I had totally forgotten that it’s Nobel Prize season, and the first one, the Medicine or Physiology Prize, was awarded today—to the human evolutionary geneticist Svante Pääbo, a Swede. The reader who sent me the news had these immediate reactions: Highly unusual that there is a single winner nowadays How often has the prize gone … Continue reading Svante Pääbo nabs Medicine and Physiology Nobel
Several months ago, 23andMe was running a sale on DNA analysis for only $99, which gave you not only a good guess at your ancestry, but also a readout of a large number of nucleotides in your genome—and perhaps the chance to find lost relatives. I got my kit, spit in the tube, followed all … Continue reading Either I have no DNA or I’m an aberrant hominin
I forgot to mention that my 23andMe DNA results arrived just before I left for Antarctica. Today I’ll just give the general overview of where my genes come from. There will be more later on the physical traits predicted from the DNA, but I deliberately didn’t ask for health information, as I don’t want to … Continue reading Here’s my DNA results: Surprise—I’m descended from Ashkenazi Jews!
Thanks to a friend who told me that the 23andMe company is running a big sale on DNA kits that give you not only a readout of the presumed ancestral composition of your genome, but the much of the sequence itself, and, if you wish, what diseases you’re prone to get. I have sprung $79 … Continue reading In which I start to ascertain my genetic ancestry
Here’s a virtual lecture on genetics and evolution that Matthew gave the other day to the Cardiff University’s School of Medicine. It was intended for the general public, was just posted on YouTube, and I’ve listened to it. I have been most enlightened, and unless you already know this stuff you will be, too—it’s an … Continue reading A nice lecture from Matthew on genetics and human evolution
Well, I’ll learn it at least insofar as the 23andMe tests are accurate. I guess they did get usable DNA out of my second sample, and so the genetic analysis will be coming very shortly, probably when I’m in Antarctica. (I opted out of the genetic health information as I’m neurotic.) My prediction: 96% Ashkenazi … Continue reading Soon I’ll learn my ancestry: is there any Irish in there?
“Horizontal gene transfer”, henceforth “HGT”, is the process whereby a gene is moved between species by methods other than direct reproduction (the latter is called “vertical gene transfer”). Today I’ll write about a new survey published in Cell, trying to find out how often this process moves genes into the DNA of insects. It’s surprisingly … Continue reading Horizontal gene transfer in insects: widespread, but what does it mean?
by Greg Mayer UPDATE. A couple of readers have drawn attention to the website, gcbias, of Graham Coop, a population geneticist at UC Davis. He has excellent discussions, with nice graphics, of issues in genetic genealogy, including calculation of the number of “genetic units” in particular generations. As an example, 7 generations back you have … Continue reading Human Phylogeography: The lessons learned, 1