Category Archives: Ancestry

When Did Ancient Humans Begin to Understand Death?

The dead lay in a cave, over a quarter-mile from daylight. Investigators counted remains from at least 28 individuals. The bones were fractured into nearly 7,000 pieces, mixed with bear fossils and mud — and a 6-inch, teardrop-shaped handaxe.
DNA analysis identified the individuals, dated to approximately 430,000 years ago, as early Neanderthals — our evolutionary cousins — or their ancestors.

How do we test for coronavirus, anyway?

A rundown of the biology behind testing for a virus we hadn’t seen before.
The first challenge of sequencing a coronavirus genome is that it’s made of RNA rather than DNA. Most of our tools for working with nucleic acids are specific to DNA. Fortunately, we’ve discovered an enzyme called “reverse transcriptase” that takes RNA and makes a DNA copy of it—

DNA Twice Clears Man Falsely Accused After 1991 Homicide

Fresh DNA evidence testing gave closure to a 1991 New Jersey cold case murder. It has cleared a man twice who was falsely accused of killing a 58-year-old woman, prosecutors said Friday.

Identical twins, identical DNA, different ancestry results? We put three kits to the test

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – Caroline and Camille Clarke are 7-year-old first-graders at Hutchens Elementary School in Mobile. Their favorite subject is science.
It shouldn’t be a surprise – they’re identical twins.
So the results of DNA tests should be exactly the same for both girls, right? To find out, FOX10 News had each girl take three of the most popular DNA ancestry kits on the market – Ancestry.com, 23andMe, and National Geographic.

Ancient DNA from West Africa Adds to Picture of Humans’ Rise

The Shum Laka rock shelter in Cameroon, where the remains of two 8,000-year-old boys were discovered in 1994. Scientists recently recovered ancient DNA from the two individuals and from another pair of children buried 5,000 years later.

Georgia Uses DNA Sample and Genealogy to Solve 1999 Rapes

MARIETTA, Ga. — Advanced genetic genealogy testing helped authorities solve three Georgia rape cases from 1999, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
The three rapes happened between June and October 1999 within a three-mile radius of each other, Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes said in a press release. In each case, a woman awoke in the wee hours of the morning in her own bed to find an unknown man standing over her.

Genealogy helps crack Aurora cold case murder from 1996, police say

Aurora police on Wednesday announced that Wesley Backman, a truck driver who died in 2008 at the age of 53, was identified as the suspect through advancements in DNA testing, genealogical research, a relatively new technique for investigators that uses ancestry databases to identify relatives of suspected killers.

New DNA evidence links John Doe case to small American Indian tribe

The Kenosha County medical examiner is hopeful that new DNA evidence will help solve a 26-year-old mystery.
Medical Examiner Patrice Hall said new DNA testing shows an unidentified John Doe found in Pleasant Prairie in 1993 may have ties to a small American Indian tribe in South Carolina and to people in Sonora, Mexico.

Thanks to a new DNA analysis, a man is exonerated of rape and freed from prison after 17 years

(CNN) — A Georgia man who served 17 years of a 20-year sentence has been exonerated from his rape conviction and released from prison, after a judge agreed that new analysis of DNA evidence clears him.
Kerry Robinson, 44, walked out of prison in southern Georgia on Wednesday and into the arms of his sister, his son and other supporters, hours after a Colquitt County judge vacated his 2002 conviction and sentence.

Your DNA Could Catch A Criminal

Genetic databases are solving murders and rapes. Privacy scolds should pipe down.

Recent Discoveries Have Overhauled Our Picture of Where Humans Came From, And When

In recent years, anthropologists around the world have discovered new human ancestors, figured out what happened to the Neanderthals, and pushed back the age of the earliest member of our species.
Taken together, these breakthroughs suggest that many of our previous ideas about the human origin story – who we are and where we came from – were wrong.

Etched in DNA: Decoding the secrets of the past

Human origins research. The phrase probably evokes an image of dusty scientists hunched over in the sun, combing the ground for scraps left behind by people of millennia past. The field has long been the realm of stones and bones, with test tube-filled laboratories playing second fiddle.

Pentagon warns home DNA tests pose ‘personal and operational risks’ to military members

The Pentagon has advised military members to avoid using take-home DNA kits because of concerns about “unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force and mission,” according to Yahoo News, which first reported on the internal memo. The memo doesn’t specifically lay out what the exact risks are, but it appears that it’s a generalized concern over health information affecting a military member’s ability to serve.T

What You’re Unwrapping When You Get a DNA Test for Christmas

So what do these developments mean for that DNA kit sitting under your Christmas tree? Men’s Journal calls them “one of the hottest gifting ideas,” and US Weekly promises that “they’re going to love it, no matter how tough of a critic they are.” But is using one of these kits also opening the door to letting the police use your DNA to arrest your cousin?

Could ground breaking DNA technique solve bizarre Sherri Papini kidnap case?

A forensic specialist believes one of the world’s most high-profile unsolved abduction cases could be solved using the same DNA technology used to identify the elusive Golden State Killer.
Three years after “supermum” Sherri Papini was kidnapped while jogging near her home in Redding, Northern California, local authorities are no closer to an arrest.