Search Results

These are the search results for "DNA."

Press Release – Free DNA Test For Leiden Pilgrim Descendants

The following announcement was written by Tamura Jones:

LEIDEN – 19 April 2019
On Thursday 25 April (DNA Day), genealogy expert Tamura Jones will organise a large-scale DNA Test of Pilgrim descendants in Leiden, the Netherlands. Such investigation has not been done before, not even in America. The goal is to try and discover something interesting about the group and their ancestors.

Mayflower Pilgrims

The Mayflower departed from Plymouth, but the Pilgrims came from Leiden, a city they called home for more than a decade. When they left for the New World, they took Dutch ideas such as religious tolerance and civil marriage with them. Thanksgiving even has roots in Leiden’s 3 October Celebrations, the annual commemoration of the Relief of Leiden in 1574.

Nowadays, Leiden does not only celebrate 3 October, but has an annual Thanksgiving Service as well. This Thanksgiving Service is held in the late-Gothic Pieterskerk (Peter’s Church), where the Pilgrim’s pastor, John Robinson, was buried. Two Mayflower descendants speak during this service, an American descendant and a Dutch descendant.

Searching for Descendants in Leiden

Ancestry Reportedly is Preparing for a Second IPO as DNA-Test Industry Booms

Ancestry.com LLC is readying an initial public offering (IPO), according to people familiar with the matter, preparing to take advantage of growing consumer interest in DNA tests and investors’ appetite for new health and technology stocks.

It would not be Ancestry’s first time in the stock market. The company, which also hosts online repositories of family trees and historical documents, first went public in 2009, trading under the ticker ACOM after raising $100 million.

It was taken private again in 2012 in a $1.6 billion buyout led by private equity firm Permira Advisers.

Scammers May Be Using DNA Testing to Defraud Medicare and Steal Identities

NOTE: This article has nothing to do with genealogy, history, or any of the other “normal” topics of this newsletter. However, it involves DNA which is of interest to many genealogists so I am mentioning it here.

If anyone offers to test your DNA free of charge or even offers to pay you $20 for DNA swabs and supplying your health insurance information, don’t do it!

Details may be found in an article by Kristen V Brown in the Bloomberg web site at: https://bloom.bg/2GmCY1D.

Help Us Catch Killers is now the New Advertising Angle for DNA Companies

A DNA ancestry company criticized for letting police use its gene databases is turning the table on critics. FamilyTreeDNA has now produced a TV advertisement that urges consumers to help them catch criminals.

The television spot, to air in San Diego first, asks anyone who has had a direct-to-consumer DNA test from another company, like 23andMe or Ancestry.com, to upload a copy so that law enforcement can spot any connections to DNA found at crime scenes.

Is DNA Evidence Reliable?

DNA has become a major tool for use by police in solving cold cases of murder and other violent crimes. In the past year, about 50 cold cases have been solved nationwide using public genealogy websites. But is this evidence alone reliable?

James H. Manahan, J.D., has written an article in the Lake County (Minnesota) News-Chronicle that tells why DNA evidence alone can be misleading. Manahan cautions that DNA is a great tool but also must always be used in conjunction with old-fashioned police work.

One Company Makes Almost All the Home DNA Test Spit Tubes

I found an article by Kristen V Brown in the Bloomberg web site to be interesting reading. It isn’t about genealogy as much as it is about one of the tools genealogists use to determine their ethnic origins.

Almost all DNA tests today are made by spitting into a vial (which is a small tube) or by swabbing the insides of a cheek and then inserting the swabbing stick into a vial for shipment to the testing company. The vial carrying your saliva needs to make its way safely to the testing company’s lab. That vial was almost certainly designed by OraSure’s subsidiary, DNA Genotek.

Quoting from the article:

A Personal Comment About 23andMe’s Announcement of a New Genetic DNA Report on Diabetes

NOTE: I earlier published “23andMe is Looking to Expand to Millions More Users with a New Genetic DNA Report on Diabetes.” The article is available at: http://bit.ly/2UwqYjV. Several newsletter readers asked questions about the new announcement. I decided to post my comments here in the newsletter in case others have similar questions.

I also have some personal comments.

All I know about the new diabetes reports is what is in the announcement from 23andMe, as published at https://blog.23andme.com/health-traits/type-2-diabetes.

The report does say, “This new report will impact …” I interpret the word “will” to mean it isn’t available today but will become available soon. Also, the same article states: “To learn more about the science behind 23andMe’s new Type 2 Diabetes report see our white paper” (which is available at: https://permalinks.23andme.com/pdf/23_19-Type2Diabetes_March2019.pdf).

Personal Comments:

I am especially interested in this new report because (1.) I am a 23andMe customer who has received earlier medical reports from the company and (2.) I was diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic 11 years ago.

23andMe is Looking to Expand to Millions More Users with a New Genetic DNA Report on Diabetes

One in three people is at risk for diabetes. So 23andMe set out to develop the first direct-to-consumer genetic test to assess whether its users have a higher likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form of the disease. The company has been around for more than a decade, but said its new diabetes report is the first of its kind.

The company is upgrading its $99 and up at-home DNA test to include a report on diabetes, with an explanation on both the genetic and lifestyle factors that influence who’s likely to get the disease in their lifetimes.

Announcing DNA Down Under with Blaine Bettinger

The following announcement was written by Unlock the Past:

Announcing DNA Down Under

with Blaine Bettinger

Adelaide, South Australia, 5 March 2019  –  Unlock the Past is delighted to announce DNA Down Under, a DNA themed roadshow to six Australian cities, culminating in a major 3-day conference in Sydney.

This is a world class conference and roadshow. Choose from 40 topics in three streams in Sydney over three days. The other five cities offer 10 topics each in two streams over a full day. There are topics at all levels, ranging from beginner to expert. Each city will have an exhibition of product and service suppliers, societies, DNA interest groups and organisations.

The presenters

MyHeritage Extends DNA Quest Initiative to Help More Adoptees Reunite with Their Birth Families

The following announcement was written by MyHeritage:

MyHeritage pledges 5,000 additional free DNA kits for global distribution to eligible participants, following the success of the first phase of its pro bono initiative

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah–MyHeritage, the leading global service for family history and DNA testing, announced today that it is extending DNA Quest, its pro bono initiative to reunite adoptees with their birth families through at-home DNA testing. The first phase of DNA Quest was launched in March 2018 and offered 15,000 free DNA kits to adoptees and those seeking to reunite with family members who were placed for adoption. This resulted in many successful reunions. Due to the large number of applicants, a waiting list of several thousand people was established after registration closed in May 2018. The next phase of DNA Quest announced today re-opens applications on the project website (www.dnaquest.org) and will offer an additional 5,000 free DNA kits to eligible applicants from all countries. Preference is given to applicants who are unable to afford genetic testing.

MyHeritage helps people find their relatives using its DNA Matching technology. The MyHeritage DNA database is one of the fastest-growing in the industry and currently numbers 2.5 million people, including people who tested on MyHeritage and others who uploaded the results of their DNA test for free from other providers. Numerous participants have already reconnected with long-lost family and others have obtained vital clues to assist them in their search. New discoveries continue to emerge, offering participants newfound hope of reuniting with their long-lost loved ones. The search for biological family, especially for birth parents, is time sensitive, as each year older relatives pass away.

MyHeritage Adds Automatic Clustering of DNA Matches for Insights on Common Ancestors

The following announcement was written by MyHeritage. (However, I converted several key phrases into BOLD TEXT.)

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah–MyHeritage, the leading global service for genetic genealogy, announced today the release of AutoClusters, a new feature that automatically clusters and visualizes shared DNA Matches.

In the past few years, millions of consumers have purchased DNA kits in order to find relatives based on shared DNA. However, the DNA results typically do not describe the exact relationship path between two matching people, and only cite the likely connection (for example, 3rd cousins). AutoClusters are helpful in shedding light on the relationship paths, by grouping together DNA Matches who likely belong to the same branch and have a common ancestor. Reviewing their family trees can allow users to piece together the entire branch.

Ancestry Announces New and Improved DNA Matches Fact Sheet

Click here to see a PDF file of the entire announcement.

Proposed Bill Would Force Many Arizonians to Pay $250 to Have Their DNA Added to a Database

This proposed legislation would be great for future genealogists if they can gain access to the database (which I doubt). However, there are huge security and privacy issues involved.

Arizona Bill 1475 was introduced by Republican State Senator David Livingston and would require teachers, police officers, child day care workers, and many others to submit their DNA samples along with fingerprints to be stored in a database maintained by the Department of Public Safety.

“While the database would be prohibited from storing criminal or medical records alongside the DNA samples, it would require the samples be accompanied by the person’s name, Social Security number, date of birth and last known address,” reports Gizmodo. “The living will be required to pay [a $250 processing fee] for this invasion of their privacy, but any dead body that comes through a county medical examiner’s office would also be fair game to be entered into the database.”

The text of the proposed bill may be found at: https://www.azleg.gov/legtext/54leg/1R/bills/SB1475P.pdf.

RootsFinder now imports DNA matches from Ancestry.com, 23andMe, My Heritage, and FamilyTreeDNA, with New Analysis Tools

The following announcement was written by the developers of RootsFinder:

Orem, Utah: The free family history website RootsFinder.com announces that in addition to its previous support for importing matches from GEDmatch, users can now import their autosomal DNA matches from Ancestry.com, 23andMe, MyHeritage, and FamilyTreeDNA. Matches from these DNA testing companies can then be “tagged” to the user’s family tree for analysis and further research.

By tagging a match to a known relative, users color code their matches. This makes it easy to interpret their results using RootsFinder’s visual DNA analysis tools, including:

Your DNA Ethnicity Report Probably Will Change Over Time

In other words, you might not be who you think you are!

This is something that genealogy DNA experts all know but DNA newcomers usually do not. You can have your DNA sample taken one time and submit it to one testing service. A few weeks later, you will receive a report that shows the percentage of ancestry you have different parts of the world.

Simple, isn’t it? Well, not really…

For many people, perhaps most people, if they go back to that testing service’s web site some time later and look at their own DNA report again, they may find that the report has changed! The reason is simple: since the first report was completed, the DNA testing company has improved their database(s) with new and more extensive data. In fact, the DNA testing companies are often updating their ethnic origins databases in order to provide even more precise reports.

While your DNA obviously hasn’t changed, the information the testing company uses to interpret that DNA often changes when more information becomes available. As the Ancestry DNA web site says:

Maryland Legislature Bill Introduced Prohibiting Law Enforcement to Use Publicly Available DNA Databases

The following is a message from Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson, of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee:

Familial DNA matches have been in the news since the California Golden State Killer was apprehended due to this technology last year. Since then other familial matches have led law enforcement to make other such arrests in outstanding major crimes such as murder and rape.

A bill introduced in Maryland, HB 30, would prohibit such searches by law enforcement or others from searching DNA or genealogical databases in order to identify an offender in connection with a crime for which the person may be a biological relative to the individual whose DNA sample is in the database. See: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2019RS/bills/hb/hb0030f.pdf

Maryland is the first state to ban the practice of familial DNA searches statewide. The District of Columbia also bans the practice. The state’s DNA collection act was authorized in 1994 which included a provision prohibiting familial searches using the statewide DNA data base for such searches. The bill extends the existing prohibition to commercial databases. Author believes the search violates the 4th Amendment of US Constitution and state constitution.

Predicting the Effectiveness of Immunotherapy Treatment by Using DNA Analysis, Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), and Huge Databases in the Cloud

NOTE: This article is not about genealogy but does describe the use of DNA to prevent or cure life-threatening medical problems.

Australian analytics company Max Kelsen is using DNA information derived from millions of individuals, along with the Google Cloud, and artificial intelligence (A.I.), to predict the effectiveness of cancer treatments.

The company is integrating A.I. and whole-genome sequencing into cancer research and clinical practice, focusing initially on immunotherapy treatment for melanoma and small cell lung cancer.

How to Extract Your Own DNA at Home by using Vodka

Yes, you read that right. Explore your own DNA at home by using liquid soap, salt and vodka. Oh yes, you will also need some saliva.

Disclaimer: I am not recommending this “test” as a suitable substitute for DNA testing by one of the laboratories that specialize in DNA analysis. However, it is an interesting story so I will repeat it here. After reading this, you are on your own!

One other problem: while you can extract your own DNA from your saliva sample, Dr Brian Cox does not describe how to examine the DNA to determine your ethnic heritage. Maybe that will be in the follow-on video. Then again, maybe not.

As for me, I think I will save the vodka for other purposes…

Announcing the Early Texans DNA Project

The Early Texans DNA database is now live. Those who join the Early Texans DNA project can compare their DNA to other Early Texans descendants and collaboratively work to solve early Texas genealogical mysteries.

The project helps participants study the DNA of descendants of early settlers to discover information that can contribute to Texas history including:

DNA Test Proves the Baby’s Father was not the Agreed Upon Sperm Donor

A Florida couple is seeking damages from a Vermont gynecologist after genetic tests on their 41-year-old daughter reportedly pointed to the doctor being her father, rather than the agreed upon sperm donor.

“This could not have been done accidentally,” said the couple’s lawyer. “It’s fraud, and it’s a question of inserting genetic material into a woman, not of an anonymous donor but rather the physician who is engaging in the conduct itself.”

The couple discovered the reported connection to the gynecologist when their 41-year-old daughter wanted to find her genetic background and learn more about her health and history through a DNA test promoted by several websites.