Thursday, 30 August 2012

AncestryDNA's response to my request for my raw genetic data

As discussed in my previous blog post one of the major drawbacks of AncestryDNA's new autosomal DNA test is that they do not currently allow their customers access to their raw genetic data. Ken Chahine, the Senior Vice President and General Manager, DNA, at Ancestry.com has publicly stated at a meeting of the Presidential Committee for Bioethical Issues in Washington, D.C., his belief that "the customer retains ownership of their DNA and their data" [my italics]. The genetic genealogy blogger CeCe Moore has been told by John Pereira, the Vice President of Business Development at Ancestry.com, that Ancestry "are genuinely considering the best way to deliver this data to us". However, Ancestry are also taking into consideration the feedback from other customers and it appears that allowing customers access to their raw genetic data is not currently a priority.

Family Tree DNA and 23andMe, the other two companies that offer autosomal DNA tests for genetic genealogists, both allow their customers to download their DNA data files from their personal accounts. If Ancestry are intending to introduce such a feature it will inevitably take time to implement the necessary IT infrastructure. In the meantime I decided to contact Ancestry.com about the possibility of obtaining a copy of my autosomal DNA raw data file as it would surely be a simple matter for them to e-mail this file to me. I contacted Ancestry through their Customer Services Department. They replied very promptly apologising for the "frustration" regarding my raw DNA data. I was told that the  "DNA project is still very new and in the beta testing stage. Our developers are currently in discussions regarding adding a feature that will allow members to download their DNA data." In the meantime Ancestry are encouraging members to send them feedback by clicking on the "Beta Send Feedback" button that appears in the top right corner of your DNA page. They advised me that their "developers are going through this feedback and basing a lot of their decisions on what we are hearing from our members".

However, Ancestry did not reply to my question about receiving my genetic data so I replied asking once more if they could send me my file. They again replied very promptly but I was told  "Currently we are unable to send you a file with your raw DNA data. We apologize for any frustration this issue may have caused and appreciate your feedback. We have forwarded your message on to our feedback department." I was also given a telephone number in the US that I could ring, but as I am in the UK a transatlantic telephone call is not a realistic proposition. Ancestry do have a UK telephone number but as their DNA test is not being actively marketed in the UK, I do not imagine that I will be able to get any answers from them.

I can appreciate that logistically it might be difficult for Ancestry's customer services reps to arrange for customers to receive data files as the files are probably held elsewhere. It is, however, very disappointing that they are unable to fulfil their promise and I hope the issue will be addressed as soon as possible. I cannot recommend anyone testing at AncestryDNA for the present unless and until this problem is fixed.

As AncestryDNA clearly do not think that allowing customers access to their own genetic data is a top priority I would urge everyone who has tested with them to submit feedback requesting access to their personal raw data files. Ancestry do not appear to be replying to comments that are submitted through the Feedback button. A question I submitted last week asking for information about the British reference populations used for their admixture predictions has not been answered. I would therefore suggest that, in addition to submitting feedback, everyone also writes to Customer Services asking for a copy of their raw genetic data file. If enough requests are received then perhaps Ancestry might consider implementing this basic and essential feature.

A DNA project administrator in the US who is on the ISOGG project admins mailing list has advised that he has received good support when talking to Ancestry on the phone. If anyone in the US is able to ring Ancestry I would be very interested to hear what they have to say about this issue.

Update 4 September 2012
A UK genealogy friend advised me that it is possible to call Ancestry's freephone UK telephone number (0800 404 9723) and they will, if necessary transfer you to AncestryDNA in the US free of charge. I rang the number this afternoon to enquire further about the possibility of getting my raw genetic data. I was told that Ancestry currently have no way to do this but "a lot of people have requested this feature" and they are looking into it. I also asked if they could let me know what they are using as their reference populations for the British Isles but was told that, as the test is still in beta, this information has not yet been made available. I was told that about 99.9% of the people in the Ancestry database currently reside in the US.

The freephone/toll-free international contact numbers and opening hours for the AncestryDNA helpline can be found at the bottom of the FAQs page on the old Ancestry.com DNA website here.

© 2012 Debbie Kennett

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

My Ancestry autosomal DNA test Part 2: The matching process

This is the second of two articles reviewing my experiences with the new Ancestry.com autosomal DNA test. I wrote yesterday about the consent forms for the AncestryDNA autosomal DNA test and the admixture component of the test. I'm now going to look at the matching process.

The Ancestry matches appear on your home page beneath your ethnicity percentages. There doesn't seem to be any way to hide the ethnicity percentages so you have to look at these every time you log into your account. The results can be sorted by relationship or by date with the most recent matches listed first. On the default setting I currently have 9 matches who are predicted with "95% confidence" to be fourth to sixth cousins and 36 matches who are predicted with "moderate confidence" to be fifth to eighth cousins. Ancestry caution that "'Distant cousin' matches (5th cousins or greater) have a lower degree of certainty compared to 3rd and 4th cousins. Even though there is a 50% (or less) chance that you are related, these matches are still good leads." The screenshot below shows the match menu sorted by date (click on the image to enlarge it). Your matches are identified by their Ancestry user name which sometimes will correspond with their real name but in many cases is nothing more than a nickname. Some accounts are administered by other relatives and this information is also provided. (I've blocked out the names on this screenshot for privacy reasons.) Unviewed matches are marked with a blue spot, and it is also possible to allocate a yellow star to your "favourite" matches. As can be seen, there is very little information provided about your matches in this view other than the predicted relationship and the number of relatives they have entered into their Ancestry tree. It is therefore necessary to review each match on an individual basis.
I've picked out one match at random to show how the process works. The sample screenshot below is for the page of one of my matches who is predicted to be a fifth to eighth cousin. (I've again blocked out all the identifying names.)
As can be seen Ancestry provides you with a very prominent "ethnicity comparison" at the top of the page. If the admixture results were accurate this would potentially be a useful tool but as my own percentages bear little resemblance to my documented ancestry it seems that this feature is not at present very helpful. Ironically this match of mine, despite having 100% Colonial American ancestry, predominantly from North and South Carolina, has a much higher percentage of "British" ancestry than I do! In addition to the ethnicity comparison you are also presented with a list of surnames, if any, that you share in common. In this particular case we share two very common surnames, Johnson and King, which are unlikely to be significant. You also have access to an outline of the person's family tree which lists the full names but provides no dates or locations. It's then necessary to click on the individual names for further details or to click on the button for the full tree which directs you to the tree as it appears on the Ancestry.com website. The trees are nicely presented and if you are lucky enough to find a surname that also appears in your own tree it would be very easy to check the relationship. Ancestry also provide a very useful map and locations view. This allows you to see which geographical locations you have in common with your match and you can then zoom in on the area of interest. In this case most of my match's ancestors are in America, so for the screenshot below I have instead zoomed in on the British Isles. You can then click on a pin to see the details of the individual in question. The birth locations are also listed on the left-hand side of the page and you can expand the menu to see the details for the individual counties and the place name, if provided. The trees are all generated dynamically so the information presented is always up to date.
I find that the map and locations view is much easier to navigate than the family trees as I can see at a glance whether or not my matches have any ancestors from the British Isles. In this particular case my match only has a few known ancestors from the British Isles and for most of those she has very little information, often with no surname and no location more precise than the county. As so much of her ancestry is in Colonial America we could well be related on one of her Colonial American lines rather than on one of the lines she can document to the British Isles. In this situation it seems unlikely that we would ever be able to find the documentary proof of our genetic relationship.

I've now reviewed all of my 45 matches as far as possible. Not all of them have provided family trees. Some of my matches have locked trees and I have not yet contacted them to ask for access. As the Ancestry test has so far only been marketed and made available in America it is not surprising to find that all but one of my matches seem to be in America. My purpose in taking the test was really to see how the interface works. I wanted to be ready to offer an informed view in case the test is ever officially launched in the UK. I knew in advance that the database was effectively all-American and I was not really expecting to find any meaningful matches. Of the 45 matches that I've reviewed I've found one match with a lady who appears to be in Australia which looks reasonably promising. She has documented a number of her lines to various English counties and although we currently have no surnames in common there is a good chance that with a bit more time and effort we might be able to find a connection. The American matches are, as expected, not particularly useful. Many of them have no documented ancestry in the British Isles and those that do often only have very sketchy information such as the name of a county but no birthplace. Without a surname in common or a geographical location there is little hope of ever finding the documentary link. I have, however, been able to identify five further matches who have provided specific geographical information and where there might be some chance of finding a paper trail connection.

In addition to the matches shown in the default setting there is a slider that can be adjusted to let you see your "low confidence" and "very low confidence" distant cousins. When I set this to see all my "very low confidence" distant cousins I got eighteen pages of matches. There are about 50 matches on each page which means I have a total of 900 matches. There is no explanation given as to what constitutes a "low confidence" or "very low confidence" match. The Ancestry interface is in this respect much more difficult to work with than the corresponding match pages for FTDNA's Family Finder and 23andMe's Relative Finder feature. With both FTDNA and 23andMe you can scan your match list to search for surnames of interest without having to click on each person's profile. FTDNA and 23andMe both provide the ability to search the match list for surnames of interest and both companies allow you to download your match lists to make it easier to sort the data. With Ancestry I have to laboriously click on each person's tree in turn, and then go to the map locations view to see if they have any ancestry from the British Isles. There is no facility to download the match list. There seems little point in me trying to sort through all these extra matches in an attempt to locate the tiny minority who might have some documented ancestry from the British Isles, and especially so as there is no guarantee that the matches are genuine.

The Ancestry interface is very basic compared to Family Finder and Relative Finder. A very big drawback is that they do not provide the genetic data used for their relationship calculations. You are not told what percentage of DNA you share with your cousins or how many matching segments and markers (SNPs) you have in common. There is no chromosome browser to give you a visual display of the matching segments. You therefore have to rely on Ancestry's algorithms and you have no way of checking the validity of your results.The segment data is very important if you are in the fortunate position of having matches tied to a documented common ancestor as the segments can then be linked to that ancestor. The segment information is particularly important where the DNA results are ambiguous. CeCe Moore recently reported the case of an adoptee who received a confusing relationship prediction at Ancestry which could not be resolved because the genetic data was not provided. FTDNA and 23andMe both allow you to download your raw data. You can then use your data with the various free autosomal DNA tools such as GedMatch and the various admixture utilities. Ancestry do not currently allow their customers to download their data, though I understand that they have promised that they will eventually do so. As the Ancestry test is still in beta it might well be that they will eventually add  the other basic services that are already included as standard with Relative Finder and Family Finder.

It remains to be seen what Ancestry plan to do with their new autosomal DNA test and whether or not they will launch it properly it in the UK and elsewhere. The website seems to have been set up specifically to appeal to Americans with the strong focus on ethnicity predictions. This aspect of the test is less likely to be of interest to people in the UK. It is thought that there are now around 50,000 people in the Ancestry database, but with an all-American database there currently seems little incentive for any non-Americans to test with Ancestry unless they are trying to find connections in America. With such an in-built bias, if the test is officially launched elsewhere it's going to be very difficult for people to navigate their match lists as they are going to be swamped with matches in America and there is no easy way to filter out these matches. If you want to take a test to prove a particular scenario the Ancestry test is not very useful because Ancestry do not provide you with the genetic data. Co-ordinating multiple kits is also much more difficult with Ancestry because they do not provide any project management facilities. At Family Tree DNA you can organise Family Finder tests within surname projects or set up a dedicated Family Finder project. At 23andMe you can share genomes to compare results or you can add multiple relatives to your own account. The Ancestry trees are quite nicely presented but Ancestry trees are normally only available to subscribers so it would seem that if your Ancestry subscription lapses you would no longer have access to the family trees of your matches. At FTDNA and 23andMe once you've paid for your test you do not have to maintain a subscription in order to have continued access to your matches.

Ancestry do have the advantage of having a very large subscriber base. They announced in July this year that they now have over two million subscribers. If they do decide to make their autosomal test available to their entire subscriber database they could potentially draw in many people who would not previously have considered getting their DNA tested. The test is currently being sold as a loss leader at $99 to build up the Ancestry database but when the cost increases, as it inevitably will, I wonder how many people will be prepared to pay the true market value for what is currently an inferior service. It will be interesting to see what happens in the coming months.

© Debbie Kennett

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

My Ancestry autosomal DNA test
Part I: Consent forms and admixture analyses

This is the first of two articles reviewing my experiences with the new Ancestry.com autosomal DNA test. A second article will focus on the matching process.

Ancestry.com announced  the launch of their new autosomal DNA test on 3rd May this year. The test has been in the works for over a year and around 10,000 genealogists in the US were given the opportunity to receive free tests as part of the beta-testing program. At launch the test was restricted to Ancestry subscribers and they were able to buy the test at a special introductory price of  US $99. It is currently only possible to order the test from Ancestry's US site. The following information is provided on their FAQs page.
11. I live outside the U.S., when can I get the new test?
We hope to make the AncestryDNA test available outside the U.S. in the future. We do not have a date for this yet. Please note: for those who live outside of the U.S. and choose to purchase the test on the U.S. site, the use of the dna.ancestry.com site and the DNA products offered are subject to United States law and the AncestryDNA Terms and Conditions and AncestryDNA Privacy Statement.
It was not clear from this if Ancestry were making the test available internationally but I nevertheless signed up to register my interest and I eventually received an invitation to purchase a test on 17th June which I immediately accepted. The kit cost me a total of $108.95 -  $99 for the kit plus $9.95 for shipping. My credit card bill shows that I was charged a total of £71.35.

Once the kit arrives from Ancestry you need to activate the kit online. As part of the activation process you are required to accept Ancestry's Terms and Conditions and you are also encouraged to sign an online Consent Form to participate in a research project known as the Human Genetic Diversity Project. The full Consent Form can be found on the AncestryDNA website. Roberta Estes has already written of her concerns about the way this form is presented and her blog post can be read here. I share some of her concerns.  The check box for the Consent Form appears on the same page as the box for the Terms and Conditions and it is presented in such a way that it appears to be part of the standard legalese that one normally has to sign when taking any such test. It is not necessary to sign the Consent Form in order to take the test but I am sure there will be many people who won't bother reading the forms and will automatically tick both boxes without understanding that they have agreed to contribute to a research project and they will, therefore, not have provided the necessary informed consent. I did take the time to read the Consent Form and decided that I did not wish to participate in Ancestry's "research". I can find no information anywhere online about Ancestry's Human Genetic Diversity Project. It is not clear whether such a project is ever going to exist or if Ancestry are simply trying to keep all their options open. I feel that Ancestry are being somewhat deceptive in choosing a name for their "project" which is so similar to the Human Genome Diversity Project, a legitimate scientific project run by Stanford University. Ancestry is a commercial genealogy company and has never before been involved in research, and it is difficult to understand their motives.

While the Consent Form is optional, the Terms and Conditions are not. You have to agree to these if you want your kit to be processed. The Terms and Conditions are mostly standard legalese, and the full form can be seen here. I did note the following condition which is of potential concern:
By submitting DNA to AncestryDNA, you grant AncestryDNA a transferable license to use your DNA, and any DNA you submit for any person from whom you obtained legal authorization as described in this Agreement, and to use, host, sublicense and distribute the resulting analysis to the extent and in the form or context we deem appropriate on or through any media or medium and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed or discovered.
I decided on this occasion to accept the risk and get my test processed, though I can understand that this condition might deter some people from testing with Ancestry. I am not a lawyer but I suspect that such a condition might be in contravention of the European Union's Data Protection Directive and the UK Data Protection Act. This would explain Ancestry's insistence that non-US customers are bound by US laws.

As part of the activation process you are also required to enter your year of birth. I did not want to share my year of birth with Ancestry so I gave my year of birth as 1900, the earliest possible date that can be entered. I presume Ancestry are not expecting much demand for tests from people who are over 112 years old!

I activated my kit and returned my test on 11th July. I received a notification that my sample had arrived in America on 19th July. The test was processed very quickly and I received an e-mail on 5th August to tell me that my results had arrived. Unfortunately this coincided with an exceptionally busy time for me and it also coincided with the Olympics so I have only now started to explore my results.

Admixture analysis
The results page is very different from the 23andMe and Family Finder results pages. It seems that the primary focus of the AncestryDNA test is the admixture analysis. The screenshot below shows my homepage (I have blocked out the names of my matches for privacy reasons). You will need to click on the images to enlarge them.

When I click on the button to see my full results I am taken to this page:
As can be seen, my Ancestry "genetic ethnicity" percentages are: 58% Central European, 25% British Isles, 13% Eastern European and 4% unknown.

My own family history research tells a somewhat different story. I know the names and birth places of 15 of my 16 great-great-grandparents and they are all English. In this generation I have one illegitimate line which has prevented from me finding out the name of the remaining ancestor. The birthplaces of these 15 great-great-grandparents are:: Burrington, Devon; Bristol (2); Thornbury, Gloucestershire; Clapham, London; Colchester, Essex; Sandon, Hertfordshire; Limehouse, London; Bermondsey, London; Merriott, Somerset; Sydenham, Kent; Sydmonton, Hampshire; Kintbury, Berkshire; Westminster, London; Sherston, Wiltshire.

I know the names of 27 of my 32 great-great-great-grandparents, but I only know the birth places of 21 of these ancestors. All of my known ancestors are from the British Isles. These are the birth places where known: Ashreigney, Devon; Mariansleigh, Devon; Thornbury, Gloucestershire; Bristol; Great Yeldham, Essex; Preston, Hertfordshire; Sandon, Hertfordshire; Scotland (place not known); Hackney, London; Laverstoke, Hampshire; County Kerry, Ireland; Merriott, Somerset; Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire; Shoreditch, London; Ecchinswell, Hampshire; Welford, Berkshire; Kintbury, Berkshire; Salford, Bedfordshire; Holborn, London; Leighterton, Gloucestershire; Purton, Wiltshire.

My research into the ancestry of my 32 great-great-great-grandparents has been hampered by a further illegitimacy and the difficulties of researching more common surnames in large cities such as Bristol and London. This process becomes even more difficult if the ancestors die before the 1851 census so that there is no information on the place of birth. The London research should in future be easier now that so much data is being made available online on both Ancestry and Findmypast. Nevertheless, despite the gaps in my research, there is no reason to suppose that any of my ancestors in the last few hundred years came from anywhere other than the British Isles, and there is certainly nothing in my documented ancestry to account for the large percentage of Eastern European ancestry.

Frustratingly, Ancestry does not provide any information on the reference populations that are used to calculate these admixture percentages and without this information the results are somewhat meaningless. There are few samples from the British Isles in the public databases, and it may be that my low percentage of British Isles admixture is just a reflection of the paucity of data from the British Isles. A lot of the American testees have commented that Ancestry is finding unexpectedly large percentages of Scandinavian DNA. CeCe Moore has already commented on this issue in her review of AncestryDNA's admixture tool. Scandinavian DNA would be less surprising in someone of British ancestry than Eastern European DNA.

I have also had my DNA tested with Family Tree DNA's Family Finder test which provides admixture percentages with the Population Finder tool. My parents and my husband have also been tested with FTDNA. My husband is 100% English. His ancestors are mostly from Devon and Cambridgeshire, though he also has some ancestry from Somerset, Sussex, Herefordshire, Hampshire, Huntingdonshire and Surrey. The FTDNA tests provide a useful comparison with my Ancestry test. These are the Population Finder results from FTDNA for my family members (the percentages in brackets are the margins of error):

Me
Europe (Western European) - French, Orcadian, Spanish 86.23%  (±10.03%)
Europe - Tuscan, Finnish, Romanian, Russian, Sardinian 13.77%  (±10.03%)

My dad
Europe (Western European) - Orcadian 93.00%  (±2.77%)
Middle East - Palestinian, Adygei, Bedouin, Bedouin South, Druze, Iranian, Jewish, Mozabite 7.00% (±2.77%)

My mum
Europe (Western European) - French, Orcadian, Spanish 88.97%  (±8.80%)
Europe - Tuscan, Finnish, Romanian, Sardinian 11.03%  (±8.80%)

My husband
Europe (Western European) Orcadian 93.57%  (±1.88%)
Middle East - Palestinian, Adygei, Bedouin, Bedouin South, Druze, Iranian, Jewish 6.43%  (±1.88%)

Family Tree DNA, unlike Ancestry, provide a very comprehensive set of FAQs about their Population Finder tool. They include in the FAQs details of the reference populations that are used for the analyses. As can be seen from the FAQs, the Orcadians (from the Orkney Islands) are the only population from the British Isles used for Population Finder. As discussed in a previous blog post the People of the British Isles Project has already found marked differences within the population of the British Isles. The Orcadians were found to be genetically quite distinct from the rest of the country, and are therefore not necessarily a good proxy for the British population. However, in the absence of other data from the British Isles FTDNA is simply providing details of our closest matches with other populations. A lot of people with 100% British ancestry are getting the strange Middle Eastern percentage in the Population Finder test for reasons which are unclear.

I have also tested with 23andMe. They do not as yet provided detailed admixture breakdowns and according to their test I am 100% European.  23andMe, like FTDNA, do at least provide details of the reference populations they use. They also have a new feature which provides an estimate of your Neanderthal admixture. According to 23andMe an estimated 2.5% of my DNA is from Neanderthals, placing me on the 39th centile.

It is clear that these admixture analysis tests are still in their infancy and are at present not particularly informative, especially if you have already done a lot of family history research. Both the Ancestry test and the FTDNA Population Finder are still in beta-testing. It is somewhat surprising that Ancestry have chosen to focus so heavily on the admixture part of their test when the results clearly have very little practical application and are potentially very misleading. I am certainly not going to start looking for ancestors from Eastern Europe or the Middle East! I believe these percentages are only appearing because of the lack of British reference populations in the public databases. As Blaine Bettinger has pointed out we have two family trees: a genetic family tree and a genealogical family tree. At present our research is directed by our genealogical family tree. However, admixture tests should eventually become more accurate as more reference samples become available. The data from the People of the British Isles Project should make a big difference to admixture predictions for those of us with ancestry from the UK and Ireland. It might even one day be possible to take a test which will tell you what percentage of your DNA is from Devon or Cornwall. Ancestry, 23andMe and Family Tree DNA have all promised to update their admixture percentages as new information becomes available so, even if the tests are not particularly useful at present, they could still have some value in the longer run.  And of course if you are adopted or don't know anything about your ancestry for whatever reason then some information is always better than none. For anyone interested in taking a DNA test primarily for the admixture percentages the new Geno 2.0 test from the Genographic Project will be the test of choice, as it includes more ancestry-informative markers than the other tests. The autosomal DNA tests from FTDNA, 23andMe and Ancestry have a much more practical application for finding matches with genetic cousins. I will look at the matching process for the Ancestry test in my next blog post.

Update 25 August 2012
Ancestry have now advised that the confusing adoptee relationship prediction was the result of a lab error. CeCe Moore has further information on her blog.

© 2012 Debbie Kennett

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Geno 2.0 update

I wrote about the launch of the new Geno 2.0 test from the Genographic Project at the end of July. Some further details about the test have become available in the last few weeks. The genetic genealogy bloggers, CeCe Moore and Roberta Estes, have both received e-mails from Spencer Wells, National Geographic's Explorer-in-Residence, with further details on the SNPs (markers) to be used in the project and the degree of community involvement. Links to the posts are provided below:

- CeCe Moore   A short update from Spencer Wells on Geno 2.0 (30 July 2012)
- Roberta Estes  Geno 2.0 answers from Spencer Wells (30 July 2012)
- CeCe Moore   More information from Spencer Wells on Geno 2.0 (31 July 2012)
- Roberta Estes  Geno 2.0, WTY, mtDNA full sequence participants, and more (31 July 2012)

Charles Moore, the administrator of the haplogroup R1b-U106 project, and his co-administrator Mike Maddi had the opportunity to have lunch with Bennett Greenspan, the CEO of Family Tree DNA, a couple of weeks ago. Charles reported back to the U106 mailing list on 6th August and he has very kindly given me permission to reprint his posting here which provides some additional technical information about the new Geno 2.0 test.
R1b-U106 Project Co-Administrator Mike Maddi and I had lunch with Bennett Greenspan on Saturday. Bennett gave us a tour of the renovated lab, including the new DNA storage machine with windows that allowed us to watch it perform its various robotic tasks, efficiently filling little wells in plates with lots of wonderful little DNA samplings.

The discussion naturally moved quickly towards the new National Geographic "Genographic Project" Geno 2.0 test.

Bennett said that yes, individual SNP testing will remain at FTDNA, and when significant or terminal branch SNPs are discovered via Geno 2.0 that are not currently testable on an individual basis at FTDNA, they would be made testable. Since we do not yet know the number of SNPs we are talking about, it's not yet feasible to estimate when these will become available, but likely around the end of the year.

But testers interested in testing lots of SNPs, for whatever reasons, should sign up for the National Geographic Geno 2.0 test. Going forward, this test will be the method for accomplishing this objective.

Bennett added that lots of SNPs from Asian labs, and Near Eastern/Mediterranean labs, that we are mostly not otherwise familiar with, are included on the chip. Additionally about 5,000 newly identified SNPs from the 1000 Genomes project have been added to the chip. And of course, the chip tests mtDNA and autosomal DNA as well as Y DNA. Aside from the reports about 12,000 Y SNPs on the chip, Bennett added that about 1,000 of them are already known to be below Haplo R1, however many are likely synonymous with current SNPs on the tree.

Bennett did say that the POSITIVE results from Y SNPs on the Geno 2.0 test, may be re-merged with one's existing FTDNA account, and thereby will also show up on the Project's public SNP list. As Administrators, Mike and I were very grateful for this answer!

23 public WTY testers' samples, and approximately 300 FMS (aka mtDNA FGS) testers' samples were used to help verify the chip. These testers will be notified in the next few weeks, and they will receive Geno 2.0 refunds if they have already ordered Geno 2.0, Bennett confirmed. They will also receive Geno 2.0 accounts that can be re-merged into their FTDNA accounts as well.
WTY is an abbreviation for Walk Through the Y, a SNP discovery project at Family Tree DNA. Further information about WTY can be found on the Walk Through the Y page in the ISOGG Wiki. FMS is an abbreviation for the full mitochondrial sequence test which is also known as the full genomic sequence (FGS) test. This test is available from Family Tree DNA and it provides a reading of all 16,569 bases in the mitochondrial genome.

I previously reported that the Geno 2.0 kits would be available for order from Family Tree DNA. It appears that this is not the case and I have now updated my previous blog post accordingly.

Former Genographic Project participants can receive a discount of $30 off the cost of the new kit for a limited period. The discount can only be obtaining by calling the customer service line so this is probably only a realistic option for participants living in North America.

Geno 2.0 can be pre-ordered via the Genographic Project website.

There is also information about the test on the Family Tree DNA website.

A summary of the key features of the new Geno 2.0 test can be found on the Genographic Project page in the ISOGG Wiki.

© Debbie Kennett 2012