Category: genetics 101

Is That a Peacock Feather under your Coat … Or are You Just Happy to See Me?

An animal's ability to survive often depends on how well it can avoid predators.  Many species of fish, birds, and mammals have evolved ingenious methods of staying hidden from predators by blending into the background in one form or another.  But what about animals that do the opposite?  How and why would ...

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Genes and Languages: Not So Strange Bedfellows?

Throughout the history of our species there has been one constant:  movement.  Since the origin of Homo sapiens nearly 200,000 years ago in East Africa, humans have journeyed around the globe, ultimately inhabiting every continent save Antarctica.Scientists have traditionally used archaeology, and more ...

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The Origin of Farming in Europe: A View from the Y Chromosome

This guest post is by Roy King, who is a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University and a research colleague of Stanford geneticist and 23andMe scientific adviser Peter Underhill. Roy and Peter have been using genetics to trace the spread of agriculture from the Near East to Europe. The question of ...

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I’m No Neanderthal, and Neither Are You

(Ed: Newer research suggests that Homo sapiens and Neanderthals did in fact interbreed. On average, two to four percent of DNA in present-day humans who trace their ancestry from Europe or Asia comes from our Neanderthal cousins. 23andMe customers can check out their own Neanderthal ancestry here! -- ...

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The Answer: Snot

The question: What does DNA look like? While many of the 23andMe scientists have purified DNA more times than we’d like to remember, there are a fair number of people here (on the science team and on the engineering and business teams) who’ve never spent any time at the lab bench. We love all things DNA ...

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Iceland’s Deadly Disease Mystery

For the past 100 years, there has been a mysterious disease afflicting Icelanders. Called Hereditary Cystatin C Amyloid Angiopathy (or HCCAA), it causes severe brain hemorrhages and dementia in young adults. For those individuals who have the disease, life expectancy is usually no higher than 30 years. ...

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Haplogroups of the Rich and Famous

Jesse James One of the most engaging features of 23andMe’s Personal Genome Service is a customer’s ability to trace his or her genetic ancestry using the mitochondrial DNA and the Y-chromosome. Once customers learn their own ancestry, the Genome Sharing feature allows them to see how they compare with ...

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A Beautiful Ancestry Painting

Roy King is a clinical psychiatrist at Stanford University. He’s also a scholar who uses genetics and archaeology to figure out how agriculture spread through Anatolia and the Mediterranean region of Europe more than 10,000 years ago. Now Roy has another genetic puzzle to consider – himself. With the help ...

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Whose Y to Use? Paternal Ancestry for Ladies

One of the most exciting parts of 23andMe’s Personal Genome Service™ is discovering your genetic ancestry. Suddenly your family tree has branches that reach back thousands of years into the prehistoric past. At present, 23andMe customers can trace two branches of their genetic family tree – one that ...

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Giving the Gift of a Virtual Gene

Ever since the social media site Facebook allowed users to develop third-party applications, there has been an explosion of various quizzes, icons, and virtual gifts that users can add to each others' profiles. In addition to the various LOLcats, zombies, and werewolves that permeate Facebook these days, ...

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