I'll skip the predictions (you're welcome to post your own), and just post a bit more information on a few projects that should be announcing results this year:

(1) Otzi genome. Here's a 9 minute podcast from Life Technologies containing a few more details:
- "above 5X coverage"
- "looking at potentially medically-relevant SNPs"
- "this individual living over 5000 years ago would represent an ancestor for, we think, a significant proportion of the European population."
- "looking at his ancestry and indeed trying to determine exactly where is he from"

(2) People of the British Isles Project. A movie from the Wellcome Trust:

Most interestingly, the project is now collecting phenotypic data, including skin color, and taking 3-d facial photographs. Bodmer: "The next stage of our study, we're now taking pictures of people's faces so we can analyze components statistically [. . .] and then look for the genetic features behind that. What are the genes, what are the variations that determine facial features. Will it be possible to reconstruct from a piece of DNA what a person really looked like."

(3) 1000 Genomes Project. Another short film by the Wellcome Trust:

Chris Tyler-Smith: "[The project has] told us that natural selection has influenced virtually every part of our genome [. . .] we've now got a catalog of some thousands of genes that we think have been specifically positively selected in our fairly recent history."

1 comment:

Robert said...

'Gentile sperm leads to barbaric offspring'

Rabbi Dov Lior rules that Jewish Law prohibits sterile couples from getting pregnant using non-Jewish man's sperm, as it causes adverse traits. On subject of single mothers he says, 'Child cannot be 100% normal'
Kobi Nahshoni
Published: 01.12.11, 08:30,7340,L-4006385,00.html

Rabbi Dov Lior, a senior authority on Jewish law in the Religious Zionism movement, asserted recently that a Jewish woman should never get pregnant using sperm donated by a non-Jewish man – even if it is the last option available.

According to Lior, a baby born through such an insemination will have the "negative genetic traits that characterize non-Jews." Instead, he advised sterile couples to adopt.
Lior addressed the issue during a women's health conference held recently at the Puah Institute, a fertility clinic. His conservative stance negated a ruling widely accepted by rabbis, which states that sperm donated by a non-Jew is preferable to that of an anonymous Jew, who might pose a genealogical risk.
"Sefer HaChinuch (a book of Jewish law) states that the character traits of the father pass on to the son," he said in the lecture. "If the father in not Jewish, what character traits could he have? Traits of cruelty, of barbarism! These are not traits that characterize the people of Israel."
Lior added identified Jews as merciful, shy and charitable – qualities that he claimed could be inherited. "A person born to Jewish parents, even if they weren't raised on the Torah – there are things that are passed on (to him) in the blood, it's genetic," he explained. "If the father is a gentile, then the child is deprived of these things.
"I even read in books that sometimes the crime, the difficult traits, the bitterness – a child that comes from these traits, it's no surprise that he won't have the qualities that characterize the people of Israel," he added.
'Kids born to single moms become criminals'
Lior condemned artificial insemination and sperm donation in general, saying that they lead to waste of sperm, unclear genealogy and other Jewish law offenses. He warned against undergoing intrauterine insemination at hospitals, where the workers may mix sperm samples for one reason or another - a major halachic violation.

On the subject of women who freeze their eggs to use at a later date, the rabbi asserted that instead they should concentrate their efforts on getting married younger.
"Our public has been influenced by a part of the Western culture in which every woman, instead of becoming a mother, needs to get a Masters Degree," he lamented. "The role of women – child rearing – is not less important than an academic degree." Lior noted that there is nothing wrong with attaining a profession, but it should not be a priority.
Moreover, the rabbi spoke against single women getting pregnant.

"We can understand the desire of every woman to have a child, but according to our Torah it is impossible to address the demand of a certain woman when it can cause someone else suffering," he said.

"If a child is born without a father, he cannot be 100% normal." He stated that rabbinical literature defines these kids as "criminals and subjects of other negative phenomena."