Re: [genpcfr] DNA Testing List
- Faye, This is a pretty good explanation of what the DNA will do. It was from
Jewelle on 3-4-01.Sherri
>PROVO, Utah ----- Genealogical research has always meant days in dustyarchives and searches through miles of microfiche and stacks of faded
But soon, history hunters might be able to find out where they're from
with a quick cheek swab and a few hours of gene testing.
Scott Woodward, a microbiology professor at Brigham Young University, is
directing a project that combines old-fashioned genealogy with the latest
technology in the hope of making it easier to fill out family trees.
"Each of us carries a history of who we are and how we're related to the
whole world", Woodward said as he pored over blood samples in his busy
campus laboratory. "We're trying to decode that history."
The process begins with the prick of a needle. Volunteers from all over
the country, each with a written genealogy that extends back at least to
their great-great-grandparents, have given Woodward a few teaspoons of blood
during the first year of the project.
DNA from the blood is analyzed to create a map of about 250 simple
In the future, a supercomputer will create a matrix of all those genes
and the historical data from the donated family trees. Woodward says he'll
then be able to focus on any spot in space and time -- say, Denmark in
1886 -- to identify the genes residents carried.
That means future genealogists, perhaps just five or 10 years from now,
will be able to submit their own DNA and a query. Because all names are
stripped off the blood samples and charts to protect privacy, it is
impossible to track specific individuals. But a researcher could ask where
his or her great-grandmother was from, and Woodward could answer: she was
born in Denmark around 1886.
That's an exciting proposition, said Ed Gaulin, president of the
Manasota Genealogical Society in Bradenton, Fla., which helped organize a
recent sampling trip by the BYU researchers to western Florida.
"I've been at this genealogy thing since I was a kid and I've seen three
major advances in genealogy," said Gaulin, who donated blood himself. "The
photocopier was the first, the next was the computer, and the third one is
DNA. That's where I put this. It's that important."
"There have been people out there suggesting that DNA will be the
guideline for pedigrees in the future," said Russ Henderson, spokesman for
the National Geneagical Society. But he warned that genealogy buffs should
remember that genetic material is just another clue in the search for their
At least 11,000 people have donated blood so far, a bit more than the
initial one-year goal of 10,000, and Woodward hopes to collect another
30,000 samples this year. He figures he needs 100,000 for a solid database,
which he could have in three years.>
[Note: A photo is shown with the article with this caption]
>DNA samples line the shelves in a cold storage room (above) at BrighamYoung University, where ethnic traces within the DNA are being analyzed to
determine a person's geneological background by microbiology professor Scott