DNA

Family Tree DNA Sale

logo_ftdnaDNA tests can help you find family, break through brick walls and trace your lineage through time. Family Tree DNA is a leading DNA testing company and is now offering a significant sale on many of its products:

Family Finder autosomal test will find Family Finder Matches and Ethnic Percentages: $59

Family Finder plus Y-chromosome for 37 markers (for males only): $188

Family Finder plus Y-chromosome for 67 markers (for males only): $278

Family Finder plus a Full Mitochondrial Sequence – for both males and females, an mtDNA test that traces your maternal line: $228

Hero Lost at Pearl Harbor Comes Home After Years in an Unknown Grave

Thanks to DNA, family members of a sailor who died nearly 75 years ago are getting closure.

John Charles England died in the attack on Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941. England had been on the U.S.S. Oklahoma, and he disappeared while returning to the sinking ship to save his fellow sailors.

His granddaughter, Bethany Glenn, had been researching England’s life to find out more about the man behind the heroic story. She talked to friends and visited his old school. She learned he loved to dance, so she decided to wear his portrait when she went to concerts. Yet one mystery remained—where was his body?

Update: More Information About the new Announcement of MyHeritage DNA

Following Monday’s launch of MyHeritage DNA (see the announcement at https://goo.gl/lpYyKh), many questions were asked about the new service. MyHeritage’s Founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet, has posted answers to these questions in the MyHeritage Blog.

You can read Gilad’s answers at http://blog.myheritage.com/2016/11/myheritage-dna-your-questions-answered.

While on the MyHeritage Blog, you also might want to read and watch This is what happens to your DNA at the lab at http://blog.myheritage.com/2016/11/watch-this-is-what-happens-to-your-dna-at-the-lab.

MyHeritage Launches Global DNA Testing Service for Uncovering Ethnic Origins and Making New Family Connections

The folks at MyHeritage have made a major new announcement this morning. As stated in the announcement, “…as MyHeritage DNA debuts an international mass-market home-testing kit that is simple, affordable and will offer some of the best ethnicity reports in the world.” I ordered my DNA kit immediately after reading about the new service.

The following is the official announcement from MyHeritage:

Unique Founder Population project conducted by the company expected to empower the highest resolution ethnicity analysis available on the market

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah, November 7, 2016 — MyHeritage, the leading international destination for discovering, preserving and sharing family history, announced today the launch of MyHeritage DNA, its global integrated genetic testing service. The move represents a major turning point for the DNA industry, as MyHeritage DNA debuts an international mass-market home-testing kit that is simple, affordable and will offer some of the best ethnicity reports in the world.

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With 85 million users worldwide, 2.1 billion family tree profiles, 7 billion historical records and availability in 42 languages, MyHeritage’s new DNA service further strengthens its position as a global leader in family history.

Family Tree DNA and 20th Century Fox Team Up for Historical Adventure

The following announcement was written by the folks at Family Tree DNA:

Genetic genealogy pioneers announce exciting partnership with the theatrical release of Assassin’s Creed.

Houston, Texas — October 25, 2016:

In association with the upcoming theatrical release of the epic adventure film ASSASSIN’S CREED, in theaters December 21, Family Tree DNA is pleased to announce a new partnership with 20th Century Fox and Findmypast, which features the Assassin’s Creed DNA Testing Bundle and Assassin’s Creed Sweepstakes.

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Loosely based on the popular video game franchise of the same name, and starring award-winning actors Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, the movie’s main character Callum Lynch—through a revolutionary technology called the Animus—travels deep into the past to discover that his genetic ancestor, Aguilar, was part of a mysterious secret organization, the Assassin’s, in 15th Century Spain. The action-adventure follows Callum as he relives Aguilar’s memories in present day.

Living DNA Offers a ‘High Definition’ View of Your Family History

Living DNA is a tiny UK company that has just launched its own ancestry DNA testing service, one that offers a ‘high definition’ view of their family history, versus the ‘standard resolution’ provided by their larger competitors. The company is up against a number of high-powered and well-financed competitors, including 23andme, Family Tree DNA, Quest Diagnostics, and AncestryDNA. Founder David Nicholson is confident that his company can succeed because it offers a different service from the services offered by his competitors.

Fueled by TV shows, such as Who Do You Think You Are?, the market for personal DNA testing services is growing rapidly, and in the UK, is dominated by a handful of multi-national companies. The startup was launched using profits from DNA Worldwide Group, a company set up by Nicholas in 2004 to fund the development of the personalised DNA testing service. That process took two years and a team of over 100 experts around the world. Living DNA aims to be profitable within 18 months.

DNA Testing Links 300-Year-Old Remains of a Baby to a Colonial Maryland Governor

Much is known about the 6-month-old who died in Maryland 300 years ago and was buried in a small lead-covered coffin. Yet there is no record of the child’s death — or birth. No one knew for certain who the infant was. No one knew if the baby was a boy or girl.

Now, almost 26 years after the coffin was unearthed in St. Mary’s County, experts at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History have learned that the baby was a boy — and the offspring of an important colonial governor of Maryland, Philip Calvert. The discovery came about through new genetic testing done at Harvard Medical School at the request of the Smithsonian.

DNA’s new ‘Miracle’: How Adoptees are using Online Registries to Find Their Blood Relatives

The Washington Post has published an interesting article by Tara Bahrampour about adoptees using DNA to find their birth relatives, sometimes even their birth parents. The article states:

Most people who register with DNA databases are looking for information about their ethnic origins or exploring distant branches of the family tree. But the rapidly expanding databases have also had an unintended consequence: They are helping people find biological parents whose identities had long been mysteries.

DNA Detectives Volunteers Help Adoptees Find their Birth Parents

DNA Detectives is a Facebook group run by volunteers who call themselves “search angels” and who help adoptees, sperm donor kids, and others who are hunting for their biological relatives. With more than 24,000 members, DNA Detectives began in February 2015, said CeCe Moore, its founder, which she helps run from San Clemente, Calif. Moore calls herself a genetic genealogist. She consults on the PBS show “Finding Your Roots,” and her company The DNA Detectives works with with the media on stories related to DNA, promoting genetic genealogy education through conferences and seminars.

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MyHeritage Now Has DNA Matching Available

MyHeritage has just announced that DNA Matching is now live!

DNA-smallerMyHeritage compares DNA data of individuals, which has been uploaded to the MyHeritage website, in order to find matches based on shared DNA. Your DNA matches are people who are highly likely to be relatives (close or distant) because there are significant similarities between their DNA and yours. MyHeritage DNA Matching can open up exciting new research directions, and allow you to find and connect with relatives you may not have known about.

The DNA matching has been available for a few months in a limited beta test but now is available to everyone. The DNA Matching is free and will remain free for those who have already uploaded their DNA test results to MyHeritage. Anyone who has taken a DNA test with other test providers, or has DNA test results from other family members, and has not uploaded them to MyHeritage yet, the company recommends they hurry and upload the DNA data now, in order to enjoy free DNA Matching on MyHeritage forever.

One Study Claims That Genetics Affects How Much You Drink

alcoholismIf you become intoxicated after one drink, blame your ancestors. Researchers at Washington State University have found that your genetic makeup affects your sensitivity to alcohol.

A receptor in our brain reportedly affects our reaction to alcohol. The protein receptor, located on cells in the cerebellum, is known as GABAA. When it’s activated, it suppresses the firing of brain cells. That leads to balance issues, stumbling, slurred speech and reduced social inhibitions. Depending upon your genetic makeup, that could happen even after one drink. For others, the receptor takes a long time to be stimulated, leading to binge drinking and alcoholism.

National Genealogical Society Publishes the First Workbook on Genetic Genealogy

The following announcement was written by the (US) National Genealogical Society:

gginpARLINGTON, VA, 6 September 2016—The National Genealogical Society (NGS) announces the publication of Genetic Genealogy in Practice, the first workbook on genetic genealogy. Written by Blaine T. Bettinger, PhD, JD, and Debbie Parker Wayne, CGSM, CGLSM, the book provides family historians and genealogists who have just begun to explore genetic genealogy practical, easy to understand information that they can apply to their research. As Wayne notes in her blog, Deb’s Delvings in Genealogy, “DNA can seem complex to many of us, but this book will guide you and help build your knowledge level one step at a time.”

At their own pace, readers learn the basic concepts of genetic genealogy. They then build on that knowledge as they study the testing, analysis, and application of Y-DNA, X-DNA, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), and autosomal DNA (atDNA) to reach and support genealogical conclusions. Each chapter includes exercises with answer keys for hands-on practice.

Protecting Privacy in Genomic Databases

A recent announcement from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and Indiana University at Bloomington describes a process that permits database queries for genome-wide association studies but reduces the chances of privacy compromises to almost zero.

The new system, implements a technique called “differential privacy,” which has been a major area of cryptographic research in recent years. Differential-privacy techniques add a little bit of noise, or random variation, to the results of database searches, to confound algorithms that would seek to extract private information from the results of several, tailored, sequential searches.

Quest Diagnostics to Provide Genetic Testing Services for AncestryDNA

Quest Diagnostics said today that it has signed an agreement with Ancestry.com to provide genetic testing services for the online family history firm’s consumer genomics business.

Here is the announcement from Quest Diagnostics:

Quest Diagnostics Incorporated logo. (PRNewsFoto/Quest Diagnostics Incorporated)

MADISON, N.J., and LEHI, Utah, Aug. 3, 2016 — Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), the world’s leading provider of diagnostic information services, and AncestryDNA, the leader in family history and consumer genomics, are teaming up to help meet the rapidly growing consumer demand for genetic tests that provide insights into genetic ethnicity, origins and other factors. The new collaboration will allow AncestryDNA to scale its testing services and pave the way for new wellness offerings.

How British are YOU?

A recent DNA study reveals Yorkshire is the most Anglo-Saxon part of UK, while East Midlands is most Scandinavian. The people of Wales have the highest proportion of ancestry from Spain and Portugal. Anyone with at least a casual knowledge of ancient and medieval UK history probably will not be surprised by these findings.

The analysis of the genetic history of two million people worldwide by family history website Ancestry was based on data collated from the AncestryDNA home DNA test that examines a person’s entire genome via a simple saliva sample. Results reveal the genetic ethnic make-up of the ‘average’ person in the UK and what countries and regions they can trace their ancestry back to over the past 500 years.

What Can a Hacker Do with Your Genetic Information?

Apparently not much, according to an article by Kaleigh Rogers in the Motherboard web site at http://goo.gl/fYKz2A.

Rogers focuses on the idea of someone hacking into the big databases used by genealogists at 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, Ancestry DNA, and similar companies. She points out that there are easier ways to obtain someone’s DNA than by trying to hack into encrypted databases:

“Someone could hack into your account on a genetics site, or even just collect your DNA from a used coffee cup and send it away for analysis—something New Scientist reporters proved was remarkably simple back in 2009.”

New Genealogical Databases to Determine Family Cancer

The use of large family history databases to determine a person’s likelihood of developing cancer has been well received in a recent study – and further trials should be conducted to see if their use is possible in Britain and other countries, according to a new research paper co-authored by a Plymouth University academic.

Heather Skirton, Professor of Health Genetics, worked alongside Vigdis Stefansdottir from Landspitali – the National University Hospital of Iceland to carry out a study on 19 participants in focus groups in Iceland.

Geni Adds DNA to the World Family Tree

The following announcement was written by the folks at Geni. Further information is also available on the Geni blog at: https://www.geni.com/blog/geni-adds-dna-to-the-world-family-tree-394127.html

World’s largest and most accurate collaborative family tree now enhanced with three major DNA test types, and new integration with Family Tree DNA

BURBANK, California and HOUSTON, Texas, June 30, 2016 — Geni, home of the World Family Tree, announced today the addition of DNA test results into the family tree, and a new product integration with its partner Family Tree DNA. This move will improve the accuracy of the World Family Tree and provide new insights for millions of people interested in their family history.

DNA will enhance the World Family Tree by separating fact from fiction: it will help people confirm family relationships and will highlight situations where the documented genealogy does not match the biological evidence presented by DNA. DNA results will also be used for matching, in order to discover previously unknown relatives. Geni’s World Family Tree will then allow users to establish and visualize the precise family tree connection with relatives found by DNA matching.

Australia is Building a Database of Historical DNA

Australians have been called upon to donate their DNA and help establish the country’s first historical DNA database, providing researchers with a crucial tool for solving wartime mysteries – some which date back 100 years. To be managed by the Centre for Ancient DNA at Adelaide University, the database will provide scientists and historians with a snapshot of the genetic makeup of the Australian population in the early 1900s.

The DNA database would prove a vital tool for any number of projects, including identifying unrecovered war dead and even solving decades-old missing person cases. I suspect the database would also be valuable for genealogy purposes although privacy laws may prevent its use for that purpose.

You can read more about this new effort in an article by Bridie Smith in the Sydney Morning Herald at http://goo.gl/FJzl9i.

Seen on the Street Corner: A Genealogy DNA Problem

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