Old Europe as visitors and colonists from the time when walrus hunters discovered the sea routes to the West before the Bronze Age. America's original name of the White (or Beautiful) Land is mentioned by Rafinesque and in Hindu, Greek, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Arabic, Algonquian Indian, Irish, Norse and Chinese accounts.  See "An Interview with Farley Mowat" on YouTube.

—Cyclone Covey of Wake Forest University, among other historians, has noted that Clovis Culture appears fully formed without any antecedents in America, with the most perfect examples of Clovis points traced in a cline of occurence in archeological sites to the Atlantic Coast.

—The earliest Americans clearly practiced the same Mother Goddess religion elaborately documented in the east Mediterranean and Old Europe by Marija Gimbutas. Their ideas of matriarchy or gylany (in Riana Eisler's coinage) did not come from Asia. See Archeologist of the Goddess (webpage) and "Syncretism, Not Animism" (PPT), a presentation given at the Sandy, Utah conference, March 29, 2011.

—When customers of DNA Consultants with various degrees of Native American admixture have their European population matches analyzed, a frequent top result is Finland or Finno-Ugric or Uralic. This "false match" could be explained by shared ancestry between the present-day Finns (where U is the modal haplogroup) and ancestors of Native Americans coming from Europe. Consider taking the EURO DNA test ($99).

—John L. Sorenson and Carl L. Johannessen in World Trade and Biological Exchanges before 1492 (2009) document several plants that originated in the Eastern Hemisphere (not Asia) and traveled early by human hand to the Americas. For instance, Cannabis sativa (marijuana) moved from Western Asia or Europe to Peru by 100 CE, and mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) was brought to Mexico from across the Atlantic Ocean by 1500 BCE. Both grow in profusion in Europe and temperate parts of Central Asia. Goosefoot (an important Ohio Valley Moundbuilder staple), cotton, coconuts, bananas, turmeric and North American myrtle likely took the same route. In the opposite direction, Mexican agave spread to the Mediterranean world by 300 BCE.

Archeologists described the recent news from Santa Fe as jaw-dropping. We expect that when the definitive report on the Siberian boy's 24,000 year-old genome appears in the journal Nature, where it is at press, their hair may fall out. At any rate, the European origins of Indians is going to be a game changer not only in genetics, but anthropology, archeology, government and, perhaps most significantly, in the self-awareness of millions of Americans who count Native Americans among their ancestors.

 
























Our standard world migration map had the story right years ago.


Comments

Don Danielson commented on 30-Oct-2013 05:36 PM

I can add no data, only my applause. There are, truly, more similarities among people than differences.

James Stritzel commented on 11-Nov-2013 03:03 PM

CONGRATULATIONS!! For vindication of what you and DNA Consultants have been in the forefront of for years. Still will be fierce resistance but the light of your leadership is starting to shine and grow in the ‘Official Establishment’.

I remember and still have a book from the early 1990’s “Giving Voice to Bear” by David Rockwell. In it he wrote of the similarity of how Bear is depicted/revered/hunted around the sub-Arctic. Briefly wrote about a circumpolar subarctic culture. That has stuck with me 20+ years.

Here with Eske Willerley’s “….genetic bombshell….” is validation of what must have been pre-Columbian peopling of Americas other than the orthodox version.

Thanks so much for your dedication, determination and achievements in the DNA Field.

Jim Stritzel

Anonymous commented on 14-Nov-2013 09:18 PM

I have a lot of Siberian DNA as well as a lot of Greek and Iranian DNA, but come from Black Sea area/Georgia. But look European. MtDNA is H1b. Mom's dad's Y chromo is R1b. We were supposed to have come from the Caucasus in ancestral times. Lots of redheads in the family. Curious.

Bill Hucks commented on 20-Nov-2013 05:15 PM

This is one of many articles I've read on the Siberian boy. You mention that his Ydna is R1b, however it is not mentioned in any other articles. I'm very curious to know if R1b has indeed, been confirmed. --That was reported in the full version of the scientific paper.


Please tell us what you think

Name, website, and email are optional; if we publish your comment, your name will be shown, and may be linked to your website if provided, but the email you enter will not be published.





Captcha Image

 

 

Where Do I Come From: Shawn

Monday, July 22, 2013

Where Do I Come from:  Shawn

Real People's DNA Stories

Ethnicity Beyond European Migration

By Shawn

My journey into DNA testing began with my desire to expand on my known heritage, while clarifying debated Jewish ancestry.  What I have found in return is that my ancestral paper trail only uncovers a small portion of the blood that runs through my veins.  My DNA Consultants results, for the most part were quite surprising.  My European matches were fairly consistent with my country origins on paper and surrounding areas.  The major surprise, however, was that my number one European match was Romani/Gypsy and my number 10 match was Czech Republic.... 

Things became much more interesting with my World Population Matches.  My scores (in order) were Romani/Gypsy, Middle Eastern, African, Iberian, Central European, African-American, Jewish, Mediterranean European, European American and Eastern European.  I also came up with Native American admixture to top it off.  These results are causing me to believe that there may be a line or more of family lineages that I have yet to tap into. 

Looking back on things now, I have received comments from others concerning my phenotype such as "I'm not sure what you are,” "You don't look Irish" and "You must have some Black ancestry."  Some have even just assumed I was Hispanic or Caucasian.  Interestingly enough, almost all acknowledge that they see my Italian/Spanish phenotype, while a few also see slight Native American.   

While my results provided insight into how diverse my blood really is, they also put an end to an age-old family debate as to our Jewish ethnicity.  One of my relatives from a few generations past would passionately defend her position that our family line was indeed Jewish, while another family member would vigorously put forth his position that we were not Jewish.  He would try to prove our non-Jewishness any time he could.  I also had another family member along that same family line say that he almost did not get hired for a job because the hirer thought he was Jewish.  I always believed these accounts, especially since as young as I can remember I have found this side of my family (Italian and German) to phenotypically look Italian and/or Jewish.  

So where does all this leave me now?  My results show my blood is much more than simply Italian, French, Irish and German.  They confirm family testimony of Spanish/Portuguese/Iberian and Jewish ancestry.  Perhaps more interestingly, my results leave me re-assessing my ethnicity or multi-ethnic heritage, end years of family verbal passages or debates and leave me with intriguing new ancestries that are waiting to be discovered. 

Comments

Maria OConnor commented on 23-Jul-2013 12:42 AM

Shawn: Countries frontiers are artificial. For example, there are people of celtic heritage in northern Spain, northern Portugal, all over Ireland, all over England, all over Scotland, all over Wales, Southern Germany, northern France, Northern Italy, etc. All of them, even considering the come from different places have the same celtic DNA. So, if you have an ancestor from Spain or Portugal, could be of celtic origen, or mediterranean origen.
If a person has jewish sefardi dna, it could be originated from Southern Spain, Southern Portugal, North Africa, Middle East, etc.
Also, in South America there are great numbers of people of European ancestry, including non hispanic non portugue ancestry, like Irish, German, Italians, etc.
Is quite complicated, due to ancient and new migrations.


Please tell us what you think

Name, website, and email are optional; if we publish your comment, your name will be shown, and may be linked to your website if provided, but the email you enter will not be published.





Captcha Image

 

 

Where Do I Come From: Monica Sanowar

Friday, July 12, 2013

Where Do I Come From

Real People's DNA Stories

A Red-Hot Tale from the Nation's Capital

By Monica R. Sanowar

  

I took my first test with Family Tree in 2006. This test showed my mtDNA as L3e2b2 and it went like this:

52% West African

39% European

9% EAST ASIAN

0% Native American

I could not believe the East Asian part, and I shrugged it off and thought—that has to be Native American.

So, fast forward—I took another test with Ancestry.com. This was autosomal and showed:

48% - West African

44% - European

8% - UNKNOWN

How can you be UNKNOWN?

Neither of these tests really breaks down what country your people may have originated from. So then I tried 23&me, their autosomal offering.

49% - West African

48.3% European - Central - Northern - Non-specific

and the leftovers were .7 EAST ASIAN & NATIVE (although the NA box did not turn red)

and 1.4% UNSPECIFIED

I knew from family history that NA was on both sides of my fence. I also was aware that I had four of the traits Melungeon people have. I have the ridge in the back of my head that you can lay your finger in; I have ridges on the teeth and I can make the clicking sound on the shovel teeth; I have the Asian eyefold, and the very high arches. Can't get my foot inside of a boot and if I do, I can't get it off.  I was amazed that I got my results in less than two weeks!

Finally, I tried DNA Consultants. Its test was the very first that didn't show "UNKNOWN" or non-specific. Everything was accounted for, although I did find a few shocks. No one told me about Sephardic Jews or the Portuguese. At last, a test verified my Native roots with valid matches to tribes or nations and confirmed Native American autosomal markers—from both parents, as I had been told.

I got into Native culture back in 1983 when I started to go to powwows. I finally felt at home. I enjoyed seeing people that looked like me, mixed. My great-great-great grandmother was listed on the FREE NEGRO LIST where it asked How Freed? And it was written BORN FREE. Then came a description— a light-skinned black, with long straight black hair and a small scar on her hand. Below is a picture of her daughter, Alethea Preston Pinn. Alethea's father was a white man named Allen Preston. Alethea had seven children with James E. Colvin, who was white, and all

of their children were put on Walter Plecker's list of "mongrels" not allowed to vote or go to school. That was 1943. Not that long ago.

So, I got a second cousin to take the test with 23&me who comes directly from

Sarah Pinn (the alleged light-skinned black woman). My cousin's haplogroup came in A2N - Native American.

I know that some things may show and some not, but DNA Consultants' test knocked the EAST ASIAN right off the page. I've learned a lot of different things with DNA testing, but DNA Consultants' is the best one I have seen and is well worth the money. 

I love it when these geneticists and genealogists out there decide what you do or do not have in your family tree, especially the Indian part of the tree.  As if this just could not have happened . . . .  I am proud of all of it.  I can just about hang up a flag from everywhere.   

I can't praise the DNA Fingerprint Plus enough and wish I'd known about it years ago. I really appreciate all of the knowledge and insight Dr. Yates has about genealogy and history that I was totally unaware of. I actually spoke to him on the phone at length and he truly made my day. I highly recommend DNA Consultants' service to people who are looking for the truth about their genealogy.

And speaking of spicy mixtures, check out my hot sauces at Sun Pony. They've got secret, all-natural ingredients just like the family!

Alethea Preston Pinn, my great-great-grandmother on my paternal side.

My mother, Mary Wood.

My great-aunt Lenora Wood.

 

Elizabeth Colvin, a granddaughter of Alethea Preston Pinn. "Contrary to the belief and convictions of many people, long hair really does exist in my family," says Monica Sanowar. "It isn't a made-up fantasy and this was long before hairweaves.  My cousin's hair was down to her calves." 

Guest blog author Monica Sanowar is the founder of Sun Pony Distributors Inc., makers of a line of all-natural, wholesome condiments and energy supplements found in stores up and down the East Coast. Her first hot sauce was Yellow Thunder and her Native name is Sundancer. SunPony's D.C. Redbone Hot Sauce is the official hot sauce of the Anacostia Indians, D.C.'s little known indigenous people, who were first recorded by Capt. John Smith in 1608.  Sanowar lives in Washington, D.C., not far from the Anacostia's village site, now a national historical landmark. Watch grassdancer Rusty Gillette in a video about D.C. Redbone. 
Comments

Phyllis Starnes commented on 12-Jul-2013 04:42 PM

Monica Sanowar,

I had the pleasure of analyzing your personal DNA profile and preparing your report.

I am pleased that our detailed report validated your known ancestry.

Thank you for sharing your experience with DNA Consultants.

Phyllis Starnes
Assistant Investigator
DNA Consultants


Please tell us what you think

Name, website, and email are optional; if we publish your comment, your name will be shown, and may be linked to your website if provided, but the email you enter will not be published.





Captcha Image

 

 

DNA Frontiersman: Jim Bentley

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Behind the Numbers:  Jim Bentley


Jim Bentley, DNA Frontiersman

 

(Part Three of a Series)

We interviewed  one of Chromosomal Labs Bode Technology’s senior staff members, Director of Sales and Marketing Jim Bentley, to get his perspective on industry changes over the past thirty-five-plus years.

 

 

Jim Bentley.

 

 

When did you first get interested in DNA?

JB: I’ll have to preface my answer with a few remarks on “the early days.” When I graduated from Arizona State University in the 1970s, DNA testing as we know it, was not really a field that was in existence. There was not a lot going on. The little work I did with chromosomes was using electron microscopy. I worked in the biochemistry department, however and performed hundreds of assays using poly-acrylamide gel electrophoresis, mainly for separation of proteins. This technique, although improved and streamlined remains in use today for DNA-STR separation. The field we’re in today where we can determine a person’s profile and compare it with others for forensics  for relationships, ancestry, missing persons, adoptions and the like, that technology hadn’t been developed yet. It wasn’t quite as easy as it is today.

Tell us more about the evolution of DNA testing.

 

JB: It basically began with blood groups and types. The first paternity test was done in a court case with Charlie Chaplin in the 1940s. He was excluded as the father, but the court said he could go ahead and pay child support anyway—probably, because he could afford it. Since that time, scientists started moving past groups and types into some other techniques. Human Leukocyte Testing (HLA), DQ-Alpha, and Restriction Enzyme STR testing (RFLP) are examples of the evolution of DNA testing.

The big breakthrough came when Dr. Alec Jeffreys at the University of Leicester discovered STR testing in England the late 1980s. He used STR profiling on the Colin Pitchfork case. Colin Pitchfork became the first criminal convicted on the basis of DNA evidence and as a result of a mass DNA screening operation. He was charged with raping and murdering two teenage girls. Since that time the forensic community has really refined the techniques to perform STR testing. They’ve made it simpler and more accurate. It’s really moved exponentially in the last twenty years. Today competent biologists and chemists can produce excellent results, every time.  Dr. Jeffreys has been knighted for his contributions.

So what got you involved?

JB:  I came out of college as a chemist, one interested in the medical field. I started out working in clinical chemistry and toxicology. The work we did with DNA was extremely limited and very costly. But I did stick with a career in clinical chemistry. Within four years after graduating from school I was managing a clinical laboratory in Houston, Texas called National Health Laboratories. It was a laboratory of about one hundred scientists and support staff. After mergers, acquisitions and such, that company remains as Lab Corp. (It performs more than 1 million tests on more than 370,000 specimens each day.)

What opportunities for professional growth did you have over the years?

JB: Through taking a lot of continuing education coursework, I became proficient and qualified as a general supervisor in clinical chemistry, toxicology, hematology, parasitology, microbiology, serology—everything except for tissue work like histology and cytology, which was done by certified medical experts in those specialties. My interests kept me in touch with the staff pathologists, however, as well as all the rest of the laboratory. Though my present-day field did not exist at the time I graduated, by staying current I was able to benefit from the changes and be part of an emerging valuable service provided not only to the medical community but also to the forensic one, and the general population at large.

 

What are some famous cases you’ve been involved with . . . that you can talk about?

 

JB:  Actually, that’s my problem. We’ve been involved in a number of high-profile cases, but we’re not allowed to talk about any of them. Most have been on the forensic side, serial killer trials in Arizona, also in California, some that made the news in Florida . . Texas . . .Georgia.

Were you involved in catching the Grim Sleeper?

JB:  Actually, that’s an ongoing case in Los Angeles we are familiar with, but we didn’t do the work on it, so we can talk about that one. The importance of the Grim Sleeper case has to do with familial testing and autosomal DNA. It was termed the Grim Sleeper case because there were a number of homicides that took place beginning in the mid-1980s, all with the same basic MO [modus operandi], and then the murderer went underground for fourteen years. The victims were typically prostitutes shot with a firearm. In 2010, a suspect, Lonnie David Franklin Jr., 57, was arrested and charged with multiple counts of murder. He has not yet been convicted, nor the evidence against him tested in court.

How was DNA used to catch him?

 

JB: So here were a number of cold cases, but they were being tracked, and the law enforcement authorities in Los Angeles continued to monitor progress. The sole survivor of one of the Grim Sleeper’s attacks furnished a description of him as a black man in his 30s, along with other details. According to her story in the press, he lured her into an orange Ford Pinto, shot her in the chest with a pistol, took Polaroid’s and raped her, leaving her for dead. In 2008, the body count was thirteen, and a $500,000 reward was put out for “America’s Most Wanted.”

It became the first use in California, and one of the first three cases in the United States, of the use of familial DNA searching, that is, using the FBI’s CODIS database to match one family member’s profile with a suspect’s profile. The LA police were able to provide a close partial match to  Franklin’s crime scene profile with that of his son, whose CODIS markers were on file for a minor crime. They then set up a kind of mini-sting operation at a pizza parlor in Buena Park, where they knew the family liked to eat. Undercover detectives masqueraded as waiters and busboys. When the family left, they whisked away an unfinished pizza slice. The crust yielded DNA which police linked on a more solid basis to Lonnie Franklin. It was the first high-profile case in which a family member’s DNA had been used to catch a criminal. The ACLU and others had been critical of familial searching on grounds of privacy, and there is still a lot of debate over familiar searching because it might open up the search and include those who hadn’t committed any crime.

Did this help produce new commercial products like the “cousin finders”?

 

Only a few states are doing familial searching, and they are pretty guarded about it. It’s hard for me to make a connection. Certainly, these developments have been concentrated in the past three or four years, but the use of this technique is spreading.

Are people legitimately suspicious about DNA databases?

 

JB: Fears surface from time to time. There have been claims that keep popping up that someone’s going to take everything that’s in the database and use it to determine genetic deficiencies that could lead to medical issues down the road. Once it was speculated that if such  information was released, insurance companies would begin denying people coverage based on their profiles.

This is the mother of conspiracy theories, isn’t it?

 

JB:  It really is. For the most part—not for everyone—the vast majority of the markers we are using are in the “junk DNA” area. That is, they don’t by themselves “do” anything or give you genetic information on the face of things. There may be one or two markers that possibly could be construed as yielding some medical information—such as a trisomy at vWA or TPOX [a CODIS locus]. But by and large, you are not going to be able to do any medical diagnostics with the markers we run. Usually trisomies such as Down’s syndrome would be physically expressed and not hidden. It’s a little different with SNP panels [single nucleotide polymorphisms] such as those run by 23&me. With a high number of those, it’s entirely possible to predict medical predisposition. That’s what they base their business on.

Let’s talk some more about the CODIS database.

JB:  It’s important to realize that even law enforcement doesn’t provide much access to the CODIS [Combined DNA Identification System] databank. That’s something I have to give the FBI credit for. They have developed a system that is secure. It’s the DNA administrator at each facility who has undergone FBI training and uploads the data under very strict rules, and they are notified of any “hits” that involve them, but otherwise there is very little access, and the use of the database is very even across the country. There are not a large number of portals that can be used to access the CODIS database. There are several hundred law enforcement laboratories that are running profiles across the country, and the database is best thought about on three different levels:  LDIS, SDIS and NDIS, local, state and national versions. Between our labs in Phoenix and Virginia, we’ve tested over a million profiles for entry into CODIS. That’s about one-tenth of the entire number. I can tell you there is tight security. Hundreds of thousands of investigations have been aided by a DNA hit (we don’t like to say “match” so much, because statistically nothing is 100%) generating a lead.

How did you get bitten by the genealogy bug?

JB: I’ve always been fascinated with ancestry. I think it came about because my father took an interest in discovering our family’s roots and had to do so at the time by traveling to Salt Lake City, Utah, and poring over whatever records he could find there about our fathers, and great-grandfathers, and great-great-grandfathers, and so forth. He had tintypes of some of the relatives. We had various pieces of the puzzle. My father pretty much consolidated everything back to William Bentley, who settled in Rhode Island in the early 1700s and had come from Bedfordshire, England. He put together a book for family use. He glorified a few of them and left a few out that weren’t ready for glorification. For the sensitivity of some of the relatives, he left a few details out, but it was a pretty solid piece of work. For me, it kind of fostered this interest in ancestry and its importance. Certainly, when I started at Chromosomal Labs • Bode Technology, we started looking at the various tools that could be used. Our history, to be sure, is passed down from generation to generation. Initially, we were using mitochondrial DNA, Y-SNP’s and Y-STRs and then autosomal STRs to determine how we’re connected to general and specific individuals back to the Revolutionary War days and how you are linked with the world population, what your roots were. I have a particular Y haplogroup of G2a, which is not one of the more common ones.

Hmm . . . you and Joseph Stalin.

JB:  [Laughs]. Is that what his haplogroup was? Uh-oh! He was one of the worst. Well, I got interested in G2a and hooked up with about 50 other Bentleys and we identified our founder  patriarch haplotype. I get emails from them on a regular basis. The other thing we tried to find out was what in the world were all these G2a’s doing in England. I don’t know. But one of the things I find in the literature most often was that the Sarmatians were horsemen that gave the Romans a pretty rough time. Eventually, they were decimated. The Romans took their remaining cavalry and pressed them into service for 12 to 13 years or longer. Some were dispatched to Hadrian’s Wall. Now do I know for a hundred percent certainty that’s where I came from? No, but its fun to regard that as a hypothetical personal history.

You have a Scythian gene, don’t you?

 

JB:  Yes, I do according to the analysis DNA Consultants did for my autosomal ancestry. The work Dr. Yates has done on the rare alleles supports a lot of the stuff the family has been putting together for years and years.  I was very pleased to get my Rare Genes from History report back showing I had the Scythian gene. That seems to go along with the Sarmatian theory about the Bentleys.

How do you see the industry changing over the next few years?

 

JB:  I can speak best about changes I am seeing in the field. They’re getting closer to having rapid DNA testing on a chip. This gives flexibility to those who want to use DNA as “point of use” testing. The FBI this past year came out at the Promega conference and said that within the next two years they would like to see wide adoption of “point of use” testing. The IntegenX prototype allows you to put your swab into a cartridge, insert it into the instrument on the fly and get your STR results in a few hours. Previously, Rapid DNA testing was not only time-consuming and lab-bound but it was very expensive. It cost several hundred dollars in reagents alone. As the technology improves to allow 2 hour testing in our lab or on a chip, reagent and personnel time continue to drop,  Now, the FBI would like to see point of use testing in every booking station in the country. At the last show, I also saw an instrument from Illumina that would run Y-STRs, mtDNA and autosomal DNA profiles simultaneously on one sample. Another change that is coming is we will see an expanded profile becoming the standard, perhaps something similar to the GlobalFiler kit from Life Technologies with its 24 loci. With the new technology you can increase the speed for amplifying the specimen by five times and achieve nine times the discriminating power or resolution.

Any final remarks?

 

JB: The DNA testing field is on the threshold of even greater accolades of appreciation both from the scientific community and the public. If DNA wasn’t even in anyone’s mind twenty years ago, soon it will be part of everyone’s daily lives.

 
























Sir Alec Jeffreys, inventor of DNA fingerprinting, and Jim Bentley at forensics meeting.




Comments

Please tell us what you think

Name, website, and email are optional; if we publish your comment, your name will be shown, and may be linked to your website if provided, but the email you enter will not be published.





Captcha Image

 

 

Is There an Irony Gene?

Thursday, December 13, 2012
Richard Lewontin's Disappearing Act

The octogenarian bête noir of biological determinism reviews three new books about why we should be proud of our ancestry--or just be quiet about it. "There is a certain irony," he writes, "in claiming an undemonstrated biological superiority for a group, six million of whom were slaughtered for their claimed natural degeneracy." If your dynosaur feathers are not ruffled yet, read on. 

"Is There a Jewish Gene?"

by Richard Lewontin

December 6, 2012,

The New York Review of Books


Legacy:  A Genetic History of the Jewish People
by Harry Ostrer
Oxford University Press, 264 pp. $24.95


The Genealogical Science:  The Search for Jewish Origins and the Politics of Epistemology
by Nadia Abu El-Haj
University of Chicago Press, 311 pp., $35.00



Zionism and the Biology of the Jews (Zionut Vehabiologia Shel Hayehudim

by Raphael Falk
Resling, 2006 (not yet published in English)
Richard Lewontin.
Courtesy Istituto Veneto.

The question of ancestry has been of human concern in virtually all cultures and over all times of which we have any knowledge. Whether it be a story about the origin of a particular tribe or nation and its subsequent mixture with other groups, or curiosity about a family history, there is always the implication that we understand ourselves better if we know our ancestors and that we, within ourselves, reflect properties that have come to us by an unbroken line from past generations. As treasurer of the Marlboro Historical Society in Vermont, I am the recipient of requests for printed copies of the Reverend Ephraim Newton’s mid-eighteenth-century history of our town, 70 percent of whose pages consist of “Genealogical and Biographical Notes” and a “Catalog of Literary Men.” Over and over our correspondents write of the “pride” they have in descending from these early settlers.

Surely pride or shame are appropriate sentiments for actions for which we ourselves are in some way responsible. Why, then, do we feel pride (or shame) for the actions of others over whom we can have had no influence? Do we, in this way, achieve a false modesty or relieve ourselves of the burdens of our own behavior? As a descendant of late-nineteenth-century Eastern European immigrants I cannot depend on Reverend Newton’s pages to explain my frequent contributions to The New York Review, but neither have the extensive “begats” in Genesis 10 or Matthew 1 been more enlightening.  Read More...

Comments

Please tell us what you think

Name, website, and email are optional; if we publish your comment, your name will be shown, and may be linked to your website if provided, but the email you enter will not be published.





Captcha Image

 

 

Elizabeth Hirschman, Modern Pioneer

Friday, December 07, 2012
Check Out DNA Fingerprint Plus $300 

Behind the Numbers:  Elizabeth Hirschman

  (Part Two of a Series)

We interviewed Rutgers marketing professor Elizabeth Caldwell Hirschman, author of several books and articles incorporating DNA in her research, to hear her personal story in our continuing series about the people behind the scenes in the field of DNA testing.

 

Elizabeth Hirschman with MBA students at Rutgers in December 2009.


When did you first get interested in DNA?

ECH: I got interested in DNA testing around 2000 when I discovered I was Melungeon after reading Brent Kennedy's 1994 book. Brent suggested several different ancestries that possibly contributed to the Melungeon population and I wanted to find out which of these were correct and which ones I had. I already suspected Jewish ancestry because of the naming patterns in my family over the past 300 years, as well as some of their habits --e.g., not eating pork, getting married in a home instead of a church, cleaning house on Friday afternoon, no eggs with blood spots, washing all meat, etc. We also had some genetic anomalies -- shovel teeth (sinodonty), palatal tori and large rear cranial extensions, as well as polydactylism.

Tell us more.

 

ECH:  Over the course of the past decade I have been found to have Native American, Spanish, Ashkenazi Jewish, African, Mediterranean and Gypsy/Northwestern India ancestry. My Dad turned out to have substantial Gypsy and African ancestry. He and I share a large cranial rear extension that I believe likely comes from the African ancestry -- the photos I have seen of the !Kung Bushmen look just like our head shapes. My Mom has Native American and/or Sino-Siberian ancestry. She also possessed the Asian teeth and palatal tori found in this group.

You've written several books and articles with Donald Yates; how did that come about?

ECH:  We shared ancestry from the Coopers, a prominent pioneer family in Daniel Boone’s time. In 2000, I wrote him out of the blue when he was a professor in Georgia and introduced myself and asked if possibly the Coopers were Jewish. We began to correspond by email. I told him I was sure one of the reasons I was working so hard to figure out the Melungeon story was because I had to figure out who I am. “Up until last year,”  I remember telling him, “I thought I was Scotch-Irish, English , white and Presbyterian.” It was a big transition to Sephardic, brown and Jewish. It turned out that we were distant cousins and had numerous links in our Melungeon ancestry.

What was a typical publication?

ECH: One article was called “Suddenly Melungeon! Reconstructing Consumer Identity Across the Color Line.” This was published by Routledge in 2007 in a handbook on consumer culture theory edited by Russell Belk.  

 

How did the Jewish findings play out?

 

ECH:  On a personal level, both Don and I, as well as his wife Teresa, returned to Judaism, he and Teresa in Savannah and I in New Jersey. On a professional level, we started the Melungeon Surname DNA Project, which focused on Scottish clan and Melungeon surnames (i.e., male or Y chromosome lines), and later included Native American mitochondrial DNA.  Initially, many people in the genetic genealogy community were frustrated that the incoming Jewish DNA results were not originating in the Middle East, as they had strongly believed and hoped, but were showing a lot of Khazar, Central Asian, Eastern European and Western European/Spanish/French input.

Can you elaborate?

ECH:  Critics were not happy that DNA was proving a wider and more inclusive picture of the Jewish people. Where Don and I have performed a service, I believe, is by just following the DNA trail and accepting new findings (e.g., the Gypsy/Roma) when they come in, instead of clinging to an a priori theory/belief/wish, for instance, the claim of a Middle Eastern origin for the majority of Jews.

What tests have you ordered from DNA Consultants?

 

ECH: I ordered every test as they became available over the years, first the Y chromosome and mitochondrial or male-line and female-line tests and later the autosomal or DNA fingerprint tests that analyze your total ancestry.  I helped organize the first autosomal Melungeon study by contributing samples from my mother and brother and obtaining samples from well-known Melungeons like Brent Kennedy and his brother Richard. Increasingly, our testing took on the aspect of a family group study. For instance, I was able by comparing multiple results from relatives to reconstruct my father’s ancestry quite satisfactorily, even though he died many years ago. I took the Rare Genes from History for all available family members. There is a streak of the Thuya Gene and First Peoples Gene in all of us, as well as the Sinti Gene (which is Gypsy), while my brother Dick got our father’s Khoisan Gene, which is African. Incidentally, it has the same source as the !Kung people and head shape I mentioned before.

If you had H. G. Wells' time machine where would you go?

 

ECH: I would love to be able to visit my ancestors and see what they looked like, where they lived, how they lived and learn how they got to Appalachia from such disparate parts of the world. I wish I could talk with them. My project now is to visit all the places they are known to have come from and see what the architecture, climate, food, and people are like. That is about as close to "meeting" them as I will be able to get. So far, I’ve traveled to Scotland, Ireland, Wales, England, Spain, Tunisia and Morocco on the trail of my Sephardic Jewish ancestors. I am trying to get to the Silk Road to see Central Asia, Turkey and Northwest India in the near future.

Professor Hirschman has published over 200 journal articles and academic papers in marketing, consumer behavior, sociology, psychology and semiotics. She is past President of the Association for Consumer Research and American Marketing Association-Academic Division. Professor Hirschman was named one of the Most Cited Researchers in Economics and Business by the Institute for Scientific Information in 2009; this recognition is given to the top .5% of scholars in a given field.  


Comments

Please tell us what you think

Name, website, and email are optional; if we publish your comment, your name will be shown, and may be linked to your website if provided, but the email you enter will not be published.





Captcha Image

 

 

Behind the Numbers: Phyllis Starnes

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Check Out DNA Fingerprint Plus $300 


Phyllis Starnes:  Designer Genes


We interviewed Phyllis E. Starnes, assistant investigator, to find out what fascinates her about the field of DNA testing. Her story is the first in a series titled "Behind the Numbers" about the workers behind the scenes in our industry, from lab technicians to statisticians.

 

Interviewer:  How did you first get interested in DNA?

PES:  I went to the Melungeon Union in Kingsport [Tennessee, in 2002]. Beth Hirschman had her “stalk,” a diagram of her Melungeon family tree with all the names in her genealogy, many of which were also my surnames. I heard Dr. Yates speak at that meeting. They had their lines all pinpointed, thanks to DNA studies.

Interviewer:  What was your next step after that?

PES:  I came home and did a lot of genealogy research on the computer.

Interviewer: And then?

PES:  The first year DNA Consultants opened for business, which was 10 years ago, I ordered a Y chromosome test for my husband Billy. Other companies were offering the same product, but DNA Consultants was the only one to give you a full analysis and customized explanation of things. Then I ordered my own mitochondrial DNA test.

Interviewer:  Any surprises?

PES:  Billy’s top matches for his male line, the Starnes surname line, were Macedonia and Albania. My mitochondrial mutations matched Native Americans. I became the first of the “Anomalous Cherokees” whose female lineages didn’t fit in the traditional scheme of “Indians out of Asia.” In fact, my Hypervariable Region 2 mutations matched only one other sample in the world, and that was Dr. Yates, who is Cherokee in his direct female line.

Interviewer:  What did your husband and the rest of your family think?

PES:  Some were excited, as I was, but most were just not interested. My kids thought the strong Native American matches were very interesting.

Interviewer:  What other family members did you test?

PES:  As soon as autosomal testing arrived, with the DNA Fingerprint Test, I did Billy and myself, of course, Julia, Kiely and Holli (our three daughters), our granddaughter Keely, my Dad’s sister and Mother’s sister, an uncle and his wife, a niece and a cousin.

Interviewer:  What did you find out?

PES:  Within the immediate family, it was obvious who got which ancestry and trait from whom, and how they all resonated. One of the big surprises was my father’s side, which proved to have quite a bit of Native American and Iberian. The “First Peoples” gene came from his side and passed on down through our girls. On my mother’s side, 11 out of 20 matches was India.

Interviewer:   India!?

PES:  Yes, it appears we were finally seeing the extensive Romani/Gypsy heritage in her family. People had always told me I was like a Gypsy, from my clothes and jewelry to my attitude and outlook. When Billy was in the Navy, I told him one day, ‘I’m tired of being a Gypsy.’ I said I wanted to settle down in one place.

Interviewer:  Did you settle down?

PES:  Yes, we’ve lived in a small town in East Tennessee for almost 40 years. We moved here in 1973.

Interviewer:  Any other surprises in your DNA?

PES:  If you were to chart our geographical matches, both in terms of autosomal DNA as well as the female and male lines, it would surround the Mediterranean. That’s where Familial Mediterranean Fever comes in.

Interviewer:  Who has FMF in your family?

PES:  Billy, myself, Julia, Holli and a cousin. I’m sure others have it but it has not been diagnosed and they may call it instead fibromyalgia. Brent Kennedy [author of a book on Melungeons and their genetics] is a cousin many times over.

Interviewer:  What do you enjoy about your job?

PES:  It’s like a holiday every day. With customers coming out of North Carolina or East Tennessee, I see a lot of the same matches and genealogy I have personally encountered in my own experience with DNA testing. I recognize a lot of genetic cousins.

Interviewer:  When did you first hear the word “Melungeon”?

PES:  I grew up in Southwest Virginia in the little town where the Stony Creek Church is located. The church minutes contain the first written instance of the word. The register is all of mine and Billy’s ancestors, and part of Beth’s [Elizabeth Hirschman, author of books on Melungeons].

Interviewer:  What do you see in the future of DNA testing?

PES:  I think we’ve only glimpsed the tip of the iceberg so far, even though it’s been 10 years. We’ll continue to have new knowledge, new products. I highly recommend our customized approach.

Interviewer:  Any parting shots?

PES:  I’ve worked in sales all my life—jewelry management and design, my own interior decorating shop, running my own hair salon—but I have found something to be truly excited about in DNA. Funny I couldn’t get this excited about selling diamonds! If you think about it, your genes are the ultimate design for living.



Donald Yates and Elizabeth Hirschman speaking at Fourth Melungeon Union, Kingsport, Tenn., in June 2002. Hirschman, a professor at Rutgers University, went on to publish Melungeons: The Last Lost Tribe in America. Yates, a professor at Georgia Southern University at the time, founded a service for evaluating DNA reports that became DNA Consultants. The two authors have collaborated on a number of books and articles, including Jews and Muslims in British Colonial America. 












Check Out Premium DNA Fingerprint Plus $375
 






















Comments

Please tell us what you think

Name, website, and email are optional; if we publish your comment, your name will be shown, and may be linked to your website if provided, but the email you enter will not be published.





Captcha Image

 

 

Evolution and Ancestry: DNA Mutation Rates

Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Check Out DNA Fingerprint Plus $300 


As often happens in the annals of science, two research teams independently reached the same groundbreaking results, and publication to the scientific world occurred simultaneously. The breakthrough in the present case concerned the mutation rate of DNA and has profound implications for human evolution as well as for DNA Consultants' new offerings in autosomal DNA ancestry analysis, specifically our Rare Genes from History Panel.

The following two studies are already much cited by geneticists, though they have garnered little attention in the press. They appeared in online versions on the same day, August 23.

James X Sun et al., "A Direct Characterization of Human Mutation Based on Microsatellites," Nature Genetics 44/10 (October 2012): 1161-65.

A. Kong et al., "Rate of de novo Mutations and the importance of Father's Age to Disease Risk," Nature 488 (2012):471-75.  
 
A table summarizing their findings and older data is provided below for DNA testing customers' convenience.

 

DNA Mutation Rates

Study or Source

Type of DNA

Sample or Method

Rate per Generation

Time Depth in Years

Sun 2012

autosomal

microsatellites

2,477 mutations

in Icelanders

.001-

.0001

25,000 to

250,000

Kong 2012

single nucleotide

polymorphisms

4,933 mutations

in Icelandic trios

63.2 or

.000000012

Very great

 

Butler 2009

Core CoDIS STRs

(microsatellites)

compiled from

studies

.0028-.0001

9,000 to

25,000

Zhivotovsky 2004

Y chromosome

STRs

Y haplogroup

comparisons

.00069

36,000

Heyer 1997

Y chromosome

tetranucleotides

42 males in forensic database

.002

12,500

FamilyTreeDNA

2004

Y chromosome

STRs

Estimated from

customer base

.004

6,250

Brinkmann 1998

STRs (CoDIS

markers)

10,844 Father-son comparisons

0-.007

3,500 to

Very Great

Parsons  1997

mitochondrial

DNA

134 mtDNA

lineages

.000029

862,000

DNA Consultants

Rare Genes

from History

average estimate

across loci

.001325

19,000

 
From this it can be seen that mutation rates vary from a low with SNPs to the high rate of Y chromsome STRs (as much as 0.4 % per generation). DNA keeps surprising us by proving to be more stable than we would tend to expect, dutifully transcribing its original values from generation to generation without many mistakes or changes. Only Y chromosome seems to be highly changeable, depending on the father's age (Kong 2012). Autosomal STRs mutate at a rate between SNPs and the Y chromosome, between every 19,000 or 25,000 and 250,000 years. 

For our new autosomal ancestry markers, that is confirmation that the alleles we are examining on a statistical basis are pretty much unchanged for the past 20,000 years. That's about twice the length of what we call world history, hence a meaningful enough time frame for valid inferences about population patterns and ancestry of individuals.

See also:  Rare Genes from History:  DNA Consultants’ Next-Generation Ancestry Markers

Rare Genes from History Panel Now Available for $289

Prelaunch of New Autosomal Products

Emerging Prehistory of Ethnic Groups

Technical Literature on Genotyping, including autosomal DNA and Forensic Literature

 

DEFINITION:  mutation  
A change in a DNA sequence, either spontaneous within a generation or inherited, sometimes from a very distant ancestor. Mutations usually do not affect our health or cause any differences in our appearance. In other words, they are not genes proper and do not “code” for new proteins. Even though they are non-coding genes, though, they are useful in tracing lineages.            

From A Glossary of Common DNA Terms

 











 
Comments

Please tell us what you think

Name, website, and email are optional; if we publish your comment, your name will be shown, and may be linked to your website if provided, but the email you enter will not be published.





Captcha Image

 

 

Rare Genes from History: New Autosomal Ancestry Markers from DNA Consultants

Sunday, September 30, 2012
Check Out DNA Fingerprint Plus $300 


PRESS RELEASE
Rare Genes from History:  DNA Consultants’ Next-Generation Ancestry Markers

PHOENIX -- (Oct. 1, 2012) -- DNA typing has gone from successes in the criminal justice system and paternity testing to new heights in mapping genetic diseases and tracing human history. John Butler in the conclusion to his textbook Fundamentals of Forensic DNA Typing raised an important question about these trends. How might genetic genealogy information intersect with forensic DNA testing in the future?

"At DNA Consultants, that new chapter in DNA testing arrived several years ago," said Donald Yates, chief research officer and founder. "As we approach our tenth anniversary, examining human population diversity continues to be the whole thrust of our research, and it just gets more and more exciting."

The company's DNA database atDNA 4.0 captures and puts to use every single published academic study on forensic STR markers, the standard CoDIS markers used in DNA profiles for paternity and personal identification. In 2009, the company introduced the first broad-scale ethnicity markers and created the DNA Fingerprint Plus.

But its innovations didn’t stop there. In October 2012, the company announced the launch of its Rare Genes from History Panel.

Why CoDIS Markers?

“Theoretically,” noted Butler in 2009, “all of the alleles (variations) that exist today for a particular STR locus have resulted from only a few ‘founder’ individuals by slowly changing over tens of thousands of years.”

How true! Hospital studies have determined that the most stable loci (marker addresses on your chromosomes) have values that mutate at a rate of only 0.01%. That means the chance of the value at that location changing from parent to progeny is once every 10,000 generations.

So the autosomal clock of human history ticks at an even slower quantum rate than mitochondrial DNA. Like “mitochondrial Eve,” its patterns were set down in Africa over 100,000 years ago when anatomically modern humans first appeared on the stage of time.

Though the face value of the cards in the deck of human diversity never changed—and all alleles can be traced back to an African origin—as humans left Africa and eventually spread throughout the world, alleles were shuffled and reshuffled. Humanity went through bottlenecks and expansions that emphasized certain alleles over others. Genetic pooling, drift and selection of mates produced regional and country-specific contours much like a geographic map. 

By the twentieth century, when scientists began to assemble the first genetic snapshots of people, it was found that nearly all populations were mixed, some more than others. The geneticist Luigi-Luca Cavalli-Sforza at Stanford University proved that there is almost always more diversity within a population than between populations.

So if there is no such thing as a “pure” population—a control or standard—how are we to make sense of any single individual’s ancestral lines? Statistical analysis provides the answer. And rare genes are easier to trace in the genetic record than common ones. Their distinctive signature stands out.

Back Story:  It All Began with the Melungeons

About the same time as DNA Consultants' scientists were cracking the mystery of the Melungeons, a tri-racial isolate in the Appalachians, they became aware of certain very rare alleles carried by this unusual population in relatively large doses. The Starnes family, for instance, in Harriman, Tennessee, was observed to have a certain rare score repeated on one location in the profiles of members through three generations. The staff dubbed it “the Starnes gene.”

Soon, company research had characterized 26 rare autosomal ancestry markers—tiny, distinctive threads of inheritance that reflected an origin in Africa and expansion and travels through world history. Genes in this new generation of discoveries were named after some distinctive feature associated with the pattern they created in human genetic history--for instance, the Kilimanjaro Gene after its source in Central East Africa. The Thuya, Akhenaten and King Tut genes were named for the royal family of Egypt whose mummies were investigated by Zahi Hawass’ team in 2010.

The Starnes Gene” became the Helen Gene. Because of its apparent center in Troy in ancient Asia Minor and predilection for settling in island populations, it was named for "the face that launched a thousand ships," in the famous phrase by Christopher Marlowe.  

All 26 of DNA Consultants' new markers are rare. Not everyone is going to have one. But that’s what makes them interesting, according to Dr. Yates.

Coming from all sections of human diversity—African, Indian, Asian and Native American—they are like tiny gold filaments in a huge, outspread multi-colored tapestry, explains Phyllis Starnes, assistant principal investigator and wife of the namesake of the first discovery. But does that mean that her husband has a connection to Helen of Troy? The markers don’t work on such a literal level, but it does imply that Billy Starnes shares a part of his ancestral heritage with an ancient Greek/Turkish population prominent on the page of history.

Over the past two decades, geneticists have worked out the macro-history and chronology of human migrations in amazing detail and agreement. The Rare Genes from History Panel is another reminder--in the words of an American Indian ceremonial greeting--that “We Are All Related.”

These rare but robust signals of deep history can act as powerful ancestral probes into the tangled past of the human race as well as unique touchstones for the surprising stories of individuals.

For more information about the science of autosomal DNA ancestry testing, visit DNA Consultants or check out its Twitter or Facebook page. 

#  #  #  


Distribution map of the Egyptian Gene shows its African origin, partial presence in Coptic populations today (green dots in Egypt) and scattered incidence around the world. 


Comments

Please tell us what you think

Name, website, and email are optional; if we publish your comment, your name will be shown, and may be linked to your website if provided, but the email you enter will not be published.





Captcha Image

 

 


Recent Posts


Tags

Panther's Lodge Richard Buckley Jon Entine Havasupai Indians King Arthur, Tintagel, The Earliest Jews and Muslims of England and Wales Scotland Bering Land Bridge Alec Jeffreys Tifaneg George van der Merwede North African DNA Population genetics Wendell Paulson Monica Sanowar religion Early Jews and Muslims of England and Wales (book) Life Technologies N. Brent Kennedy Discover magazine Horatio Cushman Columbia University District of Columbia Zizmer single nucleotide polymorphism Patagonia Russia Anasazi aliyah research Richard Lewontin Hohokam human leukocyte antigens Virginia DeMarce genomics labs Jack Goins Luca Pagani Walter Plecker Timothy Bestor The Nation magazine pheromones Beringia Basques phenotype Phoenix Valparaiso University Wales Victor Hugo American history Cismar Tucson genetics cannibalism Marija Gimbutas Leicester Smithsonian Magazine Stephen Oppenheimer Rare Genes Cherokee DNA Melungeon Heritage Association Marie Cheng admixture Miguel Gonzalez Khoisan Tennessee Asian DNA Jews and Muslims in British Colonial America Slovakia Bureau of Indian Affairs haplogroup H Altai Turks far from the tree genetic memory alleles Arabic Discovery Channel North Carolina Arizona Wendy Roth Cooper surname Penny Ferguson London Grim Sleeper Nature Communications King Arthur Yates surname Bode Technology Germany Promega Jim Bentley Mary Kugler bar mitzvah Cajuns Applied Epistemology Magdalenian culture European DNA Stacy Schiff Keros DNA magazine Daily News and Analysis American Journal of Human Genetics Carl Zimmer Lebanon Rafael Falk Gypsies Stone Age art history polydactylism Denisovans human leukocyte testing Harold Goodwin Current Anthropology Acadians Turkic DNA ethnic markers linguistics Maronites Smithsonian Institution Melungeons Cismaru bloviators Melungeon Movement Stony Creek Baptist Church Native American DNA Ron Janke Cornwall Melanesians ethnicity Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute Hohokam Indians powwows haplogroup X Elizabeth C. Hirschman Peter Parham haplogroup J Nova Scotia Michael Schwartz crypto-Jews Science Daily, Genome Biol. Evol., Eran Elhaik, Khazarian Hypothesis, Rhineland Hypothesis Jewish GenWeb Donald N. Yates Israel Colin Renfrew Les Miserables David Cornish Henriette Mertz Phillipe Charlier Washington D.C. Erika Chek Hayden Colin Pitchfork Ananya Mandal myths Italy rock art Pima Indians INORA Gunnar Thompson Harold Sterling Gladwin Dienekes Anthropology Blog NPR Iran Chuetas hominids Celts John Wilwol Eric Wayner forensics mummies French DNA Austro-Hungary race Roma People Telltown Bentley surname research Sizemore surname DNA testing companies Roberta Estes Caucasian Helladic art Kentucky National Health Laboratories Kari Carpenter Cohen Modal Haplotype GlobalFiler andrew solomon familial Mediterranean fever Ziesmer, Zizmor Jews microsatellites news methylation horizontal inheritance HapMap haplogroup B giants Kate Wong Sorbs Mark Thomas autosomal DNA Greeks immunology haplogroup R Cave art Kurgan Culture Neolithic Revolution Black Irish Janet Lewis Crain archeology Richard III Henry IV haplogroup T Arizona State University BBCNews Shlomo Sand National Geographic Daily News haplogroup L population isolates Arabia Chris Stringer Albert Einstein College of Medicine origins of art El Castillo cave paintings prehistory Gravettian culture Charles Darwin personal genomics IntegenX Neanderthals Scientific American Israel, Shlomo Sand French Canadians haplogroup E Holocaust DNA Fingerprint Test prehistoric art Epigraphic Society B'nai Abraham Solutreans Cancer Genome Atlas Finnish people Russell Belk Sea Peoples Oxford Nanopore Ari Plost megapopulations Gila River clinical chemistry Anne Marie Fine Sam Kean Constantine Rafinesque Y chromosomal haplogroups Rush Limbaugh Anacostia Indians Zuni Indians Hopi Indians M. J. Harper Pueblo Indians Abenaki Indians Paleolithic Age Romania DNA databases Phyllis Starnes anthropology Clovis Philippa Langley 23andme Tintagel consanguinity Salt River family history education Tom Martin Scroft Bradshaw Foundation Bill Tiffee genealogy Great Goddess Mary Settegast England Science magazine Terry Gross Moundbuilders Majorca Chris Tyler-Smith Middle Eastern DNA Anglo-Saxons Rutgers University health and medicine clan symbols DNA Fingerprint Test PNAS surnames university of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Melungeon Union genetic determinism Wikipedia Black Dutch Joseph Jacobs Khazars Native American DNA Test breast cancer Middle Ages Chromosomal Labs Bode Technology Michael Grant epigenetics Austronesian, Filipinos, Australoid Indo-Europeans human migrations palatal tori Riane Eisler Sinti mitochondrial DNA DNA Forums Etruscans hoaxes Cleopatra ancient DNA India Richard Dewhurst BATWING Choctaw Indians climate change Freemont Indians Louis XVI statistics Irish history New York Academy of Sciences Gregory Mendel evolution Sarmatians corn Holocaust Database University of Leicester Bryan Sykes New York Review of Books Svante Paabo Charles Perou occipital bun Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies Genome Sciences Building Monya Baker Plato Y chromosome DNA Oxford Journal of Evolution haplogroup Z Ancient Giantns Who Ruled America Barack Obama Pomponia Graecina ISOGG history of science Fritz Zimmerman Ireland Harry Ostrer Maya African DNA Nikola Tesla Isabel Allende oncology Henry VII Alabama MHC Micmac Indians Tutankamun Waynesboro Pennsylvania George Starr-Bresette Sizemore Indians Nature Genetics James Shoemaker China Chauvet cave paintings Egyptians Navajo Hertfordshire Ashkenazi Jews Lab Corp seafaring Comanche Indians Algonquian Indians rapid DNA testing Normans FBI FOX News Europe Barnard College EURO DNA Fingerprint Test X chromosome AP Nadia Abu El-Haj medicine Jewish genetics Elzina Grimwood haplogroup N Theodore Steinberg Jone Entine Pueblo Grande Museum mental foramen Nephilim, Fritz Zimmerman Phoenicians First Peoples population genetics Abraham Lincoln Belgium Akhenaten Bigfoot Britain Melba Ketchum Zionism cancer Sasquatch Teresa Panther-Yates mutation rate Thuya DNA security ethics Bryony Jones FDA haplogroup U

Archive