Category Archives: Ancestry

What Happens When You’re Convinced You Have Bad Genes

The first thing you should know is that the DNA-test results everyone got in this study were fake.
That was on purpose. Over the course of a year, psychologists at Stanford University recruited 223 participants for a study that would help scientists create personalized nutrition and exercise programs—or so they were told. What the two researchers, Brad Turnwald and Alia Crum, most wanted to investigate was how the participants would react after they took DNA tests and learned their genetic propensities for exercise and diet.

Narrower Skulls, Oblong Brains: How Neanderthal DNA Still Shapes Us

Two genes inherited from our evolutionary cousins may affect skull shape and brain size even today. What that means for human behavior is a mystery.

Advanced DNA Technology May Help To Identify Korean War Unknowns

The Pentagon is exhuming all of the more than 650 Korean War unknowns in a Honolulu military cemetery. Advances in DNA technology and other forensics make their identification highly likely.

‘The Double Helix’ at 50: Discovering DNA Is Still a Miracle

In 1968, art had no problem being big, bold, and sprawling. Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles unleashed gargantuan double album sets that seemed expressly primed for the blowing of minds, and if they didn’t get the synapses firing enough, there was Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey to finish the job. But what we might overlook now, at the distance of some 50 years later, is what is conceivably that year’s best book, a slim volume that is bound to rip the roof off of any head and pour in a whole lot of goodness.

Brave New World of Editing Human DNA Starts in China

Researchers expressed surprise at the report Nov. 26 of the birth of the world’s first gene-edited babies — twin girls. It’s no surprise that the scientist making the claim was from China. As part of its effort to dominate scientific spheres including biotechnology, the country has taken the lead in testing uses of Crispr, a tool newly available to researchers enabling them to alter DNA codes simply and inexpensively. Chinese scientists were the first to test Crispr in monkey embryos, in non-viable human embryos, in adult humans — and now this. The announcement of the first designer babies has renewed debate over whether China’s regulatory system is sufficiently grappling with the ethical considerations and medical risks of Crispr.

Giving life to a woman found in a 4,250-year-old grave in Caithness

The research, published in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and led by archaeologist Maya Hoole, has shed new light on previous ideas on Ava’s appearance. She was found to be from an earlier date than previously thought.

Sigrid Johnson Was Black. A DNA Test Said She Wasn’t.

The surge in popularity of services like 23andMe and Ancestry means that more and more people are unearthing long-buried connections and surprises in their ancestry.

A mass grave — and chilling secrets from the Jim Crow era — may halt construction of a school in Texas

It was once known as the Hellhole on the Brazos — a notorious network of sugar cane plantations and prison camps where former slaves worked and died.
A tract near Houston, in what is now known as Sugar Land, became a graveyard for many of those people; it was unmarked, untouched and unconfirmed for decades.

How DNA from snow helps scientists track elusive animals

Getting your paws on a Canadian lynx is no easy task. These rare cats inhabit remote forests and steep rocky mountains. In fact, lynx are so scarcely-seen, they’ve been dubbed the “ghost cat”—and little is known about their distribution. This lack of information has hindered efforts to conserve the animal, which is listed as a threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Scientists have now begun using a new technique to track these animals down, by detecting trace amounts of DNA left in the snowy tracks of these and other creatures. In a study to be published in the journal Biological Conservation, scientists from the U. S. Forest Service were able to confirm the presence of a lynx in the Northern Rockies through genetic analysis of snow it had stepped in.

California Turns to War-Zone DNA Test to ID Fire Remains

At least 77 people are dead and more than 900 remain missing after the Camp Fire swept through the Sierra foothills town of Paradise, destroying more than 11,000 homes and scorching an area hundreds of square miles wide. Many victims were burned beyond recognition, making identifying remains a difficult task using traditional DNA-analysis techniques. Those samples typically must be shipped off to a laboratory, and the identification process can take weeks — if it works at all.

The Missing persons department wants to exhume 135 bodies to identify them

They are the remains of unidentified men and women who were buried in the 1970s, the Het Nieuwsblad reported on Saturday.
Investigators were recently able to identify the body of Corine van der Valk, the heiress who disappeared in 2001. Her family owns hotels and restaurants in the Netherlands.

It is with deep regret that we announce the loss of our colleague, Art Eisenberg, PhD.

It is with deep regret that we announce the loss of our colleague, Art Eisenberg, PhD. Prior to his retirement in 2017, Dr. Eisenberg served as Professor of Molecular and Medical Genetics and Co-Director of the Center for Human identification at the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

In a career that spanned more than three decades, Dr. Eisenberg worked on cases involving serial killers, mass graves, hurricanes, terrorist attacks and all manner of violent crimes. Under his leadership, the UNT Center for Human Identification processed more than 5,200 human remains, making more than 1,500 DNA associations that led to identifications. Perhaps his greatest legacy, however, is the establishment of the Master of Science program in Forensic Genetics, ensuring that the science he pioneered will carry on for generations to come.

Information on funeral arrangements will be shared when available. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Eisenberg’s family during this difficult time.

Cold case expert tells court how he found ‘one-in-a-billion DNA match’ to murder suspect Russell Bishop on the arm of one of two girls found dead in woodland 32 years ago

Mr Green told jurors the results found DNA ‘in excess of one billion times more likely’ to belong to the defendant and an unknown person than two unknown people.

New bones found on Vatican property as others go for testing

ROME – Two days after bones found on Vatican property last week were sent for DNA testing and comparisons, more remains were uncovered in the same area, and are believed to belong to the same individual.

‘Dead’ man shocks family, returns home two months after his funeral

A grieving family was left reeling when their “dead” uncle re-appeared two months after his funeral.