03 March 2010

Faces of America: DNA episode

If near a TV set with access to the US public broadcasting system channel I recommend you tune in tonight's "Faces of America." The episode is advertised to be focusing on DNA tests conducted on 12 "renowned Americans" by California-based autosomal DNA testing company 23andMe.

I'll be watching, especially as I'll be talking about 23andMe's tests, and possibly others, in my Gene-O-Rama presentation at the end of the month.

For those who haven't seen the previous "Faces of America" episodes, the program is exploring the questions "What made America? What makes us?"

I was surprised and pleased they included Malcolm Gladwell as one of the "renowned Americans." Not that he doesn't rate the renowned label. It's a bit unusual that a US program would acknowledge that there is an America, and are Americans, outside the US. With his mixed British-Jamaican ancestry, and Canadian upbringing, Gladwell provides a stimulating contrast to the all too frequent myopic US view.

Those outside the range of PBS can get a good flavour of the program, including video highlight snippets and even whole episodes, at www.pbs.org/wnet/facesofamerica/

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