Sunday, November 15, 2009

23andMe to split Ancestry from Health

23andMe has been in a Beta of a new feature, Relative Finder, which will allow people to find links on their chromosomes that they share with other people who have tested at 23andMe. This has the potential to be of great use to genealogists who are limited in tracing their own DNA ancestry to Y DNA and mtDNA if a male, or to mtDNA if a female. While through the judicious selection of other relatives you can extend your Y DNA and mtDNA ancestry to other parts of your pedigree, it is not easy to do so.

With Relative Finder you can look at all of your chromosomes and use links found there to extend or verify your pedigree. I have already made one fairly definite connection and I have several others I am trying to verify. Many people were looking forward to using this new program once it was out of Beta. Now there is a problem.

23andMe has decided to split their service into three editions, an ancestry edition for $399; a health edition for $429, and a complete edition for $499. This pricing is exactly the opposite of what people expected. While some genealogists are interested enough to spend these sums on testing, my experience with Y DNA and mtDNA projects tells me the majority are not. 23andMe will need to make a very strong case about why a genealogist would want to purchase their service at this price.

One service currently available to all 23andMe testers is the ability to browse and download your complete genetic information, This can then be analysed by you or your proxy to obtain additional ancestry or health data. This will only be available to Complete Edition customers after 19 November. It will remain available to all current 23andMe users.

While there have been sales at the Holidays in the past, my recommendation would be to purchase the 23andMe test by 19 November to be sure you will get access to the ancestry, health, and genetic data.

See their announcement here:

Success with 23andMe Relative Finder?

I was contacted on November 8th by a projected Distant Cousin. When I compared our Family Inheritance charts we share a section on the long arm of CHR 8. Comparing pedigrees, we share descent from William Womack and his wife Mary Jane Allen, both of 17th century VA, and are 10th cousins twice removed.

While it is possible the actual match is to an ancestor unknown to both of us, this couple currently seems to fit the requirements.

This joins an earlier match with another Boone descendant.

Once this is opened to all the 23andMe participants, things should be very interesting.

A Success with Ancestry DNA?

I decided to look at my Ancestry DNA results today and found someone with an exact match but a different surname. When I looked at his profile it turned out that he is a Perkins by ancestry. His line is traced back to 1824 in Bedfordshire, Eng. This is the first time I have had a Perkins match in England. I had previously been looking at the family of William Perkins, merchant tailor of London, who was from Berkshire, as the possible progenitor of my line. Now to find some more Perkins from Beds to test. Anyone out there from Bedforshire?

Since I have the Somerled R1a1a haplotype a DNA match to a Perkins is pretty indicative of a relationship.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

November and December Holiday Sale at FTDNA

Dear Project Administrator,

2009 is coming to a close and we're finishing it off with an end-of-the-year promotion!

First, though, let me thank you for helping us make our recent Full Mitochondria Sequence sale a resounding success. Despite the challenging economy this was the most successful promotion in our company’s history.

Our Holiday Season promotion will bring back the discount that we offered this summer for the Y-DNA37, since this has been requested by many of our project administrators.

  • Y-DNA37 – promotional price $119 (reg. price $149)
  • Y-DNA67 – promotional price $209 (reg. price $239)
  • mtDNAPlus – promotional price $139 (reg. price $149)
  • SuperDNA – promotional price $488 (reg. price $665)

Orders for the above tests need to be placed and paid for by December 31, 2009 to receive the sale price.

IMPORTANT: since this promotion will run through the months of November and December, we encourage you to spread the word starting now, as the natural tendency is for people to order at the last minute, and we will not extend it beyond 12/31/2009. You may use our bulk email feature to notify existing project members about this holiday sale.

In addition here are the newly released permanent prices for the Full Mitochondria Sequence:

  • New kit (mtDNA Full Sequence) … $279
  • Upgrade from HVR1 … $229
  • Upgrade from HVR2 … $209
  • mtDNA Full Sequence after testing Y-DNA … $249

Thank you for your continued support. We appreciate your contribution to the sustained growth of the Family Tree DNA matching database, the best genealogical matching tool of its kind.

Bennett Greenspan
Family Tree DNA

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