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Genetic Genealogy in the News

ancestry1.gif Yesterday was another big day for genetic genealogy, with two major announcements. First, as I have previously mentioned, Ancestry.com teamed up with Sorenson Genomics to offer DNA testing. The results of that testing can be, at the owner’s discretion, tied into a new DNA database as well as their massive collection of genealogical source materials. Here’s the official announcement from PRNewswire: “Ancestry.com Enters DNA Genealogy Field Through Exclusive Partnership With Sorenson Genomics: Combines Three Major Pillars of Family History Research – Historical Records, DNA and Family Trees.” Here’s another blurb at Family Tree Magazine. According to one source (CNET News), the $200 test will examine both Y DNA and mtDNA, but that hasn’t been confirmed. It only makes sense to test both, however, especially at that price.

eurodna.gif In other news, DNAPrint Genomics (aka AncestryByDNA) announced the release of a new autosomal test, EuroDNA 2.0. Where EuroDNA 1.0 used just 320 SNPs to delineate people of European ancestry into four groups – Northern European, Southeastern European, Middle Eastern, and South Asian – EuroDNA 2.0 uses 1,349 SNPs.

The test is based on a recently published paper using DNA chips to compare populations from around the world: Bauchet M, McEvoy B, Pearson L, Quillen E, Sarkisian T, Hovhannesyan K, Deka R, Bradley D, Shriver M. 2007. Measuring European population stratification with microarray genotype data. American Journal of Human Genetics 80(5): 948-956.

DNAPrint(R)’s EuroDNA(TM) 2.0 clarifies European sub-ancestry by using 1,349 European Ancestry Informative Markers (AIMs). This test reports a person’s proportional basic continental European ancestry using several categories: Southeastern Europe (Armenian, Jewish, Greek and some Italians); Iberian (Spanish, Portuguese); Basque (Spanish/French Pyrenees border); Continental European (German, Irish, English, Polish, Some French and Italian); and North Eastern European (Finnish). The EuroDNA(TM) 2.0 test is by far the most advanced genetic ancestry test yet to be offered to the public.

“The paper resolved 5 fundamental and ancient types of European ancestry – Southeastern European (Armenian, Jewish, Greek, some Italians), Iberian (Spanish, Portuguese), Basque, Continental European (German, Irish, English, Polish, some French and Italian, and North Eastern European (Finnish)). Many ethnogeographic populations show interesting mixes as a function of their history and geography.

In collaboration with the Shriver lab, which published the Bauchet et al., 2007 paper, DNAPrint® mined the chip marker used to create the Bauchet et al., 2007 paper, looking for the SNPs that provided most of the European Ancestry Information.

We found that 1,349 of the 11,071 chips SNPs, provided most of the within-Europe ancestry information.EuroDNAâ„¢2.0 measures each of these 1,349 European Ancestry Informative Markers (AIMs) for each customer, and using a Bayesian algorithm, reports a customer’s proportional Southeastern European, Iberian, Basque, Continental European and Northeastern European ancestry.”

All the technical information is available on the EuroDNA 2.0 Manual Page. I previously reviewed AncestryByDNA here on the blog.

Blaine Bettinger

Intellectual property attorney, genealogist, and author of The Genetic Genealogist since 2007