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Links 1 through 10 of 10 by Steve Mount tagged ancestry

Bettye Kearse "believes she may be a descendant of [founding father James Madison] and one of his slaves." "Kearse and Roots Project co-director Bruce Jackson were determined to pursue DNA testing to see whether the family lore is true." However, although "the Madison descendents society ... refers all people who suspect they may be a descendent of President Madison to Family Tree DNA" she has not used that service. I find it very hard to believe that she really thinks she is a descendant but won't submit a sample to Family Tree DNA. I also wonder if such "descendent societies" might be able to reconstruct much of the genome of their ancestors.

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This is a nice presentation of data on the probability of sharing any DNA by descent with an ancestor and the expected number of genetic ancestors we have. 

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Police have named a suspect in a long-unsolved multiple homicide starting with a similarity between the DNA sample of a family member and crime scene DNA. This is one of the first uses of familial DNA searches in the US.
"In the case of a close but imperfect match between crime scene DNA and that of someone locked up, forensic scientists say, the person responsible in that crime may well be a relative of the person locked up. Through a software tool, scientists are then able to painstakingly parse the DNA to determine sibling or parent-child relationships, information the police use to pursue possible suspects.
"While the practice is common in England, it has been limited largely to Colorado in the United States. But in 2008, the California Department of Justice began using familial searches — in the face of significant protests — to solve hard crimes. The state restricted the practice to major, violent crimes in which all other investigative techniques had proved fruitless.

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Two studies, one in the American Journal of Human Genetics and one in Nature, describe an analysis of nuclear genetic markers in worldwide Jewish populations. Prior studies were primarily limited to mitochondrial and Y-chromosome analysis, which indicate maternal and paternal inheritance, not overall ancestry. "A major surprise from both surveys is the genetic closeness of the two Jewish communities of Europe, the Ashkenazim and the Sephardim." Both studies detect relatedness consistent with dispersal after destruction of the first temple.

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A personal genetics web site. This appears to be a useful resource. There is information on genetic testing, genetic risks, pregnancy and identity (ancestry). The site provides further information on Basics of Genetics, Genetic Counseling, Genetic Testing and more.

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DNA was extracted from a ~4,000-year-old hair sample recovered from Qeqertasussuk, Greenland and sequenced. The sequencing was done at the BGI (Bejing Genomics Institute) using primarily Illumina methods, and it was done quickly.
"By comparing the genome with sequences from modern ethnic groups, the team found the Saqqaq's closest relatives to be the Chukchis of eastern Siberia. This indicated that, about 5,500 years ago, the Saqqaq migrated across the Bering Strait and around the Arctic Circle, then settled along the shore of Disko Bay in western Greenland some 1,500 years later."

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This article describes Liggett et al (Nature Medicine, PMID 18425130), reporting that a common polymorphism in the G protein-coupled receptor kinase GRK5, Q41L, may protect against cardiomyopathy, mimicking beta blockers (mouse and association studies).

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This links to posts about ancestry at "Information on Genes."

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Continues today's them on the limits to what DNA can say about ancestors. "When you go back 350 years, let's say ten generations ago, you have about 14,000 ancestors. You can't tell everything about them." - Rick Kittles.

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This article is nice in that it compares the cost, shows that results differ and quotes Henry Louis Gates Jr. making reasoned assessments of the role that DNA testing can play. It fails to say which companies provide the raw genotype information.

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