Tag Archive: ancestry

On May 4 “Asociación ANDES”, a Peruvian based organization that seeks to advance conservation and development through the implementation of bio-cultural territories, released a Communique saying that the Q’eros people in Cuzco, Peru reject a plan to collect DNA samples by researchers associated with the Genographic Project. Below the full transcript of the document:

 

“A century ago, the Yale University scientists who rediscovered Machu Picchu helped themselves to Inca cultural patrimony, hauling away thousands of artifacts to the United States. Today, it is widely recognized that this was an injustice to Peru and especially its indigenous peoples. Yale is returning the artifacts it took, but only after considerable pressure was brought to bear on the University.

Even as Yale reluctantly gives up its Inca plunder almost a hundred years after it was taken, the Washington, DC-based National Geographic Society is planning to capture new collections of Inca patrimony, this time in the form of human DNA. Unlike historical artifacts, however, the DNA can be copied, and once it is processed and its sequences stored, there is no practical way for it ever to be returned.

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“Genetic ancestry testing is being applied in areas as diverse as forensics, genealogical research, immigration control, and biomedical research (1–3). Use of ancestry as a potential risk factor for disease is entrenched in clinical decision-making (4), so it is not surprising that techniques to determine genetic ancestry are increasingly deployed to identify genetic variants associated with disease and drug response (5). Recently, direct-to-consumer (DTC) personal genomics companies have used ancestry information to calculate individual risk profiles for a range of diseases and traits. […]”

Download below to read the full article:
LEE, Sandra Soo-Jin; Deborah A. BOLNICK, Troy DUSTER, Pilar OSSORIO and Kim TALLBEAR
(2009). “The illusive gold standard in genetic ancestry testing”. Science 325(5936): 38-39.

 

 

At least two dozen companies now market “genetic ancestry tests” to help consumers reconstruct their family histories and determine the geographic origins of their ancestors. More than 460,000 people have purchased these tests over the past 6 years (1), still skyrocketing (1–4). Some scientists support this enterprise because it makes genetics accessible and relevant; otHers view it with indifference, seeing the tests as merely “recreational.” However, both scientists and consumers should approach genetic ancestry testing with caution because (i) the tests can have a profound impact on individuals and communities, (ii) the assumptions and limitations of these tests make them less informative than many realize, and (iii) commercialization has led to misleading practices that reinforce misconceptions.

Download below to read the full article:
BOLNICK, Deborah A.; Duana FULLWILEY, Troy DUSTER, Richard S. COOPER, Joan H. FUJIMURA, Jonathan KAHN, Jay S. KAUFMAN, Jonathan MARKS, Ann MORNING, Alondra NELSON, Pilar OSSORIO, Jenny REARDON, Susan M. REVERBY and Kimberly TALLBEAR
(2007). “The science and business of genetic ancestry testing”. Science 318 (5849): 399-400.

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