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Finding More DNA Cousins for Free

Finding More DNA Cousins for FREE

July 13, 2017

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AdaEze Naja Chinyere Njoku

 

Hello Family!

We sure hope you all are doing well.  We know that many of you that have taken the autosomal DNA test at FTDNA.com 23andme.com , Ancestry.com or MyHeritage.com are waiting patiently for that breakthrough of finding an Africa DNA match.  

Some of us are not being so patient.  Logging into the accounts 7 to 10 times daily, yelling at folks because we can’t find that match.  Talking to ourselves AND responding..  Creeping up on your computer from the side, like agent 007….  Acting as if it is hiding that match from you.  It’s OK.  We’ve been there too.  Please read a book or go fishing or something Shuga.  More people are testing.  We have to be patient.  It took some of us over 7 YEARS to get an Africa DNA match.  Oh but when we did!!!! 

 

Now, we are not going to lie to you.  We all know that there is NO GUARANTEE that you will find an Africa DNA match.  Here are some ways to widen the net though.  These helpful options are steps that I have taken myself.  They have proven to be very helpful especially since many people have DNA tested at one company and have elected NOT to test at another.  

There is a place where your DNA raw data can go and meet up with other people’s DNA raw data that tested at different DNA testing companies.   You all can chillax for FREE!!  OK.. Let me clarify…. Its like a meet up for ya raw data.

The goal is to upload your DNA raw data to the websites that you have not tested or to the sites like Gedmatch.com to help you compare shared segments on Chromosomes between you and others that have also uploaded.

Read more: DNAtestedafricans.org

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23andMe Cleared to Provide Health Reports

Pharmaceutical Companies are not liking this at all.

Purchasers of 23andMe (http://www.23andMe.com) Health + Ancestry DNA test now have access to genetic health risk reports for conditions including late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson disease, Celiac disease and seven others.

This is a big step, if incremental, step forward for the company. Its DNA service initially provided ancestry information and genetic risk reports on about 250 conditions. In 2013, the FDA ordered 23andMe to stop providing health-related information to US customers because the company hadn’t proven its test were analytically or clinically validated.

The new reports calculate genetic risk based on the presence (or absence) of specific markers in a person’s DNA. To obtain FDA authorization for them, 23andMe conducted “extensive validation studies for accuracy and user comprehensive that met FDA standards,” according to its announcement. FDA considered evidence tying each condition with relevant genetic markers in customers’ DNA.

Take a look at the new 23andMe reports at (http://www.blog.23andme.com/health-traits/learn-23andme-new-genetic-health-risk-reports)

Discover Your Roots with DNA

Source: DNA Testing Advisor (www.dna-testing-adviser.com/african-dna-test) Access on May 18, 2017

Discover Your Roots
with an African DNA Test

African Outline

Many African Americans and others are using an African DNA test to get answers about their ethnic ancestry.

Typical questions include the following:

  • How much of my genetic heritage is African?
  • What regions of Africa do my ancestors come from?
  • Where does the remainder of my heritage come from?
  • Is my African ancestry from my father’s lineage or my mother’s?
  • Do my physical features reflect African ancestry or something else?

Fortunately, there are several reasonably-priced African DNA tests that answer these and other questions about one’s ethnic ancestry.

The tests all use home test kits and sample collection is easy and painless. Depending on which company you use, you might wipe some cells from inside your cheek with a little swab or spit some saliva into a tube. No blood is required.

Here are my top seven recommendations for anyone interested in an African DNA test.

1. Ancestry DNA

AncestryDNA recently rose to the top of this list. Both men and women can take the test and it will identify other people in the database who share common ancestors with you. It is an autosomal test similar in technology to Family Finder and 23andMe, discussed below.

The test includes an Ethnicity Estimate that summarizes the percentage contributions of different regions of the world to your overall ancestry. That estimate now breaks African Ancestry into nine regions:

  • Africa North
  • Senegal
  • Ivory Coast / Ghana
  • Benin / Togo
  • Cameroon / Congo
  • Mali
  • Nigeria
  • Africa Southeast Bantu
  • Africa South-Central Hunter-Gatherers

This is the first widely recognized, legitimate DNA test to provide this detailed a breakdown of African ancestry

2. Family Finder, which includes Population Finder

Family Finder is an autosomal DNA test from Family Tree DNA. It’s widely used by genealogists, including those interested in African American genealogy.

The company will compare your DNA against a database of other users to find genetic matches. Most often these genetic matches will be cousins, having a common ancestor with you somewhere in the last five or so generations.

By emailing your matches you can connect with previously unknown relatives and learn much more about your family tree.

As part of the Family Finder test, you receive a myOrigins report, formerly called Population Finder, where the company compares your DNA with over 60 reference populations from around the world. This is a biogeographical analysis of the DNA you received from ALL of your ancestors.

The African part of your DNA may place you in any of four sub continental groups based on similarities to certain scientifically studied populations. The groups and populations are as follows:

  • Central African: Biaka Pygmy, Mbuti Pygmy
  • East African: Bantu (Kenya)
  • Southern African: Bantu (South Africa), San
  • West African: Mandenka, Yoruba

Very few people outside Africa are 100% African. Population Finder will classify the remaining portion of your ancestry using other populations.

3. Y-DNA Test at Family Tree DNA

Family Tree DNA also offers a Y-DNA test, which tracks your paternal line. Since only men have a Y-chromosome, only men can take this test. But women can still test a man from their paternal line, e.g. a brother, a father, a brother of your father, or a son of your father’s brother.

Like Family Finder, this test finds genetic matches who share a common ancestor. But with the Y-DNA test you know the common ancestor has to be a male in the direct paternal line like your father’s father’s father etc.

The Y-DNA test will also predict a man’s Y-DNA haplogroup. And many haplogroups are clearly tied to origins in sub-Saharan Africa. This is the real indicator of your paternal line’s ethnic ancestry.

TIP: If you’re interested in finding genetic matches, you should order the Y-DNA 37 test, which checks 37 markers. But if you’re only interested in determining your haplogroup, you only need 12 markers. I suggest you go to Family Tree DNA and look for the combination package of Family Finder plus Y-DNA 12. The combo price is an excellent buy.

If you later decide that you want to discover your precise position in the Y-DNA tree of life, you can upgrade to more markers or even order a Deep Clade test. That will tell you exactly which subclade of your haplogroup you’re in. In many cases this can tighten the geographic origins of your paternal line.

4. mtDNA Test at Family Tree DNA

Both men and women have mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to test. But only women pass it on to their children. So mtDNA is the test to track your maternal line. That’s your mother’s mother’s mother etc.

As with the test described previously, you will probably see matches with other users. But mtDNA mutates so slowly that your common ancestors may have lived thousands of years ago. That makes mtDNA less useful than Y-DNA as a genealogy tool.

Still, mtDNA also has a haplogroup that relates directly to the origins of your maternal line. And some of those are clear indicators of African origin.

5. 23andMe Which Includes Ancestry Composition

23andMe is another autosomal DNA test like Family Finder. This test can also serve as an African DNA test, because it has an Ancestry Composition feature that tells you what parts of the world your ancestors lived a few hundred years ago.

This admixture report is similar to the Population Finder feature of the Family Finder test. It reports on African Ancestry from these three regions:

  • West African
  • East African
  • Central and South African

However, if you also test at least one of your parents on 23andMe, this test can split your ancestral percentages into your paternal and maternal sides.

23andMe also has a DNA Relatives feature that’s similar to Family Finder and it will estimate your Y-DNA and mtDNA haplogroups. So if you want to cover all your bases—then the 23andMe test can be a great value as an African DNA test.

6. Y-DNA and mtDNA Testing at African DNA

Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was a pioneer in African DNA testing. He founded African DNA to encourage more African Americans to get their DNA tested.

The company offers a Y-DNA test of 25 markers and an mtDNA test like the mtDNA Plus test at Family Tree DNA. In fact, Family Tree DNA is affiliated with the company and does their DNA testing.

Now they can also offer the Family Finder test that they renamed Ancestry Finder.

Note that African DNA only offers one paternal line Y-DNA test and one maternal line mtDNA test. They do not offer additional Y-DNA markers, the Full Mitochondrial Sequence (FMS) test, or Deep Clade testing. You need to order those tests directly from Family Tree DNA.

The African DNA web site does have more content specific to African DNA testing than any of the more general DNA testing companies. So I encourage anyone looking for an African DNA test to visit the site and learn all you can.

Uniquely, African DNA does offer some higher priced packages that combine DNA testing with genealogy research to build your family tree.

For most African-Americans there are no genealogical records prior to the 1870 census, when last names of former slaves began to be recorded. If you want someone to build a few generations of your family tree, however, this is an option to consider.

MONEY-SAVING TIP: If you’re not ordering a package with genealogy research, be sure to recheck Family Tree DNA to compare prices before placing an order with African DNA. At the time of this writing, you can order the same Y-DNA and mtDNA tests directly through Family Tree DNA for significantly less money.

7. Y-DNA and mtDNA Testing at African Ancestry

African Ancestry is another company that specifically features African DNA tests. Like the companies above, they check your Y-DNA and mtDNA to determine your paternal and maternal lineages. Since their web site does not provide details of either test, I cannot compare them.

Unlike Family Tree DNA, they do not keep a database of customer results, so you will not receive any matches to people with similar DNA. Since the company does not have an autosomal test like Family Finder and 23andMe, it cannot provide any admixture percentages. You won’t learn anything about ancestors outside your narrow paternal and maternal lines.

I found some interesting data on the web site. Even though this site specifically attracts people of African descent, 35% of the paternal line tests show European ancestry. Much of that non-African DNA was introduced into the family tree during the era of slavery. In addition, 8% of their maternal line samples show non-African haplogroups.

An article in the Wall Street Journal was critical of the African DNA test reports provided by this company. Independent experts say that mitochondrial DNA is not sufficient to nail down an ancestor’s origin to a specific country.

Furthermore, the large migrations of Africans over the last 3,000 years means that the typical black American’s DNA will match Africans living today in several countries. Even the founder of African DNA was quoted in the article that the country-specific reports his company provides are largely a “best guess.”

The testing prices at African DNA are higher than those of the companies listed above. Even if you have your African DNA test done elsewhere, the African Ancestry web site includes some interesting information on African heritage and a list of country-by-country resources in Africa for genealogists.

Other African DNA Tests of Uncertain Quality

DNA Tribes uses autosomal markers representing all your ancestors. But unlike AncestryDNA, Family Finder and 23andMe, which check nearly a million autosomal SNPs, DNA Tribes checks a maximum of 27 STRs.

I won’t try to explain the difference between an STR and a SNP here. But autosomal STRs are what police forces around the world have been collecting from criminals for decades.

The company examined 383,000 STR records and claims to have identified major genetic regions around the world. They compare your DNA with their proprietary database and issue reports on your most closely matched regions.

The company does not share its database or reveal its methods. And independent experts are skeptical when such detailed reports arise from so few markers.

Roots for Real offers Y-DNA, mtDNA, and an autosomal test based on 16 STR markers. They position their autosomal admixture test as an African DNA test. But their database is only about one third the size of the already questionable DNA Tribes test. And all of their tests are overpriced compared to market leaders Family Tree DNA, 23andMe, and Ancestry.com.

 

Mitochondrial Eve (mtDNA)

Mitochondrial Eve

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Haplogroup Modern humans
Early diversification.PNG
Possible time of origin c. 100–230 kya[1]
Possible place of origin East Africa
Ancestor n/a
Descendants Mitochondrial macro-haplogroups L0, L1, and L5
Defining mutations None

In human genetics, the Mitochondrial Eve (also mt-Eve, mt-MRCA) is the matrilineal most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of all currently living humans, i.e., the most recent woman from whom all living humans descend in an unbroken line purely through their mothers, and through the mothers of those mothers, back until all lines converge on one woman. Mitochondrial Eve lived later than Homo heidelbergensis and the emergence of Homo neanderthalensis, but earlier than the out of Africa migration,[2] but her age is not known with certainty; a 2009 estimate cites an age between c. 152 and 234 thousand years ago (95% CI);[3] a 2013 study cites a range of 99–148 thousand years ago.[4]

Because mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is almost exclusively passed from mother to offspring without recombination (see the exception at paternal mtDNA transmission), most mtDNA in every living person differs only by the mutations that have occurred over generations in the germ cell mtDNA since the conception of the original “Mitochondrial Eve”.

The male analog to the Mitochondrial Eve is the Y-chromosomal Adam, the member of Homo sapiens sapiens from whom all living humans are patrilineally descended. Rather than mtDNA, the inherited DNA in the male case is the nuclear Y chromosome. Mitochondrial Eve and Y-chromosomal Adam need not have lived at the same time.[5]

As of 2013, estimates for mt-MRCA and Y-MRCA alike are still subject to substantial uncertainty; thus, Y-MRCA has been estimated to have lived during a wide range of times from 180,000 to 581,000 years ago[6][7][8] (with a most likely age of between 120,000 and 156,000 years ago, roughly consistent with the estimate for mt-MRCA[4][9]).

The name “Mitochondrial Eve” alludes to biblical Eve.[10] This has led to repeated misrepresentations or misconceptions in journalistic accounts on the topic. The title of “Mitochondrial Eve” is not permanently fixed to a single individual, but rather shifts forward in time over the course of human history as maternal lineages become extinct. Unlike her biblical namesake, she was not the only living human female of her time. However, by the definition of Mitochondrial Eve, her female contemporaries, though they may have descendants alive today, do not have any descendants today who descend in an unbroken female line of descent.

 

 

 

 

Genetics Project” Update April 15, 2017
Published by 23andMe under 23andMe Research, Ancestry October, 2016
To enhance its research and enrich its customer experience, 23andMe is launching the African Genetics Project, Africa_icon recruiting people who emigrated from, or whose parents emigrated from several specific countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Africa is the birthplace of all humanity, and its people are the most genetically diverse in all the world, yet our knowledge of that diversity is limited. This newest project follows continuing efforts by 23andMe to enrich our understanding of the human story and increase diversity in genetic research, while also providing more detailed ancestry results for 23andMe customers with recent African ancestry.

23andMe’s African Genetics Project is offering kits at no cost to people with all four of their grandparents born in the same African country or from the same ethnic or tribal group within one of the following countries — Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Ivory coast, Liberia, Republic of Congo, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan and Togo. The west African countries in that list are a priority for 23andMe because the majority of slaves brought from Africa to the Americas were brought from these African locations. We are also gathering data from individuals with all four grandparents from Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia to aid in identifying ancestry for more recent immigrants and to improve our reference populations for Africa.

This effort is unique in many respects, but primarily because it allows people of African ancestry who know where in Africa their family came from, to help others with African ancestry discover more about their own African roots. The effort may also yield insights into the TransAtlantic slave trade, and migrations within Africa over the last few hundred years.

While the goals of this project are focused primarily on improving ancestry insights, the African Genetics Project is part of a long list of efforts undertaken by 23andMe to improve diversity in research. Some estimates show that more than 90 percent of the research into the genetics underlying disease is on individuals of European descent alone, but for many conditions an individual’s ethnicity plays an important role and the insights from those studies fall short of helping people of other backgrounds.

There are a number of reasons for the lack of diversity — historical, cultural, economic and social — but by reaching out and recruiting people from all backgrounds it will also ensure that everyone benefits from advances in genetic science.

Over the last five years, 23andMe has undertaken several initiatives on that front including its Roots Into the Future project to study the genetics of disease impacting African Americans, the first-ever genetic portrait of the United States that mapped the country’s Native American, African and European ancestry, and more recently a NIH-funded project to develop a new way to detect disease causing genetic variants among ethnically mixed populations.

Taken together, these initiatives have helped 23andMe improve diversity in its research. The African Genetics Project is part of that same effort and it will allow 23andMe to identify genetic similarities of people from specific locations in Africa. This in turn will not only improve what we can tell our customers with African ancestry, but will also aid our research into how people migrated within and from Africa over the last 5,000 years.

Read more at https://blog.23andme.com/23andme-research/the-african-genetics-project/#tfHZ4OBtqyGpoJyf.99

Henrietta Lacks Story NIH

 

 

 

Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Henrietta Lacks (1920-1951)
MSA SC 3520-16887

Biography:

Despite living a very short life, Henrietta Lacks is one of the most important people in the history of medicine. Lacks’ cells, known as the HeLa cell line, are mysteriously immortal and have been used by scientists and researchers all over the world to study and develop cures for a plethora of diseases. For decades, Lacks and her family were not given any recognition for her contribution to the medical field, but, in recent years, Henrietta Lacks’ legacy has been credited for saving the lives of millions.
Henrietta Lacks was born as Loretta Pleasant in Roanoke, Virginia in August 1920 to Johnny and Eliza Pleasant, both African American. No one is aware when she changed her name to Henrietta from Loretta. Lacks’ mother died when she was only five, and she was then sent to live in Clover, Virginia with her grandfather in a log cabin that was previously the slave quarters on her white great-grandfather’s plantation.1 While slavery was still legal, Lacks’ white great-grandfather took a slave mistress, thus starting Henrietta’s family line of black Lackses.2 When she was old enough, Lacks began farming tobacco on the plantation like the rest of her family.

Lacks gave birth to her first child soon after her fourteenth birthday, and the father of the child was her first cousin, David “Day” Lacks.3 Henrietta and Day named their first son Lawrence and, four years later, Lacks gave birth to her second child and first daughter, Eliza. On April 10, 1941, Henrietta, age 20, married Day, age 25. Soon after their marriage, Day moved to Baltimore to take advantage of the large amount of opportunity in the steel factories during World War II, and Henrietta and the two children soon followed.
While living in Baltimore, Henrietta gave birth to three more children. She “spent her time cooking for Day, the children, and whichever cousins happened to be at her house. She made her famous rice pudding and slow-cooked greens, chitlins, and the vats of spaghetti with meatballs she kept going on the stove for whenever cousins dropped by hungry.”4 One of her friends reflected that “Hennie made life come alive—bein with her was like bein with fun. Hennie just love peoples. She was a person that could really make the good things come out of you.”5 Although Henrietta Lacks held the ability to make the good come out of people, something lethal was growing inside her body. She began telling her family and friends that she had a knot in her womb or that she was bleeding even though it was not her time of the month.6 After feeling something strange on her cervix, Lacks knew it was imperative for her to go visit a doctor.
Lacks made an appointment at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and her biopsy results determined that she had Stage I epidermoid carcinoma of the cervix, or cervical cancer. The doctor that examined her found it incredibly interesting that even though she had no cervical abnormalities when she delivered a baby at Hopkins three months prior, she now returned to the hospital with a cancerous tumor.7 After the mass was diagnosed as cancerous, Lacks was instructed to return to the hospital to begin radium treatment. Radium was known to cause cancer, but it was also known to kill cancer. Unfortunately, it was also known to burn the skin, which is exactly what happened to Lacks during her treatment. Those close to her were horrified when Lacks confided in them the damage from her treatment, telling them that “Lord it just feels like that blackness be spreadin all inside me.”8
That “blackness,” her cancer, was actually spreading all inside her. In August 1951, Lacks returned to Hopkins, asking to be admitted because her pain was unbearable. She died a grim death on October 4, 1951 at age 31 from cancer that had metastasized throughout her entire body. Lacks was buried in a wooden box in an unmarked grave in Clover, Virginia. What Henrietta Lacks and her family did not know, however, was that she would live on forever through her cells. During her cancer treatment at Johns Hopkins, her doctor took healthy and cancerous samples from Lacks’ cervix without informing her of his actions or getting consent from her, and gave them to George Gey, a cancer researcher.  This was standard practice, and, at the time of Lacks’s death, there were no state or federal laws regarding obtaining consent from any patient.9 Gey was constantly analyzing human cells in an effort to create the perfect culture medium, or the liquid used for feeding cells. After being placed in a Petri dish, the cells would usually die within a few hours, but Gey found that Henrietta’s cells did something amazing. Her cells kept reproducing.
Gey started his own cell line, which he named HeLa in tribute to Henrietta Lacks. Neither Gey nor his assistant revealed the name of the original owner of the immortal cell line, thus making Lacks’ name unknown to the public. The medical breakthroughs from the usage of HeLa cells quickly began after Lacks’ death. A scientist named Jonas Salk proclaimed that he had found a cure to polio but needed to test the vaccine first. Salk acquired some HeLa cells, and, in 1954, Salk released the vaccine that prevented polio. Millions of lives were saved from this disease, thanks to the testing performed on the HeLa cells.
Since Gey did not patent his HeLa cells, labs all over the world soon began obtaining these unique cells for research and experiments. HeLa cells even went to space when the United States wanted to test how human cells would react in zero gravity, and were used to determine the affects of the atomic bomb.10 Scientists used HeLa cells to study molecular biology, virology, and genetics. Lacks’ cells were also used for research on cancer, AIDS, and, more recently, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Vaccines and drugs for diseases such as herpes, leukemia, influenza, hemophilia, and Parkinson’s disease were also developed through testing done on HeLa cells.
Henrietta Lacks’ cells were being used to make scientific breakthroughs beyond many researchers’ wildest dreams, but her family was unaware of Henrietta’s contribution to science. In 1953, a reporter at the Minneapolis Star claimed that the HeLa cells belonged to a woman named Henrietta Lakes, alerting people for the first time that these were human cells.11 Other reporters claimed that HeLa stood for Helen Lane or Helen Larson.12 Either way, the name Henrietta Lacks was never published, and the Lacks family was unaware that Henrietta’s cells were being circulated around the globe until 1973.

One day in 1973, Bobbette Lacks, Lawrence’s wife, was having lunch with her friend and her friend’s brother-in-law. The brother-in-law and Bobbette discovered that they were from the same part of Baltimore, and Bobbette told him that her last name was Lacks. Her friend’s brother-in-law told Bobbette that he worked at the National Cancer Institute and that he had been working for years with cells in his lab that he just recently learned belonged to a woman named Henrietta Lacks. Bobbette soon learned that this man, like many others around the world, had her mother-in-law’s cells in their labs.13 Thus began the anger, confusion, and frustration that would consume the Lacks family for decades.
The Lacks family, still living in Baltimore City, was impoverished and in poor health. They were being harassed by doctors and researchers for blood samples and developed a serious mistrust of Johns Hopkins Hospital. They felt that they had been robbed by Hopkins and thought that Henrietta was still alive and her body was being held hostage in the hospital. Some members of the family thought that suing the hospital for taking a part of Henrietta without her consent or knowledge was the proper path, but they would soon learn their case was fruitless. Around the same time the Lacks family discovered the truth about the HeLa cells, a Californian man named Roger Moore was attempting to sue his doctor for unknowingly scraping his cells and profiting from them. The case finally reached the Supreme Court of California, and the court ruled that “When tissues are removed from your body, with or without your consent, any claim you might have had to owning them vanishes. When you leave tissues in a doctor’s office or a lab, you abandon them as waste, and anyone can take your garbage and sell it.”14 This ruling set a precedent, stripping a large amount of power away from patients and legally allowing doctors and researchers to financially exploit their patients if they discovered something medically groundbreaking. This opened a global debate about bioethics, but also left the Lacks’ family without a legal case.
In 1997, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) came to Baltimore to interview the Lacks family for a documentary about the HeLa cells’ role in cancer research. This gained some publicity about the woman behind the HeLa cells, and, in the same year, then United States Representative Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. formally addressed Congress about Lacks, saying that “Henrietta Lacks’ selfless contribution to the field of medicine has gone without acknowledgement for far too long. Her cells made her immortal: through her death, countless others have been saved by the research that was made possible through her cell line…I sincerely hope her name will also be immortalized as one of courage, hope, and strength, and that due recognition will be given to her role in medicine and science.”15 Henrietta’s enormous contribution to decades of science was recognized, but true justice for Henrietta still seemed hopeless.
Hope came to the Lacks family a few years later in the form of a young, white, female writer named Rebecca Skloot. Skloot became fascinated with the mystery behind the HeLa cells at age sixteen and spent many years trying to uncover the story behind the immortal cells. The Lacks, understandably, were mistrusting of Skloot and her motives. Skloot, however, proved to be faithful to the family in regards to spreading their story, and she became the closest with Henrietta’s daughter, Deborah. Deborah never knew her mother but always wanted to understand what happened to her. Through Deborah, Skloot was able to better understand the struggles of the family and tell the story of Henrietta, and through Skloot, Deborah was able to learn about her mother and even hold her cells. Skloot published The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks in 2010 and describes the book as “not only the story of HeLa cells and Henrietta Lacks, but of Henrietta’s family—particularly Deborah—and their lifelong struggle to make peace with the existence of those cells, and the science that made them possible.”16 The novel became an instant best-seller and was even comissioned by Oprah Winfrey to be made into a movie. The Lacks family was finally given the recognition they struggled for years to gain.
In 2013, 62 years after Henrietta’s death, the Lackses were finally able to have a voice in the distribution of HeLa cells. Controversy began again in early 2013 after a German lab published the HeLa genome in an online magazine. The German research lab published the paper “to show the degree to which the genomes of HeLa cells diverged from those of healthy cells, so researchers could take that into account when designing experiments and analyzing results from studies using the HeLa cell line,” but the Lacks family worried that others would be able to formulate their genetic codes through this public information.17 The article was taken down, but the Lackses still felt their biological information was being distributed without their consent and that “history was repeating itself” since anyone could get a hold of Henrietta’s genomes.18 In August 2013, an agreement between the Lackses and the National Institute of Health (NIH) was formulated, decreeing that scientists had to obtain permission from the NIH in order to conduct research on HeLa cells. The NIH and two members of the Lacks family would approve or reject the applications as they saw fit. Finally, the Lacks family could stop the outright exploitation of Henrietta.
Henrietta Lacks did not live a long life, but her cells will live on forever. She has had a greater impact on science than any other scientist or researcher will ever claim, and her cells have been used to save the lives of a countless number of people and animals. As the most important person in medicine, and as a former Maryland resident, Henrietta Lacks will be immortalized as an important Maryland woman through her induction into the 2014 Women’s Hall of Fame.

 

  1. Henrietta Lacks Women’s Hall of Fame 2014 Nomination Packet. Return to text
  2. “The Way of All Flesh,” Adam Curtis, available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0lMrp_ySg8. Return to text
  3. Rebecca Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, (New York: Crown Publishers, 2010), 23. Return to text
  4. Ibid, 42. Return to text
  5. Ibid, 43. Return to text
  6. Ibid, 15. Return to text
  7. Ibid, 17. Return to text
  8. Ibid, 48. Return to text
  9. Alok Jha and Rebecca Skloot, “The ‘immortal’ Henrietta Lacks–Science Weekly,” podcast audio, The Guardian: Science Weekly, accessed June 25, 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/audio/2010/jun/21/science-weekly-podcast-henrietta-lacks-rebecca-skloot?commentpage=1. Return to text
  10. Henrietta Lacks Women’s Hall of Fame 2014 Nomination Packet. Return to text
  11. Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, 105. Return to text
  12. Ibid, 109. Return to text
  13. Ibid, 180. Return to text
  14. Ibid, 205. Return to text
  15. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., “In Memory of Henrietta Lacks” (June 4, 1997), Congressional Record Volume 143, Number 75, https://beta.congress.gov/congressional-record/1997/06/04/extensions-of-remarks-section/article/E1109-1.  Return to text
  16. Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, 7. Return to text
  17. “German lab apologizes for publishing the genome of ‘immortal’ woman’s cell line,” Washington Post, April 2, 2013. Return to text
  18. Andrea K. Walker, “Lacks’ kin finally get say in use of her cells: After decades, NIH accord requires permission to use her genome in research,” Baltimore Sun, August 8, 2013. Return to text

Biography written by 2014 summer intern Sharon Miyagawa.

Return to Henrietta Lacks’ Introductory Page

 

This information resource of the Maryland State Archives is presented here for fair use in the public domain. When this material is used, in whole or in part, proper citation and credit must be attributed to the Maryland State Archives. PLEASE NOTE: Rights assessment for associated source material is the responsibility of the user.

Genetic Genealogy for Beginners – Chapter 3

 

 

Y-DNA Explained

Almost every article I have read on Genetic Genealogy, there have been comments or reviews from readers stating their frustration and confusion understanding the literature by well intended authors.

This chapter will began to focus on Y-DNA testing, which is the oldest test. Before we get started, lets look at your goals for testing to make sure you are clear. I suggest you write out your goals.

Do you have a general idea or just a curiosity about genetic genealogy or is your focus more specific? Consider the following questions:

  • Are you primarily interested in researching your surname?
  • Are there specific brick walls (you feel you can not  research further) that you wish to target with the use of DNA testing. (African-American getting beyond 1860)
  • How far back in your family tree are these brick walls? (This is a serious question for African-American genealogy researchers.)
  • What is the ancestral pattern back to these walls, i.e. – mother’s mother’s mother’s, mother or father’s mother’s mother’s father’s, father’s father’s father?
  • Are you ready for a long-time project or do you desire quick answers? (Long-time projects are best suited for this type of work. Quick answers tend to create mistake after mistake.)
  • Are there adoptions in your family tree that you would like to explore. (this is another heavy one for African-Americans. A lot of slaves could not read, write or speak English clearly who became free after the Civil War down south and north as well. Many migrated North and West looking for work and places for their families leaving their children with friends, neighbors or just disappearing under unusual circumstances. The people that kept theses children change their names or adopted them unofficially. Example: John Wilson and his family on the plantation may have changed to Amos Myatt and family. The DNA did not change. Understanding this and working through this is a challenge to any African-American researcher. This takes a real slow process of researching and genealogical detective work to find the connection.
  • Is your primary interest receiving a percentage breakdown of your ancestral origins or “Ethnicity”?

Currently there are tests geared at isolating types of DNA that can address these questions and others. They are the Y-chromosome DNA (Y-DNA), mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and the autosomal DNA (atDNA). Y-DNA has been in use the longest and has the best track record for helping genealogists demolish those proverbial brick walls.

Y-DNA refers to the DNA found on the Y chromosome. Only males inherit the Y chromosome, so this test can only be used to trace the direct paternal line. A father inherits his Y chromosome from his father who inherits it from his father who inherits it from his father and on and on. Ancient origins of a person’s direct paternal line.

Example from Ancestry.com DNA test results my line. Johns’ family paternal line.

Unlike all other chromosomes, the Y chromosome does not undergo extensive recombination before it is passed down to the next generation. There can be some recombination between the two tips of the Y and X chromosomes, but those regions are not used for genetic genealogy.

 

The unique inheritance pattern of Y-DNA offers both advantages and limitations when applying test results to a genealogical problem. The lack of recombination means that the same Y-DNA footprint is passed down for many generations, allowing a line to be traced many generations back in time. The fact that the same Y-DNA footprint is passed down for many generations is a major advantage when trying to determine if a patrillineal line was a specific biogeographical origin, such as African or Native American. The origin-identifying markers will not be diluted by recombination and will persist through all generations.

Types of Y-DNA Testing

There are two main types of Y-DNA testing for genetic genealogy: Short Tandem Repeat (STRand Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP).  

These test look at different kinds a markers, provide different information, and have different uses and limitations. I will take up more on this subject in the intermediate and advanced chapters at  later time.

 

 

 

 

Genetic Genealogy Standards Chapter 1

 

 

 

The Genetic Genealogy Standards Committee presented these standards at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy in Jan. 2015.

This document is intended to provide standards and best practices for the genealogical community to follow when purchasing, recommending, sharing, or writing about the results of DNA testing for ancestry.

These Standards are intentionally directed to genealogist, not to genetic genealogy testing companies. As used in the Standards the term “genealogist” includes anyone who takes a genetic genealogy test, as well as anyone who advises a client, family member, or other individual regarding genetic genealogy testing. However, it is ultimately the responsibility of those taking a genetic genealogy test (“tester”) to understand and consider these standards before ordering or agreeing to take any genetic genealogy test.

Standards for Obtaining, Using and Sharing Genetic Genealogy Test Results

  1. Company Offerings. Genealogists review and understanding the different DNA testing products and tools offered by available testing companies, and prior to testing determine which company or companies are capable of achieving the genealogist’s goal(s).
  2. Testing With Consent. Genealogists only obtain DNA for testing after receiving consent, written or oral, from the tester. In the case of a deceased individual, consent can be obtained from a legal representative. In the case of a minor, consent can be given by a parent or legal guardian of the minor. However, genealogists do not obtain DNA from someone who refuses to undergo testing.
  3. . Raw Data. Genealogists believe that testers have an inalienable right to their own DNA test results and raw data, even if someone other than the tester purchased the DNA test.
  4.  DNA Storage. Genealogists are aware of the DNA storage options offered by testing companies, and consider the implications of storing versus not storing DNA samples for future testing. Advantages of storing DNA samples include reducing costs associated with future testing and/or preserving DNA that can no longer be obtained from an individual. However, genealogists are aware that no company can guarantee that stored DNA will be of sufficient quantity or quality to perform additional testing. Genealogists also understand that a testing company may change its storage policy without notice to the tester.
  5. Terms of Service. Genealogists review and understand the terms and conditions to which the tester consents when purchasing a DNA test.
  6. Privacy. Genealogists only test with companies that respect and protect the privacy of testers. However, genealogists understand that complete anonymity of DNA tests results can never be guaranteed.
  7. Access by Third Parties. Genealogists understand that once DNA test results are made publicly available, they can be freely accessed, copied, and analyzed by a third party without permission. For example, DNA test results published on a DNA project website are publicly available. 1 Except in situations where DNA testing is specifically mandated by law or court order. This type of mandated DNA testing may affect other Standard including Standards #3 (Raw Data), #6 (Privacy),
  8.  Sharing Results. Genealogists respect all limitations on reviewing and sharing DNA test results imposed at the request of the tester. For example, genealogists do not share or otherwise reveal DNA test results (beyond the tools offered by the testing company) or other personal information (name, address, or email) without the written or oral consent of the tester.
  9.  Scholarship. When lecturing or writing about genetic genealogy, genealogists respect the privacy of others. Genealogists privatize or redact the names of living genetic matches from presentations unless the genetic matches have given prior permission or made their results publicly available. Genealogists share DNA test results of living individuals in a work of scholarship only if the tester has given permission or has previously made those results publicly available. Genealogists may confidentially share an individual’s DNA test results with an editor and/or peer-reviewer of a work of scholarship. Genealogists also disclose any professional relationship they have with a for-profit DNA testing company or service when lecturing or writing about genetic genealogy.
  10. Health Information. Genealogists understand that DNA tests may have medical implications.
  11.  Designating a Beneficiary. Genealogists designate a beneficiary to manage test results and/or stored DNA in the event of their death or incapacitation. Standards for the Interpretation of Genetic Genealogy Test Results
  12.  Unexpected Results. Genealogists understand that DNA test results, like traditional genealogical records, can reveal unexpected information about the tester and his or her immediate family, ancestors, and/or descendants. For example, both DNA test results and traditional genealogical records can reveal misattributed parentage, adoption, health information, previously unknown family members and erros in well-researched family trees, among other unexpected outcomes.
  13. Different Types of Tests. Genealogists understand that there are different types of DNA tests, including Y-chromosome DNA (“Y-DNA”), mitochondrial DNA (“mtDNA”), Xchromosome (“X-DNA”), and autosomal DNA (“atDNA”) testing. Each test has advantages and limitations, and can be used in different ways for genealogical research. Often, multiple types of testing can be or must be used to test a hypothesis. Prior to testing, genealogists determine which type(s) of DNA testing is capable of achieving the genealogist’s goal(s).
  14.  Y-DNA and mtDNA Tests. Genealogists understand the current recommended minimum YDNA and mtDNA testing standards, guidelines for which are currently being drafted and will be found at http://www.GeneticGenealogyStandards.com when completed. Genealogists are aware that even after an initial mtDNA or Y-DNA test, additional testing (e.g., additional markers and/or sequencing) might be necessary in order to achieve the genealogist’s goal(s).
  15.  Limitations of Y-DNA Testing. Genealogists understand that Y-DNA test results reveal relationships among testers through their direct paternal lines. However, identification of the exact relationship or most recent common ancestor (“MRCA”) cannot be determined by Y-DNA test results alone.
  16. Limitations of mtDNA Testing. Genealogists understand that mtDNA test results reveal relationships among testers through their direct maternal lines. However, identification of the exact relationship or MRCA cannot be determined by mtDNA test results alone.
  17. Limitations of Autosomal DNA Testing. Genealogists understand that autosomal DNA test results, alone, can be used to confirm or deny first degree relationships with certainty (parent/child or full siblings). Genealogists understand that analysis of genealogical relationships beyond the first degree requires the combination of DNA test results and traditional genealogical records.
  18. Limitations of Ethnicity Analysis. Genealogists understand that ethnicity analysis is limited by the proprietary reference population database and algorithm utilized by the testing company, and thus understand that estimates can vary. Genealogists further understand that because individuals do not possess DNA from all ancestors, an ethnicity estimate can neither be predicted nor evaluated based solely on a genealogical family tree.
  19. Interpretation of DNA Test Results. Genealogists understand that there is frequently more than one possible interpretation of DNA test results. Sometimes, but not always, these possible explanations can be narrowed by additional testing and/or documentary genealogical research. Genealogists further understand that any analysis of DNA test results is necessarily dependent upon other information, including information from the tester, and that the analysis is only as reliable as the information upon which it is based.
  20.  DNA as Part of Genealogical Proof. Genealogists understand that no single piece of evidence, including evidence gathered from DNA testing, alone constitutes genealogical proof. Establishing genealogical proof requires thorough research in reliable relevant records, complete and accurate documentation and source citation, analysis and correlation of all evidence, resolution of conflicts caused by contradictory information, and a soundly reasoned written conclusion. For more information, see the Genealogical Proof Standard (www.bcgcertification.org).
  21. Citing DNA Test Results. Genealogists understand and use the current recommended minimum standards for citing DNA test results in reports to clients or in works of scholarship. Guidelines are currently being drafted and will be found at www.GeneticGenealogyStandards.com when completed.

African-American Genealogy Lineup Rootstech 2017

 

 

African-American Genealogist Lineup Rootstech-2017

The countdown is on to RootsTech 2017! I can’t wait to see all my Genfriends and meet new ones. This year I’ll be presenting at RootsTech (see schedule below), and blogging, posting and tweeting live from the conference as a RootsTech Ambassador.

Last year was my first year attending RootsTech, the largest genealogy conference on the planet, held annually in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was an amazing experience. With more than 200 breakout class sessions to choose from, you can grow your skills and learn how to overcome tough challenges that arise in your research. The Expo Hall features hundreds of vendors of the latest apps, services and technology to help you make the most of all the tech devices you use in your research.

This year, I’m excited by two new offerings at RootsTech – the Coaches’ Corner, and a robust lineup of African American genealogy sessions.

In the Coaches’ Corner, located in the Expo Hall, certified genealogists will be available to answer your burning genealogy questions. You’ll have an opportunity to work one on one with experts who can help you overcome even the toughest genealogy brick walls.

And, this year, for the first time, you can fill your entire time at RootsTech attending sessions on African American genealogy! Please read on to view African American genealogy sessions for each day of the conference. Excited? The next step is to register for RootsTech 2017. Hope to see you there, and if you can’t attend this year, please watch for our live updates during the conference!

Thursday, February 9

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Using Genealogical Periodicals for Research

Presenter: Frazine Taylor
Frazine Taylor | Intermediate
Thursday, February 9
11:00am

Although genealogical periodicals offer many sources of hidden information, they are often overlooked or underused by family historians in researching family history. The question becomes why do you think we do not search periodicals for our families? They are too hard, no index, some may have yearly indexes or none at all, just to name a few of the obstacles that makes periodical research difficult and underused. They are often Society publications and the resources necessary to make them widely available are scarce. However, the genealogical information in them are voluminous and genealogical and historical societies have published them for decades.This workshop will focus on the value of published cumulative indexes and time-saving tips to narrow the search for an ancestor using examples found in national periodicals and Alabama’s periodical collection.

Room: 255A
Session number: RT0763
RootsTech Track

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Mapping the Freedmen’s Bureau: New Research Guide

Presenters: Angela Walton-Raji and Toni Carrier
Toni Carrier, Lowcountry Africana; Angela Walton-Raji, Mapping the Freedmen’s Bureau | Beginner
Thursday, Feb 9
1:30pm

The records of the Freedmen’s Bureau are among the richest for tracing African American ancestors. FamilySearch recently announced the completion of the Freedmen’s Bureau Project, a collaborative effort to index all surviving Freedmen’s Bureau records. A new website developed by Angela Walton-Raji and Toni Carrier, “Mapping the Freedmen’s Bureau” (www.mappingthefreedmensbureau.com) is an interactive map interface to help researchers make the most of Freedmen’s Bureau records by identifying the Freedmen’s Bureau field office, hospital or contraband camp nearest their area of research interest, to make these records all the more accessible. This session will present an overview of the Mapping the Freedmen’s Bureau website and present a case study which illustrates the importance of digging deeper into these valuable records after searching the FamilySearch index.

Room: 251D
Session number: RT1036
RootsTech Track

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Exploring the Testimonies of Former Slaves in the Southern Claims Commission Records

Presenter: Bernice Bennett
Bernice Bennett, BB’s Genealogy Research and Educational Services, LLC | Intermediate
1:30pm

This session will explore the Southern Claims Commission Records that were created based upon losses in twelve states after the Civil War. The claimants testimony included a list of losses and witnesses to support those losses. These records produced eye witness testimonies from former slaves, family members and neighbors. Freedmen provide details about their lives and knowledge of their former enslavers.

Room: 255A
Session number: RT0772
RootsTech Track

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From Nurses to Cooks: Black Women in the Civil War

Presenter: Angela Walton-Raji
Angela Walton-Raji, Mapping the Freedmen’s Bureau | Beginner
Thursday, February 9
3:00pm

This workshop will explore the surprising records that reflect the names of women of color who served in multiple jobs during the war and will explain how to find them. Surprisingly there are service records, and even pension files that describe the work performed by these women. These records point to unwritten chapters in American history, and hopefully will pull back another layer of many untold stories of ordinary people who did extraordinary things.

Room: 250D
Session number: RT0805
RootsTech Track

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Census Data: More Than Just a Population Count

Presenter: Janis Forte
Janis Forte | Beginner
Thursday, February 9
3:00pm

Every genealogist is familiar with Schedule I of the federal census as the official population count. However, this schedule does not present the census in its entirety. In the form of supplemental schedules, each ten years congress authorized topical reports to describe growth in the country. Titled ‘supplemental schedules’, from 1820 to 1880 these reports capture data on agriculture, business, industry, mortality and social variables in the newly formed country. Now available in digitized format, these schedules aid in completing family composition. The schedules may identify missing and reveal cohort groups and community relations. These schedules list those in asylums, institutions and those incarcerated in a county jail or prison. With the growth of the internet, accessing these schedules provides valuable genealogical and community content information which expand the cultural and community of ancestors.

Room: Ballroom B
Session number: RT0615
RootsTech Track

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Freedmen’s Bureau Records on FamilySearch

Presenter: Ken Nelson
Ken Nelson, Family Search | Advanced
Thursday, February 9
4:30pm

In 1865 the Freedmen’s Bureau was established in the South to provide assistance to freedmen and refugees. It provided to those in need food, medicine and clothing, established schools, and hospitals, provided transportation, helped with labor contracts and assisted soldiers with pension claims. For many researchers with African American ancestry, Bureau records are a starting point in making that link to that first generation of former slaves. This class will focus on the Freedmen’s Bureau records on FamilySearch by understanding how best to search the record images, the scope of the Discover Freedmen Project, by looking at the records that were indexed and discuss a strategy for using the records with other Reconstruction era collections such as census records, and voter registrations.

Room: 255D
Session number: RT1046
RootsTech Track

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Friday, February 10

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African American Genealogy for Newbies

Presenter: Nicka Smith
Nicka Smith, Who is Nicka Smith, BlackProGen | Beginner
Friday, February 10
1:30pm

America’s youth both between 1982 and 2000 now number 83.1 million and are more diverse than the generations that preceded them with 44.2 percent being part of a minority race or ethnic group.1 Many of these Millenials identify as African American and have relatives who likely don’t check the same racial designation box as them who are eager to help them trace their genealogy. In this session, learn the basics of researching African American genealogy and have a safe space to ask burning questions.

Room: 255A
Session number: RT1666
RootsTech Track

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Dealing with African American Genealogy Challenges

Presenter: Shelley Murphy
Shelley Murphy | Beginner
Friday, February 10
3:00pm

All genealogy has the so-called brick walls or genealogy challenges. This session will help you consider your research goals, understand what are you looking for and what challenges you will face in researching African Americans. In addition attendees will be provided with some tools and online resources that are available to help combat the challenges.

Room: 255A
Session number: RT1457
RootsTech Track
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Identity by Descent: Using DNA to Extend the African-American Pedigree

Presenter: Shannon Christmas
Shannon Christmas, Through The Trees Blog | Intermediate
Friday, February 10

4:30pm

Using illustrative examples, this session demonstrates how DNA analysis, when used in concert with traditional genealogical research methods, can help family historians overcome challenges unique to African-American genealogy research.

 

Room: 255A
Session number: RT1436
RootsTech Track
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Saturday, February 11

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The Art of Storytelling: It’s More Than Names & Dates

Presenter: Kenyatta Berry
Kenyatta Berry, Genealogy Roadshow | Beginner
Saturday, February 11
11:00am

 

When doing family research we often focus on the names, dates and locations of our ancestors. However, it’s important to develop a story using historical context. Learn how to use online resources, history and technology to create a compelling family story. Using my experience as a host on Genealogy Roadshow, I will talk about our development process from research to story to screen. You will walk way inspired to create your own family story.

 

Room: Ballroom A
Session number: RT2095
RootsTech Track
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App Attack! Never Leave Home Without Them

Presenter: Shelley Murphy

Shelley Murphy | Beginner
Saturday, February 11
11:00am

Learning can happen anywhere. Researching & learning online are very useful tools for genealogists. Attendees will get a glimpse of some of the best online genealogy learning sites along with some genealogy cell phone applications. Some of the applications highlighted will be Ancestry, Family Tree, Genealogy Gems, Legacyfamilytreewebinars, Monticello, FindAGrave, & Ben Franklin’s World.

 

Room: Ballroom I
Session number: RT1434
RootsTech Track
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How to Get More from Your DNA with GEDMatch.com

Presenter: Shannon Christmas
Shannon Christmas, Through The Trees Blog | Beginner
Saturday, February 11
1:30pm

Learn how to mine your autosomal DNA results for genealogical gems using the most popular third-party tool for genetic genealogy.

 

Room: 255D
Session number: RT1440
RootsTech Track
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