Thursday, May 13, 2010

Do you have Y DNA results at Family Tree DNA? Download them now.

A recent message at FTDNA:
Important Message From Family Tree DNA!
We are planning an upgrade of all Y-DNA STR (short tandem repeat) related functions. The upgrade will include changes to how STR micro-alleles and palindromic STRs are displayed. It will also change the matching algorithm to utilize an improved calculation for micro-allele and palindromic STR mutations. The result will be more accurate matches and time to a common ancestor calculations. We will provide additional information before the changes are implemented.
For your convenience, we suggest that you download your Y-DNA Results and Y-DNA matches for historical purposes.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

What DNA tests to take?

Recently a friend asked me, "What DNA tests should he or his brother take?"

Here is my reply.

  • 1) Has he taken any DNA tests already?
  • 2) Is he interested in health trends?
  • 3) Is he only interested in finding ancestors on his Y DNA (father's) or mtDNA (mother's) lines?
  • 4) Is he interested in finding ancestors on all of his lines? Can he or you fill out most of this form?:

If he/you can fill that out he/you should take one or both of the autosomal tests (chromosomes 1-22 and the X chromosome), Relative Finder or Family Finder.

If I were starting out now and had a budget of $1000.00

  • 1) I'd take the 37 marker Y DNA test at for $149.00 and shipping.
  • 2) Then I would get the Complete Edition autosomal test at for $499.00. Doing this means he will get the Ancestry and Health Editions, will be compared in the Relative Finder autosomal database, his X chromosome matches will be found and he gets to download his test data. His Y DNA haplogroup will be confirmed and his mtDNA haplogroup will be determined.
  • 3) That data can then be transferred to for comparison to their Family Finder autosomal database for $40.00.
  • 4) If he then wants to get full access to Family Finder the upgrade cost will be $249.00. At this time Family Finder tests chromosomes 1-22 and give matches, and it tests the X chromosme but does not match it to others in their database. You do get to download all your test data and can have it analyzed by other programs. FTDNA removes the data from about 3000 disease informative SNPs.

Total cost, $949.00 plus shipping. The tests can be taken in stages if cost is a problem.

This why I recommended the 23andme test for $99.00. It was a fantastic deal and cut $400.00 off the total cost.

Because you are not twins, if you and your brother took the tests you would probably not match all the same people since each conception shuffles the chromosomes.

That chart above is important. The more people he knows there the greater is the chance to confirm relationships with the DNA testing.

He needs the Y DNA 37 marker test so he gets his Y DNA haplotype to match against others in the surname project and the FTDNA database so you can confirm the line you belong to.

I no longer recommend taking the mtDNA tests at FTDNA unless you are trying to determine if certain females are mother and daughter or maternal sisters or that a male and a female had the same mother.

I have taken all of these tests. They are best for confirming relationships from 1st through 5th cousins, although I have confirmed a 10th cousin once removed through 23andme.