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New Videos for Genetic Genealogists

While conducting some online research the other day, I discovered a series of videos about genetic genealogy by Alastair Greenshields, founder of DNA Heritage. The main page contains 6 videos (shown in the list below) that are broken down into 2 to 8 chapters. Since the videos are broken up into chapters, you can can easily skip to the topics that are the most relevant to you.

  1. Genetic Genealogy Terminology
  2. Genetic Genealogy Defined
  3. Tracing My Genetic Heritage
  4. My Past
  5. Giving DNA
  6. Genetic Genealogy Results

There are many other places to find videos about genetic genealogy. Last April I wrote “Ten Videos For Genetic Genealogists“, although only 8 of them are still available. You can also watch videos about DNA here at TGG’s DNA Channel, courtesy of Roots Television. And lastly, Family Tree DNA has videos available on its website.

To give you a preview of the DNA Heritage videos, the first is embedded … Click to read more!

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Welcome to The Genetic Genealogist!

tggfinal To the readers coming from yesterday’s article by George C. Morgan in The Ancestry Weekly Journal, welcome to The Genetic Genealogist! The eBook that George mentioned – I Have the Results of My Genetic Genealogy Test, Now What? – is available by simply clicking “Download Now” in the right sidebar.

If you are interested in reading more about genetic genealogy and personal genomics, visit my Featured Articles page for all of my favorite and most popular articles. And please subscribe to my feed to stay up-to-date on the latest in genetic genealogy news and information.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be featuring an interview series with some of the biggest names in genetic genealogy, so stay … Click to read more!

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Complete Neanderthal Genome Sequenced – Differs from CRS at 133 Positions

iStock_000003743546XSmall GenomeWeb Daily News published a story on Friday entitled “En route to Neandertal Genome, Researchers Analyze Its Complete Mitochondrial Genome” which revealed the results of recent Neanderthal mtDNA analysis.

On Thursday May 9th, Svante Pääbo spoke at the Biology of Genomes meeting at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Pääbo’s group, along with 454 Life Sciences, is currently engaged in a project to sequence the Neanderthal genome. The researchers have been able to sequence the complete Neanderthal mtDNA genome with 35-fold coverage. The genome is approximately 16 kilobases long and differs from the CRS at 133 positions. From what I’ve been able to find online, it doesn’t appear that the actual sequencing results have been released to the public. Given current estimates of mtDNA mutation rates, the number of … Click to read more!

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Reproducibility of SNP Testing, Part II

imageThe Quantified Self has a follow-up to last week’s post about the reproducibility of SNP testing by 23andMe and deCODEme using Illumina SNP chips (see the Quantified Self’s post and my post). In that post, it was revealed that two comparisons of the 560,000 overlapping SNP results from the two different companies had revealed differences of just 23 locations for one individual and 35 for another.

Soon after last week’s post, one of these individuals – Ann Turner – contacted The Quantified Self with new information that 4 of the SNPs on her list of 35 disagreeing results are also on the other person’s list of 23 disagreeing results (Antonio Oliveira). From Ann’s email to The Quantified Self:

Four of those (rs11149566, rs4458717, rs4660646, and rs754499) were also found in Antonio’s list. That’s more than you would expect by chance.

Interesting results, and as Kelly at TGS points out, “This is why sharing results is so … Click to read more!

Featured Articles From The Genetic Genealogist

I’ve added a new page to the blog called “Featured Articles“. It’s available 24/7 at the top of every page, and contains a categorized list of about 50 of my favorite articles from the last year. These posts are listed under categories including “Popular Articles”, “Personal Genomics”, “Learning About Genetic Genealogy”, “Ethical Issues”, and “Famous DNA”. This easy-to-read format is much easier to navigate than the clumsy “Categories” column in the right sidebar, which returns too many results in no apparent organization. If you’re relatively new to The Genetic Genealogist, you might find some interesting articles that you missed the first time around. Happy … Click to read more!

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A Big Day For Genetic Genealogists – A New Y-DNA Tree And The New SNP Test

An Updated Y-DNA Tree at ISOGG

The International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) announced today that their Tree Team has completed the 2008 version of the Y-DNA Haplogroup Tree. This revision was a major undertaking, because, as ISOGG states in the version history, “[t]he Karafet et al paper (2008) required a significant revision to the tree and affected all haplogroups.” The reference for this paper is (Karafet T M, Mendez F L, Meilerman M B, Underhill P A, Zegura S L, Hammer M F, (2008).
New Binary Polymorphisms Reshape and Increase Resolution of the Human Y-Chromosomal Haplogroup Tree. Abstract. Genome Research, published online April 2, 2008. Supplementary Material.). From ISOGG’s official release:

MAY 04, 2008 – The 2008 version of the ISOGG Y-DNA Haplogroup Tree is now available online: http://www.isogg.org/tree/. New to the tree is a haplogroup conversion table which is downloadable in MS Word. If you do not have MS Word/MS Office, you can download openoffice.org for a compatible word processing program. Appreciation goes to Richard Kenyon and Charles Moore for their work on compiling this table.

Thanks to Alice Fairhurst and the entire ISOGG Tree Team for all of their hard work and dedication. Added thanks for consultation goes to Jim Wilson, Dennis Garvey, Ken Nordtvedt, and Natalie Myres on various haplogroups. Additional appreciation to Charles Moore (Hg D) and Vincent Vizachero (Hg R) for joining the Content Team Experts.

The site also has a Haplogroup Conversion Table (MS Word) to convert a 2007 haplogroup to an updated 2008 haplogroup.

Updates at FTDNA and ySearch

The Karafet et al paper also resulted in updates to haplogroup designations at Family Tree DNA and ySearch. Users who have … Click to read more!

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Accuracy of Large-Scale Genome Scanning Services

Although the genome scanning services offered by companies such as 23andMe, deCODEme, and SeqWright have been front and center in the press the last few weeks, I’m sure that the following information will not be included in any of the reports.

Comparisons

Two different sources have concluded that the scanning service offered by 23andMe and deCODEme, who use different types of Illumina SNP Chips, are highly reproducible. In January 2008, Ann Turner compared the results of testing at deCODEme and 23andMe, and concluded that of the 560,163 SNPs that overlapped and had a “call” (meaning there was a measurable result), they agreed on 560,128 and disagreed on 35. Ann wrote in January:

In all of [the disagreed calls], one company would make a homozygous call while the other company made a heterozygous call – there were no cases where they made a completely discordant call. All in all, I’d say that is pretty impressive.

The second analysis comes from Antonio C B Oliveira at Longa Vista, a new blog that appears to have been created to present … Click to read more!

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Press Release From The Newly-Created DNA Fund

Last week I received a press release announcing the creation of a non-profit organization to raise and disseminate funds to increase original research in genetic genealogy testing (some of which will undoubtedly be reported in the open-source Journal of Genetic Genealogy). The DNA Fund also has a blog, available here. Following is the press release:

SALIDA, CA – The DNA Fund, (www.dnafund.org), a new non-profit organization has been established to fund DNA testing scholarships and grants for ancestral DNA studies. Currently in Phase 1 of the Fund’s launch, testing monies will be raised through fundraising affiliates. Scheduled for Phase 2, the Fund will accept donations and in Phase 3, coordinate grants for DNA projects and studies.

“DNA testing is usually considered a luxury item, but the knowledge that it provides is invaluable. The goal of The DNA Fund is to test as many people as possible and share the information in the public domain through publications and databases.” says DNA Fund President, Katherine Borges. “People can support The DNA Fund just by using our affiliates for their normal shopping habits. The affiliates give a percentage of the purchases back which can be channeled into DNA testing funds.”

The DNA Fund is the first entity of its kind to provide funding for public genetic genealogy projects and other ancestral DNA studies.

Some of the projects proposed by The DNA Fund for funding … Click to read more!

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Lessons Learned From a Genetic Genealogy Quiz

On April 9th, 2008, I posted a quiz about genetic genealogy here on the blog. (If you haven’t taken the quiz yet, it is available here; it only requires a few minutes and might make the following analysis more clear and personally relevant). I created and posted this quiz because I thought it was a fun way to interact with my readers, and because I thought it was educational material to share with others.

As readers began to take the quiz, I realized that there was valuable information contained with the results. The following is an analysis of those results with a few preliminary conclusions. As I proceed, don’t feel bad about missing any of these questions, since this isn’t meant to be a critique of any single individual (especially since individual … Click to read more!

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Kwäday Dän Ts’ìnchi – "Long-Ago Person Found"

image Around the year 1700, a relatively healthy young hunter was walking along a glacier in land that would one day be British Columbia in Canada. He wore a robe of 95 animal skins, perhaps gopher or squirrel, stitched together with sinew, and carried a walking stick, iron-blade knife, and spear thrower. For some reason, the young man, aged 17 to 22, died on the glacier and was quickly incorporated into the ice. There he remained, frozen, for the next 300 years.

In August 1999, three hikers noticed a walking stick, fur, and bone lying on a melting glacier (60′ N 138′ W). The young hunter, renamed Kwäday Dän Ts’ìnchi in the Southern Tutchone language of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, was removed by scientists for analysis (see the NY Times article, and the Journal of Canadian Archaeology article). From an article … Click to read more!