DNA Consultants’ blog

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

Where Do I Come From: Kari Carpenter

Thank you to Donald Panther-Yates and the DNA Consultants staff for the prompt return of my Melungeon DNA Fingerprint results.  Several weeks ago, I had never even heard the word “Melungeon.” In preparation for an upcoming genealogy research trip, I just happened to go on amazon.com and read the introduction to Dr. Yates’ book:  Old World Roots of the Cherokee. I was tremendously excited to see a description of the terms “Black Irish” and “Black Dutch.”

Where Do I Come From: Monica 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.

DNA Frontiersman: Jim Bentley

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.

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?


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.