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Biotech Science

Ancestry.com To Add DNA Test Results 223

Posted by kdawson
from the who's-yer-daddy dept.
Spamicles writes "For less than $200 and a cheek-swiped cotton swab, you will soon be able to add DNA results to family tree Web sites. Ancestry.com plans to launch the DNA testing product by the end of summer, offering customers the possibility of finding DNA matches in the site's 24,000 genealogical databases. By taking a simple cheek-swab test and comparing results against DNA profiles in a test-results database, virtually anyone can uncover genealogical associations unimaginable just a few years ago. Users can easily connect with and discover lost or unknown relatives within a few generations, as well as gain insight into where their families originated thousands of years ago."
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Ancestry.com To Add DNA Test Results

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  • by niceone (992278) * on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @08:00AM (#19563269) Journal
    This has been available for a while at www.fbi.gov. Users can easily connect with and discover lost or unknown crimes they have committed, as well as gain insight into the legal system and prison food.
    • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @08:20AM (#19563437)
      All kidding aside ... would the FBI (or some other government or law enforcement agency) ever be able to request (wink wink) your DNA from ancestry.com? I doubt there's a 'web site/client' privilege to contend with. Is there any real expectation of privacy if you voluntarily submit it to them?
      • by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @08:36AM (#19563581) Journal

        would the FBI (or some other government or law enforcement agency) ever be able to request (wink wink) your DNA from ancestry.com?
        Absolutely. They'd technically need a warrant, though. /snicker

        If it would help make the streets safer for our children, why would anyone have a problem with that?

        Sorry, full of the snark this morning.
        • by Lord_Slepnir (585350) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @01:38PM (#19567313) Journal
          I hope they go to ancestory.com to get my DNA. Just grab a random bum of the street, pay him a fifth of scotch to give a small blood sample and say its yours, and submit. Next time you leave DNA at a crimescene, the FBI will get a warrant (secret or otherwise), compare your DNA to the bum's DNA, it won't hit and it will throw a wrench in thier investigation.

          If the bum were to leave their DNA at a scene, you can clear your own name by giving a blood sample and just claiming that ancestory.com screwed up the samples.

      • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @08:36AM (#19563585) Homepage Journal
        IANAL, but I'm guessing that they could request your DNA from ancestry.com, and if the site refused to turn over results, they could probably get a subpoena as long as they were able to show reasonable cause. But this would be no different than getting DNA directly from you, which is much cleaner in terms of the chain of evidence.

        OTOH, as long as a doctor is the one obtaining the DNA, there is a degree of doctor/patient confidentiality. On the gripping hand, the courts generally will still issue a subpoena to get DNA from medical records (again, with reasonable cause), and I suppose it's no different in this case.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by kalirion (728907)
          IANAL, but I'm guessing that they could request your DNA from ancestry.com, and if the site refused to turn over results, they could probably get a subpoena as long as they were able to show reasonable cause. But this would be no different than getting DNA directly from you, which is much cleaner in terms of the chain of evidence.

          Or they could just ask RIAA to borrow their pretexting experts.
        • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @09:42AM (#19564227) Homepage Journal
          Here's the worry, I think: law enforcement agencies could take a crime scene sample, run it against the entire Ancestry.com database, and decide that whoever comes up with the closest match must have done it. And in the current climate, they might well make it stick, even if the crime involves ... [gasp] pedophilia ... or [shock] terrorism ... or [falls over dead from the horror of it] record piracy.
          • by Animaether (411575) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @10:18AM (#19564603) Journal
            I'm going to play devil's advocate here for a bit and say that just because somebody's DNA is found at a scene doesn't automatically make agencies go "he did it". It's -a- piece of evidence and one that can be discarded as easily as *snaps fingers* that if there's a good explanation.

            Now... if you have no alibi for the time they're placing the crime at, and no good explanation whatsoever of why your DNA would be there... yes, the police may investigate you a little closer. Still doesn't mean they'll just skip the whole investigation and trial thing and just lock you up 'because the DNA said he did it'. If they tried, then lawyers these days are quite savvy enough to come up with some reasonable explanation of why your DNA might be there (even if you can't), and the cops, too, know they'll need a little more than that to convince a judge/jury.

            I find automated bits and pieces just as scary as the next guy (probably a bit scarier because I've been detained at 3 separate events for carrying a camera with a suspicious looking lens (it's a fisheye) - one of which was a bomb scare - so yeah, I know how it feels to automatically be 'suspect'), but let's not blow things way out of proportion.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              I don't think it's blowing things out of proportion to say "this could be a problem." Look, I'm not saying Ancestry.com should be prohibited from doing what they're doing; I'm not even saying you shouldn't send them a sample if you're interested in genealogical research and think you might get something out of it. But it is a situation which deserves careful monitoring. The fact of the matter is, innocent people do get investigated, charged, and even convicted on the flimsiest of evidence, particularly w
              • by bkr1_2k (237627)
                But I think you'd find in more cases than not, DNA evidence didn't convict the innocent. Yes there are a few cases where DNA evidence was used and new technology found the person not to be a match, but I think those are fairly rare. In most cases where DNA is used, the person is found not guilty (still can cause damage to life and reputation) or the person was in fact guilty.
                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by Maxo-Texas (864189)
                  In Houston, they are reviewing (and turning over many of) over a hundred cases that were based on DNA evidence.

                  There was this problem of the lab using incorrect techniques and even worse apparently just saying the DNA evidence matched if the prosecution really wanted it too.

                  DNA evidence can be manipulated fairly easily apparently. It took close to a decade before they got caught.

          • Here's the worry, I think: law enforcement agencies could take a crime scene sample, run it against the entire Ancestry.com database, and decide that whoever comes up with the closest match must have done it.

            The police can't even do this with their own database yet. The administrators of the DNA database only provide names for exact DNA matches. One of the network news shows (Dateline, 60 Minutes, etc) had a piece not too long ago where the police submitted DNA from crime scenes and found the database

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by AvitarX (172628)
          Except if the get it from you. You can hire a lawyer and start planning your defense (weather guilty or not). If they get it from Ancestry.com they can keep you in the dark and blindside you months later.
        • by bkr1_2k (237627)
          You make the assumption that the FBI (or whomever) is doing an open investigation. If they want to investigate you without your knowlege, this would make it easier for them.

          I don't know if doctor-patient confidentiality holds up against a subpoena with respect to physical evidence so much as things spoken between doctor and patient, but I could be wrong.

          Still, this isn't particularly recent news. Ancestry.com has been promoting DNA testing for quite a while. I don't know if they had any particular "produ
      • by suv4x4 (956391)
        All kidding aside ... would the FBI (or some other government or law enforcement agency) ever be able to request (wink wink) your DNA from ancestry.com? I doubt there's a 'web site/client' privilege to contend with. Is there any real expectation of privacy if you voluntarily submit it to them?

        It's 2007, FBI is irrelevant. Just issue a DMCA takedown notice for your DNA and crime clues to them and they gotta comply.

        If they don't, sue their asses. That'll teach them. Amateurs.
      • by niceone (992278) * on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @09:33AM (#19564147) Journal
        They don't even have to get the data! They just have to take the DNA from the crime scene and submit it to this site... then whoever is closest related probably did it.
        • by db32 (862117) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @09:56AM (#19564377) Journal
          Just gunna go out on a limb here, but I suspect that you are more likely to find the DNA match of a victim than a criminal. I may just be making broad generalizations here but I would suspect that most of the people who would submit their DNA to Ancestory.com are not the same type of people who go leaving their DNA at crime scenes, let alone are every around any crime scenes as anything other than a victim.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Red Flayer (890720)

            I would suspect that most of the people who would submit their DNA to Ancestory.com are not the same type of people who go leaving their DNA at crime scenes, let alone are every around any crime scenes as anything other than a victim.

            Sure, but if you get someone with enough similarities to suggest a familial connection, you can go interview them about their family.

            "Mrs. Scharffenberger, do you have any close relatives who live in the Mendocino area? Do you know where they were Saturday night?"

          • I would suspect that most of the people who would submit their DNA to Ancestory.com are not the same type of people who go leaving their DNA at crime scenes, let alone are every around any crime scenes as anything other than a victim.

            The world does not divide up into "good people" and "bad people." All good people do bad things, and all bad people do good things. All dumb people do smart things, and all smart people do dumb things. So I would suspect that you are absolutely wrong. And leaving your DNA

            • by djh101010 (656795) *

              The world does not divide up into "good people" and "bad people." All good people do bad things, and all bad people do good things. All dumb people do smart things, and all smart people do dumb things. So I would suspect that you are absolutely wrong. And leaving your DNA at a crime scene does not mean you're guilty.

              As someone who is "good people" I take a bit of offense at that kind of thinking. There most certainly are "bad people", who are distinctly different from "good people". I am no threat to society, because of my ethical standards and my sense of what is right. These standards coincide with what society expects of a law-abiding person. Because, it's the right thing to do. Criminals who have chosen to victimize members of society, on the other hand, I'm sorry, but they _are_ "bad people". The difference

              • by Chyeld (713439)
                You obviously missed the point being made.

                The Parent post did not indicate anything in regards to "if there are good people, or bad people" but pointed out that being a "bad person" doesn't preclude you from doing the same things that a "good person" does on their off time. Being a "good person" doesn't preclude you from doing things that "bad people" do on their time off.

                If you honestly think that the "bad people" out there just sit around being "bad" and thinking up new ways of being "bad", because they a
            • All good people do bad things, and all bad people do good things.

              Are we to understand you do bad things? Come along now. This won't hurt a bit...

          • by n-baxley (103975)
            ahh, but what if your cousin is a criminal and HIS DNA is found at the crime scene? They stick his DNA in the system and out comes your name as a close match. So they call you up and you have no alibi. AND you get all nervous when the very nice FBI agents start asking you about your whereabouts related to a murder. Then what do you do?!
      • by jd (1658)
        Depending on the number of markers on a person's DNA test, this will range from the fairly useless to the totally useless. These things can't even be used for paternity tests. Let's say someone has 37 Y-chromosome markers tested - a fairly common thing to do. You will match if you have a last common ancestor in the last 6 generations. Very useful for genealogy, but bugger all use for criminology, unless they want to press charges against your great great grandfather.

        The most extreme test available (67 Y-c

  • by east coast (590680) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @08:01AM (#19563273)
    Why would I want to find out that I have more?
    • ... If you are lucky, you will find out they really aren't your relatives after all, and that your parents kidnapped you from your real parents, who are super mega rich.

      Unfortunately, I look so much like my parents, I don't have much hope...
    • by apt142 (574425)
      On the bright side, the relatives you find at ancestry are probably dead.
    • I did some genetics research -early stuff on the genome project. When I first started, some results didn't make sense, and my boss said- "Oh, that's the milkman gene"

      I tried to remember what that gene did, until I figured out what he meant.

      Do you really want to find out that Dad isn't your father?
  • Privacy? (Score:5, Informative)

    by MMC Monster (602931) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @08:03AM (#19563285)
    I had a genealogy site up a few years ago. I eventually took it down due to complaints from my (extended) family regarding privacy concerns. I had people emailing me asking to remove their mothers' maiden names from the database.

    God only knows how something like ancestry.com manages to keep afloat with all the privacy concerns.

    P.S. I would try to put my database back up and require registration for searching, but there is no way for me to validate any registration (to avoid identity theives), so the point is probably moot.
    • by Tuoqui (1091447)
      Simple, a vast majority of the information obtained is a matter of public record (Birth Certificates, Death Certificates, Marriage Licenses, etc...). All anyone has to do is go to the area they were born in and go through the hall of records or whatever it is and bam. You got all this info. And to be honest, shouldnt we be using something OTHER than Mother's maiden name to reset passwords and crap by now?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Red Flayer (890720)

        All anyone has to do is go to the area they were born in and go through the hall of records or whatever it is and bam. You got all this info.

        Well, it's an onerous task to do all that research. Security through obscurity and pain-in-the-assity actually works most of the time in the real world. It's when it becomes EASY to find that information that the amount of identity theft becomes a problem worth spending a ton of resources to defeat.

        And to be honest, shouldnt we be using something OTHER than Mother's

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Mikkeles (698461)
        'And to be honest, shouldnt we be using something OTHER than Mother's maiden name to reset passwords and crap by now?'

        Yes. However, the banks, etc., don't really care what answer you use for mother's maiden name; give them anything you want which you will remember if needed. This applies to any of these test questions; the answer need not have anything to do with reality.

        • In fact, that's actually the best way to deal with them.

          Mother's maiden name? 'Upyours'.

          Say somebody gets a hold of your account data, but not enough to do anything.. for that, they need to reset an e-mail addy or whatever, and for -that- they need to answer the secret question. Mother's maiden name? pfft.. they already know nearly all they need for full access to your account.. you think they won't know your mother's maiden name? So they enter it.. Johnson. *BUZZ* wrong, mister. And with any luck your ba
      • Re:Privacy? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ParticleGirl (197721) <SlashdotParticleGirl AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @09:03AM (#19563849) Journal
        Although all this stuff is a matter of public record, most of it isn't readily accessible. The internet changes the whole meaning of public. We're talking about institutions which have existed for decades if not centuries, and for them the internet is still new.
         
        I worked at a data archive under the Department of Justice and the FBI in the late 90s/early 00s, and they were just making a switch to dowloads from distributing CDs full of data for the cost of the CD plus shipping. You see, the data was supposed to be a matter of public record. But if they wanted a copy, once upon a time it meant many, many days with a mimeograph. Or a punchcard machine. Or waiting for (and paying for) a CD to arrive in the mail. (All of these changes over the course of 20 years, after many decades of needing to visit!)
            People finally had the bandwith to download. The biggest issue people at the archive struggled with? If it's too easy to use, any schmuck who wants to can get a copy. In the past you had to go to great, or at least greater, lengths to get the information. There was more resistance than you can imagine to making the website user friendly as opposed to intentional obfuscation(!) simply because "a matter of public record" has a very, very different meaning now than it did twenty years ago.

        If the FBI wants your mother's maiden name (or diary) and have filled out all the appropriate paperwork, they can find out whether they have to go to the local archive (or your bedroom) or not. But if Joe Schmoe wants your mother's maiden name (or your diary), there's a difference between him making a special trip to an archive (or visiting your bedroom) and him typing your name into Google.

        Which is not to say I don't think that "matter of public record" information shouldn't be on the internet. It should be. Information wants to be free and all that... but lots of very stupid people are going to suffer because they didn't realize that their blog wasn't private, and lots and lots of smart people are going to suffer because some credit companies only allow people to use things that are a matter of public record as passwords. It's going to take a while for people-- and especially for institutions-- to get used to the idea that public has a whole new meaning; that accessible is the new last word in privacy.
    • by chill (34294)
      The simple was is to create accounts and only let family into your site instead of having it public. Don't show private information of people still living or, if someone complains, one generation back from the living.

      Beyond that it is mostly public records.
    • Re:Privacy? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JWSmythe (446288) * <(moc.ehtymswj) (ta) (ehtymswj)> on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @08:35AM (#19563573) Homepage Journal
      My mother does genealogy. She has parts of our family back to the 1400's. I've discussed many options with her on bigger, better, faster (and more computer-centric) ways to gather the information. There are a lot of obstacles.

          The saddest is what you ran into. If I remember what she told me correctly, it's either legally required, or just good form, to only publish those who are deceased or records older than 80 years. I'm probably off on that number though. Why I consider it sad is that I wouldn't know cousin Vinnie. He (the mythical Vinnie) could be a blood relation from a fork of our tree in 1500 Europe.

          She wants, or needs, to show real documentation of the person and how they relate. She considers the accuracy of her work very important. Just because she finds (buys, borrows, whatever) someone else's tree doesn't mean that any of the information in it is accurate. Say our trees did cross. How is she to know without all the supporting documentation that the details are correct. Maybe that birth of Isaac on December 4 of 1606 was really April 12th of 1606. If she follows your tree without verification, she'll be following incorrect data to dead ends.

          I do like the idea of being able to find real-world relations. For my family, we're friendly enough so I don't suspect there would be problems. I know some families aren't quite so nice. Just because cousin Vinnie is a billionaire, every distant cousin would be bugging him for some of his cash.

          I'll probably be putting myself into the system. I'm curious to see who's out there. Maybe I have a distant cousin who's also a reader here, and we have a lot in common. :) Maybe it just doesn't matter if you're a cousin or not. :)
    • by John3 (85454)
      I use PHPGedview [phpgedview.net] for posting my family tree online [johnfix.com]. You can easily define how much privacy you want to enforce, and most people restrict display of data unless someone has registered. Registration requests come in to my email and I can grant access, allow a person to add updates (which I later approve), etc. It's a very cool package if you have access to a web server that handles PHP.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by geekoid (135745)
      Did you also remind them to stop using there mothers maiden names for crap?

      I mean, they're family so you had to pull it down, but still.
  • by laron (102608) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @08:04AM (#19563299)
    Doctors calculate that about 5-10% of all children have a different biological father than they (and their "social" fathers) think.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Doctors calculate that about 5-10% of all children have a different biological father than they (and their "social" fathers) think.
      I know my dad is my "biological father". He's a miserable asocial misanthrope just like I am. It's true what they say that the apple doesn't rot far from the tree.
      • by JWSmythe (446288) *

        But is that due to characteristics that you've picked up from your environment, or genetics?

        So, you were raised with a miserable asocial misanthrope as a role model. Children learn from their environment, mainly their parents (or parental figures). Some mirror their role model. Some realize their role model is poor and go the opposite.

        I've been an influence on several children over the years, and some of them act quite a bit like me (as good or bad as that may
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          I'd be happy to share it, but would probably be banned for life from here for the language I'd use.
          Dad!? You post on /. too?
    • by BlueTrin (683373) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @08:49AM (#19563697) Homepage Journal

      Doctors calculate that about 5-10% of all children have a different biological father than they (and their "social" fathers) think.


      Can you provide a link to the study, I have often seen this quote, but never found a reliable source which shows the result of the study.
      • by westlake (615356)
        I have often seen this quote, but never found a reliable source which shows the result of the study.

        This sounds to me like a good working definition of an urban legend.

      • by TwoSevenOneEight (202981) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @10:24AM (#19564679)
        Studies have generated a range of rates of "non-paternity events". There's an article with more details in this month's The Atlantic (subscription required):

        http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200707/paternity [theatlantic.com]

        From the article:

        "When geneticists do large-scale studies of populations, they sometimes can't help but learn about the paternity of the research subjects. They rarely publish their findings, but the numbers are common knowledge within the genetics community. In graduate school, genetics students typically are taught that 5 to 15 percent of the men on birth certificates are not the biological fathers of their children. In other words, as many as one of every seven men who proudly carry their newborn children out of a hospital could be a cuckold."

        "Non-paternity rates appear to be substantially lower in some populations. The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, which is based in Salt Lake City, now has a genetic and genealogical database covering almost 100,000 volunteers, with an overrepresentation of people interested in genealogy. The non-paternity rate for a representative sample of its father-son pairs is less than 2 percent. But other reputed non-paternity rates are higher than the canonical numbers. One unpublished study of blood groups in a town in southeastern England indicated that 30 percent of the town's husbands could not have been the biological fathers of their children."
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheMeuge (645043)
        It's not a myth. It becomes apparent when people get their blood typed against their parents... for transplant and transfusion reasons. When the mother is AO-, the father is AB-, and the kid is O+, it's pretty easy to see what happened.
    • by vivaoporto (1064484) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @08:51AM (#19563723)
      A married couple went to the hospital to have their baby delivered. Upon their arrival, the doctor said he had invented a new machine that would transfer a portion of the mother's labor pain to the father. He asked if
      they were willing to try it out. They were both very much in favor of it. The doctor set the pain transfer to 10% for starters, explaining that even 10% was probably more pain than the father had ever experienced before.
      But as the labor progressed, the husband felt fine and asked the doctor to go ahead and bump it up a notch. The doctor then adjusted the machine to 20% pain transfer. The husband was still feeling fine. The doctor checked
      the husband's blood pressure and was amazed at how well he was doing. At this point they decided to try for 50%. The husband continued to feel quite well. Since the pain transfer was obviously helping out the wife considerably, the husband encouraged the doctor to transfer ALL the pain to him. The wife deliverer a healthy baby with virtually no pain. She and her husband were ecstatic.

      When they got home, the mailman was dead on the porch.
      • My wife and I are trying to have a baby... only our mail carrier is female.... I don't have any backup!
        • "My wife and I are trying to have a baby... only our mail carrier is female.... I don't have any backup!"

          Don't worry, she'll beat it with numbers. Your pool boy, milk man, cable guy, neighbors, or phone tech should be successful any day now.
    • by Colin Smith (2679)
      Nah it goes much higher than 10% [childsuppo...ysis.co.uk]. It seems to depend on the culture/social status of the mother but 30% isn't at all uncommon. To be honest the numbers are such that paternity should really be checked as a matter of routine.

       
  • Wow (Score:4, Funny)

    by purduephotog (218304) <hirsch.inorbit@com> on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @08:05AM (#19563311) Homepage Journal
    I was pretty interested in the service that would trace your genetic heritage- race, country of origin (or percentage, etc)- it would have been fascinating. My uncle has mapped his side of the family (1/2 mine) back to the 1400's... so this extra step would be incredible to combine with.

    Then... there's the privacy aspect. But just because I didn't do anything, yet, doesn't mean....

    It'll be interesting to see.
    • Your the second person here to say they had their ancestry mapped to the 1400s. What's so special about this century?
      • by gringer (252588)
        I don't know, but another interesting point about that century is that it was the last turning point in population size. I guess if you go back further from there, you hit many more people who had lines that died out (lots more potential for false positive matches). From http://zebu.uoregon.edu/1998/es202/archive/l13a.h t ml [uoregon.edu]:

        # 1000 AD 0.25 Billion
        # 1100 AD 0.30
        # 1200 AD 0.36
        # 1250 AD 0.40
        # 1300 AD 0.36
        # 1350 AD 0.44
        # 1400 AD 0.35
        # 1500 AD 0.43
        # 1600 AD 0.55
        # 1650 AD 0.47
      • It starts to get REALLY hard to get reliable data past then. There was that plague issue... although some records survive, my uncle had quite a few problems getting access to them (travel TO the church to view the registry, etc). Even monetary reimbursement for people on site to look up information is tough.

        I don't know why I was modded as funny, as I was very serious- this would be extremely interesting to see. Privacy aside, it's a fascinating concept.
  • by joeldg (518249)
    let the stream of paranoia utter forth at the idea of a website requesting your DNA..

    OMG..GATTICA..BIG BROTHER, ALIENS UP MY REAR END.. HARP.. CHENEYBUSHFIELDRICE..MOON LANDING..

    etc.. you get the idea..
    personally though, I would be interested in the results they can display on the web based no that.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @08:15AM (#19563393)
    Give the people some sugar and they will willingly hand over what they normally wouldn't give you at gunpoint...
  • Hmmm (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @08:18AM (#19563409)
    I hope people realise that when they post DNA it's not just their own but also contains information about parents, children, siblings and cousins. Basically your family.

    Insurance company - "We've found that your family has a higher risk of kidney disease. In the interest of sharing the risk we won't offer insurance for dialysis or kidney transplant".

    I just hope they make the effort to educate people about the pro's and con's of making your dna public.
    • Your DNA is not public, just the markers. When your DNA is profiled they will use a set number of markers (anywhere between 12 and 44) to determine your halpogroups (where your DNA originated from) and place you into a combination of groups. It is these markers that become public. Generally the testing sites will destroy your DNA after 6 months; it is kept this long incase you want to have other tests done like y-chromosome, mitochondrial, etc.

      Chances are the testing is being contracted out to another o

  • Worst idea ever (Score:4, Interesting)

    by suv4x4 (956391) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @08:21AM (#19563447)
    For less than $200 and a cheek-swiped cotton swab, you will soon be able to add DNA results to family tree Web sites.

    Excellent, now the last thing left is for someone to invent a practical cloning machine.
    For less than $200 of course.

    Anyone got a bittorent to Pamela Anderson's DNA?

    • by gringer (252588)

      Anyone got a bittorent to Pamela Anderson's DNA?

      Here's most of it (you can select other chromosomes for downloading through that interface):
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/mapview/seq_reg.cgi?ta xid=9606&chr=1&from=1&to=247249719 [nih.gov]

      The rest is just a matter of a few million mutations scattered throughout the genome. Oh, and the bits of the genome that are proving to be very difficult to sequence.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by suv4x4 (956391)
        Here's most of it (you can select other chromosomes for downloading through that interface):
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/mapview/seq_reg.cgi?ta [nih.gov] xid=9606&chr=1&from=1&to=247249719

        The rest is just a matter of a few million mutations scattered throughout the genome. Oh, and the bits of the genome that are proving to be very difficult to sequence.


        That's like painting a DELL white and calling it "Macintosh". No candy for you.
    • by AmIAnAi (975049) *
      A good portion of it is available via Wikipedia: [R2SiO]n [wikipedia.org]
    • by kalirion (728907)
      First you'd need an actual piece of DNA, unless the machine can also synthethize genetic material from a digital pattern. Second you'd need to be patient for quite a few years for the clone to grow up, unless you're into children, you sick pedo.

      Personally, I'd rather make out with my Jessica Alba-bot.
      • by suv4x4 (956391)
        Second you'd need to be patient for quite a few years for the clone to grow up, unless you're into children, you sick pedo.

        Apparently you've not watched enough sci-fi movies, so I'll excuse your ignorance. But cloning machines have this little rotary knob on the side "age". It's right between "brains" and "boobs".

        Personally, I'd rather make out with my Jessica Alba-bot.

        So.. you'll need to be patient for quite a few years for the clone to grow up, unless you're into children, you sick pedo.
        • by kalirion (728907)
          So.. you'll need to be patient for quite a few years for the clone to grow up, unless you're into children, you sick pedo.

          Apparently you've not watched enough sci-fi movies, so I'll excuse your ignorance. Robots, or 'bots', are machines, not clones, and only the truly advanced android models (i.e. ones I couldn't afford, and wouldn't want to in any case) start out as children and age like humans. The rest are built to the right age and stay that way.
    • by Sax Maniac (88550)
      DNA doesn't include plastic surgery.
  • by boyfaceddog (788041) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @08:23AM (#19563461) Journal
    Genetic traits can be a better pointer to which region a family came from than simple DNA. After all, DNA takes all that combination stuff (I think it's called sex) and has many latent traits that may or may not show up depending on genetics of both parents.

    For example part of my family is Swiss, about six generations back. Part of my wife's family is also Swiss, about four generations back. Her family happens to be from the part of Switzerland that has a wierd abnormality in a small percentage of their population. Sometimes their adult teeth don't develop. Because of this trait and research my wife was able to trace her family to an exact village.

    Oh, and no ones privacy was ever in danger.

    DNA on the other hand is still latereal in time and not verticle. Unless you want to test a corpse you can't go back many generations. A good tool to see what uncle Joe REALLY did on those "sales" trips in Vegas, but not much good as a family history research tool.
    • by gringer (252588)

      DNA on the other hand is still lateral in time and not vertical. Unless you want to test a corpse you can't go back many generations.

      Not quite sure what you mean by "many".

      It should be possible, through looking at autosomal DNA, to look up to six generations back — to me, that's "many" — possibly a bit longer with the X chromosome (because there's less recombination). Other non-recombinant DNA (Y-chromosome, mitochondria) are good for maybe 600+ years back, but only along one line of ancestry (m

      • Okay, I am uneducated in that case. What you write is facinating and very concise. I would like to read more about it.

        From a family history research perspective how can you get six generations back with DNA testing? You are speaking of comparing your DNA to living people and then trusting that they are either from the area where they live or are educated in their own family histories.

        Otherwise I can only think of this tool as a compass to point me in the right direction. without the "map" of family history
    • by khallow (566160)

      And how did that genetic trait get inherited? Through the DNA. DNA over genetic traits because, as you note, DNA contains much more information than what ends up being expressed. Plus what about the large mass of people who don't have a convenient genetic trait to work off of?

      Oh, and no ones privacy was ever in danger.

      I don't get it. A genetic trait is information about that person. It's not as much information as sequenced DNA, but it's not so inconsequential that one can ignore it. Even if the trait

  • by AmIAnAi (975049) * on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @08:33AM (#19563541)
    Is a website the best place to discover that your DNA doesn't match any of your close relatives, as you were expecting it to - that your parents are not your natural parents and you were adopted?

    Unfortunately, there are many cases of people not being told that they were adopted and a web site like this is not the ideal way to discover this. You really need an organization that has some form of immediate support for people who receive unexpected surprises.
    • by jcorno (889560)

      Is a website the best place to discover that your DNA doesn't match any of your close relatives, as you were expecting it to - that your parents are not your natural parents and you were adopted?


      Ancestry.com is the Jerry Springer of the internet.
    • by Inda (580031)
      Or worse. You find out that the postman (milkman, window cleaner, odd job man)is your father.
    • Or maybe you should just be prepared for surprising results.... which can happen even if you are not adopted... what if you find that your father or mother were adopted? and your grandparents that you assumed were blood relatives, along with your aunts, uncles and cousins... are all unrelated to you?

      If on the other hand you prefer not to know your ancestry, you probably shouldn't send in your DNA.

  • Getting a warrant for your ancestry DNA file or for a swab of your mouth is the same thing.

    The idea is actually very appealing to me. The only problem is the high price of the service and the difficulty of it. Very few around the world will sign up , so few that I predict it will be useless for a long, long time.
    • I dunno. When I personally try to imagine a bunch of /.'ers donating DNA, it makes my kind of queezy.
    • Getting a warrant for your ancestry DNA file or for a swab of your mouth is the same thing.

      Really? I wasn't aware that the FBI could send a National Security Letter to my mouth to check my DNA records and compel my cheek to never inform me of the fact.
  • Since its fat gravy train is going to end soon... How? With the massive FREE release of the entire scanned archive from the Mormon Vault [wikipedia.org] in Salt Lake City (to be available on www.familysearch.org [familysearch.org]). Once this project has gone live much of the information that Ancestry.com currently charges for will be essentially public domain.

    There already is a schism forming between Ancestry.com and Familysearch.org, seen from the collapse of arrangements between the Mormon church and Ancestry to provide the Ancestry.com

  • by JoeD (12073) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @08:59AM (#19563807) Homepage
    If I had the spare cash, I'd take a swab from a slab of lunch meat and send that in. Or my cat.
  • Could that be a way to easily obtain DNA tests when you're in a country in which it's a tough thing to get (like France, for example)?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    But I still would never put my DNA on file with anyone, much less pay for it.

    More power to those who will try this out, though, you're far less paranoid than I am!
  • Bradshaw Foundation (Score:5, Informative)

    by 12WTF$ (979066) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @09:32AM (#19564131)
    FFS! Rather than moderate the /dribble about DNA forensic testing as OT, I'll contribute.

    This is a valuable service (yes there are others available) that tests certain parts of the mitachondrial DNA to establish your maternal lineage and tests certain parts of the Y chromosome (I make the assumption that 98% of the readers are male) to establish your paternal lineage.
    If you want to educate yourself on one of the benefits, please take a few hours to learn how this technique has provided amazing details of the 165k yr journey of mankind to populate the planet http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/journey [bradshawfoundation.com]
  • Now if we could just find Jesus' DNA, everyone with a messiah complex could easily test themselves for godhood!
  • Why? Well from 5% to 20% of children are not fathered by the people who think they did, depending on social stratum.

    It'll open up a second family tree, your geneological tree as opposed to your familial tree.

     
  • I can see it now, I enter in my DNA and they come back showing that my Wife is my 3rd or 4th cousin...

    NIGHTMARE!
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @12:16PM (#19566117) Homepage
    Oh, I can only imagine the mischief this will potentially cause... as people discover, not just ancestors they didn't know they had, but ancestors they thought they had, but don't.

    "So the years went by and he wished he was dead. He had seventeen girls and still wasn't wed.
    When he'd ask his papa, papa would always say, 'No! That girl is your sister but your mama don't know!'

    "So he went to his mama and he bowed his head. Told his mama what his papa had said.
    His mama said, 'Son, go, man, go! Your papa ain't your papa but your papa don't know!'"

    --"Ah Woe, Ah Me," Nick Reynolds, Bob Shane, John Stewart, popularized by the Kingston Trio

    "She's the illegitimate daughter, of the illegitimate son, of the illegitimate nephew of Napoleon."

    --Ira Gershwin, _Of Thee I Sing+

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