Familybuilder, launched in 2007, is a genealogy company that ranks among the top 10 online genealogy services in the world with over 17 million users and over 120 million family tree profiles.Â Late last year the company began offering a genetic genealogy product, as I wrote about here on the blog (see â€œFamilybuilder Announces DNA Testingâ€).
Disclosure: This is a review of Familybuilderâ€™s Y-DNA service using a kit I received free of charge for purposes of this review.Â Please note that this is not meant to be an endorsement but merely a review of the Y-DNA service offered by Familybuilder.
The results of a Familybuilder Y-DNA test includes:
â€œThe Migration Map for you and your ancestors, your 17 Markers, your Haplogroup and the History of your DNA.Â In addition, the ability to share your results with family and friends on social networks such as Facebook and MySpace as well as a downloadable PDF (suitable for framing).â€
I received the following kit in the mail for the Y-DNA testing, which included a swab, detailed instructions, and a return envelope:
Since I have already … Click to read more!
ISOGG, the International Society of Genetic Genealogy, has a â€œSuccess Storiesâ€ page where it posts short summaries of just a few the many successes that genetic genealogy has helped people achieve.Â Today I noticed that there are several new summaries regarding â€œAutosomal DNA Successes,â€ both of which were the result of 23andMeâ€™s new Relative Finder (currently still in beta testing).
As I recently wrote, Relative Finder is a feature at 23andMe that allows users to compare their autosomal DNA to the autosomal DNA of others to potentially find cousins.Â This has long been done with Y-DNA and mtDNA, but this is one of the first times this has been done with autosomal DNA.
Success Story #1
The first success story is … Click to read more!
In the past week there have been so many articles and posts about either genetic genealogy or DTC genetics that Iâ€™m writing them up as a summary post rather than individually.
The New York Times Tackles DTC Genetic Testing
An article in yesterdayâ€™s New York Times by Jane E. Brody â€“ â€œBuyer Beware of Home DNA Testsâ€ â€“ argues that DTC genetic testing is fraught with danger (the article and some of Brody’s arguments are summarized by Grace Ibay of Genetics & Health: â€œSeven Reasons Why Home DNA Tests Are Hypeâ€).Â The author even lumps in genetic genealogy (which has been around for over 9 years now, hardly a â€œnew industryâ€ that has sprung up â€œto cash inâ€ on new science):
â€œAs a source of entertainment at so-called spit parties or an effort to trace genetic ancestry, the tests might be seen as relatively harmless (unless someone is appalled to discover who their ancestors might be).Â But for the many people who are bypassing the medical profession to determine, they believe, how likely they are to develop a life-threatening disorder, experts say direct-to-consumer genetic testing is fraught with potential dangers.â€
Oh no, people might be â€œappalledâ€ to discover their ancestors!Â I can assure you that people were â€œappalled to … Click to read more!
Today, the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) reported that they are adopting a standardized Y-STR reporting system proposed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the U.S. Dept. of Commerce and supported by the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG).
The standardized system was first published in the Fall 2008 issue (pdf) of the Journal of Genetic Genealogy (JoGG).
First, let me add a note of caution â€“ this change ONLY represents a change in how results are REPORTED.Â Even though companies report results differently, this does not mean that the actual DNA testing results are wrong or different!Â This shift is NOT to correct errors in testing results; it is only to standardize reporting.
From the Press Release:
SALT LAKE CITY (Aug. 17, 2009)-The Sorenson Molecular … Click to read more!
In a video available through CNBC, Linda Avey sits down to talk with Healthy Horizons about 23andMe.Â The short video was originally aired today … Click to read more!
In March I announced the unofficial launch of Pathway Genomics, a new company offering genome SNP tests (Note: I am a consultant for Pathway Genomics).Â Today the company officially launched, and their press release is below.Â There is also an article at Bio-IT World (â€œPathway Genomics Joins the Direct-to-Consumer Genomics Paradeâ€).
Pathway Genomics Brings Together Renowned Team of Entrepreneurs, Scientists, Physicians, and a Government Certified Lab to Offer Personal Genetics Services
San Diego, Calif., July 15, 2009â€”Pathway Genomics, a privately held, ventureâ€backed company, today announced its launch, including the companyâ€™s web site, www.pathway.com. Pathway Genomics offers affordable genetic tests for under $250, enabling consumers to confidentially learn … Click to read more!
On July 8th, Ancestry.com hosted a webinar called “Genetic Genealogy Made Easy.”Â The webinar is now posted and can be accessed at any time.Â One great thing about a webinar is that it can be multimedia; indeed, this webinar uses both slides and video.
The presentation is pretty basic, but a good source of information for people who are new to genetic genealogy.Â The following topics are covered, according to the site:
- DNA testing for genealogy works–in easy terms.
- To understand and apply your results to grow your tree.
- Ancestry.com DNA testing can continue to pay off for years.
- Women can benefit from a paternal lineage test.
- To use Ancestry.com DNA features: Groups, Transfer to Tree, and Ancient Ancestry.
Ancestry.com is planning more advanced genetic genealogy webinars in the future.
What is interesting is that the last question from the audience addressed by the webinar regards using genetic genealogy by adoptees.Â Whenever I give presentations, I almost invariably receive this question in one form or another.Â Seems to be a … Click to read more!
From today’s press release:
Biomatrica today announced that the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) will use Biomatrica’s SampleMatrix room temperature storage technology to archive its DNA samples.
SMGF will use the SampleMatrix technology in place of ultra-low-temperature freezers for the long-term storage of all newly collected samples. In addition, SMGF will move its collection of previously archived samples from freezers to room temperature storage.
“SMGF has an extremely valuable collection of DNAs, and we have been very concerned about the long-term storage and preservation of the collection,” said Scott Woodward, executive director of the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation. “Biomatrica has developed a product that we feel addresses our concerns in a very practical, economical and secure way.”
According to the article, the technology is “based on extremophile biology in which organisms are able to survive long-term in a state of anhydrobiosis (life without water) and later be revived by rehydration.”Â It works by “forming a thermostable barrier during the drying process to protect samples from degradation during storage at room temperature.”
Truly amazing stuff, and what a cost savings!
Posted via web from … Click to read more!
An article in the United Arab Emirate newspaper The National (wikipedia) does a terrific job of highlighting recent research from Family Tree DNA.Â The story – â€œDNA could illuminate Islamâ€™s lineageâ€ â€“ discusses research that has attempted to elucidate the Y-DNA signature of Mohammed.Â Although Mohammed did not have a son, he had a daughter who married her paternal second cousin, thus passing to Mohammedâ€™s grandchildren the same Y-DNA.Â From the article:
â€œFor almost 1,600 years, the title Sharif, Sayyed, or Habib has been bestowed on Muslims who have been able to trace their roots back to the Prophet Mohammed through intricate family trees, oral histories and genealogical records. But now an American DNA lab says it may have identified the DNA signature of descendants of the Prophet Mohammed, and perhaps the prospect of a direct, more accurate means of confirming or identifying such a connection.â€
The caveat, as the story briefly mentions by the phrase â€œif their oral tradition is accurateâ€, is that no one has an authenticated DNA sample directly from Mohammed.Â If there were, this type of research would not be needed.Â Instead, the conclusion that it might be Mohammedâ€™s Y-DNA is based on testing individuals who … Click to read more!