Friday, July 28, 2006

Genetic Genealogy Article: 6.0

For those who are new to my blog, I decided not long ago to start rating articles on genetic genealogy (which I often call genetealogy) that appear in the popular press. I don't know if it's really fair to rate this article from the Austin American-Statesman because it's an editorial, but it has one statement that's so glaringly wrong that I had to include it.

According to this piece, "Genetic genealogy is based on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)." That will come as quite a shock to the many thousands who have been using a combination of Y-DNA, mtDNA and autosomal DNA to trace their roots. In fact, in terms of popularity, Y-DNA leaves mtDNA in the dust.

Mitochondrial DNA is often the only option when it comes to tackling history's mysteries -- and that's why it makes so many appearances in those PBS and BBC documentaries where they're always disinterring someone. But in terms of folks actually out there getting tested to learn more about their roots, Y-DNA (which is passed from father to son down through the generations) is the test of choice.

Having said that, the underlying theme of this article -- the notion that we're all related -- is valid. And that's why I'm giving it a score of 6.0 (on a 0 to 10 scale).

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