BAMAD no.20

 DNA and 
 Anthropology Updates 

Updates in DNA studies along with Anthropological Notes of general interest with a particular emphasis on points pertinent to the study of Ancient Israelite Ancestral Connections to Western Peoples as explained in Brit-Am studies.


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Brit-Am Anthropology and DNA Update
26 Adar-1 5768, 26 February 2008
1. Hair analysis offers new crime-fighting clues
2. Query on DNA and Ancestry
3. Genius Can Be Mistaken for Mental Disorder!

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1. Hair analysis offers new crime-fighting clues
By Julie Steenhuysen,
Posted: 2008-02-25 17:12:37
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Scientists can now tell where in the United States a person may have been by analyzing a single strand of hair, offering a new tool for crime investigators trying to identify a body or track criminals.

They said variations in hydrogen and oxygen isotopes found in hair could be matched to the regional tap water people drank, providing clues about where a person had been living.

"In people with very long hair, you could get quite a long history," said University of Utah geologist Thure Cerling, whose findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday. The tool would work best on hair samples taken from the head because hair grows continuously there.

Cerling and University of Utah biology professor James Ehleringer developed an elaborate map that details regional differences in the hydrogen and oxygen isotopes based on tap water samples from 65 cities in the United States.

To do that, Ehleringer sent his wife and a friend on a road trip to collect water and hair samples from barbers in towns in southern, central and southwestern states. Cerling's children covered the northern United States.

They only gathered samples from cities with 100,000 or fewer people to ensure that hair samples were from local residents rather than tourists.

"With the whole U.S. blanketed with samples of drinking water, we can see in the drinking water where the big gradients are," Cerling said in a telephone interview.

Then they looked to see if the same isotope patterns matched the hair samples.

"We were pleased that they did," Cerling said.


He said drinking water left an isotope signature in the growing hair. Even people who drink bottled water still use tap water to make coffee or tea or cook pasta, he said. "You really do use a lot of local water in your everyday activities."

The researchers said isotope concentrations in drinking water varied because of regional differences in rainfall and evaporation. Cerling said researchers could probably tell the difference between Utah and Texas, but not necessarily between Chicago and Kansas City.

Police officers are already using the tool to help identify a possible murder victim.

Todd Park, a sheriff's detective in Salt Lake County, Utah, sent Ehleringer hair samples from a woman whose remains were found near the Great Salt Lake in October 2000.

An isotope analysis of the victim's hair showed she had moved around several states in the Northwest. The researchers plan to do an analysis of her teeth to see if the isotopes can reveal where she grew up when the teeth were forming.

"Every little bit helps," Park said in a statement. "This is definitely something that will give us a piece of the puzzle."

The researchers said the work had generated a lot of interest from police, but Cerling said the tool could also be used in anthropology and archaeology. "I also think it will have some interesting applications in wildlife conservation," he said.

2. Query on DNA and Ancestry
My brother has confirmed my grandmother was a jew.
My mother's mother
Yet, my male DNA is E3b.
Now can somebody confirm that their Grandparent was Jewish.
Is it possible? B

E3b is common amongst Jews and is found in about 20% of the cases..
Only through genealogical research, family records, etc. may a person confirm that their Grandparent was Jewish
DNA does not help in this case though it could give you informational leads.

3. Genius Can Be Mistaken for Mental Disorder!

Hunting the genes of genius
If we identify and eliminate the genes that cause mental disorders, do we risk destroying the rich creativity that often accompanies them, asks Colin Blakemore

Isaac Newton was able to work without a break for three days. Einstein took a job in a patent office because he was too disruptive to work in a university. HG Wells was so gawky and insecure at school that he had only one friend. Are these psychiatric disorders that should be treated or genius that should be cherished?
In a new book, Genius Genes, Irish psychiatrist Michael Fitzgerald argues that special forms of creativity are associated with a variety of cognitive disorders.

He focuses on Asperger's syndrome (a relatively mild form of autism), which Fitzgerald sees in such curious characters as Isaac Newton and George Orwell. He also links Kurt Cobain's Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD (for which he was prescribed Ritalin), to his musical creativity.

Last week, at a Royal College of Psychiatrists conference, Fitzgerald describes how Charles de Gaulle's Asperger's syndrome was critical to his success as a politician. De Gaulle saw himself as representing his country.

He was aloof, had a phenomenal memory, lacked empathy with other people, and was extremely controlling and dominating. He also showed signs of autistic repetitiveness and was similar in many respects to other politicians whom Fitzgerald argues also had Asperger's, including Thomas Jefferson in the US and Enoch Powell in Britain.

The increasing power of genetic analysis is now invading the most private parts of humanity - not just the functions of our bodies and the origins of straightforward inherited diseases, but also complex characteristics that cannot be attributed to individual genes.

Many disorders of emotion or thought - not only schizophrenia and depression, but also more subtle conditions such as autism, Asperger's, ADHD and dyslexia - tend to run in families.

But none of these conditions has yet been linked to an individual genetic mutation. Some argue that they are not genetic diseases at all; others that different genetic mutations, or combinations of mutations, might lead to such conditions.

Yet others say that they depend on an interplay of personal experiences and genetics. Avshalom Caspi and his colleagues at the Institute of Psychiatry in London recently explained why certain stressful episodes in life tip some people into depression but not others. The difference in resilience depends on variations in a specific gene.

The correlation between creativity and mental illness is a persistent theme in psychiatry, analysed most eloquently by Kay Jamison, an eminent clinical psychologist at Johns Hopkins University, and herself a manic depressive, in her book Touched With Fire.

The oddness of many great writers is well documented and a surprisingly high proportion of poets, in particular, had symptoms that indicate manic depression.

If we do manage to identify genes linked to manic depression, autism and schizophrenia, and confirm that they are correlated with creativity, what could it mean?

The richness of humanity and the power of our culture are, in no small way, attributable to the diversity of our minds. Do we want a world in which the creativity linked to the oddness at the fringes of normality is medicated away?

See also:
BAMAD Archives
DNA Refuted. The "Cohen Gene"
R1b The Western Japhet?? or not?
haplogroup I
Brit-Am DNA
Queries about Race

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