Thursday, July 29, 2010

23andMe Ancestry Finder versus 23andMe Relative Finder

When I logged into 23andMe last night and went to Relative Finder I had 506 matches. I sent sharing invitations to 5 of the new matches and I sent a separate invitation to a Public Profile match. The remaining match was from someone with multiple people on his profile.

People who appear in Relative Finder share at least 7.5cM of genetic data with you in one location. Once you agree to compare your genome in Ancestry Labs, Family Inheritance: Advanced you may find that you share segments between 5 and 7.5 cM. The matching in Relative Finder occurs automatically for everyone in the 23andMe database. Of course, each person can opt out of Relative Finder.

Ancestry Finder uses the lower 5 cM cutoff and can match you with people who would not automatically appear on Relative Finder IF the person has filled out the optional "Where are you from" survey. The survey asks for location information on you, your parents and your grandparents. This data is used to show where the grandparents of people who match you in Ancestry Finder were born. There are a number of limitations to this data: current country names are used which may not really reflect the ancestry/ethnicity of the match; the data is only as good as the information the person completing the survey knows; just because a match has grandparents from X country it does not mean you do.

Both Relative Finder and Ancestry Finder should be used to research your ancestry. At this time Ancestry Finder is more difficult to use and it is hoped it will be come more like Relative Finder or be merged with it to make it easier to use.

The provision for Public Profiles in both systems has made it easier to determine if some matches might be more useful that others. It also provides the opportunity for committed genetic genealogists to let others know they are willing to share data.

FDA and Senator Hatch hold hearings on DTC DNA testing

The big news last week were the hearing held on Direct to Consumer (DTC) DNA tests by the FDA and by Senator Hatch. Katherine Hope Borges of the ISOGG made a statement at the FDA hearing which is reproduced at the Huffington Post by Megan Smolenyak. Katherine was the only speaker to address genetic genealogy issues. The rest of the speakers discussed various medical aspects of DNA testing.

Links to follow.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Results at 23andMe and at FTDNA

Today I have the following results:

  • 497 matches
  • 122 sharing genomes
  • 18 Public profiles
  • 338 contacts sent
  • 128 accepted 22 declines
Closest relationship identified, 3rd cousin once removed, 4 matching segments
Closest waiting for reply, 2nd cousin with 12 matching segments
1 of 9 1st cousins is also on 23andMe, 41 matching segments (share 6 of 8 Great grandparents)


  • 64 matches
  • 30 emails sent
Closest relationship identified, 4th cousin once removed.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Upgrade sale at FTDNA: 8 July - 19 July 2010

Dear Family Tree DNA Customer

Over the last several years, due to the unmatched growth of our database, numerous people have confirmed and found new connections with others of their surname, and adoptees and descendents of adoptees have even found their biological surname.

These successes are due in large part to the size and quality of our database, which, with your help, has achieved critical mass. We have made tremendous progress, but we feel that we can do more. If you have tested 12, 25, or 37 markers, an upgrade to 37 or 67 markers could provide the relevant connection that you or your matches have been waiting for.

Family Tree DNA is dedicated to supporting this effort. From July 8th through July 19th, we will reduce all our Y-DNA upgrade prices.

Current Group  SALE Price
Y12-25 $49 $35
Y12-37 $99 $69
Y12-67 $189 $149
Y25-37 $49 $35
Y25-67 $148 $109
Y37-67 $99 $79

To order this special offer, log in to your personal page and click on the special offers link in the left hand navigation bar. A link to the login page is provided below. ALL ORDERS MUST BE PLACED AND PAID FOR BY MIDNIGHT JULY 19th TO RECEIVE THE SALE PRICE.

A notice of this sale has been sent to those customers who qualify for these Y-DNA upgrades.

We would also like to take this opportunity to inform you that registration has begun for The 6th Annual Conference on Genetic Genealogy for Group Administrators, which will be taking place on October 30-31, 2010. You can find more about it here

As always, we appreciate your continued support.

Bennett Greenspan
Family Tree DNA
"History Unearthed Daily"

© All Contents Copyright 2001-2010 Genealogy by Genetics, Ltd.

Monday, July 05, 2010

My statistics at 23andMe and at FTDNA

I have tested my autosomal chromosomes at both 23andMe and FTDNA.

At 23andMe in Relative Finder I have 464 people with matching chromosome segments. My largest match is with my 1st cousin at 19.79% of our DNA. Most 1st cousins will be around 12.5% but we share 6 of 8 Great Grandparents so we have more matching DNA than most 1st cousins. The lowest amount of DNA I have with someone is .08% and that was the first person I was able to find a match with as 10th cousins once removed. 106 people are currently sharing genomes with me which allows us to see on which chromosome we have a match.

The majority of my matches are on one or another of chromosomes 1 through 22. However I have 9 people who have 10 shared segments with me on the X chromosome which, as a male, I inherited from my mother. By mapping the start and end locations of the shared segments I can see who may share a common X ancestry with me or with each other. In this case my 1st cousin shares 2 segments with me and 1 of those segments with me and two brothers. I partially share a segment with a mother and daughter and 3 other persons. And one of those persons shares half a segment with another person.

When males share an X segment it means they are related through their mothers' ancestry. When a male shares an X segment with a female they can be related on his mother's ancestry and on either her mother's or father's X ancestry.

Unless one or both of your parents also takes the 23andme test, it can be difficult to "phase" your results, in other words, to be able to assign a segment to your mother's or father's ancestry. Until this can be done, you can't know if two people who match you at the same location match your segment strand from either your mother or your father. This means that you can't say that it means they have the same ancestry to each other as they have to you. If your parent's are deceased, you may be able to phase your results by testing siblings of you or your parents.

I have definitely identified 6 relationships at 23andMe. Over 50,000 people have tested at 23andme in the past two years.

At FTDNA in Family Finder I have 53 matches. Because FTDNA didn't start Family Finder until recently, the number of matches is much smaller than at 23andMe. However, since Family Finder only tests for ancestry, it is believed that the people testing will be more knowledgeable about genealogy than those at 23andMe. So far I have also identified 6 connections at FTDNA, the same as at 23andMe but twice as many per number of sharing matches. At this time FTDNA does not show matches on the X chromosome but it has said it will do so in the future.

I have also had autosomal testing done with Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation but they have not yet released their results. They have tested over 100,000 people and have pedigrees attached to most of those.

Ancestry Finder Beta at 23andMe

There is a new beta program at 23andMe called Ancestry Finder. This program uses the information from the survey on "Where are you From?" to map segments of your autosomal chromosomes to various nationalities. No time line has been given for rolling this out beyond the beta testers.

Some questions have been raised on whether this will be of practical use for Native American or African American testers since the number of persons from each group participating in 23andme is low. There is also some concern from European Americans who have long lines of ancestors born in America that the program will not give them much of interest.

It is hoped that those who have already completed the survey will be allowed to edit their replies to add information on ethnicity to supplement the location information.

A review has been posted at the Your Genetic Genealogist blog.