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The Genetic Genealogist Named a Top Blog for 2013!

Internet GenealogyThanks to Miriam at AnceStories, I learned today that The Genetic Genealogist was named one of the 25 Top Genealogy Blogs by Internet Genealogy!  Congrats to Miriam as well, who was also named one of the 25 Top Genealogy Blogs.  Miriam has a list of the other 23 sites on her blog.

I haven’t been able to read the article yet, but according to the website here is the description:

Blogged: 25 Top Genealogy Blogs to Help Speed Your Research!  Tony Bandy highlights twenty-five blogs you can dig your teeth into.

I’m honored by this, and I think it reflects the increasing interest in DNA and Genetic Genealogy that genealogists continue to express.  We’re approaching a critical mass at which point DNA must be part of every genealogists’ toolbox, and at least a consideration in any serious genealogical search.

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Andy Page Fills New President Position at 23andMe


Discover yourself at 23andMe
According to an article posted today at AllThingsD (“23andMe Names Former Gilt Exec Andy Page as President“), personal genetics company 23andMe has created a new position within the company, that of President, and has filled the position with Andy Page.  Page is a former President and CFO of Gilt, an online retail enterprise.  He left that position earlier this year (see “Gilt’s President And Former CFO Andy Page To Leave The Company“).

From the article by Kara Swisher:

The reason for the addition, said CEO and co-founder Anne Wojcicki, is to push for more customer growth — 23andMe is trying to reach one million members by the end of the year — and the scaling of its operations.

Page, who will report to Wojcicki, will be in charge of a wide swath of 23andMe, including product and engineering, marketing, finance, business development, laboratory operations and legal and regulatory issues. He will also be tasked with helping develop business strategy.

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Family Tree DNA Announces Family Finder Transfer Sale – $49

For a limited time, Family Tree DNA is offering Family Finder Transfers for $49, reduced from the normal cost of $99.

The Family Finder Transfer program gives those who have taken an autosomal DNA test with Ancestry.com or 23andMe the ability to import their autosomal DNA results to Family Tree DNA.

According to the website, purchasers of the Family Finder Transfer program receive:

  • myFTDNA 2.0 account (personal page), if a new customer;
  • Autosomal DNA results uploaded to and stored on Family Tree DNA’s servers;
  • Matching to all autosomal Family Finder results in our matching database;
  • Ethnic origins results from our Population Finder program; and
  • All standard tools and pages associated with the autosomal Family Finder test and the Population Finder program.

The uploaded files are batched once a week then run through the conversion program, and results typically take between 6-10 weeks based on volume.  Customers are notified by e-mail when their results are available.

Why Transfer Your Results to FTDNA?

If you’ve already tested at Ancestry.com or 23andMe, you might wonder if there are any benefits to transferring your results to Family Tree DNA.

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The First DNA Day at the Southern California Genealogy Society Jamboree

So here I am, sitting at the airport waiting for my first flight on the long journey back to NY from the first ever Family History and DNA Day at the Southern California Genealogy Society Jamboree.

The event was an incredible success, with stellar speakers, inspiring and entertaining talks from Spencer Wells and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and excellent organization and execution.

Below is just a brief summary of the highlights I believe are worth mentioning, but be sure to check out other posts that have or will come out soon, including this one from The Legal Genealogist, and this one from Dick Eastman.

(A side note: as I was sitting in the airport waiting for my flight from Newark to San Francisco, I looked up and saw a familiar face – Judy Russell from The Legal Genealogist! We shared the next two flights, although Judy was furiously dealing with an unfortunate hack attack on her website, which has since been resolved).

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Press Release From Family Tree DNA Describing the Recent Addition to the Y Chromosome Phylogenetic Tree

Press release from Family Tree DNA today:

Family Tree DNA’s Genomics Research Center Facilitates Discovery of Extremely Ancient Root to the Human Y Chromosome Phylogenetic Tree

— By Offering Low Cost DNA Test, Family Tree DNA Aims to Expand Reach of DNA Testing to Encourage Further Exciting Discoveries About Human Origins —

[26-March-2013]

HOUSTON, March 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Gene By Gene, Ltd., the Houston-based genomics and genetics testing company, announced that a unique DNA sample submitted via National Geographic’s Genographic Project to its genetic genealogy subsidiary, Family Tree DNA, led to the discovery that the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree is potentially as old as 338,000 years.  This new information indicates that the last common ancestor of all modern Y chromosomes is 70 percent older than previously thought.

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AncestryDNA Releases Raw Data

Earlier this week, Ancestry.com began releasing raw data to purchasers of the AncestryDNA autosomal DNA product.  Several others have written great articles on AncestryDNA’s new raw data, so I’ll point you to their articles instead of rehashing everything here:

Within the next few weeks and months, you’ll be able to use the AncestryDNA raw data at places like Family Tree DNA and Gedmatch.com.

But note an issue that I first brought up on a mailing list last Thursday when the announcement came out.  The following language is found on the page after you click on the final download link:

The raw data is subject to the AncestryDNA Terms and Conditions and AncestryDNA Privacy Statement. You must not use the raw data in whole, in part and/or in combination with any other database for any discriminatory, breach of privacy or otherwise illegal activity (for example, to re-identify any anonymous donor or to make insurance or employment decisions).

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Family Tree DNA Offers 12-Marker Y-DNA Test for $39 (Limited Time Only)

Yesterday, Family Tree DNA announced that their 12-marker Y-DNA test, normally $99, will be only $39 for a limited time only (until February 28, 2013).  Although I typically will recommend a minimum of 37 markers to clients and readers, this is a great way to get someone’s DNA into FTDNA’s system for future upgrades.  For example, I have at least two lines of my family that I’ve been wanting to get tested, but it’s really just for curiosity’s sake rather than any pressing genealogical question.  This would be the perfect opportunity for this type of testing.

See what others have written about the sale:

From the Press Release:

HOUSTON, Feb. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — FamilyTreeDNA.com, the genetic genealogy arm of Gene By Gene, Ltd., is dramatically lowering the price of one of its basic Y-DNA tests to $39, making it the lowest-cost DNA test available on the market, in order to take a major step toward universal access by individuals to their personal genetic data.

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Thought For the Day – Crowdfunding Genealogy

Wouldn’t it be fun to review detailed proposals about new genealogy projects and be able to provide funding to support those projects that you think are especially worthwhile?

Crowdfunding might be one way to do just that.  For those not familiar with “crowdfunding,” it is essentially a way for people to contribute a varying degree of money to a project they are interested in, usually in exchange for a special perk.  Wikipedia describes crowdfunding as:

Crowd funding or crowdfunding (alternately crowd financing, equity crowdfunding, or hyper funding) describes the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations. Crowd funding is used in support of a wide variety of activities, including disaster relief, citizen journalism, support of artists by fans, political campaigns, startup company funding, movie or free software development, inventions development and scientific research.

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23andMe and LabCorp Sued For Patent Infringement

On Thursday, December 20, 2012, 23andMe and LabCorp (Laboratory Corporation of America) were sued for patent infringement in Delaware by Australian company Genetic Technologies Limited.

Specifically, Genetic Technologies has alleged that 23andMe and LabCorp infringe U.S. Patent No. 7,615,342, entitled “ACTN3 genotype screen for athletic performance.”  The complaint is available here.

ACTN3 (Alpha-actinin-3) is an actin-binding protein encoded by the ACTN3 gene.  A particular mutation in the ACTN3 gene (rs1815739; R577X) results in a deficiency of the ACTN3 protein.  The non-mutant version of the gene is associated with sprint performance, the mutant version is associated with endurance.

23andMe does analyze the rs1815739 SNP in their tests (see “Speed Gene: Fact or Fiction?”). My own rs1815739 SNP genotype, for example, is TT, meaning that I have no working copies of ACTN3 in my fast-twitch muscle fibers.  From the complaint:

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