Friday, July 14, 2006

Rating Popular Media DNA Articles

I've been a little frustrated with genetic genealogy articles in the mainstream media of late. It's such a hot topic that folks who don't know much about it are writing up a storm. And while I'm grateful that genetealogy is finally getting its due, I'm also concerned about the confusion created by pieces that -- in the defense of the writers -- have to be cranked out under impossible deadlines.

So I've decided to rate the articles I stray across. For instance, just a few days ago, I mentioned an article that appeared in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. It was one of the better ones I've read -- well-researched and explained through effective examples -- so I'm retroactively scoring it 8.5 out of 10 (have to leave myself wiggle room for future articles!)

Today, there's a piece called Finding Out Who You Are in the Lawrence Journal-World. Unfortunately, I think it's one of those that confuses more than it enlightens, so I'm giving it a 4.

I'm not sure which test Alice Lieberman, who's profiled in the article, would have taken from Family Tree DNA that provides the kind of results she shares (it sounds like a BioGeographical test, but FTDNA doesn't offer them). Also, the article states that Lierberman can't be tested for the "Cohen marker," as she desires, since she's female. Well, there isn't a "Cohen marker" (it would be a collection of markers -- or haplotype -- that would provide insight), and all she has to do is get her brother or father (or other paternal relative) tested as her proxy. There are other shortcomings to the article, but that will give you a feel.

If you trip across any articles on genetic genealogy or have opinions about ones shared here, please feel free to add your comments. Thanks.


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