DNA Consultants’ blog

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

Rare Genes from History: New Autosomal Ancestry Markers

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?

Who Were the Hohokam?

If you ask this question of the archeological establishment today, the answer you are likely to receive is something like “Darned, if we know!”

Haplogroup T Among the Cherokee

A Surprising Middle Eastern Component
Haplogroup T (named Tara by Bryan Sykes inThe Seven Daughters of Eve) is usually not seen as a Native American lineage. But it is discussed as such in Donald Yates’ Old World Roots of the Cherokee, where it takes its rightful place among other Middle Eastern haplogroups like U, J and X. Moreover, several geneticists have drawn attention to its prevalence in New World Jewish and Crypto-Jewish populations.

Out of Asia

“All the lights in the House of the High Priests of American Anthropology are out; all the doors and windows are shut and securely fastened (they do not sleep with their windows open for fear that a new idea might fly in); we have rung the bell of Reason, we have banged on the door with Logic, we have thrown the gravel of Evidence against their windows; but the only sign of life in the house is an occasional snore of Dogma. We are very much afraid that no one is going to come down and let us into the warm, musty halls where the venerable old ideas are nailed to the walls.”

How Did That Neanderthal DNA Get Into Me?

A new Cambridge University study claims that the 1-4% Neanderthal DNA in the average European is not the result of admixture or hybridization, as widely believed when the Neanderthal sequences were discovered in human DNA, but the signature of a remote split in hominid species in early Africa.

Bering Land-Bridge Model Re-Asserted

The tripartite Asian Model of the peopling of the Americas through “Beringia” was re-asserted with “the most comprehensive survey of genetic diversity in Native Americans so far” in a study published in Nature this week, “Reconstructing Native American Population History,” by Harvard’s David Reich et al.  If ever there was a blue chip study, this is it. Only it is more like junk bonds in which no one should put stock.

The Eternal Female DNA

Among the explosive stories in Sam Kean’s excellent “biography” of DNA, The Violinist’s Thumb (Little, Brown, 2012), is a chapter on what makes mammals mammals. The short answer is a placenta, and Kean begins by discussing a rare case of mother and daughter coming down with a hereditary form of leukemia, a sort of “simultaneous cancer.”

Epigenetics and Environment Heating Up as DNA Topics

Environmental doctor Anne Marie Fine of Scottsdale, Ariz. was one of the first physicians to adopt genetic tests as part of her practice in 2002. Recently, she gave a brief introduction to the role epigenetics plays in human diversity at the 12th annual Conference on Diversity in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Video Book Review: Jon Entine in Israel

We previously reviewed Jon Entine’s masterful book on Jewish DNA:  Rounding Up the Usual Suspects. But Arlene Belzer has now sent us a new video on the subject with an interview of the author from Israel. The Israeli video is perhaps the latest word on this controversial subject, and everyone with an interest in the genetic character of the Jewish people should watch it.