Saturday, 17 November 2007

23andMe article in Wired

Wired Magazine online has a good article 23andMe Will Decode Your DNA for $1,000 which nicely complements my recent posting The Killer in Me (below).

The article is mainly about the company and what their DNA analysis might be able to tell you, and not tell you, about your genetic susceptibility to a variety of diseases. It also tells a celebrity genealogy anecdote:

"Jimmy Buffett dropped by to get an early peek at his results. A few month's earlier, the singer had let 23andMe peruse his genotype and compare his genealogy to Warren Buffett's. The two men had long wondered if they were somehow related (they aren't, it turns out). Now Jimmy wanted to check out the whole experience. He sat down in front of a laptop in Wojcicki's office, and she looked over his shoulder, guiding him through the site. First he clicked through his ancestral genome, noting that his maternal lineage showed a strong connection to the British Isles. "So the women came over with the Saxon invasion; pretty cool," he said. Another click and he perused his similarity to other ethnic groups, spotting a strong link to the Basque region of Spain. "No wonder I like Basque food so much," he noted."

This gives the impression that at the moment you won't get any more out of 23andMe's analysis for genealogy than from the less costly services that have been available for several years from companies like Family Tree DNA. But those companies must be closely watching technology developments, especially the ability to analyse thousands of SNPs from across the whole genome for a few hundred dollars. A recent press release from Family Tree DNA shows the company continuing to concentrate on Y and mitrochrondrial DNA, with more emphasis on full sequence mitochrondrial analysis.

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