Tech Ramblings…

By Dr. T

Junk mails and human DNA. The sky ‘is’ falling on our heads…

Remember those pesky junk mails that we often get…spam, unsolicited, and annoying. Well now that junk spam has turned a new leaf. However, this new discovery doesnt contain messages such as “You’ve won the lottery”, or “I am a wealthy businessman looking to transfer funds to your account..” etc etc. This ones much closer to our genes. Scientists have discovered a junk mail container in our very own DNA. One that may possibly have been tampered with. But just who has been tampering with this storage space…

Scientists have discovered large chunks of junk DNA in our genome that seemingly have no useful purpose (non that they can decipher up till now). These genes are highly stable and people are already brewing up cosmic conspiracies. According to an article by Professor Paul Davies of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology, this junk DNA may have been utilized by aliens when they visited thousands of years ago. They may have discovered it and implanted encoded messages in it. Sounds like science fiction right out of “Chariots of the Gods”

But wait, there’s more!

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September 6, 2006 Posted by | The Human genographic Project | Leave a comment

–Tech Ramblings goes “Technorati”

I’m quite fascinated by this blog. I recently searched up my feedstat and blogstat and am surprised I have quite a few readers to this blog already. This is really humbling considering this blogs only been up for four days. I thought I’d see how my blog is doing in terms of a graphical form and this is what wordpress turned up:

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August 29, 2006 Posted by | Technology Talk, The Human genographic Project | 2 Comments

— Kevin Bacon, Angelina Jolie, and I…

Kevin Bacon, Angelina Jolie, and I (aka me) are related…

Interesting thought right, if only it were true. But its not entirely false either. Let me explain… 

Since I’ve been researching a lot on the human genetic lineage, I thought it’d be interesting to look around in the present and see how many people I am related to (through ancestral DNA or anyone who I might know directly or indirectly). We’re all aware of the phrase “six degrees of separation“,  a hypothesis that states that “anyone on Earth can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances with no more than five intermediaries.”

Related to this hypothesis, a lot of social networking projects started up and gained a lot of momentum. Two such off-shoots are the Bacon Number and the Erdos Number

The first number is related to Kevin Bacon (yup the Hollywood actor). How did Kevin Bacon suddenly become the centre of the Hollywood universe. Seems like he’s the most linkable actor (meaning any star can relate to either working with him directly or know someone who has) according to the Oracle of Bacon website which houses a large IMDB (internet movide databae). So Angelina Jolie has a Bacon Number of 2 since:

Angelina Jolie was in Life or Something Like It (2002) with Melissa Errico, while Melissa Errico was in Loverboy (2005) with Kevin Bacon.  

So how do I calculate my Bacon number.  ” Continue reading

August 29, 2006 Posted by | The Human genographic Project, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

— Out of the African desert, into the fire – A journey of my ancestors…

As I mentioned in my previous post, “8 sons of adam, 7 daughters of eve” (pingback link), I’ve found a new found passion, about tracing my genetic lineage. It would be interesting to note where my ancestors travelled enroute to where I am right now. Where I can find major clusters of distant cousins in present times and how far back can I connect with them through the same mother (mitochondria DNA – mDNA) or same father (Y-chrom).

What is more exciting to explore, is the idea of me belonging to a Mongolian trible (maybe Genghis Khan), the Ottoman Empire (maybe Suleman the Great – after which my surname is :)), or any other major civilizations of the past. Also, which geographical locations my distant cousins are living in modern times…

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August 26, 2006 Posted by | The Human genographic Project | Leave a comment

— 8 Sons of Adam, 7 Daughters of Eve…

I recently finished two books titled “Seven daughters of Eve” by Bryan Sikes 

and “The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey.” by Spencer Wells.

These books provide in insight into the human gene pool – the Science That reveals our genetic ancestry. Scientifically proving that the modern human beings are all sons of adams and daughters of eve. The scientific explanations, technical anecdotes, and visual feature contrast in both books help detail where human beings originated (Africa), why they spread out to different parts of the world (Panacea, lower sea levels, receding Ice ages, competition for food and growing human numbers), and what routes they followed. I’ll write in more detail about the method these scientists used. But what is interesting to note is that people can use this technology to discover where their ancestors lived over the past 50,000 years, what route they followed to reach where you are right living in right now, and also who your distant cousins (from mothers side) are and where they are living in these days.

In brief, the first book, “Seven daughters of Eve” highlights that any person in Europe (and the author says Europe because of large volumes of DNA analysis in that area), is directly related to every other person in that area through any of the seven daughters of Eve. My father in law had his DNA analyzed and it turned out his forefathers followed a very intersesting route out of Africa during the first receding of the Ice Age some 45,000 years, all the way to modern time:

More explanation on this in a later post…

Eager to find my own ancestors, I am in the process of ordering the the DNA analysis kit from DNA Heritage and finding my own ancesteral route. At the same time, I was browing the internet when I came through My Heritage, courtesy of Mian Fahim.

This URL, matches facial features between any person and their celebrity matches based on higher percentages of similarities. Interesting to note how far the science of genetics and facial recognition have come along.

So this post titled “Eight sons of Adam” has been inspired by this book “Seven daughters of Eve”. Through this, I can possibly find 8 of my distant cousins living anywhere in the world at this time, who might be related to me through any of the seven daughters of Eve (who could have lived anywhere between 50,000 years and 50 years). Sounds exciting, lets check it out…The first few test results are:

Take 1 Hollywood

Here is another one…

”Take 2 to Hollywood

…And there are bunch of other pics showing similarities. An interesting datamining set to create a close match of people resembling each other. Maybe I’d pick this project up in the coming days…

— Tashfeen.

August 26, 2006 Posted by | The Human genographic Project | 3 Comments