B12 Solipsism

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Archive for the ‘DNA’ tag

DNA Testing Clears Colorado Man After Serving 18 Years

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DNA X-Ray Diffraction Studies 1953
DNA X-Ray Diffraction Studies 1953

The U.S. needs to abolish the death penalty immediately. And yes, I realize this inmate wasn’t sentenced to death, but obviously the state often makes mistakes, consequently, wrongfully accused people shouldn’t have to lose their life.

Robert Dewey, a Colorado inmate sentenced to life without parole for murder, left jail today a free man after serving 18 years of his sentence. DNA testing, using a technology not available at the time of his conviction, proved he was innocent.

Dewey is the 290th person to be exonerated nationwide on the basis of DNA evidence proving factual innocence — meaning someone else committed the crime.

“I find that Mr. Dewey is factually innocent of the crimes of which he was accused of in this case,” the judge said, noting Dewey had spent more the 6,000 days behind bars. “Mr. Dewey is now again a free man.”

(click here to continue reading DNA Testing Clears Colorado Man After Serving 18 Years – TalkLeft: The Politics Of Crime.)

Also, every defendant in capital cases should have access to DNA testing, at trial, not having to wait and fight for 18 years to clear their names…

Written by Seth Anderson

April 30th, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Posted in News-esque

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Texas Man Seeks Inquiry After Exoneration in Murder

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Till Death Do Us Part
Till Death Do Us Part

I hope Michael Morton gets his day in court, and hope he deposes Rick Perry. If Rick Perry had gotten his way, Morton would have been already dead, no matter if Morton was innocent…

AUSTIN, Tex. — A Texas man wrongfully convicted in 1987 of murdering his wife is scheduled to be officially exonerated on Monday. That is no longer so unusual in Texas, where 45 inmates have been exonerated in the last decade based on DNA evidence. What is unprecedented is the move planned by lawyers for the man, Michael Morton: they are expected to file a request for a special hearing to determine whether the prosecutor broke state laws or ethics rules by withholding evidence that could have led to Mr. Morton’s acquittal 25 years ago.

“I haven’t seen anything like this, ever,” said Bennet L. Gershman, an expert on prosecutorial misconduct at Pace University in New York. “It’s an extraordinary legal event.”

The prosecutor, Ken Anderson, a noted expert on Texas criminal law, is now a state district judge. Through a lawyer, he vigorously denied any wrongdoing in Mr. Morton’s case.

Mr. Morton, who was a manager at an Austin supermarket and had no criminal history, was charged with the beating death of his wife, Christine, in 1986. He had contended that the killer must have entered their home after he left for work early in the morning. But Mr. Anderson convinced the jury that Mr. Morton, in a rage over his wife’s romantic rebuff the previous night — on Mr. Morton’s 32nd birthday — savagely beat her to death.

Mr. Morton was sentenced to life in prison. Beginning in 2005, he pleaded with the court to test DNA on a blue bandanna found near his home shortly after the murder, along with other evidence.

For six years, the Williamson County district attorney, John Bradley, fought the request for DNA testing, based on advice from Judge Anderson, his predecessor and friend. In 2010, however, a Texas court ordered the DNA testing, and the results showed that Mrs. Morton’s blood on the bandanna was mixed with the DNA of another man: Mark A. Norwood, a felon with a long criminal history who lived about 12 miles from the Mortons at the time of the murder. By then, Mr. Morton had spent nearly 25 years in prison.

(click here to continue reading Texas Man Seeks Inquiry After Exoneration in Murder – NYTimes.com.)

Dead Duck
Dead Duck

and Ken Anderson sounds like he had a vendetta:

In August, however, a different judge ordered the record unsealed, and Mr. Morton’s lawyers discovered that Mr. Anderson had provided only a fraction of the available evidence. Missing from the file was the transcript of a telephone conversation between a sheriff’s deputy and Mr. Morton’s mother-in-law in which she reported that her 3-year-old grandson had seen a “monster” — who was not his father — attack and kill his mother.

Also missing were police reports from Mr. Morton’s neighbors, who said they had seen a man in a green van repeatedly park near their home and walk into the woods behind their house. And there were even reports, also never turned over, that Mrs. Morton’s credit card had been used and a check with her forged signature cashed after her death.

In October, Judge Sid Harle of Bexar County District Court freed Mr. Morton based on the DNA evidence and authorized an unusual process allowing his defense lawyers to investigate the prosecutor’s conduct in the original trial. The lawyers questioned the lead sheriff’s investigator, an assistant district attorney who worked with Mr. Anderson and the former prosecutor himself.

Written by Seth Anderson

December 21st, 2011 at 11:20 am

Posted in government

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President Barack Obama hasn’t forgotten that 2003 Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade

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Mary Wife of JD Bourke

Slightly more on fellow Irishman, Barack O’Bama of Moneygall, Ireland

It was the story of the downtown parade in March 2003, a tale that staffers of the time have heard many times.

“A few volunteers and I did make it into the parade, but we were literally the last marchers,” Obama recalled. “After two hours, finally it was our turn.”

As they rode the route, smiling and waving, the city workers were right behind them, cleaning up the garbage.

“It was a little depressing,” he said. “But I’ll bet those parade organizers are watching TV today and feeling kind of bad, because this is a pretty good parade right here.”

The newly discovered family records are welcome, said Obama, even if they come a little after the fact.

“I do wish somebody had provided me all this genealogical evidence earlier because it would have come in handy back when I was first running in my hometown of Chicago,” he said, “because Chicago is the Irish capital of the Midwest.”

(click here to continue reading President Barack Obama hasn’t forgotten that 2003 Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade – chicagotribune.com.)

 

Written by Seth Anderson

May 24th, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Posted in Chicago-esque

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Obama revels in his Irish ancestry

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Rock Art Kells

Too funny. Who knows, maybe my mom will discover a relationship to the Monegall area in some of her ancestral researching, or Falmouth Kearney, President Obama’s great, great, great grandfather. Looks to be about 130 km away from where some of my ancestors came from, lo so many years ago…

DUBLIN — Beaming before an exultant sea of people, President Barack Obama on Monday reveled in his distant Irish ancestry, offering spirited thanks from tens of millions of Americans who trace their own connections to Ireland. With his wife, Michelle, at his side, the president said: “We feel very much at home.”

In a speech devoted as much to personal pride than overt politics, Obama told many thousands gathered in central Dublin that he had come to reaffirm the bonds of affection between the United States and Ireland. “There’s always been a little green behind the red, white and blue,” he said to cheers.

Obama spoke shortly after he had downed a pint of Guinness in tiny Moneygall, the small Irish village where his great-great-great grandfather once lived and worked as a shoemaker. It was an improbable and memorable pilgrimage for America’s first black president into his Irish past, and Obama soaked it in.

“My name is Barack Obama, of the Moneygall Obamas,” the president said. Then, playing off the popular Irish spelling of surnames — O’Bama — the president said, “I’ve come home to find the apostrophe that we lost somewhere along the way.”

(click here to continue reading Obama visits Dublin, revels in his distant Irish ancestry – Chicago Sun-Times.)

That Guinness the Obamas are drinking looks good too, btw, but doesn’t appear as if Michelle Obama is enjoying it as much as the President.

 

Written by Seth Anderson

May 23rd, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Posted in News-esque

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12 Marker Y-DNA Matches

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Looking back at my DNA data from the National Geographic Genographic Study, there was a third-party organization called FamilyTree DNA that looked at my recent ancestry. This was the free report result

12 MARKER Y-DNA MATCHES
Exact Matches
Country Your Matches Comment Match Total Country Total Percentage
England 2 2 22,253 < 0.1%
Germany 1 1 11,239 < 0.1%
Ireland 1 1 12,955 < 0.1%
Scotland 6 6 10,438 0.1%
Spain 1 1 3,183 < 0.1%
One Step Mutations
Country Your Matches Comment Match Total Country Total Percentage
Canada 1 1 257 0.4%
Denmark 1 1 775 0.1%
England 30 30 22,253 0.1%
Finland 2 2 1,642 0.1%
Germany 16 16 11,239 0.1%
Hungary 2 2 1,099 0.2%
Iraq 1 1 123 0.8%
Ireland 43 43 12,955 0.3%
Israel 1 1 125 0.8%
Netherlands 2 2 1,582 0.1%
Northern Ireland 1 1 701 0.1%
Norway 3 3 1,230 0.2%
Poland 1 Prussia 1 3,385 < 0.1%
Portugal 1 2 740 0.3%
1 Azores
Scotland 72 72 10,438 0.7%
Spain 3 3 3,183 0.1%
Sweden 3 3 1,510 0.2%
Switzerland 5 5 1,686 0.3%
United Kingdom 20 20 9,836 0.2%

…………………

Obviously, I’m a mongrel, with Scottish, Irish and England being the top three in my chart.

Welcome to the RECENT ANCESTRAL ORIGINS (RAO) database. This section displays the countries of origin reported by the people whom you match or nearly match from both our research and customer databases. Your list of matches represents the range of places in which relatives of your ancestors lived. Exact matches show people who are the closest to you genetically. Some matches, especially the more distant mismatches, are related to you before the time of surnames.

The chart displays:

  • Each country from which you have matches
  • The number of people you match for each country and comment combination
  • Any additional information your matches provided about their origins
  • The total number of people you match from that country
  • The total number of people who have reported this as their country of origin
  • The percent of the people we have tested from this country who match you.

Written by Seth Anderson

March 13th, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Posted in Narcipost

Tagged with ,

Starch Made Us Human

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Wheat

Sure, and don’t forget that psilocybin gave us language.

Traditionally, when scientists spared a thought for our hunting and gathering forebears, they focused on the hunters and the meat they brought in. But it may be that it was our ancestors’ less glamorous ability to gather, eat and digest roots, bulbs and tubers — the wild versions of what became carrots, onions and potatoes — that increased the size of our brains and made the hunt and the territorial expansion that came with it possible.

In a paper published in September in Nature Genetics, George Perry, a graduate student at Arizona State University, Nathaniel Dominy, an anthropology professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and their colleagues demonstrate something significant: unlike our fellow primates, modern humans have many copies of a gene that makes a protein in our saliva that is crucial for breaking down starch into glucose. Our brains run on glucose. DNA and saliva samples taken from populations all over the world — from locals in Arizona and Japan to the Hadza, hunter-gatherers in Tanzania, and the Yakut, Siberian animal herders and fishermen — showed that if you have more copies of the gene amylase 1, you have more of the protein. Groups like the Japanese, who eat diets high in starches, have on average a higher number of copies of the gene. “In human evolution, starch may have played a particularly important role,” Perry says. After all, if you possessed the ability to efficiently convert starch into the glucose that fuels your brain, “you’d have a big advantage nutritionally,” Dominy says.

[From Starch Made Us Human]

Written by Seth Anderson

January 18th, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Posted in Food and Drink

Tagged with ,

DNA Sequencing for the Masses

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Slightly Past Its Prime - oil

I’m on record as being supportive, interested, and enthusiastic about DNA sequencing, though not to the extent of purchasing my own DNA sequencing machine, simply of having more research being done.

Jonathan M. Rothberg fancies himself the Steve Jobs of biotechnology. While much less known than the Apple leader, Dr. Rothberg is also a wealthy entrepreneur with a reputation as a visionary, a masterful promoter and a demanding boss.

But what Dr. Rothberg really means is that he wants to do for DNA sequencing what Mr. Jobs did for computing — spread it to the masses.

Dr. Rothberg is the founder of Ion Torrent, which last month began selling a sequencer it calls the Personal Genome Machine. While most sequencers cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and are at least the size of small refrigerators, this machine sells for just under $50,000 and is the size of a largish desktop printer.

While not intended for the general public, the machine could expand the use of DNA sequencing from specialized centers to smaller university and industrial labs, and into hospitals and doctors’ offices, helping make DNA sequencing a standard part of medical practice.

(click to continue reading Rothberg Seeks to Make DNA Sequencing Common – NYTimes.com.)

 

Written by Seth Anderson

January 5th, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Posted in News-esque

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Judge Invalidates Human Gene Patent

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Good! Stupid that genes have ever been patented. Science may have discovered specific genes, but they didn’t create them from scratch. Why should evolutionary processes be privatized by large companies?

DNA Bricks

A federal judge on Monday struck down patents on two genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer. The decision, if upheld, could throw into doubt the patents covering thousands of human genes and reshape the law of intellectual property
Enlarge This Image

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York joined with individual patients and medical organizations to challenge the patents last May: they argued that genes, products of nature, fall outside of the realm of things that can be patented. The patents, they argued, stifle research and innovation and limit testing options.

Myriad Genetics, the company that holds the patents with the University of Utah Research Foundation, asked the court to dismiss the case, claiming that the work of isolating the DNA from the body transforms it and makes it patentable. Such patents, it said, have been granted for decades; the Supreme Court upheld patents on living organisms in 1980. In fact, many in the patent field had predicted the courts would throw out the suit.

Judge Sweet, however, ruled that the patents were “improperly granted” because they involved a “law of nature.” He said that many critics of gene patents considered the idea that isolating a gene made it patentable “a ‘lawyer’s trick’ that circumvents the prohibition on the direct patenting of the DNA in our bodies but which, in practice, reaches the same result.”

The case could have far-reaching implications. About 20 percent of human genes have been patented, and multibillion-dollar industries have been built atop the intellectual property rights that the patents grant.

[Click to continue reading Judge Invalidates Human Gene Patent – NYTimes.com]

Patents are well and good, in some instances, but not every step that science makes should be controlled by corporations, and exploited for profit.

Written by Seth Anderson

March 31st, 2010 at 8:25 am

History of White People

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“The History of White People” (Nell Irvin Painter)

White is a construct of language and culture, just like you would expect. We all contain roughly the same DNA, no matter our “race”.

In 2000, the Human Genome Project finally answered one of the most fundamental questions about race: What, if anything, is the genetic difference between people of different skin colors — black, white, Hispanic, Asian? The answer: nearly nothing. As it turns out, we all share 99.99 percent of the same genetic code — no matter our race — a fact that, geneticist J. Craig Venter claimed, proves that race is a “social concept, not a scientific one.”

But as Nell Irvin Painter explains in “The History of White People,” her exhaustive and fascinating new look at the history of the idea of the white race, it’s a social construct that goes back much further and is much more complicated than many people think. In the book, Painter, a professor of American history at Princeton, chronicles the evolution of the concept of whiteness from ancient Rome — where, she points out, the slaves were largely white — to the 21st century America and explains how, in the era of Obama, our once-narrow concept of whiteness has become at once far broader and less important than ever before.

The elevation of some ethnic groups — Germans and Scandinavians — as “whiter” than others can largely be tied to a small number of scientists who shared an obsession with both measuring people’s skulls and pinpointing the world’s “most beautiful” people. As Painter writes, a number of social and demographic upheavals (which she dubs “enlargements of whiteness”) over the last two centuries have gradually thrown many of those assumptions into question.

[Click to continue reading “The History of White People”: What it means to be white – Nonfiction – Salon.com]

Nell Irvin Painter made an appearance on Stephen Colbert’s show recently, but it was one of those interviews where Colbert didn’t let Ms. Painter talk much. The book looks interesting, I’ll let you know if it is worth picking up after I finish reading it. Bonus: more Saint Patrick history apparently included.

Who are white people and where did they come from? Elementary questions with elusive, contradictory, and complicated answers set historian Painter’s inquiry into motion. From notions of whiteness in Greek literature to the changing nature of white identity in direct response to Malcolm X and his black power successors, Painter’s wide-ranging response is a who’s who of racial thinkers and a synoptic guide to their work. Her commodious history of an idea accommodates Caesar; Saint Patrick, history’s most famous British slave of the early medieval period; Madame de Staël; and Emerson, the philosopher king of American white race theory. Painter (Sojourner Truth) reviews the diverse cast in their intellectual milieus, linking them to one another across time and language barriers. Conceptions of beauty (ideals of white beauty [became] firmly embedded in the science of race), social science research, and persistent North/South stereotypes prove relevant to defining whiteness. What we can see, the author observes, depends heavily on what our culture has trained us to look for. For the variable, changing, and often capricious definition of whiteness, Painter offers a kaleidoscopic lens.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Nell Irvin Painter
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Health Care reform

Written by Seth Anderson

March 23rd, 2010 at 8:38 am

Posted in Suggestions

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Texas and Death Row

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Is there hope for Texas? We’ll see…

Dead Duck

Even in Texas they are having their doubts. The state that executes more people than any other by far – it will account for half the prisoners sent to the death chamber in the US this year – is seeing its once rock-solid faith in capital punishment shaken by overturned convictions, judicial scandals and growing evidence that at least one innocent man has been executed.

The growth of DNA forensic evidence has seen nearly 140 death row convictions overturned across the US, prompting abolition and moratoriums in other states that Texas has so far resisted.

But the public mood is swinging in the conservative state, which often seems to have an Old Testament view of justice. A former governor, Mark White – previously a strong supporter of the death penalty – has joined those calling for a reconsideration of capital punishment because of the risk of executing an innocent person.

The number of death sentences passed by juries in Texas has fallen sharply in recent years, reflecting a retreat from capital punishment in many parts of America after DNA evidence led to the release of scores of condemned prisoners.

The number of death sentences passed annually in the US has dropped by about 60% in the past decade, to around 100.

“In Texas we have seen a constant stream of individual cases that really destroy public faith and integrity in our criminal justice system,” said Steve Hall, former chief of staff to the Texas attorney general for eight years, who is now an anti-death penalty activist.

[Click to continue reading Texas accounts for half of executions in US – but now has doubts over death row | World news | The Guardian ]

The vocal and partisan Christian Taliban minority in Texas has given the state a bad name, but perhaps they might come to their senses, in our lifetimes. How can killing an innocent man be reconciled with their god’s commandments? It cannot, so either the Christian Taliban has to give up their doctrine, or change their government’s behavior in in their name. Rick Perry would rather kill a few innocents than admit he might be wrong, will he remain governor?

Lone Star Lame Duck

In Dallas county alone, 24 people have been exonerated and the new district attorney has created a conviction integrity unit to examine other suspected miscarriages of justice.

Recent attention has focused on a high profile case which may become the first officially acknowledged miscarriage of justice which led to a man being executed.

The governor of Texas, Rick Perry, has been accused of gerrymandering a commission examining the evidence against Cameron Todd Willingham who was executed in 2004 for the murder of his three young daughters in an arson attack on his home. Perry abruptly replaced the chairman of the Texas Forensic Science Commission as it was about to hold hearings into a report by its own expert, who described the conviction as based on “junk science”. The new chairman called off the hearing.

Written by Seth Anderson

November 15th, 2009 at 10:26 pm

DNA Evidence Can Be Fabricated

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Fracking hell, Mikey!

DNA Bricks

Scientists in Israel have demonstrated that it is possible to fabricate DNA evidence, undermining the credibility of what has been considered the gold standard of proof in criminal cases.

The scientists fabricated blood and saliva samples containing DNA from a person other than the donor of the blood and saliva. They also showed that if they had access to a DNA profile in a database, they could construct a sample of DNA to match that profile without obtaining any tissue from that person.

“You can just engineer a crime scene,” said Dan Frumkin, lead author of the paper, which has been published online by the journal Forensic Science International: Genetics. “Any biology undergraduate could perform this.”

[Click to continue reading DNA Evidence Can Be Fabricated, Scientists Show – NYTimes.com]

So how long until this fabricated DNA appears as a plot point in a film? How long before it gets used in a police procedural drama? Months? Who’ll be first out the gate? Ooh, what about court-ordered DNA tests to get a wrongfully accused death-row murderer out of jail, and then the DNA turns out to be fake? Better start typing up my film treatment…

Written by Seth Anderson

August 17th, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Posted in News-esque

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I Am Haplogroup R1B

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I don’t think I ever posted the results of my DNA swab, as described here. Briefly, the National Geographic Society is conducting a rather large study, attempting to map out human history via DNA swabs. Comparatively wealthy citizens of the world pay $100 for their samples, in order to underwrite the collection efforts for less wealthy areas of the world.

Haplogroup R1B M343

Unfortunately, the cool stuff is a Flash file, hidden for participants only, including art samples of Upper Paleolithic man, explanation of the migration to England which my ancestors apparently did, etc. Very cool stuff. Here is what I’ve managed to extract.

How to Interpret Your Results Above are results from the laboratory analysis of your Y-chromosome. Your DNA was analyzed for Short Tandem Repeats (STRs), which are repeating segments of your genome that have a high mutation rate. The location on the Y chromosome of each of these markers is depicted in the image, with the number of repeats for each of your STRs presented to the right of the marker. For example, DYS19 is a repeat of TAGA, so if your DNA repeated that sequence 12 times at that location, it would appear: DYS19 12. Studying the combination of these STR lengths in your Y Chromosome allows researchers to place you in a haplogroup, which reveals the complex migratory journeys of your ancestors. Y-SNP: In the event that the analysis of your STRs was inconclusive, your Y chromosome was also tested for the presence of an informative Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP). These are mutational changes in a single nucleotide base, and allow researchers to definitively place you in a genetic haplogroup.

DNA migration Map
DNA migration Map

Entire migratory history below ‘the fold’. Some of it is beyond my understanding, but it is still fascinating.

 

Haplogroup K M9
Haplogroup K M9

Haplogroup P M45
Haplogroup P M45

Haplogroup R1 M173
Haplogroup R1 M173

Haplogroup R1B M343
Haplogroup R1B M343

 

12 Market Y DNA 2
12 Market Y DNA 2

My immediate ancestry

 

12 Market YDNA
12 Market YDNA

 

 

Your Y chromosome results identify you as a member of haplogroup R1b, a lineage defined by a genetic marker called M343. This haplogroup is the final destination of a genetic journey that began some 60,000 years ago with an ancient Y chromosome marker called M168. The very widely dispersed M168 marker can be traced to a single individual—“Eurasian Adam.” This African man, who lived some 31,000 to 79,000 years ago, is the common ancestor of every non-African person living today. His descendants migrated out of Africa and became the only lineage to survive away from humanity’s home continent.

 

Population growth during the Upper Paleolithic era may have spurred the M168 lineage to seek new hunting grounds for the plains animals crucial to their survival. A period of moist and favorable climate had expanded the ranges of such animals at this time, so these nomadic peoples may have simply followed their food source.

Improved tools and rudimentary art appeared during this same epoch, suggesting significant mental and behavioral changes. These shifts may have been spurred by a genetic mutation that gave “Eurasian Adam’s” descendants a cognitive advantage over other contemporary, but now extinct, human lineages.

Some 90 to 95 percent of all non-Africans are descendants of the second great human migration out of Africa, which is defined by the marker M89.

M89 first appeared 45,000 years ago in Northern Africa or the Middle East. It arose on the original lineage (M168) of “Eurasian Adam,” and defines a large inland migration of hunters who followed expanding grasslands and plentiful game to the Middle East.

Many people of this lineage remained in the Middle East, but others continued their movement and followed the grasslands through Iran to the vast steppes of Central Asia. Herds of buffalo, antelope, woolly mammoths, and other game probably enticed them to explore new grasslands.

With much of Earth’s water frozen in massive ice sheets, the era’s vast steppes stretched from eastern France to Korea. The grassland hunters of the M89 lineage traveled both east and west along this steppe “superhighway” and eventually peopled much of the continent.

A group of M89 descendants moved north from the Middle East to Anatolia and the Balkans, trading familiar grasslands for forests and high country. Though their numbers were likely small, genetic traces of their journey are still found today.

Some 40,000 years ago a man in Iran or southern Central Asia was born with a unique genetic marker known as M9, which marked a new lineage diverging from the M89 group. His descendants spent the next 30,000 years populating much of the planet.

Most residents of the Northern Hemisphere trace their roots to this unique individual, and carry his defining marker. Nearly all North Americans and East Asians have the M9 marker, as do most Europeans and many Indians. The haplogroup defined by M9, K, is known as the Eurasian Clan.

This large lineage dispersed gradually. Seasoned hunters followed the herds ever eastward, along a vast belt of Eurasian steppe, until the massive mountain ranges of south central Asia blocked their path.

The Hindu Kush, Tian Shan, and Himalaya, even more formidable during the era’s ice age, divided eastward migrations. These migrations through the “Pamir Knot” region would subsequently become defined by additional genetic markers.

The marker M45 first appeared about 35,000 to 40,000 years ago in a man who became the common ancestor of most Europeans and nearly all Native Americans. This unique individual was part of the M9 lineage, which was moving to the north of the mountainous Hindu Kush and onto the game-rich steppes of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and southern Siberia.

The M45 lineage survived on these northern steppes even in the frigid Ice Age climate. While big game was plentiful, these resourceful hunters had to adapt their behavior to an increasingly hostile environment. They erected animal skin shelters and sewed weathertight clothing. They also refined the flint heads on their weapons to compensate for the scarcity of obsidian and other materials.

The intelligence that allowed this lineage to adapt and thrive in harsh conditions was critical to human survival in a region where no other hominids are known to have survived.

Members of haplogroup R are descendents of Europe’s first large-scale human settlers. The lineage is defined by Y chromosome marker M173, which shows a westward journey of M45-carrying Central Asian steppe hunters.

The descendents of M173 arrived in Europe around 35,000 years ago and immediately began to make their own dramatic mark on the continent. Famous cave paintings, like those of Lascaux and Chauvet, signal the sudden arrival of humans with artistic skill. There are no artistic precedents or precursors to their appearance.

Soon after this lineage’s arrival in Europe, the era of the Neandertals came to a close. Genetic evidence proves that these hominids were not human ancestors but an evolutionary dead end. Smarter, more resourceful human descendents of M173 likely outcompeted Neandertals for scarce Ice Age resources and thus heralded their demise.

The long journey of this lineage was further shaped by the preponderance of ice at this time. Humans were forced to southern refuges in Spain, Italy, and the Balkans. Years later, as the ice retreated, they moved north out of these isolated refuges and left an enduring, concentrated trail of the M173 marker in their wake.

Today, for example, the marker’s frequency remains very high in northern France and the British Isles—where it was carried by M173 descendents who had weathered the Ice Age in Spain.

Members of haplogroup R1b, defined by M343 are the direct descendents of Europe’s first modern humans—known as the Cro-Magnon people.

Cro-Magnons arrived in Europe some 35,000 years ago, during a time when Neandertals still lived in the region. M343-carrying peoples made woven clothing and constructed huts to withstand the frigid climes of the Upper Paleolithic era. They used relatively advanced tools of stone, bone, and ivory. Jewelry, carvings, and intricate, colorful cave paintings bear witness to the Cro Magnons’ surprisingly advanced culture during the last glacial age.

When the ice retreated genetically homogenous groups recolonized the north, where they are still found in high frequencies. Some 70 percent of men in southern England are R1b. In parts of Spain and Ireland that number exceeds 90 percent.

There are many sublineages within R1b that are yet to be defined. The Genographic Project hopes to bring future clarity to the disparate parts of this distinctive European lineage.

 

 

Written by Seth Anderson

March 7th, 2006 at 8:59 pm

Posted in Narcipost,News-esque

Tagged with ,

Track Your Kit

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Door

The next step of our DNA samples has been completed:

Track Your Kit – The Genographic Project:
DNA ANALYSIS AND QUALITY CONTROL
The samples are transferred into PCR amplification plates for testing using a robotic liquid handling station. The appropriate chemicals are added to the samples to amplify the targeted regions of the DNA for testing. The samples are heated and cooled in a thermal cycler in order to run the PCR amplification. The PCR amplification products are loaded into the capillary electrophoresis machine and the products are sorted by size and color.
A laboratory staff member uses a computer program to assign scores to the samples. The computer generated scores are then reviewed by two additional laboratory staff members to produce finalized data.

Written by Seth Anderson

May 21st, 2005 at 8:07 pm

Posted in Narcipost

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The Great Genographic Project

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Venetian Night

Our DNA samples have moved to the next step in the Genographic Project….

Track Your Kit – The Genographic Project:
DNA ISOLATION
The cells are broken open by incubation with a protein-cutting enzyme overnight. Chemicals and the samples are transferred into deep well blocks for robotic DNA isolation. The blocks of chemicals and samples are placed on the extraction robot. The robotic DNA isolation uses silica-coated iron beads. In the presence of the appropriate chemicals DNA will bind to silica. The robot then uses magnetic probes to collect the beads (and DNA) and transfer them through several chemical washes and finally into a storage buffer, which allows the beads to release the DNA. At this point the beads are collected and discarded.

Written by Seth Anderson

May 17th, 2005 at 7:07 pm

Posted in Narcipost

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Track Your Kit – The Genographic Project

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Tall statue aka Our Onion-headed Overlords

Our DNA has made it to Houston, and is currently being isolated.

Track Your Kit – The Genographic Project:
ARRIVAL AND BATCH CREATION
The kits are received at the Houston office of Family Tree DNA and checked in. All of the kits are assigned to a batch and shipped to the Arizona Research Labs at the University of Arizona. The samples are received at the university and the orders are transferred to a computer system. The computer sorts the orders and assigns each sample to a specific location in one of many sample grids As the barcodes on the samples are read the computer directs the researchers where to place each sample (which tray and which coordinates).

Written by Seth Anderson

May 13th, 2005 at 8:08 pm

Posted in Narcipost

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