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DNA - deoxyribonucleic acid - Family Genetics

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DNA is the chemical sequence of hundreds of millions of nucleotides found in the nucleus of cells - individual genetic information shaped like a double-stranded helix. mtDNA is genetic material found in mitochondria passed down from females to both sons and daughters, but sons do not pass to their children.

Mid March 2010 Family Tree DNA introduced Family Finder using autosomal DNA to test for all ancestors both male and female to match our great-great-grandparents 5 generations back in time.

November 9, 2009 on CNN - DNA Helps Find A Common Ancestor for families half way around the world.

May 22-23, 2009 I attended a day and a half seminar Climbing Your DNA: Genetic Genealogy at the Allen County Public Library sponsored by the Genealogy Center featuring Roberta Estes a leading expert in the field of DNA and genealogy.. She had 25 successful years with Information Access Systems as President, founded DNAeXplain, is a scientist with a BS in computer science, has an MBA, done graduate work in Geographic Information Systems and has been an obsessed genealogist since 1978. She manages 20 surname projects, including Cumberland, Lost Colony, and North Carolina Native Heritage projects for FtDNA. The program consisted of six sessions, including DNA and Genealogy-Introduction, Getting in Touch with Your Feminine Side-mtDNA, Twists and Turns in the Rocky Road-Case Studies, My Results are Back-Now What?, Autosomal DNA Testing and You-What is It, What Does It Mean and How to Use It, and Making DNA Loveable - How to Take Your DNA Results and Turn Them Into an Heirloom Gift for Your Family. This seminar will eventually appear on Roots Television.

It is hoped by many that DNA testing will allowed abandoned and adopted children to eventually find their missing links. Richard Hill was successful in his 26 year search for his biological father. His story was profiled in the May 2, 2009 Wall Street Journal. Richard explains how DNA testing can help find birth parents. We hope it will help my sister-in-law's family find their mother's biological parents whose mother was a day old baby left on a doorstep in 1938 Hammond, Indiana.

A Parade magazine article October 7, 2007 Secrets of the Grave poses some interesting questions concerning who owns our DNA with debates over the proper use of DNA for medical research, crime fighting and historical research. Who should decide? Can anyone test our DNA for any reason? Do they need our permission when we are still alive? Do our ancestors need descendant permission for testing? Which descendants? Can we prevent anyone in the future from exhuming our bodies after our death and testing our DNA? Do we own the DNA in our hair left at the barber/hairstylist, nail clippings, saliva on drinking cups we tossed in the trash, or chewing gum left in public places? Some interesting topics for debate! Most of these questions are answered at Family Tree DNA.

Mark FOLLIS posted some interesting comments March 10, 2008 on FOLLIS origins in Ireland and Scotland which encourages FOLLIS males to submit DNA samples. John FOLLIS' comments on September 9, 2007 motivated my posting this DNA page.

From: Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library No. 38, April 30, 2007. Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree by Mary D. Kraeszig.

"Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree" (GC 929 SM77TA) by Megan S. Smolenyak and Ann Turner is an easy to use guide for genealogists interested in adding DNA studies to their arsenal of family information. Written primarily for experienced genealogists without a background in genetics, this book uses straightforward language and detailed examples to explain the concepts, practices, and interpretation of genealogical DNA testing.

Part I discusses the fundamentals of both genealogy (for new researchers) and genetics. In Part II, the authors explain the variety of DNA tests of interest to genealogists: Y-chromosome testing for the straight male line, mitochondria DNA (mtDNA) for the straight female line, autosomal DNA testing to determine your geographic origins, and finally, next-of-kin relationships such as paternity testing. It is important for genealogists to understand what these different types of tests can-and cannot-do to help establish your "deep" genealogy. The authors wisely provide examples of how DNA results can be disappointing, e.g., reunions of long-lost family members who turn out not to be genetically related, or learning that you are not related to anyone else in your surname project (perhaps because of an unknown adoption or extramarital liaison in the past). In Part III, the authors discuss how an individual can establish and run a family DNA project, from finding prospective cousins to participate, to interpreting and sharing genetic results. They also explain that the genetic markers currently being used for testing are "junk" DNA that is not used by our bodies to encode proteins, so genealogical genetic testing does not provide information to you (or perhaps more importantly, to anyone else) about any genetic diseases or predispositions you may have.

Helpful appendices provide the reader with links to major genealogical societies, magazines, bookstores, forms, software, and web sites. A list of DNA testing companies and their products are also provided. Finally, a glossary of terms and complete index are also included to assist the reader. Smolenyak and Turner predict that within 10-15 years, most genealogists will participate in some form of DNA testing to support (or sometimes to refute) traditional genealogical research. Their guide, "Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree," should be on the reading list of anyone interested in participating in a genealogical DNA test as an individual or as part of a surname or group project.

Gene Patents - Little Known with Big Consequences

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