Tag Archive: genetic tests

New Scientist (Issue 2817) features Linda Geddes’ article “Tribal wars: DNA testing divides American Indians”. Geddes reports on the membership disputes among the Chukchansi Tribe in Central California, USA. The Tribe Council will vote this month if new applicants must undergo a DNA test to prove they “really” are related to a member of the community. From the point of view of the tribal council this is an effort to block access to the benefits coming with the membership (e.g. the right to a share of the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino’s profits) and grant access only to those qualified (“blood quantum”). Tribe members, would-be members, and external observers fear this consumption of genetic information may open the door for false disputes around ancestry; contribute to delegitimizing other cultural criteria for establishing membership; and possibly, to undermine tribal sovereignty.

Reference:

GEDDES, Linda
(2009). “Tribal wars. Genetic testing divides Native Americans”. New Scientist 210(2817): 8-10.The article can be accessed through the New Scientist webpage (through a subscription).

“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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