I haven’t written about these cases yet, but I have to say this forensic approach may be the most significant story in human genetics this year.
Archaeologists working at Shubayqa 1, a site in northeastern Jordan, found tiny fragments of an ancient unleavened bread as they were excavating a hearth.
Here’s a story describing one of these cases: “Another DNA Testing Company Reportedly Gets Fooled by Dog DNA”.
Such cases point to the real problem that some companies doing business in this area are not maintaining best practices, to say the least.
We have his maps but those were the days before GPS and there just wasn’t enough detail to re-locate most of the key sites.
By way of a recap, we’re looking for sites that preserve stone artefacts from a time period roughly 600,000 to 200,000 years ago.
The paper includes a photo of the fireplace and structure where the team found the oldest of the charred bread remains.
Indeed, even companies recognized as legitimate businesses may have been reporting results to customers that diverge substantially from the best scientific knowledge about human genetics.
Larry Barham of the University of Liverpool and international collaborators have a field project in Zambia examining the “Deep Roots of Human Behavior”, investigating the beginning of compound tools and the transition to the Middle Stone Age.
Last year the project disseminated its fieldwork by a very successful blog.
It was an important question for us because we were also witnessing the early growth of a white nationalist movement, rebranded as “the Alt-Right” in 2015.
Fast forward to December 2017 and the satirical website reported that an anonymous employee from a DNA ancestry company said that they were purposefully messing with some customers’ data in order to anger racists.