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Researchers Develop DNA GPS Tool To Accurately Trace Geographical Ancestry

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the why-you-like-to-make-cave-paintings dept.

Medicine 69

Zothecula (1870348) writes "An international team of scientists has developed a process that allows them to pinpoint a person's geographical origin going back 1,000 years. Known as the Geographic Population Structure (GPS) tool, the method is accurate enough to locate the village from which the subject's ancestors came, and has significant implications for personalized medical treatment."

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Soo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46909981)

So, what if you parents came from two different parts of the world? How does that help at all in personalized medical treatment?

This seems kind of useless.

Re:Soo... (2)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 6 months ago | (#46910051)

Yes, I don't see that the technique is discussed for people whose ancestors don't all come from one place.

Re:Soo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46910207)

Which actually makes up the vast majority of people but don't let nationalists know.

Re:Soo... (0)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 6 months ago | (#46910447)

EXACTLY. A few generations back, and everyone in modern, industrialized cities in both Americas and Western Europe come equally from multiple locations - and wide geographies. Alexander Pushkin, the father of Russian literature and poetry was African in descent by 2 generations - as Ludwig Van Beethoven may have been by five or so. Where were the ancestries of these to be geo-located? Where that of my good friends from north Yorkshire, who 1000 years ago would have had the mixture of Dane, Briton and Syrian - the latter having been garrisoned and then pensioned a farm stead by Rome? I would venture 25% of the modern Dutch have occult ancestry in Indonesia. It goes on...

Re:Soo... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46910751)

I think this would probably work in my case.

My Mom's people come from the Channel Islands, and while her ancestors did a lot of night visiting to French and English shores, it was mostly to smuggle goods, not so much for the nookie. These days, the Jervais pretty much continue their illicit activities but for now they do so "within the law" as International Bankers--- a different kind of piracy. But that's neither here nor there.

The point is that in 1066, roughly 25 generations back, my Mom had 33 million ancestors, and just about all of them were from the Channel Islands which never had a living population of more a few tens of thousands. So she was definitely the product of a homogenous gene pool. Not inbreeding as such, but more a churning of a healthy gene pool with very little else mixed in.

On the other side, my Dad's ancestry is well documented through parish records and the Domeday Book to 1066, and a small corner of Merrie Olde England that was awarded to a distant ancestor (of Flemish origin) who joined William the Conqueror in his grand adventure. The records show that those ancestors did not stray outside of a pretty discrete gene pool until one of them crossed the pond in the 1500s to settle on Long Island. There was certainly some mixing going on then for a hundred years or so, what with the taking of young squaws as slaves when New England Indian tribes needed to be subdued, and then there were the cute little Dutch girls of New Amsterdam. But my progenitors did pretty much stay in one particular part of Long Island until my Dad and Mom met in college, and settled near Boston to raise me and my sibs.

So assuming even a tremendous amount of adulteration of the lineage when the American branch of my Dad's ancestry formed, that's still 2,050 ancestors mostly from an area in Long Island that never has had a living population of more than a few hundred. So even on my Dad's side, the genetic mix has almost certainly been homogenous and identifiable within perhaps a hundred mile radius of Setauket, Long Island, NY.

I'm guessing that GPS would easily identify my Channel Island ancestry, and identify that my other roots were Old Stock New England (if that terminology is still in use). So yeah, I think this technique might have some merit. But how much value it might have in dx and tx of diseases is questionable: there is a huge amount of research that would need to be done before more than a handful of diseases could be associated in any way with genetic predispositions.

Re:Soo... (1)

InsultsByThePound (3603437) | about 6 months ago | (#46912161)

Beethoven being "black" is just speculation put forward by pan-africanists and have little to do with reality.

Re:Soo... (2)

sillybilly (668960) | about 6 months ago | (#46914115)

I have 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents, 16 great-great-grandparents, 32 great-great-great-grandparents, and so on. I was discussing a while ago that 53 generations ago (perhaps 1325=53*25 years ago, if a generation takes 25 years to cycle) I had 2^53=9,007,199,254,740,992 different ancestors, if there was no inbreeding. There was obviously some inbreeding, because even today there are only about 7,000,000,000 people on the planet, give or take. But amongst those 9,007,199,254,740,992 people 1325 years ago there is a high chance that some were from Europe, some from Africa, some from Asia, but there is a much lesser chance that some were Native Americans, or native Australians, or the now extinct, native Tasmanians. I probably share quite a bit of common ancestry with Native Americans too, probably even more than with subSaharan Africans, but it has to go back to a time before they crossed the Behring Strait between Siberia and Alaska, unless some intermixed with Eskimos up north, who in turn got around to the other continents and transported ancestry that way, after the Behring strait was crossed. My most distant relatives are probably the native Australians, but even they came from Africa less than 200,000 years ago, because that's when modern humans first appeared.

If they can pinpoint exactly which village you came from, then you have a severe inbreeding problem, because every village should have people from hundreds of other villages, and such variation shouldn't be duplicated from village to village, so on a country level, out of say 10-50 million people you're probably talking at least half a million different villages they could have come from. Everyone's unique, everyone has a different fingerprint - unless they are genetically identical twins. People will sometimes prefer their very own kind, but sometimes someone very distant as an inbreeding fighting measure. Who you find physically attractive is a very subtle process, as you both are responsible for yourself first, then your family, then your kind, but you have to protect yourself, your family and your kind from inbreeding defects too. Everyone is responsible for themselves, if you take care of yourself, then I don't have to, you're helping me out a lot by taking care of yourself. If you take care of your family and kids, then I don't have to, you're helping me out a lot again. If you take care of your own kind, then I don't have to, you're helping me out a lot again. Am I my brother's keeper? Sometimes I cannot afford to be. I cannot expect you to care about someone else's children more, or even equally, to how you care about your own. If you disagree, we have a whole lot of court cases where paternity issues are fought, and all you gotta do is show up and offer that they don't need to fight in court, because you will accept the child support deductions from your paycheck, for millions of cases that happen. Or if you cannot accept a million deductions, just do one such case. Chances are you will not go for it, and be altruistic like that to a random stranger. Most people that adopt a child as their own, they don't just get a paycheck deduction, but they get human contact out of it, so in a sense it's selfish. However there are lots of catholic charities that collect donations for say, kids in the Philippines, and the people get a picture of the child in exchange, but you can only do that if you take care of your own turf first, I also cannot expect you to care more about me, than yourself. Though there are martyrs, heroes, kamikaze's, who will take care of their kind before taking care of themselves, but in a sense they are taking care of themselves better by taking care of their kind, than if they took care of themselves themselves. Your ultimate kind is human, and we could even get as specieist as saying that we'd be willing to see every other creature and species disappear if that saved humans, but we would probably not be racist enough to say that we'd be willing to see every other human race disappear to save our own, or every other nation disappear to save our own, because the concept of human race or nationhood is a bit vague. In particular, I'd be willing to sort of "desert" my nation if that saved 10 other nations, but I'd bear arms and fight to death in defense, if it was 1 nation attacking against my nation, even if not with the goal to destroy me as a nation, but just occupy and exploit me. There is such a thing as nationalism, or languagism and culturalism, and people die for it quite readily as heroes. But there are stronger definitions of "kind" than that, and race is stronger than national origin - for instance it's easier to get two white or two black people marry each other, one being from the US and one from Canada in each case, then to ask them to stay with their nationalism, and marry their own "kind" and in own nation, than their own kind as in own "race" but different nation.

Even if you stay within your kind when it comes to say marriages, you still care that the other kinds live long and prosper, and when it comes to nationality, there is probably little barrier between the usual people from say from Kenya+Ethiopia, or Korea+China, or German+French, but there is probably a significant resistance to mix between Kenya, Korea, French, and Indian, and among these four there is less resistance between French+Korean and Indian+Kenyan, than in other combinations, because of skin color. A lot of Arabic and Brasilians are great mixes of everyone else, and beige is like a stepping stone in skin color difference from either side. By the way there is no problem mixing light skinned feminine colored white or asian women with dark, masculine color skinned African or Indian men, but there is great difficulty doing it the other way around, mixing feminine white and Asian light skinned males with masculine dark skinned females. To put it another way, when it comes to pussy, even black women prefer licking white pussy than their own kind, and when it comes to dick, even white women prefer sucking black dick than their own kind. It's culturally OK for women to be bisexual, and during a gang bang they are kind of forced to be on top of and touch each other by the men, (because men are physically stronger and can make women do stuff), but it's not OK for guys to touch each other in a gang bang, instead it's okay to all go at the same females (if females were physically stronger, like in camels the females are the stronger sex, this would probably be different). That's the norm, but there are gay males out there, who, kind of get their own separate club from the rest, and they can do whatever they want amongst themselves, as long as they leave the other males, who are not like them, respected. Also, most women will have no problem watching lesbian porn, but they will not appreciate gay guy porn to the same extent, either. I don't know. At least that's my impression, and some train of thought thrown out there, and by no mean do I claim to fully understand what women want, or think, or what anyone else wants or thinks.

Re:Soo... (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 6 months ago | (#46914269)

Just because there are very few blood types out there, and it has something to do with heredity, it does not mean that there are only those few genetic variations of people, because within each blood type there are many different looking people out there - can you tell someone's blood type with high accuracy just by looking at a picture of their face? I don't think that's possible. Same goes for other genetic markers, such as mitochondrial DNA that strictly follows the maternal side. But life with bloodtype, just because your mitochondrial DNA is the same it does not mean you're closely related - well, it's a much tighter determining factor than blood type, but there are other things that matter too, such as the paternal side genes. Mitochondrial DNA only comes from the maternal side and you can trace ancestry along maternal sides that way, skin color, and beigeness, for instance, depends on both parents, and I think blood type does too. So good luck messing around with family trees and tracing your ancestry very far into the past. It's kind of hard to keep track of 9,007,199,254,740,992 different people 53 generations ago, especially the intricate inbreeding relationships when different generations slip in time against each other, and get out of sequence, so someone who's your great-great-great-great-grandfather's great-great-granddaughter might be your wife and you wouldn't even know it.

Re:Soo... (1)

idji (984038) | about 6 months ago | (#46910413)

You might be carrying 5 very rare genes that now have GPS coordinates of origin - this could tell you all of your origins.
And even in the very mountainous Dolomites of Northern Italy they demonstrated that Ötzi (4000+ years old) has almost the same DNA as the people living there TODAY. Some some genes can stay in the same spot for a VERY long time.

Re:Soo... (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 6 months ago | (#46910881)

You might be carrying 5 very rare genes that now have GPS coordinates of origin - this could tell you all of your origins.

No.

Five very rare genes would tell me the origin of no more than five of my ancestors. Since I have eight ancestors going back just to great-grandparents, and the eight didn't originate in the same villages, that's not anything like "all" of my origins.

Re:Soo... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 6 months ago | (#46911983)

Since I have eight ancestors going back just to great-grandparents

You're not from Utah|Tasmania|Wales, then?

Re:Indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46911711)

Yes, I was going to say the same. Going 1000 years or so back, at a rate of 1 grandfather = 50 years, I have roughly a billion ancestors (some of whom will appear many, many times in different branches of my family tree, of course - but that's neither here nor there). I would be really, really impressed by a technique that could tell me where every one of them came from!

To be fair - watch the video, and that's not remotely what the researcher claims; it's much more balanced than that.

Re:Indeed (1)

porkchop_d_clown (39923) | about 6 months ago | (#46912379)

Honestly, that's not what it does. Rather than tracing your actual ancestry, it's looking at the geographic distribution of the various genes in it. Thus, it can't tell you the names of your ancestors, but it can certainly tell you where they probably came from.

Doesn't work for everyone (3, Informative)

Beck_Neard (3612467) | about 6 months ago | (#46909985)

Just to be clear, they only did this for two populations of people: Sardinia and polynesia, both of which have the nice property that they are isolated and thus would not mix very much with the rest of the human population.

Re:Doesn't work for everyone (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 6 months ago | (#46910131)

Also worth mentioning that the 'international team of scientists' appears to be a professor from England and a professor from California (and presumably their undergrads). Also, they are selling something.

Re:Doesn't work for everyone (1)

Badger Nadgers (2423622) | about 6 months ago | (#46911713)

It's looking pretty promising for Norfolk, though.

Re:Doesn't work for everyone (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 6 months ago | (#46912007)

Sardinia and polynesia, both of which have the nice property that they are good places to go on holiday.

FTFY.

Pure coincidence, I'm sure.

Load of toss (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46909987)

"Known as the Geographic Population Structure (GPS) tool, the method is accurate enough to locate the village from which the subject's ancestors came"

Short answer: No it isn't.

Long answer: No it isn't.

That is an astoundingly facile thing to claim. I'm British, heritage Scottish, English, some Irish -- for whatever that means (practically fuck all, genetically, given that the Scots, English and Irish have been interbreeding for millennia, and please spare me the "But the English came across in 500AD!!!!!!" stuff because while there was definite interbreeding with people from Germany and Denmark back then for one thing the majority of the genes are pretty stable and for another they bred with everyone and everyone bred with each other, because that's what humans do. The idea that the "English" came along and committed genocide on a massive scale and that there is somehow some mystical intrinsic difference between "Celtic" peoples (who were never "Celtic" in the first place; the Atlantic Celts are also a myth; common language does not imply either common culture or common genetics) and "Saxon" peoples is a myth perpetrated by the ill educated and the politically motivated). Unless they've somehow got accurate DNA maps of every village not only in Europe but, given we're talking *1000 years* here, every village this side of Mongolia and quite a few beyond, too -- which they haven't, because they do not exist -- they can't make this claim. Unless they're banking on the sheer weight of ancestors meaning we can all be placed in every fucking village in the whole of Eurasia. 1000 years is roughly 300 generations, working on a crude dead reckoning of 30 odd years per generation. Pep quiz: what's 2^300? Answer: a first guess at the number of ancestors you had in 1014AD! That's a fucking big number. Obviously we have to cut it down to account for inbreeding etc., but even 2^100 is a hell of a lot of people, and some of them will be from entertainingly distant places.

The conclusion is either these people are selling snake oil (likely); the summary is bullshit misrepresenting what they actually said (near certainty); the answers they'll give are so general as to be meaningless (likely); or they'll actually perform some heavy filtering on their data so they can blithely say "your ancestors were from Denmark and we know that many were from the village of Aalsgard!!!!!!" and somehow keep a straight face (likely).

Proviso: I haven't read the article, because this is /.

Re:Load of toss (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46910021)

I have now read the article. It's a load of toss, and so is the summary. Ultimately they were able to take people from a modern day Polynesian island, or a Sardinian village, and say which island or village they were from.

*slow handclap*

Re:Load of toss (1)

mikael (484) | about 6 months ago | (#46910321)

In the past, some researchers were able to link British surnames to DNA. And it is quite simple to link surnames to general geographic areas. So this just sounds like a rehash of this technique.

Re:Load of toss (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 6 months ago | (#46910489)

You know also, that the 200+ years of established Roman rule in Britain meant a huge garrison of legions from Spain, North Africa, Syria and Asia Minor. These were the "Romans" south of Hadrian's wall - and thoroughly intermixed with the "British" population, prior to ol' Vortigern being burnt in his tower. From Cheshire to York, up to the Scot border were very much near-eastern.

Re:Load of toss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46911985)

Totally true and a very good point

Re:Load of toss (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 6 months ago | (#46913329)

Huge garrison? Three, maybe four legions at most. Less than 20,000. Half a decent football crowd.

Re:Load of toss (1)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 6 months ago | (#46912001)

According to the actual paper's abstract [nature.com] :

Here we describe the Geographic Population Structure (GPS) algorithm and demonstrate its accuracy with three data sets using 40,000–130,000 SNPs. GPS placed 83% of worldwide individuals in their country of origin. Applied to over 200 Sardinians villagers, GPS placed a quarter of them in their villages and most of the rest within 50km of their villages. GPS’s accuracy and power to infer the biogeography of worldwide individuals down to their country or, in some cases, village, of origin, underscores the promise of admixture-based methods for biogeography and has ramifications for genetic ancestry testing.[Emphasis added]

So the claims aren't as specific as some make it out to be. I guess it's sometimes good to read the ARRBTFA (Acutal Resources Referenced By The Fine Article). Just sayin'.

Re:Load of toss (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 6 months ago | (#46917155)

So the claims aren't as specific as some make it out to be.

Pretty much what I'd suspected from RTFA, but I didn't try to follow the references.

placed a quarter of them in their villages and most of the rest within 50km of their villages.

Considering that Sardinia is less than 100km wide by 130km long (eyeballed from Gogle Maps), then getting more than 50km from the correct location is quite likely to involve getting one's feet and neck wet.

I don't get it (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 6 months ago | (#46909995)

How did they obtain a record of which genes were in which village at which time?

Re:I don't get it (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about 6 months ago | (#46910067)

Well you can use statistics. The people who currently live in the village probably have a strong correlation to a particular gene structure, Then the further out you go the correlation diminishes. So we get a good old bell curve.

So if you take one in a different area and you see that they would correlate better to a different area, then chances are their family probably had came from there.

We can tell in the United States already if someone is native to America, Asia, Europe, or Africa. We can know this without going back in time or checking history books to figure it out. You can just look at the existing population. If you go to the Europe, Sure there are people of other races but most of them are White. If your skin is white too, chances are your family came from that area of the world.

With genetics, We can break things down to a much finer detail... But the idea is still the same,

Interesting hypothesis, have you a newsletter? (1)

CmdrTamale (3528239) | about 6 months ago | (#46923185)

...We can tell in the United States already if someone is native to America, Asia, Europe, or Africa...

And what does this tell you (and us) about POTUS?
--
Intelligence is realizing that nobody knows what they're talking about. Wisdom is realizing that you don't, either.

Re:I don't get it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46910099)

You caught the hole in their web of lies. These Republicans have tried for years to create tools to judge whites on their racial purity. The "personalized medical treatment" thing is a sham. They want to fuck us over.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46910513)

Another incredibly stupid troll post. What a moron.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 6 months ago | (#46910585)

UM, apparently you are not familiar with the history of the parties in this country. It is the Democrats who try to judge people according to their racial purity(and always has been).

Re:I don't get it (1)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 6 months ago | (#46911979)

UM, apparently you are not familiar with the history of the parties in this country. It is the Democrats who try to judge people according to their racial purity(and always has been).

Actually, it's the bigoted assholes of all stripes who try to judge people according to all kinds of stupid measures. To clarify your point and the previous poster's, it worked like this:
1. Lincoln (a Republican -- no real ideological relation to the current Republican party), goosed long and hard enough by the abolitionists and the thought of all those slaves rising up against their captors, "freed" (I use quotes because most of those enslaved didn't live in states controlled by the Union army) the slaves.
2. After the US Civil War, the people who thought it was okay to own other people were really pissed off when they lost their privilege and their human possessions became Democrats (again, no real ideological relation to the current Democratic party) because they were against the party of Lincoln.
3. Things stayed this way for about 80 or so years until various members of the Democratic party saw the rise of the Middle Class after WWII and wanted a piece of that populist pie. This culminated in the early to mid 1960s when LBJ pushed through various civil rights laws.
4. Those aforementioned pissed off people were so enraged that their party would turn against their bigoted constituents, that when Nixon, using coded racist language, pulled a goodly number of those from the Democratic party to the Republican party.

Yes, this is simplistic and does not include a great deal of detail which would describe the evolution of the R and D parties into their current configurations. The point is that labels are just that. If you're a bigoted scumbag, it doesn't matter what your party affiliation is, nor do party affiliations really tell us anything about whether a person is good or bad.

Besides, these days both parties represent the Corporate Entities of America rather than the people of the United States.

It appalls me that so many people seem to be ignorant of their own history. It's not just sad. It may well be catastrophic. As Santayana famously remarked in his The Life of Reason [gutenberg.org] :

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. [Emphasis added]

Sigh.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 6 months ago | (#46912223)

I suppose you are referring to Nixon's "Southern Strategy" whereby he appealed to southern racists by actually working to desegregate southern schools (something which LBJ angered those same racists by refusing to do). I'm sorry, but the facts do not support your allegation that Nixon used some strategy to win the southern states, since he did not actually win them. They were won by George Wallace, who left the Democratic Party for that election and then returned to it. In the 1960s when the civil rights laws were passed, it was only because the Republicans supported them that they passed. The Republicans had been trying to pass such laws since the end of WWII and the Democrats had blocked them until LBJ saw that it was in his political interest to pass them. Even with LBJ pushing it, over 80% of the Republicans in Congress voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 vs less than 70% of the Democrats in Congress.
I could go on, but, based on the results of their policies, I do not see any evidence that Democrats today are any less racist than the Democrats who opposed the Civil Rights Act before 1964, nor than the Democrats who, under Woodrow Wilson, re-segregated the federal government. They talk like they believe in equal rights (well, except when they say that minorities need special treatment to get ahead), but the results of their actions show otherwise.

Re:I don't get it (1)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 6 months ago | (#46912327)

I suppose you are referring to Nixon's "Southern Strategy" whereby he appealed to southern racists by actually working to desegregate southern schools (something which LBJ angered those same racists by refusing to do). I'm sorry, but the facts do not support your allegation that Nixon used some strategy to win the southern states, since he did not actually win them. They were won by George Wallace, who left the Democratic Party for that election and then returned to it.

I stand corrected [uselectionatlas.org] . Thank you.

However, That doesn't invalidate my primary points:

it's the bigoted assholes of all stripes who try to judge people according to all kinds of stupid measures.

If you're a bigoted scumbag, it doesn't matter what your party affiliation is, nor do party affiliations really tell us anything about whether a person is good or bad.

Besides, these days both parties represent the Corporate Entities of America rather than the people of the United States.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 6 months ago | (#46912393)

It is partially true that both parties represent corporate entities. The primary reason for this is that too many people do not actually make an effort to change that. They do not bother voting in primaries. They do not become active in the local party and try to direct it. On top of that, too many people who do not become active, view those who do become active and are not doing so in service of corporate interests as "whack jobs". Changing the political climate is work, if you are not willing to do the work, do not be surprised that politics is controlled by those who are. Of course, the best way to reduce corporate influence in politics is to reduce the return on investment that corporations receive by being active in politics. If we were to reduce the amount which government at various levels controls business activity, we would reduce the amount of value corporations receive from investing in politics.

Re:I don't get it (1)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 6 months ago | (#46913335)

It is partially true that both parties represent corporate entities. The primary reason for this is that too many people do not actually make an effort to change that. They do not bother voting in primaries. They do not become active in the local party and try to direct it. On top of that, too many people who do not become active, view those who do become active and are not doing so in service of corporate interests as "whack jobs".

I agree that much of our citizenry is uninvolved in the political process. This is quite unfortunate. However, I don't know anyone who considers those who do get involved in support of the public good (or at least what they consider to be the public good) rather than special interests to be, as you put it, "whack jobs."

Many of the people I know who remain uninvolved in the political process do so because they are suspicious of and cynical about it. Often, this is because they feel that they do not have a voice, or that their voice is drowned out by the vast sums of money pumped into the political process by monied (often, but not always, corporate) interests.

Changing the political climate is work, if you are not willing to do the work, do not be surprised that politics is controlled by those who are. Of course, the best way to reduce corporate influence in politics is to reduce the return on investment that corporations receive by being active in politics. If we were to reduce the amount which government at various levels controls business activity, we would reduce the amount of value corporations receive from investing in politics.

I agree with your assessment of the lack of political involvement. However, I think limiting the influence of monied interests by removing the need for vast sums of money to run elections would have a much more salutary effect.

IMHO, there are many who work very hard to get elected to office in the hopes of making our government (at all levels) better and more responsive to the needs of the citizens they serve. The problem is that in our current environment, generally the candidate who has the most money wins. The need for huge sums of money, in many (if not most) cases, forces candidates to court monied interests to get elected. Since TAANSTAAFL [wiktionary.org] , those monied interests expect results for their money.

This gives much bigger voice to monied interests. If we remove money as an incentive for candidates, we will get candidates who are not beholden to the monied interests that corrupt our political system. If anyone, regardless of their economic status or that of their supporters could compete, we would have a more robust political debate and, as a result, better government.

What is more, I believe we would find that more people would engage in the political process if they felt that elected representatives were responsible to their constituents rather than monied interests.

Which is why I take significant issue with the idea that "money is speech" in the political process. It's no secret (cf. K Street lobbyists, PACs, etc.) that those who make sizable campaign contributions or spend money (cf. Citizen's United v. FEC) on behalf of candidates have significantly more access and influence with elected officials. Eliminate the need for campaign "war chests" and you eliminate the *legal* influence of the monied interests.

Yes. I am advocating full public financing of election campaigns at all levels of government, with a requirement that political advertising time be *given* equally to all candidates by licensed media outlets.

When everyone can, based on their ideas, drive and intellectual rigor, compete on equal terms, we will get a broader political debate, a better class of candidates and, I believe, a government focused on serving the citizens in their constituencies.

Sadly, our elected officials benefit greatly from the current system, and even those who would like to change it are often beholden to the status quo to get elected and remain in office. As such, that's unlikely to change.

I understand your thought about removing influence by getting the government out of the way of corporations. But there are a myriad of problems with that approach. Government oversight and regulation is problematic. However, some regulation is required. For example, without the Clean Air Act (not sure if you're old enough to remember how bad air quality was in many areas) we would face significantly higher rates of respiratory disease and slow painful death. Without EPA regulations removing lead from gasoline, we would all be dumber [nih.gov] . The OSHA Act [wikipedia.org] saves lives [sciencemag.org] . In addition, weaker regulatory regimes (e.g., the repeal of key provisions of the Glass-Steagall Act [wikipedia.org] via the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act [wikipedia.org] has exacerbated the startling growth of wealth inequality [wikipedia.org] in our society.

I think we both want the same thing -- better, more responsive government. Our ideas about how to achieve that may differ, as may our thoughts about what better government should be. That's a debate we, as a society, should have.

Unfortunately, unless we remove the influence of monied interests from our political process, the broader, reasoned debate, and more importantly, effective action on the important issues affecting us, will not take place.

I'd also point out that those on opposite sides of various issues are not enemies and should not be demonized -- we should engage each other and find common ground to create the society we want to live in. This means that we should be open minded and welcome all points of view. Getting information and ideas into public forums for examination and debate was one of the key drivers of the First Amendment free speech protections.

should accept 23andme genome sequence dump (1)

dgp (11045) | about 6 months ago | (#46910023)

I have a DNA sequence from 23andme. I'd like to see the first service do any kind of analysis where I can upload my genome sequence and see the results of the analysis.

Re:should accept 23andme genome sequence dump (3, Interesting)

Rich0 (548339) | about 6 months ago | (#46910149)

I have a DNA sequence from 23andme. I'd like to see the first service do any kind of analysis where I can upload my genome sequence and see the results of the analysis.

The service already exists, though they did a good job of not posting the link to http://www.prosapiagenetics.co... [prosapiagenetics.com]

However, it isn't until you get pretty far along in uploading your data that they try to hit you up for a fee (something like $20-50).

Couldn't they have come up with a better acronym? (1)

BitterOak (537666) | about 6 months ago | (#46910025)

GPS is already taken by something else. This could cause some confusion.

Re:Couldn't they have come up with a better acrony (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 6 months ago | (#46910449)

It is a pun on that thing, so no.

It's way cool, but read the actual study. (4, Informative)

clovis (4684) | about 6 months ago | (#46910071)

Don't read the moronic gizmag article. (yeah I know, /., as if)
See this:
http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2... [nature.com]
It's pretty cool stuff.

Re:It's way cool, but read the actual study. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46910123)

Does it make the blindest bit of sense? Because the gizmag article is moronic and makes them sound like morons promising stuff that they will never be able to deliver.

Re:It's way cool, but read the actual study. (1)

prefec2 (875483) | about 6 months ago | (#46912549)

Yes, the original is much better and does not try to promise the same dip shit as /. article. Who would have guessed ;-)

Re:It's way cool, but read the actual study. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46910579)

http://cruwys.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/driving-in-wrong-direction-with-dodgy.html

That's Racist (0)

Baldrson (78598) | about 6 months ago | (#46910127)

Enough said.

Re:That's Racist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46910483)

You won your race!

Re:That's Racist (1)

prefec2 (875483) | about 6 months ago | (#46912581)

No it is not. Read the fine (nature) article. Furthermore, there are no human races. Race implies human-driven selective breeding.

BTW: A racist implies that there are certain groups of humans which are better (on an absolute scale) than other and that they are therefore superior and should rule over the other or even exterminate (greeting from the daleks) those other humans. In reality we are all different and in that property we are all equal, especially in rights. At least in theory that is. In Reality we are only worth our stock of gold pressed latinum.

Re:That's Racist (1)

Baldrson (78598) | about 6 months ago | (#46914293)

Race [wikipedia.org] : "Race is a classification system used to categorize humans into large and distinct populations or groups by anatomical, cultural, ethnic, genetic, geographical, historical, linguistic, religious, and/or social affiliation."

This study is enabling not only genetic but geographical distinctions. The connective "and/or" is synonymous with the logic connective "or" which is inclusive.

Racist [wikipedia.org] : "Some definitions consider that any assumption that a person's behavior would be influenced by their racial categorization is inherently racist, regardless of whether the action is intentionally harmful or pejorative, because stereotyping necessarily subordinates individual identity to group identity."

While it is true that, in itself, mere genetic distinctions do not imply any distinctions in behavior, it is also true that if one finds genes influence behavior (which one can clearly see in the distinctions between species) then one can reasonably impute that there will be statistically significant distinctions in behavioral predispositions between genetically distinguishable groups. This "reasonable imputation" does not have to be proven or shown to be the case to be applicable in practical everyday life for the average person -- it merely needs to be not disproven to that average person.

But...but... "there's no such thing as race" LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46910175)

That's exactly what the politically correct retards behind this said! Even though the article summary clearly states " has significant implications for personalized medical treatment."

But wait a minute - they claim there's no such thing as 'race' - by which they really mean "White people aren't allowed to have their own countries, or they'll rise up against the Jews AGAIN and finally take their countries back for good, and be free of the yoke of Jewish tyranny, money lending, etc." and we can't have that...

Re:But...but... "there's no such thing as race" LO (1)

Sique (173459) | about 6 months ago | (#46910399)

There isn't such a thing as "race". Humans are on a continuum of genetic traits. There are no clear boundaries that one could call "races". There are some genetic traits that are more prevalent in people from specified geographic regions, but a) not everyone in that region has the specified trait and b) other genetic traits have different geographic coverages.

PS: People with fair skin and red or blond hair have some genetic information from Neanderthal ancestors.

Re:But...but... "there's no such thing as race" LO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46911897)

There isn't such a thing as "race". Humans are on a continuum of genetic traits. There are no clear boundaries that one could call "races". There are some genetic traits that are more prevalent in people from specified geographic regions, but a) not everyone in that region has the specified trait and b) other genetic traits have different geographic coverages.

PS: People with fair skin and red or blond hair have some genetic information from Neanderthal ancestors.

You are right; Some might call Centaurs a separate Race but other than having a some slightly more prevalent Equine genetic traits they are otherwise just as Human as the rest of us. Same idea goes for mice and all other animals that share most of the same DNA as those of us in the "Human Race".

Re:But...but... "there's no such thing as race" LO (1)

Sique (173459) | about 6 months ago | (#46917081)

You didn't get the point, right? The genetic markup of each human is (with the exception of identical twins) totally singular. No other human has the same genetic markup. He shares some genetic traits with a certain group of humans, but not with all of them. If you look at other genetic traits, he shares it with another group of humans, which doesn't include all of the first group, but includes other humans. The concept of race requires that there is a quite large body of genetic traits that he shares with the same group and (mainly) only with that group. It requires also that the last common ancestor of all those humans has lived later later than the last common ancestor of the single human in that group with any other human outside that group.

But with humans, it isn't so, except some remote villages or tribes far away from other humans, which for one or several generations are related only to people within the same group. In any other group of people (of none-sibblings or directly related humans), you always find at least one who has ancestors no other person within that group has.

Re:But...but... "there's no such thing as race" LO (1)

cusco (717999) | about 6 months ago | (#46912703)

Actually it appears that the gene for red hair present in Neanderthals is different than the gene causing red hair in Cro Magnons and their descendents. Parallel evolution, apparently. There are other genes though, and they tend to be more prevalent in European populations than elsewhere. Denesovian genes are also present in European and Asian populations, and an influx from another 'unknown' hominid as well is found in several Asian populations. The book 'Children of the Ice Age' brings up some of that, although I think the red hair gene was in a Scientific American article a few months back.

Re:But...but... "there's no such thing as race" LO (1)

cusco (717999) | about 6 months ago | (#46912713)

Crap, then I left off the point I wanted to make: The only genetically "pure" human genome, without inclusions from other hominids, is African.

Re:But...but... "there's no such thing as race" LO (1)

prefec2 (875483) | about 6 months ago | (#46912587)

There is no such thing as race in conjunction with humans, as this would imply selective breeding. The equality of people do not mean that we are all equal in genes. That would be quite confusing, if everybody would look the same. We are all different and equal in rights.

Not so fast... (1)

typing ape (3640619) | about 6 months ago | (#46910213)

Wow, this sounds like a really great idea. Except that 50 generations ago, there were theoretically 2^49 possible contributors to my DNA. Of course that number, 562,949,953,421,312, is far greater than the total number of humans who have ever lived, which implies that most of my ancestors must be "repeats". To put that another way, we are ALL inbred in the grand scheme of things. A familial relationship can be established between any given pair of living humans by going back less than 50 generations. That's right, Malcolm X and the Grand Wizard of the KKK are cousins. You knew that already -- it's not like there's anywhere else for humans to come from than other humans. The implication for this purported study, I think, is that it is nonsense. Pick any living human, and any 1000-year-old town. Yes, that person "came from" that town.

Re:Not so fast... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46910245)

I already said all of that.

Load of toss (Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 03, 2014 @10:54PM (#46909987)

"...

Unless they're banking on the sheer weight of ancestors meaning we can all be placed in every fucking village in the whole of Eurasia. 1000 years is roughly 300 generations, working on a crude dead reckoning of 30 odd years per generation. Pep quiz: what's 2^300? Answer: a first guess at the number of ancestors you had in 1014AD! That's a fucking big number. Obviously we have to cut it down to account for inbreeding etc., but even 2^100 is a hell of a lot of people, and some of them will be from entertainingly distant places. ..."

Re:Not so fast... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46910265)

(Of course, one should knock a zero off my numbers. 1000 years is roughly 30 generations, working on a crude dead reckoning of 30 odd years per generation, leaving 2^30 as a first guess at the number of ancestors you had in 1014AD.)

Re:Not so fast... (1)

xfade551 (2627499) | about 6 months ago | (#46911717)

You hit a different limit, first. In 1000A.D. There were less than 350M people on earth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Not so fast... (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 6 months ago | (#46911427)

no, we're more inbred than that. you did not have any ancestors from most towns 1000 years ago

i dont think it would work for me either (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46910275)

My mom emigrated from japan and my dad is from czech republic. How on earth could you trace my ancestors to a village? Going back 1000 years there are potentially several hundred villages to choose from.

Re:i dont think it would work for me either (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46910331)

"Several hundred"? Try "several million".

Re:i dont think it would work for me either (1)

xfade551 (2627499) | about 6 months ago | (#46911715)

I would be a poor candidate for this, too. I have to go back 6 generations just to find one ancestor couple that was born and raised in the same town.

The study is interesting... (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 6 months ago | (#46910475)

But my ancestors were nomadic native Americans, you insensitive clods!

Not good Science... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46910553)

It's a technique with significant problems and that can and will give fairly meaningless results. Go back 1000 years and you don't have one ancestor you could have millions if not billions of ancestors, the vast majority from which you inherit nothing.

Not to mention the dodgy nature of authors declaring they have no financial interests in the paper then set up a company selling the results for a profit.

For proper look at the paper see the comments by one of the original reviewers:
http://jkplab.org/2014/04/30/review-geographic-population-structure-gps-of-worldwide-human-populations-infers-biogeographical-origin/

And a summary of some of the problems in this write up:
http://cruwys.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/driving-in-wrong-direction-with-dodgy.html

Polynesian Island? (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 6 months ago | (#46910865)

Which Island? It might work on a small island like Mauke (in the Cooks) but it isn't going to work with The North Island.

Hint (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 6 months ago | (#46911971)

Hint: even if your chosen phrase is the one that perfectly describes your invention, discovery or whatever, it's best to check that its initialism isn't already in popular use for something else.

(inventor of the individual biometric measurer)

Warning: Do not waste your money (1)

Orleron (835910) | about 6 months ago | (#46912353)

Taking the science for what it is, I plunked down the $42 for the super test and have received nothing yet. It has been 2 days and my screen still says "90% done". When you go onto the forums and ask about it, you see there are numerous people with the same problem. The company has replied simply saying, "This is because of some person's DNA files have exceptional features.", but noting more. Calls for support go unanswered, even though the "super" test is supposed to give you priority support.

For the people that HAVE gotten results, all you get for the money is a point on a Google map. If you are a pure-bred ethnic whatever, that point means something. If you are the child of a parent from Fiji and an aborigonal Australian, the point on your map will be halfway between those locations: useless information. Considering that a lot of us are children of parents from quite different locations these days, the odds of you getting a point on your map that means anything are not high.

If they don't get back to me by this coming Tuesday (2 business days), I'm charging it back via PayPal.

What a bunch of crap.

How broad the results must be (1)

SkOink (212592) | about 6 months ago | (#46914093)

Assuming an average child-bearing age of 20, 1000 years back would span 50 generations. 50 generations of parentage is well over 1 billion people. How could anybody in the modern world's lineage possibly be traced back to one (or even 4) location?

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