Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2005-06 > 1120074412

From: "Ian & Mary Logan" <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Independent article on genetic genealogy
Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2005 20:46:52 +0100
References: <BAY101-F4196022017604EA65B02FEA9E00@phx.gbl>

Hello Ian (Kennedy)

Thank you for bringing the list's attention to the article in the INDEPENDENT.
I rushed out - in the pouring rain - and got the last copy in my local shop !

The article is factually excellent and it would be good if it were syndicated
to other papers. But like yourself I am just a little careful about actually
reproducing the item in full, because of copyright reasons.

However, in true newspaper reader style, I have written a
- which, of course, they may choose to print or to ignore.

Here is a copy:

In response to: Science Life & Culture, Steve Connor, 29 June 2005


Sir: The article by STEVE CONNOR in today's paper gave a very good overview
of the development of 'Genetic Genealogy' and covered a lot of ground. However,
this is a field in which rapid advances are being made and the article did not really discuss
future developments.

For example:
Mention was made of getting a DNA test being done for £180. However, this
is a test of just 400 bases of the DNA found in the mitochondria and enables the subject
to find to which 'mitochondrial clan' they belong. But, already one can order a test of all
the 16568 bases of the complete mitochondrial genome for about £500
- and this price for this will surely fall over the next year or two.

So is this a good thing ? Well of course it is for the 'genetic genealogist' as it will not be long
before the migrations of all the populations of the world have been analysed. Mitochondrial
DNA testing does support the theory that 'homo sapiens' lived only in Africa until about
100,000 years ago before splitting into the major groupings seen today of about 1 billlion
persons that show African, 2.5 billion persons Asian and 2.5 billion persons European ancestry.

However, performing DNA testing for 'genealogical' purposes has until now been an
interesting subject which has not caused problems. The little bits of the DNA that been tested
are considered to be medically unimportant. But in the future this will not be the case, and people
will be able to have their DNA tested under the guise of 'genealogy' and learn about their
susceptibility to a variety of diseases.

In particular, a complete analysis of the mitochondrial DNA will show a number of inherited
conditions, such as some forms of cardiomyopathy, myopathy, deafness and blindness; and
knowledge of these conditions will be of special interest to the affected persons and without
doubt also to their Life Insurance companies.

'Genetic Genealogy' is an exciting field and is proving useful to anybody studying their own
family history - but I do feel there are problems just around the corner which will require
special consideration.


Would anyone like to comment ?
(Off list if it is not of general interest, as there have been so many postings recently)

Ian Logan

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