DNA Consultants’ blog

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

White People Behaving Badly and Ancient Giants


By Teresa A. Panther-Yates

What if there once really were giants? We are familiar with tales of giants in fairy tales, like those in Jack and the Bean Stalk, or in tall-tales in movies like Big Fish. Giants are also mentioned in the Bible in several places: ” There were giants in those days” (Genesis 6:4). They have become part of our popular culture. But now that we have grown up, we no longer believe in giants. We no longer believe they could have ever existed, just as we no longer believe in the existence of Cinderella or Santa Claus.

Top DNA Stories of the Year


By TERESA PANTHER-YATES
This was definitely the year that was in DNA news. Here are, we propose, the top three stories.

First, last June came the U.S. Supreme Court decision that police officers can now legally take DNA from anyone they arrest. Yes, and they then then enter your DNA profile into a database where they can match it with existing samples (Dan Noswolitiz, “It’s Now Legal for the Police to Collect DNA,” Popular Science).

DNA: Storage Medium of the Future


One strand would hold libraries of digital information

The next decade’s version of Facebook, Twitter, or Pandora could be digitally encoded on DNA. How? The next app? A card in one’s wallet? Who knows?

Too Big to Feel


We don’t often write editorials in this space. Normally, you will see nothing but news in the DNA Consultants Blog. Some sparse marketing messages may appear whenever we have a new product or study. But the FDA’s “stop and desist” letter last Friday to personal genomics giant 23&me has sent shock waves through the industry. Although we are not in the business of providing medical information to customers, only ancestral background analyses, we feel compelled to weigh in on the FDA’s warning, which we think is overdue.

Where Do I Come From: James Shoemaker


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.

Rise and Fall of the Melungeons


Few people today actually claim to be Melungeons, rather perhaps Melungeon descendants. The reasons have more to do with the abortive Melungeon Movement and various dysfunctional online Melungeon discussion boards than with the fact that “Melungeon” is an ethnic or racial slur.

Genes Are the Teachers


By Teresa A. Panther-Yates

Sam Kean author of the book, The Violinist’s Thumb & Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code,” says while DNA is a thing—a chemical that sticks to your fingers… genes are more conceptual in nature.” He says the genes are the story while the DNA are the words that make up the story.

Indians and Crypto-Jews


It’s been exactly 10 years since this paper was first presented to a conference of Jewish genealogists and DNA experts, so we are posting it in this space on its anniversary. “DNA Testing of Southeastern American Indian Families to Confirm Jewish Ethnicity,” Paper Delivered by Donald Panther-Yates at the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies Conference, San Antonio, August 3, 2003