Genetic look-back

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May 21, 2012 — Genealogy is growing in popularity in the United States. There’s been a mini love affair developing between PBS viewers and the program “Faces of America” — about family roots with Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Recently WHYY-TV’s news magazine “First” pulled together a two-parter that explores the genealogy of Feed Blogger Shannon McDonald. Overall, these tellings can be surprising… and the reveals, at times, are emotional.

In his new book DNA USA: A Genetic Biography of America,geneticist Bryan Sykes acknowledges genealogy is big business in America — more of us crave information about our past…and, of course, now we can create genetic portraits of who we are. Dr. Dan Gottlieb discusses our thirst for connection and identity and the process of looking back genetically with Bryan Sykes and Phillip Hammack, Jr.

Bryan Sykes, Ph.D. is a Professor of Human Genetics at Wolfson College in Oxford and the chairman and founder of Oxford AncestorsPhillip Hammack, Jr., Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at University of California, Santa Cruz. He’s the author of Narrative and the Politics of Identity: The Cultural Psychology of Israeli and Palestinian Youth (Oxford, 2011). We’ll also hear bloggerShannon McDonald’s story about exploring the life and heritage of her grandfather.

Photo by Flickr user Valerie Rene

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