Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2nd cousin at 23andMe

I have done the autosomal testing at 23andMe. They report results and give you notice of matches in Relative Finder. Apart from my 1st cousin, the closest match I have is with a predicted 2nd Cousin. We have 14 matching segments. The usual definition of a 2nd cousin is some one who shares a Great grandparent with you.

My Great Grandparents are the following couples:
Jesse Perkins and Elizabeth Jane Creekmore;
Andrew J. Walker and Rutha Manning;
Peter Coleman Ball and Frances Jane Strunk;
Thomas J. Swain and Mary E. Kidd.

All are from the Wayne, Whitley and McCreary county area of Kentucky.

If you descend from any of them please contact me with you pedigree. Especially if you have tested at 23andMe, ;^)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Genetic Genealogy testing: Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation

We often focus on the commercial DNA testing companies and forget about the non-profit Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, http://smgf.org/ They were the first organization to use DNA testing for genealogy. They began with testing of blood and then moved on to testing with a mouth-wash method. One of their goals was to build a collection 100,000 samples. This was reached a few years ago. These samples have been tested for Y chromosome DNA, mitochondrial mtDNA, and autosomal DNA from Chromosomes 1 through 22 and the X chromosome. At this time the Y DNA and mtDNA results are available for searching by entering your results or by using a surname to search the genealogical charts the participants sent with their samples. The autosomal database has not yet been released for searching.

Did I mention the test is free of charge?

One drawback to the testing is that there is no guarantee that your results will make it into the public databases where you can retrieve them at no charge. However, you can get your results from GeneTree, http://www.genetree.com for a nominal charge.

At this time SMGF is accepting samples from the following populations:

Other Areas of Interest
Reaching the 100,000 participants milestone was just one of the objectives of our project. We are still working to enhance our dataset by actively seeking participants for our database with ancestry from a number of countries and lineages (listed below). If you have genealogical information linking you to one of these areas or have connections that could facilitate collections in these areas please contact SMGF at info@smgf.org.
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Sweden
  • France
  • Germany
  • Belgium
  • All Eastern European countries
  • Lebanon
  • Syria
  • Jordan
  • Egypt
  • North Africa
  • Switzerland
  • Denmark
  • Spain
  • Portugal

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Family Tree DNA's annual end-of-year promotion

From Family Tree DNA:

It's time once again for Family Tree DNA's annual end-of-year promotion.

Starting tonight, and until December 31st, we will 
reduce the price of our YDNA37, YDNA67, mtDNAPlus, and 
Family Finder tests.

Price for NEW KITS:  Regular Price  Promotional Price
         YDNA37  $149          $119
         YDNA67  $239          $199
      mtDNAPlus  $159          $129
  Family Finder  $289          $249

Price for UPGRADE:      
  Family Finder  $289          $229

Orders must be in and paid for by Dec. 31, 2010, to receive this offer.

IMPORTANT: since this promotion will run through the month of December, we encourage you to spread the word starting now, as the natural tendency is for people to order at the last minute, and we will not extend it beyond 12/31/2010.

© All Contents Copyright 2001-2010 Genealogy by Genetics, Ltd.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

PHYLO: A Human Computing Framework for Comparative Genomics

Thanks to Ann Turner for the reference to CNET: CRAVE coverage of PHYLO: A Human Computing Framework for Comparative Genomics.

Play a computer game to align genomic sequences. A crowd sourced science program from McGill University and the University of California at Santa Cruz. The results are stored in the Genome Browser at UCSC.

23andme $99.00 Holiday Sale Extended Through Christmas!

Holiday Sale Extended Through Christmas!
Published by Shwu at 6:00 am under announcements
The holidays just got a bit happier. Our holiday sale price of $99 plus a 12-month subscription to our Personal Genome Service for just $5 per month will now be available through Christmas day (12/25/2010). Be sure to place your order by Wednesday, December 15th if you want to receive your DNA testing kits in time for holiday gift-giving!


Saturday, November 27, 2010

FTDNA upgrade sale

The following was sent to the FTDNA study administrators:
As we enter the Thanksgiving weekend, we would like to extend to you a one-week promotion for upgrades:

Current Group Price SALE PRICE
      Y12-37   $99 $69
      Y12-67  $189 $149
      Y25-67  $148 $109
      Y37-67   $99 $79

To order this special offer, log in to your personal page and click on the special offers link in the left hand navigation bar. A link to the login page is provided below.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

$99.00 sale at 23andme

After 10am Pacific time
Enter this code on the order page:
You will also need to pay the monthly service charge of $5.00 for 12 months.

Monday, November 15, 2010

When Genetics and Genealogies Tell Different Stories-Maternal Lineages in Gaspesia [Gaspe Peninsula, Canada]

Ann Hum Genet. 2010 Nov 8. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-1809.2010.00617.x.

When Genetics and Genealogies Tell Different Stories-Maternal Lineages in Gaspesia.

Moreau C, Vézina H, Jomphe M, Lavoie EM, Roy-Gagnon MH, Labuda D.

Centre de Recherche, CHU Sainte-Justine, Université de Montréal, 3175, Côte Sainte-Catherine, Montréal (Québec),
 Canada H3T 1C5 Département des sciences humaines, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, 555, boulevard de l'Université, Chicoutimi (Québec),
Canada G7H 2B1 Projet BALSAC, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, 555, boulevard de l'Université, Chicoutimi (Québec), Canada G7H 2B1 Groupe de recherche interdisciplinaire en démographie et épidémiologie génétique-GRIG, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, 555, boulevard de l'Université, Chicoutimi (Québec), Canada G7H 2B1 Département de médecine sociale et préventive, Université de Montréal, Pavillon 1420 Mont-Royal, 1430 boul. du Mont-Royal, Outremont (Québec), Canada H2V 4P3 Département de pédiatrie, Université de Montréal, 3175, Côte Sainte-Catherine, Montréal (Québec), Canada H3T 1C5.


Data from uniparentally inherited genetic systems were used to trace evolution of human populations. Reconstruction of the past primarily relies on variation in present-day populations, limiting historical inference to lineages that are found among living subjects. Our analysis of four population groups in the Gaspé Peninsula, demonstrates how this may occasionally lead to erroneous interpretations. Mitochondrial DNA analysis of Gaspesians revealed an important admixture with Native Americans. The most likely scenario links this admixture to French-Canadians from the St. Lawrence Valley who moved to Gaspesia in the 19th century. However, in contrast to genetic data, analysis of genealogical record shows that Native American maternal lineages were brought to Gaspesia in the 18th century by Acadians who settled on the south-western coast of the peninsula. Intriguingly, within three generations, virtually all Métis Acadian families separated from their nonadmixed relatives and moved eastward mixing in with other Gaspesian groups, in which Native American maternal lines are present in relatively high frequencies. Over time, the carriers of these lines eventually lost memory of their mixed Amerindian-Acadian origin. Our results show that a reliable reconstruction of population history requires cross-verification of different data sources for consistency, thus favouring multidisciplinary approaches.

No claim to original US government works
Annals of Human Genetics © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/University College London.

PMID: 21058944 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Thursday, October 28, 2010

New 23andMe Relative Finder match connection identified

Last night I was able to identify the possible pedigree connection between my self and a predicted 5th cousin. She and I are actually 6th cousins, once removed. The connection is in my maternal line but her paternal line with William Kidd and his unknown wife. We have a match on chromosome 17.

I have a 3rd cousin, once removed, who matches me at 4 locations. We share four GG Grandparents, Jesse D. Swain and Mary Elizabeth Ball, and John Kidd and Maliza Stephens. None of our matches are on chromosome 17. She and her daughter have matches on chromosome 6 with my female multi-1st cousin which I do not have, and I have matches with her and her daughter on the X which my female multi-1st cousin does not have.

So the question still remains whether the first match on chromosome 17 is from William Kidd or from his unknown wife. I'm tending toward the unknown wife.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Genetic analysis of the presumptive blood from Louis XVI, king of France

Articles in Press
FSI Genetics

Genetic analysis of the presumptive blood from Louis XVI, king of France

Carles Lalueza-FoxaCorresponding Author Informationemail address, Elena Giglia, Carla Binid, Francesc Calafellab, Donata Luisellic, Susi Pelottid, Davide Pettenerc

Received 9 July 2010; received in revised form 14 August 2010; accepted 15 September 2010. published online 12 October 2010. Corrected Proof


A text on a pyrographically decorated gourd dated to 1793 explains that it contains a handkerchief dipped with the blood of Louis XVI, king of France, after his execution. Biochemical analyses confirmed that the material contained within the gourd was blood. The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) hypervariable region 1 (HVR1) and 2 (HVR2), the Y-chromosome STR profile, some autosomal STR markers and a SNP in HERC2 gene associated to blue eyes, were retrieved, and some results independently replicated in two different laboratories. The uncommon mtDNA sequence retrieved can be attributed to a N1b haplotype, while the novel Y-chromosome haplotype belongs to haplogroup G2a. The HERC2 gene showed that the subject analyzed was a heterozygote, which is compatible with a blue-eyed person, as king Louis XVI was. To confirm the identity of the subject, an analysis of the dried heart of his son, Louis XVII, could be undertaken.

Keywords: Louis XVI, Identification, Ancient DNA, Mitochondrial DNA, Y-chromosome, Eye colour

  • a Institut de Biologia Evolutiva, CSIC-UPF, Dr. Aiguader 88, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
  • b CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Spain
  • c Dipartimento diBiologia, Evoluzionistica Sperimentale, Area di Antropologia, Universitàdi, Bologna, Via Selmi 3, 40126 Bologna, Italy
  • d Dipartimento di Medicina e Salute Pubblica, Sezione di Medicina Legale, Università di Bologna, Via Irnerio 49, 40126 Bologna, Italy

Corresponding Author InformationCorresponding author. Tel.: +34 933160845.

PII: S1872-4973(10)00160-2

© 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Ancestry and Disease in the Age of Genomic Medicine

Review Article
Ancestry and Disease in the Age of Genomic Medicine

W. Gregory Feero, M.D., Ph.D., Editor, Alan E. Guttmacher, M.D., Editor

Ancestry and Disease in the Age of Genomic Medicine

Charles N. Rotimi, Ph.D., and Lynn B. Jorde, Ph.D.

N Engl J Med 2010; 363:1551-1558 October 14, 2010

Human genetic data are accumulating at an ever-increasing pace, and whole genome sequences of individuals from multiple populations are now publicly available.1-3 The growing inventory of human genetic variation is facilitating an understanding of why susceptibility to common diseases varies among individuals and populations. In addition, we are gaining insights that may improve the efficacy and safety of therapeutic drugs. Such knowledge is relevant to fundamental questions about our origins, differences, and similarities. Here, we provide a brief review of the current knowledge of human genetic variation and how it contributes to our understanding of human evolutionary history, group identity, and health disparities.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Bridging the Divide between Genomic Science and Indigenous Peoples

Bridging the Divide between Genomic Science and Indigenous Peoples

The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Volume 38, Issue 3, pages 684–696, Fall 2010.

Bette Jacobs, Jason Roffenbender, Jeff Collmann, Kate Cherry, LeManuel Lee Bitsói, Kim Bassett, and Charles H. Evans, Jr.

The new science of genomics endeavors to chart the genomes of individuals around the world, with the dual goals of understanding the role genetic factors play in human health and solving problems of disease and disability. From the perspective of indigenous peoples and developing countries, the promises and perils of genomic science appear against a backdrop of global health disparity and political vulnerability. These conditions pose a dilemma for many communities when attempting to decide about participating in genomic research or any other biomedical research. Genomic research offers the possibility of improved technologies for managing the acute and chronic diseases that plague their members. Yet, the history of particularly biomedical research among people in indigenous and developing nations offers salient examples of unethical practice, misuse of data, and failed promises. This dilemma creates risks for communities who decide either to participate or not to participate in genomic science research. Some argue that the history of poor scientific practice justifies refusal to join genomic research projects. Others argue that disease poses such great threats to the well-being of people in indigenous communities and developing nations that not participating in genomic research risks irrevocable harm. Thus, some communities particularly among indigenous peoples have declined to participate as subjects in genomic research. At the same time, some communities have begun developing new guidelines, procedures, and practices for engaging with the scientific community that offer opportunities to bridge the gap between genomic science and indigenous and/or developing communities. Four new approaches warrant special attention and further support: consulting with local communities; negotiating the complexities of consent; training members of local communities in science and health care; and training scientists to work with indigenous communities. Implicit is a new definition of “rigorous scientific research,” one that includes both community development and scientific progress as legitimate objectives of genomic research. Innovative translational research is needed to develop practical, mutually acceptable methods for crossing the divide between genomic researchers and indigenous communities. This may mean the difference between success and failure in genomic science, and in improving health for all peoples.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Three recent articles using DNA for genealogy

The following articles use DNA testing in determining the genealogical connections in the families studied:

  • Daniela Moneta "Virginia Pughs and North Carolina Wests: A Genetic Link from Slavery in Kentucky," National Genealogical Society Quarterly vol.97, pp.179-194 (September 2009).
  • Alvy Ray Smith, "The Probable Genetic Signature of Thomas1 Riggs: Immigrant to Gloucester, Massachusetts by 1658," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol.164, pp.85-89(April 2010).
  • Alvy Ray Smith, "The Probable Genetic Signature of Edward1 Riggs: Immigrant to Roxbury, Massachusetts, in 1633," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol.164, pp.95-103(April 2010).

In his two articles, Dr Smith introduces his own method of showing genetic ancestry which does not follow any of the usual methods. While some like his method, I find it less informative that the standard marker site, marker value pairs used by the genetic genealogy community.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Genetic Privacy

The following article is interesting from several angles; the use of the SMGF results in combination with the Family Search database; and the question of maintaining privacy of genetic results. The different orientations of medical researchers with Institutional Review Boards to consider, and of genealogists searching for identifiable links makes for an interesting tension in the research protocols each brings to the reading of this article.

Since I am a multiple relative of Emma Hale, wife of Joseph Smith, I have an interest in the early Mormon families.




Steven C. Perkins


Copyright © 2009 The American Society of Human Genetics. All rights reserved. The American Journal of Human Genetics, Volume 84, Issue 2, 251-258, 13 February 2009

Inferential Genotyping of Y Chromosomes in Latter-Day Saints Founders and Comparison to Utah Samples in the HapMap Project

http://www.cell.com/AJHG/retrieve/pii/S0002929709000251 [Link to PDF here]

Jane Gitschier1,*
One concern in human genetics research is maintaining the privacy of study participants. The growth in genealogical registries may contribute to loss of privacy, given that genotypic information is accessible online to facilitate discovery of genetic relationships. Through iterative use of two such web archives, FamilySearch and Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, I was able to discern the likely haplotypes for the Y chromosomes of two men, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, who were instrumental in the founding of the Latter-Day Saints Church. I then determined whether any of the Utahns who contributed to the HapMap project (the ‘‘CEU’’ set) is related to either man, on the basis of haplotype analysis of the Y chromosome. Although none of the CEU contributors appear to be a male-line relative, I discovered that predictions could be made for the surnames of the CEU participants by a similar process. For 20 of the 30 unrelated CEU samples, at least one exact match was revealed, and for 17 of these, a potential ancestor from Utah or a neighboring state could be identified. For the remaining ten samples, a match was nearly perfect, typically deviating by only one marker repeat unit. The same query performed in two other large databases revealed fewer individual matches and helped to clarify which surname predictions are more likely to be correct. Because large data sets of genotypes from both consenting research subjects and individuals pursuing genetic genealogy will be accessible online, this type of triangulation between databases may compromise the privacy of research subjects.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

23andMe Ancestry Finder versus 23andMe Relative Finder

When I logged into 23andMe last night and went to Relative Finder I had 506 matches. I sent sharing invitations to 5 of the new matches and I sent a separate invitation to a Public Profile match. The remaining match was from someone with multiple people on his profile.

People who appear in Relative Finder share at least 7.5cM of genetic data with you in one location. Once you agree to compare your genome in Ancestry Labs, Family Inheritance: Advanced you may find that you share segments between 5 and 7.5 cM. The matching in Relative Finder occurs automatically for everyone in the 23andMe database. Of course, each person can opt out of Relative Finder.

Ancestry Finder uses the lower 5 cM cutoff and can match you with people who would not automatically appear on Relative Finder IF the person has filled out the optional "Where are you from" survey. The survey asks for location information on you, your parents and your grandparents. This data is used to show where the grandparents of people who match you in Ancestry Finder were born. There are a number of limitations to this data: current country names are used which may not really reflect the ancestry/ethnicity of the match; the data is only as good as the information the person completing the survey knows; just because a match has grandparents from X country it does not mean you do.

Both Relative Finder and Ancestry Finder should be used to research your ancestry. At this time Ancestry Finder is more difficult to use and it is hoped it will be come more like Relative Finder or be merged with it to make it easier to use.

The provision for Public Profiles in both systems has made it easier to determine if some matches might be more useful that others. It also provides the opportunity for committed genetic genealogists to let others know they are willing to share data.

FDA and Senator Hatch hold hearings on DTC DNA testing

The big news last week were the hearing held on Direct to Consumer (DTC) DNA tests by the FDA and by Senator Hatch. Katherine Hope Borges of the ISOGG made a statement at the FDA hearing which is reproduced at the Huffington Post by Megan Smolenyak. Katherine was the only speaker to address genetic genealogy issues. The rest of the speakers discussed various medical aspects of DNA testing.

Links to follow.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Results at 23andMe and at FTDNA

Today I have the following results:

  • 497 matches
  • 122 sharing genomes
  • 18 Public profiles
  • 338 contacts sent
  • 128 accepted 22 declines
Closest relationship identified, 3rd cousin once removed, 4 matching segments
Closest waiting for reply, 2nd cousin with 12 matching segments
1 of 9 1st cousins is also on 23andMe, 41 matching segments (share 6 of 8 Great grandparents)


  • 64 matches
  • 30 emails sent
Closest relationship identified, 4th cousin once removed.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Upgrade sale at FTDNA: 8 July - 19 July 2010

Dear Family Tree DNA Customer

Over the last several years, due to the unmatched growth of our database, numerous people have confirmed and found new connections with others of their surname, and adoptees and descendents of adoptees have even found their biological surname.

These successes are due in large part to the size and quality of our database, which, with your help, has achieved critical mass. We have made tremendous progress, but we feel that we can do more. If you have tested 12, 25, or 37 markers, an upgrade to 37 or 67 markers could provide the relevant connection that you or your matches have been waiting for.

Family Tree DNA is dedicated to supporting this effort. From July 8th through July 19th, we will reduce all our Y-DNA upgrade prices.

Current Group  SALE Price
Y12-25 $49 $35
Y12-37 $99 $69
Y12-67 $189 $149
Y25-37 $49 $35
Y25-67 $148 $109
Y37-67 $99 $79

To order this special offer, log in to your personal page and click on the special offers link in the left hand navigation bar. A link to the login page is provided below. ALL ORDERS MUST BE PLACED AND PAID FOR BY MIDNIGHT JULY 19th TO RECEIVE THE SALE PRICE.


A notice of this sale has been sent to those customers who qualify for these Y-DNA upgrades.

We would also like to take this opportunity to inform you that registration has begun for The 6th Annual Conference on Genetic Genealogy for Group Administrators, which will be taking place on October 30-31, 2010. You can find more about it here

As always, we appreciate your continued support.

Bennett Greenspan
Family Tree DNA
"History Unearthed Daily"

© All Contents Copyright 2001-2010 Genealogy by Genetics, Ltd.

Monday, July 05, 2010

My statistics at 23andMe and at FTDNA

I have tested my autosomal chromosomes at both 23andMe and FTDNA.

At 23andMe in Relative Finder I have 464 people with matching chromosome segments. My largest match is with my 1st cousin at 19.79% of our DNA. Most 1st cousins will be around 12.5% but we share 6 of 8 Great Grandparents so we have more matching DNA than most 1st cousins. The lowest amount of DNA I have with someone is .08% and that was the first person I was able to find a match with as 10th cousins once removed. 106 people are currently sharing genomes with me which allows us to see on which chromosome we have a match.

The majority of my matches are on one or another of chromosomes 1 through 22. However I have 9 people who have 10 shared segments with me on the X chromosome which, as a male, I inherited from my mother. By mapping the start and end locations of the shared segments I can see who may share a common X ancestry with me or with each other. In this case my 1st cousin shares 2 segments with me and 1 of those segments with me and two brothers. I partially share a segment with a mother and daughter and 3 other persons. And one of those persons shares half a segment with another person.

When males share an X segment it means they are related through their mothers' ancestry. When a male shares an X segment with a female they can be related on his mother's ancestry and on either her mother's or father's X ancestry.

Unless one or both of your parents also takes the 23andme test, it can be difficult to "phase" your results, in other words, to be able to assign a segment to your mother's or father's ancestry. Until this can be done, you can't know if two people who match you at the same location match your segment strand from either your mother or your father. This means that you can't say that it means they have the same ancestry to each other as they have to you. If your parent's are deceased, you may be able to phase your results by testing siblings of you or your parents.

I have definitely identified 6 relationships at 23andMe. Over 50,000 people have tested at 23andme in the past two years.

At FTDNA in Family Finder I have 53 matches. Because FTDNA didn't start Family Finder until recently, the number of matches is much smaller than at 23andMe. However, since Family Finder only tests for ancestry, it is believed that the people testing will be more knowledgeable about genealogy than those at 23andMe. So far I have also identified 6 connections at FTDNA, the same as at 23andMe but twice as many per number of sharing matches. At this time FTDNA does not show matches on the X chromosome but it has said it will do so in the future.

I have also had autosomal testing done with Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation but they have not yet released their results. They have tested over 100,000 people and have pedigrees attached to most of those.

Ancestry Finder Beta at 23andMe

There is a new beta program at 23andMe called Ancestry Finder. This program uses the information from the survey on "Where are you From?" to map segments of your autosomal chromosomes to various nationalities. No time line has been given for rolling this out beyond the beta testers.

Some questions have been raised on whether this will be of practical use for Native American or African American testers since the number of persons from each group participating in 23andme is low. There is also some concern from European Americans who have long lines of ancestors born in America that the program will not give them much of interest.

It is hoped that those who have already completed the survey will be allowed to edit their replies to add information on ethnicity to supplement the location information.

A review has been posted at the Your Genetic Genealogist blog.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Family Tree DNA extends SALE till 30 June 2010

Family Tree DNA has extended the sale for new participants until 30 June 2010. Just find the group for your surname and click "Join this Group" then follow the instructions to get the SALE prices.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

FTDNA test sale: June 5th through June 25th

To get the prices mentioned below, you MUST ORDER through a SURNAME PROJECT at FTDNA. If you are not already in a surname project, you can search for a project using the search box on their web page at http://www.ftdna.com/

Dear Family Tree DNA Group Administrator

Last summer we offered a pricing special that was the most successful offering of its type in our company history. Project administrators got behind the recruitment efforts and for those that did, their projects grew and our database grew, so we'd like to offer a summer special again.
Here are the details:

  • Y-DNA37 for $119 (Regular price would be $149)
  • Y-DNA67 for $199 (Regular price would be $239)
  • Y-DNA37+mtDNA for $159 (Combined test would cost $238)

Bypass the Y-DNA12 and Y-DNA25, and get the best Genealogy tests on the market!

The promotion will start June 5 and will end June 25. Kits need to be paid for by June 30, 2010.

As, always, thank you for your continued support.

E-mail me anytime!

Max Blankfeld Vice-President, Operations and Marketing
"History Unearthed Daily"

© All Contents Copyright 2001-2010 Genealogy by Genetics, Ltd.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Do you have Y DNA results at Family Tree DNA? Download them now.

A recent message at FTDNA:
Important Message From Family Tree DNA!
We are planning an upgrade of all Y-DNA STR (short tandem repeat) related functions. The upgrade will include changes to how STR micro-alleles and palindromic STRs are displayed. It will also change the matching algorithm to utilize an improved calculation for micro-allele and palindromic STR mutations. The result will be more accurate matches and time to a common ancestor calculations. We will provide additional information before the changes are implemented.
For your convenience, we suggest that you download your Y-DNA Results and Y-DNA matches for historical purposes.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

What DNA tests to take?

Recently a friend asked me, "What DNA tests should he or his brother take?"

Here is my reply.

  • 1) Has he taken any DNA tests already?
  • 2) Is he interested in health trends?
  • 3) Is he only interested in finding ancestors on his Y DNA (father's) or mtDNA (mother's) lines?
  • 4) Is he interested in finding ancestors on all of his lines? Can he or you fill out most of this form?:


If he/you can fill that out he/you should take one or both of the autosomal tests (chromosomes 1-22 and the X chromosome), Relative Finder or Family Finder.

If I were starting out now and had a budget of $1000.00

  • 1) I'd take the 37 marker Y DNA test at http://www.familytreedna.com/group-join.aspx?Group=gould for $149.00 and shipping.
  • 2) Then I would get the Complete Edition autosomal test at https://www.23andme.com/store/ for $499.00. Doing this means he will get the Ancestry and Health Editions, will be compared in the Relative Finder autosomal database, his X chromosome matches will be found and he gets to download his test data. His Y DNA haplogroup will be confirmed and his mtDNA haplogroup will be determined.
  • 3) That data can then be transferred to http://www.ftdna.com for comparison to their Family Finder autosomal database for $40.00.
  • 4) If he then wants to get full access to Family Finder the upgrade cost will be $249.00. At this time Family Finder tests chromosomes 1-22 and give matches, and it tests the X chromosme but does not match it to others in their database. You do get to download all your test data and can have it analyzed by other programs. FTDNA removes the data from about 3000 disease informative SNPs.

Total cost, $949.00 plus shipping. The tests can be taken in stages if cost is a problem.

This why I recommended the 23andme test for $99.00. It was a fantastic deal and cut $400.00 off the total cost.

Because you are not twins, if you and your brother took the tests you would probably not match all the same people since each conception shuffles the chromosomes.

That chart above is important. The more people he knows there the greater is the chance to confirm relationships with the DNA testing.

He needs the Y DNA 37 marker test so he gets his Y DNA haplotype to match against others in the surname project and the FTDNA database so you can confirm the line you belong to.

I no longer recommend taking the mtDNA tests at FTDNA unless you are trying to determine if certain females are mother and daughter or maternal sisters or that a male and a female had the same mother.

I have taken all of these tests. They are best for confirming relationships from 1st through 5th cousins, although I have confirmed a 10th cousin once removed through 23andme.

Friday, April 23, 2010

DNA Day Special at 23andMe: $99.00


In honor of DNA day, 23andMe is selling the Complete Edition test for $99.00. This will give you their Ancestry and Health Editions with your genomic data files. Usually this costs $499.00.

If you are at all interested in either your genetic ancestry or your health data, I urge you to take advantage of this deal.

As a genetic genealogist I have tested with 23andMe to get access to the Relative Finder database of people who match my autosomal markers. With the downloaded files you will be able to transfer those to Family Tree DNA to get a preliminary reading from their Family Finder autosomal service. I have added a number of people to my genealogical data through these services.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Special price on 23andme Ancestry or Complete Edition autosomal DNA test

Mar 9, 2010
The Oprah Winfrey Show and a special promotion
We wanted to share some exciting news and alert you to a special promotion starting today.

Airing this afternoon, The Oprah Winfrey Show will feature celebrities discovering their family roots. The show will feature a segment about the PBS documentary, Faces of America, by Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. As you may know, Faces of America used 23andMe’s Ancestry Edition to test the DNA of the guests featured in the series.

To promote the Faces of America segment on Oprah.com, 23andMe is offering viewers of The Oprah Winfrey Show our Ancestry Edition for only $199.00 until 3/31/10.

As members of our valued community, we wanted to make sure you heard about this special promotion. If you know people that may want to take advantage of this significant discount, please direct them to the Faces of America page on our website to order the Ancestry Edition at this special price (this is the only place on the site with this discount, so you need to order from this page). There is no set limit on the number of kits that can be ordered for , but you'll want to act quickly since the offer expires on 3/31/10.

So check out the Oprah show and feel free to spread the word about this special offer!

23andme has said you can get the discount on the Complete Edition by selecting both in your cart, then removing the Ancestry Edition leaving the Complete Edition at a discount.

Oprah.com article on Ancestry:

23andMe Faces of America promotion:

Faces of America on PBS:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

An explanation of Autosomal DNA

Here is a video from Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation that explains autosomal DNA.

Family Finder, Relative Finder, deCODEme, SMGF

In my capacity of running 9 DNA studies and advising people on testing, I have been looking at the information on Family Finder from FTDNA in comparison to 23andMe's Relative Finder Ancestry Edition.

Family Finder is only looking at the non-sex chromosomes and it does not include mtDNA testing. If we include the minimal testing of Y dna and/or mtDNA at the Genographic Project (to get the lowest price) a female would undercut the price of the 23andMe Relative Finder Ancestry Edition test, but would still not have the X chromosome tested, and a male would pay more than Relative Finder Ancestry Edition and still not have the X chromsome tested.

My ancestry is mainly Colonial American from the British Isles with some French, German, and Norwegian. My experience with Relative Finder is that of the 30,000 plus people in the project, I have matches with 307. I have sent out 106 sharing requests with 5 declines, 69 contacts accepted, and 32 contacts with sharing. Of the 32 sharing I have found the common ancestor for 6 of them. 3 of them share on the X chromosome. Hopefully as the database grows I'll have more matches and shares.

I think the companies should require a 5 or 6 generation pedigree chart from the people testing which would be shared with their matches. I think that would really help with the process of finding common ancestors.

This also brings up the question of what happened to the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation's plans to release an autosomal database which would be linked to the pedigrees they collected. Does anyone have any information from SMGF?

While I am getting the Family Finder testing, and have done the 23andme complete edition, exchanged with deCODEme, and the SMGF testing, I am somewhat disappointed in the results so far, and will have to really see some improvements before I can recommend these tests to any but the most dedicated genetic genealogists.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

FTDNA announces Family Finder

FTDNA will be starting an autosomal test called Family Finder in mid-March. Some details are available at this link: http://www.familytreedna.com/landing/family-finder.aspx Pricing information is not currently available nor do we know if new samples will be required. Pricing has been announced as $249.00 and new samples will be needed if you do not have an unused sample on file.

At this time the only other comparable product is Relative Finder from 23andme: http://spittoon.23andme.com/2009/11/19/introducing-relative-finder-the-newest-feature-from-23andme/

Saturday, January 30, 2010

New NBC series "Who do you think you are?" premieres in April

NBC is set to premiere the new reality TV series, Who Do You Think You Are? on April 20, 2009. Former Friends star, Lisa Kudrow is the executive producer of the series. The first celebrities exploring their family histories on the U.S.reality TV show are; Lisa Kudrow, Sarah Jessica Parker and Susan Sarandon, NBC revealed on Tuesday. Additional celebrity names are expected to be announced soon.

Who Do You Think You Are? is produced by Wall to Wall productions in association with Is Or Isn’t Entertainment. Alex Graham and Lucy Carter from Wall to Wall and Lisa Kudrow, Dan Bucatinsky and Don Roos from Is or Isn’t Entertainment are the executive producers. Bryn Freedman, the producer of Intervention is the co-executive producer of this historical series. The new show is based on the hit, award-winning BBC television documentary series created and executive-produced by Alex Graham.

Continued at http://realitytvmagazine.sheknows.com/blog/2009/01/30/new-nbc-series-who-do-you-think-you-are-premieres-in-april/

Faces of America

Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. airs on Wednesdays, February 10 – March 3, 2010 from 8-9 p.m. ET on PBS.

Eva Longoria, Meryl Streep, Mario Batali, Stephen Colbert, Malcolm Gladwell, Yo-Yo Ma, Mike Nichols, Kristi Yamaguchi, Elizabeth Alexander, Queen Noor and Louise Erdrich have all submitted DNA tests for a new PBS television series FACES OF AMERICA.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Faces of America

Dr Henry Louis Gates new television program, Faces of America will run on PDS on February 10th. See the trailer here: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/facesofamerica/