DNA Consultants’ blog

Read reviews of science articles, new research and news reports on ancestry testing, ancient DNA and popular genetics

Yes, We Have No Bananas Patented


Can someone patent your DNA? Not anymore. It sounds Kafkaesque, but this practice has been business as usual in certain companies for three decades according to Jesse Holland in his AP article, “Court says Human Genes Cannot Be Patented.” This month the Supreme Court unanimously voted to deny patents on unaltered human DNA. The action invalidates more than 5,000 patents. Yet the court opted to approve patents on genetically altered DNA. Just what is the difference, and what does it mean for consumers?

True Story of King Arthur


What if the real King Arthur was not the Christian hero we immediately think of but a pagan or Jew? Not a comedic King Arthur like the one inMonty Python and the Holy Grail whose possible worst peril was to battle knights who say “Ni.” Or T.H. White’s delightful and imaginary medieval England in “The Once and Future King,” where Arthur as a boy was turned into various creatures like a hawk by Merlin, so that he could learn to fly. That is clearly fantasy. So is Sean Connery as an older Arthur in The First Knight whose adversary is the philosophical Richard Gere as Lancelot.

Britain’s First Jew Was a Woman


And Her Name Was Pomponia Graecina
The following excerpt is taken from Elizabeth C. Hirschman and Donald N. Yates, The Early Jews and Muslims of England and Wales:  A Genetic and Genealogical History (forthcoming Summer 2013 from McFarland & Co. Publishers).

Cutting Edge Research If You Can Get It


The archeogenetics of Europe and transition from hunter-gatherers to Neolithic agricultural societies made a quantum leap forward with the publication of an article investigating haplogroup H, the type carried by about half of Europeans today. But you may have trouble accessing the research in the new journal Nature Communications. I haven’t found one ordinary mortal who has actually read the article, because few libraries and hardly any individuals can afford the crushingly expensive subscription to Nature Communications.

Native American Cannibalism Revisited


Anasazi: Cannibals or Witch-Hunters?

Though having an exotic ancestry might be interesting, there are limits. You might not want to have cannibals for relatives. Luckily, you probably don’t have to worry about that.

We first visited Chaco Canyon in northern New Mexico, and the wind was cold and eerie as we walked along the deep, narrow canyon and gazed upward at the buttery apartment complexes made of stone and mud high above us.

How Secure Is Your DNA?


By MICHAEL SCHWARTZ

DNA is so tiny, only a few microns across, that we often don’t spend much time thinking about how much of our most personal and private information it contains. Yet each individual’s DNA also offers an intimate look into family history, risk for illness, behavior, internal clock, propensity for thrill seeking, and countless other aspects of a person’s life, personality, behavior, and place in the world. Accessing this treasure trove of genetic information has some amazing benefits, but it also comes with some serious concerns.

Researchers Have Toehold on Past Million Years


Researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany last week announced they have completed the first high-quality sequencing of a Neanderthal genome based on a hundredth of a gram of DNA extracted from a 100,000 year-old toe bone in a Russian cave and are making it freely available online for other scientists to study. Advantageously, Neanderthal and Denisovan remains were found in the same cave, making for breakthrough comparisons in hominid history.

Khazarian Hypothesis of European Jewish Origins


In “Heretical History” and numerous other posts, we have argued that the contributions, genetic and cultural, of the Turkic-Iranic Khazars deserve much more attention than the cosseted theories of European Zionist Jews and the official views of the state of Israel on Jewish history.

Genetic Genealogy Like Astrology?


Maybe If It’s First Generation Sex-Linked Testing, Not Autosomal

Dust off the crystal ball. Scientists consider DNA ancestry services “genetic astrology,” according to a recent BBC article by Pallab Ghosh. In “Some DNA Ancestry Services Akin to ‘Genetic Astrology’,” Ghosh quotes Professor David Balding as maintaining that ‘“such histories are either so general as to be personally meaningless or they are just speculation from thin evidence.’”