Tuesday, October 04, 2022

MyHeritage has a new way to sort shared DNA matches

We’re happy to announce the addition of sorting abilities for Shared DNA Matches. It’s one of several new improvements we’re making to DNA Matches on MyHeritage in the coming weeks.

Shared DNA Matches are a valuable tool for users interested in figuring out how they’re related to a specific DNA match. The new sorting functionality enables you to sort your Shared DNA Matches based on the proximity of their relationship to you or to the DNA Match you’re reviewing, and gain new insights.

Sorting of Shared DNA Matches is unique to MyHeritage, and this new addition has already received praise from experts in the genealogy community. Diahan Southard of Your DNA Guide says, “SWEET!! This is one of my requested features and will make a big difference”, and Janna Helshtein from DNA at Eye Level says, “This is an amazing feature, I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!” See this link: New sorting for shared DNA matches

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Principal Component Analyses (PCA)-based findings in population genetic studies are highly biased and must be reevaluated

This article reviews Principal Component Analysis (PCA), as applied to populaation genetics, Principal Component Analyses (PCA)-based findings in population genetic studies are highly biased and must be reevaluated. It also suggests other methods that may provide more valid results.

Abstract

Principal Component Analysis (PCA) is a multivariate analysis that reduces the complexity of datasets while preserving data covariance. The outcome can be visualized on colorful scatterplots, ideally with only a minimal loss of information. PCA applications, implemented in well-cited packages like EIGENSOFT and PLINK, are extensively used as the foremost analyses in population genetics and related fields (e.g., animal and plant or medical genetics). PCA outcomes are used to shape study design, identify, and characterize individuals and populations, and draw historical and ethnobiological conclusions on origins, evolution, dispersion, and relatedness. The replicability crisis in science has prompted us to evaluate whether PCA results are reliable, robust, and replicable. We analyzed twelve common test cases using an intuitive color-based model alongside human population data. We demonstrate that PCA results can be artifacts of the data and can be easily manipulated to generate desired outcomes. PCA adjustment also yielded unfavorable outcomes in association studies. PCA results may not be reliable, robust, or replicable as the field assumes. Our findings raise concerns about the validity of results reported in the population genetics literature and related fields that place a disproportionate reliance upon PCA outcomes and the insights derived from them. We conclude that PCA may have a biasing role in genetic investigations and that 32,000-216,000 genetic studies should be reevaluated. An alternative mixed-admixture population genetic model is discussed.

Moving beyond PCA

As an alternative to PCA, we briefly note the advantages of a supervised machine-like model implemented in tools like the Geographic Population Structure (GPS)85 and Pairwise Matcher (PaM)57. In this model, gene pools are simulated from a collection of geographically localized populations. The ancestry of the tested individuals is next estimated in relation to these gene pools. In this model, all individuals are represented as the proportion of gene pools. Their results do not change when samples are added or removed in the second part of the analysis. Population groups are bounded within the gene pools, and inclusion in these groups can be evaluated. This model was shown to be reliable, replicable, and accurate for many of the applications discussed here, including biogeography85, population structure modeling106, ancestry inference107, paleogenomic modeling108, forensics86, and cohort matching57. An evaluation of other tools that may be useful to infer the population structure and their limitations can be found elsewhere37,109.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

New Zealand Law Commission report on genetic genealogy, DNA, and the Police

New Zealand was the second national jurisdiction to institute legislation on the Police use of DNA. Recently the NZ Law Commission made a new report with 193 recommendations on DNA use and genetic genealogy for Police purposes. The Report recommends that more attention be given to Maori, Treaty of Watangi, and human rights issues. The report is available at The Use of DNA in Criminal Investigations.

This issue has arisen within the genetic genealogy community due to the rise of forensic, or investigative genetic genealogy, in regard to Gedmatch and Family Tree DNA. At Gedmatch one has to opt-in to allow law enforecement use (see, "Public + opt-in" and "Public + opt-out") and at FTDNA one has to opt-out to deny law enforcement use of your genetic data in criminal investigations.

It will be interesting to see if the NZ Law Commission Report has any effects within the broader genetic genealogy community and the GDPR and CCPA legal regimes.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Ancestry decision to remove matches below 8 cM will harm African American and Native American descendants

Sometime in August, Ancestry intends to remove matches in the 6 to 7.9 cM range from DNA match lists. This will cause problems for African American genealogists since using those matches, even if 50% are false matches, is often the only way for African American genealogists to find possible connections that predate the end of slavery and the 1870 census.  You can preserve these matches by saving a note or adding them to a dot group or by messaging them. Doing so will take time but it is possible. One way is to search by custom centimorgan size and then to search for common ancestors and add a dot group for each. I have been doing this as group CA67.

The same argument can be made for people with documented genealogical ancestry from Native Americans which predates 1870. This range of matches needs to be preserved and continue to be available to anyone who wants to see them.

See this blog post from Roberta Estes, for a more in-depth analysis of this proposed change: Plea to Ancestry – Rethink Match Purge Due to Deleterious Effect on African American Genealogists

Sunday, April 26, 2020

DNA Day Sales

April 25th is National DNA Day and the genetic genealogy companies had or are having sales on DNA tests.

Check the following sites for the details:

Genetic Genealogy:
Whole Genome Sequencing (Mainly for health and science. Not yet useful for genetic genealogy):
I have tested with all of these companies.

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Ken Burns', The Gene, on PBS, April 7th and 14th

Premieres Tuesdays, April 7 & 14, 2020 8/7c

The Gene: An Intimate History weaves together science, history & personal stories for a historical biography of the human genome, while also exploring breakthroughs for diagnosis & treatment of genetic diseases & the complex ethical questions they raise.


This is an adaptation of Siddhartha Mukherjee's book, The Gene: An Intimate History, in 2 two hour long presentations. It is well worth the time for a genetic genealogist to view.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

My atDNA matches as of 14 March 2020:

Company Matches
AncestryDNA 168,618
MyHeritage 118,821
FTDNA 8,597
23andme v2 2,674
23andMe v3 2,491
LivingDNA 10

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

My Heritage 2019 event review

Several of the genetic DNA companies are posting reviews of their activities in 2019. Here is one for MyHeritage:

Wrapping Up a Fantastic-2019

MyHeritage is one of the companies I use for my own DNA research. It is the only site where I find information on my Spanish relatives. I encourage anyone with European ancestors to the USA within the past 150 years to test there as well as with the other companies.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

DNA test discounts are ending starting today!

If you want to order a genealogy or health DNA test you should look at the main test sites today.


For the health tests, some USA states and other countries are excluded. Check the web sites if interested.

Ancestry has sites in the UK, Australia, and Canada, as well as the USA.