Short Summary: Before the end of the year, AncestryDNA plans to update our match lists using a new algorithm that reduces the number of false positive matches. For the first time, matching DNA segments will be characterized as IBS (i.e., a false positive) based on something other than simply segment length.
Last Monday, October 6th, I and six other members of the genetic genealogy community attended a ‘Bloggers Day’ hosted by AncestryDNA at the San Francisco headquarters of Ancestry.com. Two other members of the group have already written about the event:
While at ‘Bloggers Day’ we discussed many issues including the Y-DNA and mtDNA databases originally scheduled for destruction, upcoming changes to AncestryDNA’s matching algorithm (much more below), and other upcoming changes to the AncestryDNA about which you will hopefully soon hear much more.
In 2008, I wrote about the case of Mr. and Mrs. George Fry, who are believed to have brought a particularly negative mutation with them to the New World from Europe in 1630 (“A Single Colon Cancer Gene Traced to 1630 – The Future of Genetic Genealogy?“). The mutation – in the APC gene – increases the likelihood of colon cancer, and has been found in many of the Fry’s living descendants.
In this months’s issue of Nature Genetics (see “Mutations in SGOL1 cause a novel cohesinopathy affecting heart and gut rhythm“), researchers using the BALSAC Population Database traced a founder mutation in SGOL1, which causes Chronic Atrial and Intestinal Dysrhythmia, termed CAID syndrome. So not only is it interesting that the same gene is involved in both heart rhythm and intestinal rhythm, but that the DNA has been mapped to this ancestral couple. The couple, whose names were not provided, were married in France in 1620 and arrived shortly thereafter in Nouvelle France.
A great resource from Jay Chandrakumar at Genetic Genealogy Tools (www.y-str.org) – SNPs extracted from sequenced ancient genomes and loaded into GEDmatch. Try out admixture tools with these GEDmatch profiles, but don’t expect many matches in One-to-Many!
Denisova – GEDMatch# F999903
Mezmaiskaya Neanderthal #1 – GEDMatch# F999909
Altai Neanderthal #2 – GEDMatch# F999902
Palaeo-Eskimo 2000 BC – GEDMatch# F999906
Clovis-Anzick – GEDMatch# F999912
For example, here’s the Palaeo-Eskimo 2000 BC (F999906) profile in MDLP K23b:
I’ve written before about a poster presented by AncestryDNA at the American Society of Human Genetics 2013 annual meeting, entitled “Reconstruction of Ancestral Human Genomes from Genome-Wide DNA Matches.” In the abstract, the group describes how they use sequencing information from hundreds of descendants of an 18th century couple to recreate portions of the genomes of that couple.
AncestryDNA’s 2014 ASHG Poster
The AncestryDNA group has continued to refine the process of reconstructing the genomes of ancestral couples, and has a poster in this year’s American Society of Human Genetics annual meeting:
Direct-to-consumer DNA testing companies are revealing family secrets, many of which are emotionally damaging, without regard to those affected by the family secrets and without sufficient warning to the test-taker.
Unfortunately, rather than presenting a balanced view of the consequences of uncovering family secrets using DNA testing (and despite the title of the article), Belluz focuses only on examples of negative outcomes. The article is a perfect demonstration of “genetic exceptionalism,” the theory that genetic information is special and must therefore be treated differently from other types of information. Despite its many adherents, genetic exceptionalism is a theory without a logical underpinning.
VIGR will offer courses on a comprehensive list of genealogical subjects, giving genealogists access to a great curriculum year-round through the VIGR virtual platform. I’m proud to announce that I will be a speaker for the VIGR, and I look forward to interacting with the online genealogical community though my course on autosomal DNA. I am honored to be listed among the incredible speakers below.
No fewer than nine upcoming courses are already listed on the VIGR official website, the earliest commencing in November this year. Each will consist of a total of four 90-minute lectures, presented two each on consecutive Saturdays. Each course will also have extensive syllabus material and practical exercises, as well as time for Q&A. The institute intends to keep class sizes small, which allows for more interaction with instructors and a greater depth of instruction as compared to more typical genealogy webinars.
In 2013, genetic genealogist and popular lecturer Maurice Gleeson organized Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2013, the first of its kind conference in Ireland. The event was hugely successful (see all the YouTube videos here), and is back for round two in 2014.
The schedule for Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2014 has just been released (see “DNA Lecture schedule announced“), and features a great lineup of speakers:
Announcing the launch of the world’s first multimedia how-to website for genetic genealogists!
How-To DNA (www.howtodna.com) is your how-to guide for genetic genealogy! The site will have short instructional how-to videos for beginners, as well as presentations and webcasts for the advanced genealogist. For example, you can already watch these short two-minute videos:
How-To DNA will also provide links to the latest videos, podcasts, and other instructional material created by DNA experts. As an example, listen to this terrific podcast with CeCe Moore being interviewed by The Genealogy Guys and get the latest scoop on CeCe’s involvement with Finding Your Roots! And if you weren’t able to attend the SCGS Jamboree, you can listen to Maurice Gleeson’s incredible talk about DNA and Irish Genealogy.
For the very first time, Family Tree University is offering an online course (a four-week, instructor-guided class with material, quizzes, and extra credit homework) directed to genetic genealogy! Announcing Genetic Genealogy 101, taught by yours truly!
This course is designed for the beginner, and will take you through the basics of genetics, mtDNA, Y-DNA, and autosomal DNA (including understanding your results, using third-party tools, etc.). In addition to the materials, quizzes, and homework, there are message boards where you can ask me questions about DNA, about your research, anything related to DNA. And you’ll be able to connect with and learn from your fellow students (all from the comfort of your home)!
The class starts on Monday, June 16th, and every week for four weeks there is a new lesson. If you’re a beginner and really don’t know where to start with incorporating DNA into your genealogical research, or you’ve received your results and aren’t sure how to read them, this class might be a good fit for you.
Yesterday, Family Tree DNA , the genetic genealogy arm of Gene by Gene, announced that it has processed over 1,000,000 DNA test kits for genealogy and anthropology purposes. Congratulations!
There are several sales available at Family Tree DNA that you might want to take advantage of, including the following:
Family Finder is an autosomal DNA test that compares your DNA to the DNA of other users in the ever-growing Family Tree DNA database. You can also use your Family Finder raw data at an incredible array of third-party tools, including GEDmatch and DNAGedcom, among others.
Although the test is normally $99, each Family Finder test is now $79 until June 17, 2014. The more family members you’ve tested and can compare your DNA to, the more information you’ll be able to glean from autosomal DNA. For example, I just had an aunt return her kit, and I’ll soon be able to compare her DNA to myself, my father, and her first cousin in order to answer even more of my family’s questions.