Recent Posts

My investigation into my genes and family history
Published 9/13/2013 in Biology, Culture, and Evolution
Author Emily Barron
If you've been reading some of the blogs on this site, you probably know by now that the Biology, Culture, and Evolution class has the opportunity to do genetic testing this semester. I've always thought ancestry was fascinating, and my mom's side of the family has much more mystery surrounding our heritage so I would really like to find out what I can about that. However, I'm also looking forward to some of the information they can give me on genes more pertinent to my daily life and my future. I am interested in the health issues that 23 and Me will test. I am especially interested in the genes for Tourette's Syndrome and restless leg syndrome. I have read some research recently that Tourette's, RLS, and other tic disorders are very closely related genetically. I have a chronic tic disorder, which is on a... read more ❯
23 & Me
Published 9/12/2013 in Biology, Culture, and Evolution
Author kecoward
I'm really excited about having the opportunity to have my genes tested with my Biology, Culture, & Evolution class. I am looking forward to learning more about my ancestry. All I know is that at some point my ancestors lived in Ireland and Scotland, and on my mother's side my great-great grandmother was a Choctaw Indian. I think it will be really cool to find out more about my ancestry even further back than that. I also think it will be really beneficial for me to know which diseases I'm at risk for. High blood pressure and cardiovascular disease run in my family on both my maternal and paternal side. If I am at greater risk for that, I can make sure to maintain a healthy diet and exercise in order to prevent those diseases. However, I am a little worried about finding out that I may be at a... read more ❯
23&me
Published 9/12/2013 in Biology, Culture, and Evolution
Author peadams
I'm super excited that my class was funded to do 23&me. I've been wanting to do it for the past two years, but I haven't gotten around to doing it. I'm most interested in discovering my ancestry. My family has been in the United States long enough that I don't know much of my heritage. (I can actually trace every side of my family back over 100 years in the same two adjacent counties in North Alabama).  There has been some circumstantial evidence that I may have Scottish in me, but that is the only European country I can name-despite my family being completely of European descent. And as every other white southerner would say, there is a rumor that my great-great grandmother was full-blooded Cherokee. I've always been fascinated by figuring out my ancestry, and having these results could give me some interesting clues. The second part to 23&me is... read more ❯
Personalized genetic testing from 23andMe
Recently, our anthropology class learned that we would have the option to participate in genetic testing from the company 23andMe.  This testing would potentially reveal both genetic ancestry and potential health risks. Looking at their website, it's easy to become overwhelmed at the amount of things they test for, from the potential for migraines to the possibility of being a carrier for lethal diseases. But even so, I think it is not only worth it, but it's exciting. I'm most interested in  the testing for heritage. Most of my family is Southern European, from Croatia and Italy, but I've heard rumors of a distant grandfather who was a Swedish sea captain. While they cannot test for his occupation, it would be interesting to see if the genetic markers are there. It would also be interesting to see the health information that comes with the tests. Apart from the risk factors, they test... read more ❯
Genetics, Geography, and Human Variation
Published 9/11/2013 in Biology, Culture, and Evolution
Author Monica Hill
About the Authors Dr. Dennis O'Rourke is the Interim Chair of the Anthropology Department at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is also the Co-Chair of the International Review Board and Vice President of Research. Dr. O'Rourke received his BA (with Honors), MA and PhD in Anthropology  from the University of Kansas in 1973, 1976 and 1980. He then went on to his Post-Doctoral fellowship in the St. Louis School of Medicine at Washington University. There he focused on Psychiatry/Genetic Epidemiology. As mentioned before in @rebeccaleon blog from week one of class;  Dr. O'Rourke work focuses on the sampling and analysis of ancient DNA,  quantitative methods, and population and evolutionary genetics. The areas and populations that he focuses on are native America, and the North American and Siberian Arctic. Jake Enk is a Doctoral student at McMatser University in Hamilton, Ontario. He received his Masters at... read more ❯
What Do Bamboo Lemurs Eat?
Published 9/11/2013 in The Monkey Speaks His Mind
Author Christopher Lynn
Potlatch 2013
Published 9/11/2013 in Bama Anthro Blog Network
Author Christopher Lynn
The UA Anthropology Department kicks off the academic year and welcomes new members to the department with an annual potlatch. A potlatch involves, ideally, the garnering of prestige thru the gifting of valued objects. These objects obtain their values through the histories of their transfers through the years. Following are some of the highlights of the 2013 potlatch, held in Smith Hall on Friday, August 30. ... read more ❯
23andMe Testing
Published 9/11/2013 in Biology, Culture, and Evolution
Author Andrea
This semester our class has been granted the opportunity to participate in the 23andMe testing.  I had heard of this testing before, but never thought I'd have the opportunity to do it myself. The thought of knowing the origins of my ancestors as well as hundreds of different facts about my health is both exciting and daunting. What I am most looking forward to about this testing is seeing where my ancestral roots lie and to learn and gain an in-depth understanding of my overall health.  What I have been told of my heritage is that I am mostly of european descent, specifically from the United Kingdom. I will be interested to see is 23andMe proves this information to be true or if there is another origin that  is more dominant.  I will also be interested to see if there is any information about my health that will be surprising. I... read more ❯
Basic Understanding of Genetics
Published 9/10/2013 in Biology, Culture, and Evolution
Author Andrea
About the Authors   Mark L. Weiss, Ph.D. Professor Department of Anatomy and Physiology at Kansas State University Professor Weiss is part of the KSU Stem Cell Biotechnology Research team where his current work has been to focus on characterizing non-embryonic stem cells that have been discovered in the umbilical cord matrix and rat embryonic stem cell.  The point of this research is to characterize the role of human and animal umbilical cord matrix stem cells to reverse the behavioral deficits in a rat model of Parkinson’s disease.  Dr. Weiss received his Ph.D in biology from the University of Pennsylvania (1986) and in his postdoctoral from Michigan State University (1986-1989). Justin Tackney Ph.D. Graduate Research Assistant Department of Anthropology at the University of Utah Justin Tackney is a Ph.D. graduate student studying social and behavioral sciences at the University of Utah Basic Genetics Basic concepts formed by Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) Mendel conducted series of experiments on the passage of traits from generation... read more ❯
Introduction to Genetics
Published 9/9/2013 in Biology, Culture, and Evolution
Author Andrea
After reading the chapter on genetics here are some discussion questions dealing with DNA and genetics: 1) After learning that we will have the opportunity to participate in the 23andMe testing, what do you think the benefits would be of having the 23andMe testing available to the public so everyone could have it done if the wanted? Would there be any setbacks? 2) As mentioned in the chapter, much more information has been revealed about our DNA over the past few decades. "This new information has sparked growth and progress in fields as diverse as law enforcement (through forensic analysis), medicine, population genetics, and endangered species conservation." Can you think of specific examples of how the DNA research can help the fields specified. 3) What are the benefits of advancing the of genomic methods? read more ❯

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