Monday, February 20, 2017

FTDNA Exciting New Autosomal Transfer Program

FamiltyTreeDNA screen-grab

Genealogical DNA testing is coming full circle now with the great news offered by
FamilyTreeDNA. You can now transfer most versions of your 23andMe and AncestryDNA autosomal results (raw data) to FamilyTreeDNA and receive genetic matches for free as well as full access to FamilyTreeDNA's tools for only $19. And finally a FamilyTreeDNA  myOrigins ethnicity admixture update is imminent! 

This is exciting news because customers traditionally testing at one of the other major DTC DNA services (23andMe, AncestryDNA) will now be able to enjoy the sweet fruits of FamilyTreeDNA, which has long been considered the best site for serious genetic genealogists. Collaterally at present FamilyTreeDNA seems to have the lowest amount of African-descended and diaspora DNA testers resulting in a more tepid experience for them, but I expect that to drastically change for the better with this new transfer program. 

I'm going to share with you the email I received on February 16, 2017, from FamilyTreeDNA below (emphasis in bold and additional commentary in red added by me). After you finish indulging I highly recommend you transfer your other test results to FamilyTreeDNA's new Autosomal Program here. Enjoy: 
  • Customers can now transfer 23andMe© V4 and AncestryDNA™ V2 files in addition to the 23andMe© V3 and AncestryDNA™ V1 files that FamilyTreeDNA accepted previously. MyHeritage and Genographic transfers will be supported in the coming weeks.
  • FamilyTreeDNA still does not accept 23andMe© processed prior to November 2010. A Family Finder test will need to be purchased.
     
  • 23andMe© V3 and AncestryDNA™ V1 now receive a full list of matches and the ability to use the Matrix feature FOR FREE. For only $19, the customer can unlock the Chromosome Browser, myOrigins, and ancientOrigins. This is the best value yet. 
  • 23andMe© V4 and AncestryDNA™ V2 receive all but the most speculative matches (6th to remote cousins), also for free. After transferring, if the customer wants to receive speculative matches, they will have to submit a sample and have a Family Finder run at the reduced price of $59. NOTE: 23andMe customers who tested after November 2013 are on V4, and AncestryDNA customers who tested after May 2016 are on V2. In my opinion it's very generous of FTDNA to provide all but 6th to remote cousins (that's up to 5th cousins) for respective V4 and V2 customers who don't want to provide a new sample and pay the reduced price of $59 (or $20 off regular Family Finder), and a nice savings for customers who prize those solid distant matches. 
  • Matches should take somewhere between one and 24 hours to appear, depending on the volume of tests in the autosomal pipeline.
  • myOrigins update will be released in the coming weeks. Until then transfers will include only broad populations. FTDNA previously announced back in November 2015 that a myOrigins update was going to be released first quarter of 2016; see my blog here. Maybe it was a misprint. At any rate this is great news. 
  • Additionally, all previously transferred files that have not been unlocked will receive their matches and have access to the Matrix feature for free as long as the release form is signed. These kits will be also be able to unlock the other Family Finder features for $19. If the transfer was on a kit with another product where the release form has already been signed, then the matches will appear with no further action necessary.
  • The Autosomal Transfer webpage has been enhanced to include a new image and a FAQ section. The FAQ section is displayed towards the bottom of the page. You should look at the FAQ section first before you flood online forums with questions.


  • If a customer tries to transfer the same autosomal file a second time, a message will be displayed that the file is a duplicate and will list the kit number of the original kit. So please don't inundate the FTDNA transfer program with duplicate results. It is far better to test and transfer more family members. 


 ###End###

Friday, February 3, 2017

23andMe Sweetheart SALE

Yes it's true, genealogical DNA testing company 23andMe is now offering $20 off of kits thru February 14, 2017 Valentines Day --- that $79 for it's ancestry-only service and $179 for ancestry and health service. This is so sweet because 23andMe very rarely goes on sale. You can for order here. 


You can also read my reviews on 23andme here and here

Happy Testing!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A00 Cameroon Research Project and Albert Perry's Y


Dear Friends,

Please join me in supporting the groundbreaking efforts of the A00 Cameroon Research Project, which seeks to continue DNA sample collection from special indigenous populations in the Cameroon region. Headed by a fantastic group of citizen scientists, including renowned genetic genealogist Bonnie Schrack (who I've come to know), Cameroonian historian Dr. Matthew Forka, and YSeq founders Thomas & Astrid Khran, the team helped identify Y-DNA haplogroup A00, which is the most basal Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup yet discovered — first in an African-American male from South Carolina, and then in tribesmen of western Cameroon. This is one of those discoveries "that could rewrite long-held theories about the evolution of modern humans." Yet it's an independent scientific effort. As such the A00 Cameroon Research Project has launched another fundraiser to help Dr. Forka on his last major field trip this year to collect 200 DNA samples from the indigenous Bakola and Baka peoples. 

I'm going to tell you more about this wonderful grassroots endeavor, but as soon as you're done please consider helping the A00 Cameroon Research Project.

As an African-American male with ancestral roots in both South Carolina (where Y-DNA haplogroup A00 was first discovered) and Cameroon (including two genetic relatives from the Duala people), as well as my largest AncestryDNA ethnicity admixture component assigned "Cameroon" (up to 40% ), I'm PROUD to support this game-changing research! 


So why is the A00 Cameroon Research Project critically important and so worth your support?  
  • Y-DNA haplogroup A00 represents the oldest branch of human males in history and finding a divergent branch of A00 (or maybe even a more basal haplogroup) would allow a better determination of the age (currently @ 192,000 to 307,000 years old) and origins of A00
  • This discovery added a completely new branch to Y-DNA family and changed what scientists knew about human existence. 
  • It expands our knowledge about evolutionary genetics, human genetic diversity, Y-chromosome phylogeny.
  • A00 Cameroon Research Project is run by Citizen Scientists — they don't have big budgets, corporate/academic sponsors or grants to rely upon so they depend on crowd-sourcing, fundraising and generous donations from private folk such as yourself.  
  • Very few genetic studies focus on indigenous African and diaspora populations so we should at least support those that do. In addition to evolutionary genetics, we begin to unravel the specific ancestral connections between Africa and her diaspora, especially in the Americas. 
  • Today's Africans are in a unique position to help African-descendants in the Americas unravel the tangled roots caused by the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade. 
    The Story of Perry's Y

    Friday, January 13, 2017

    New 23andMe Ancestry Timeline Tool

    I logged in to my 23andMe account today and learned of a new [BETA] tool has been added to our ancestry reports. Described as an Admixture Date Estimator and aptly titled, "Your Ancestry Timeline," the feature estimates when your ancestor with 100% of a singular ethnicity (ie West African) might have existed. Notably this is the second such feature that has been added to our Ancestry Reports; the first was the ability to download our Ancestry Composition "ethnicity" segment data (see blogs by Kitty Munson Cooper and Roberta Estes). At present it's unclear if 23andMe has rolled out "Your Ancestry Timeline" to all customers. I will tell you my opinion at the close of this short blog but let met introduce you to the feature first:

    (1) After you log into into your 23andMe account, click on your Ancestry Reports and then Ancestry Composition. Next scroll down and (if you have it) you will see "Your Ancestry Timeline" located right under your "Ancestry Composition" results. At the top of the feature you will see a horizontal list of circled numbers, which represents a generation. Immediately below this are corresponding dates at 30-year intervals (30 years = 1 generation) and presumably driven by the birth date you listed on your 23andme account --- for me Generation 1 starts at 1940 and goes back to Generation 8(+) at the year 1700. Below this you will see colorful modules, each one representing an ethnicity component present in your Ancestry Composition results --- each module is of a different length based upon the time and generation range your proposed ancestor with 100% of a certain admixture (ie West African) might have actually existed.  It looks like this:

    (2) Next click on any of the ethnicity modules, a pop-up box will open showing the probable time when your ancestor with 100% of a singular admixture lived. I clicked on the RED module "West African" as seen here:


    The pop-up box shows: "You most likely had a parent, grandparent or great-grandparent who was 100% African. This person was likely born between 1880 and 1940." 

    (3) To learn how the new feature works, you should (actually MUST) click on the blue link "Learn more about how to interpret this result" (located underneath the feature's ethnicity tabs) It includes a link to the 23andMe Admixture Date Estimator White Paper which goes into the "logic" and "science" behind the new feature.  The blue link reveals the following information: 


    My Opinion

    I like the 23andMe new Admixture Date Estimator ("Your Ancestry Timeline") feature because I use these sort  of statistical inheritance predictions when I analyze people's ethnicity admixture results. However my immediate impression is a lot of people will be confused and misinterpreting the information. To this point, the Admixture Date Estimator White Paper states the feature will "enable customers to find out, for each of the ancestries they carry, when they may have had an ancestor in their genealogy who was likely to be a non-admixed representative of that population." This is because genetic inheritance is much more complicated and ... well there has been very few ethnically "pure" or non-admixed populations in modern history. The population structure of most ethnic groups includes ancestry from "outside" groups. Also based on random genetic recombination we inherit any of our parents admixture in DNA chunks of varying sizes, with some of those DNA chunks remaining intact over several generations. This is problematic because the feature assumes a singular admixture component from one ancestor/ancestral event. Further note this estimator does not include your X-chromosome(s) in its calculations. 

    Now I'm African-American, which means my admixture profile is going to be complex and colorful. I know that my West African admixture @ 78% comes from both of my parents and all of my grandparents in various amounts; this new feature automatically assumes my West African inheritance comes just one parent. In fact I descend from numerous indigenous populations living in western and other African subregions that entered my bloodline at different times and places in my genetic history. Further my results were phased with a parent and I've received "West African" from both of them in varying amounts. Therefore it is highly unlikely I had "a parent, grandparent or great-grandparent who was 100% West African that was born between 1880 and 1940." Or what if like me, you have Malagasy ancestry and you show a small Southeast Asian percentage @ 0.9%? Well Malagasy populations have been admixed with Asian and African for thousands of years so even if this Southeast Asian came one predicted ancestor he or she may not have been 100% Southeast Asian for a very long time. And what if you have Southeast Asian ancestry from both parents? 

    Buried in the white paper (which most customers won't bother reading) states, "The admixture date provided is based on the ancestry segments estimated by Ancestry Composition, and is, consequently, dependent on their accuracy and specificity for accurate date estimation. Any genealogical history or ancestries that are not well captured by Ancestry Composition estimates may result in poor admixture date estimation, which typically results in older estimated dates of admixture. Secondly, the admixture date is based on all segments of a particular ancestry. If multiple genealogical ancestors contributed independently, the admixture date may reflect these multiple ancestors in a complex way. If many segments, from independent ancestors, recombine to form longer segments, the estimated admixture date may be shifted towards a more recent date. This is especially likely in the case when segments cover over 50% of a genome. On the other hand, if many older genealogical ancestors contribute discrete, shorter segments, the estimated admixture date may be pushed back, reflecting a weighted average over the multiple ancestors’ generations. Lastly, it is important to note that the inheritance of segments in one genome from a genealogical ancestor is a highly stochastic process, resulting in overlapping inheritance patterns that are not distinguishable the further back in time you go, even under otherwise ideal conditions. Thus, some amount of uncertainty is inherent in the data, so we present admixture date results in bins that allow for some of this inherent randomness." 

    In my optimistic opinion these admixture date predictions may work better with people from more homogenous populations ("West Africa" is not one of them), or with smaller distinguished admixture amounts (ie Native American) that can be attributed to one ancestor (ie Choctaw grandmother) or ancestral couple.  Of course I'd much rather 23andMe work on improving/updating its Ancestry Composition (West Africa is a much too broad category) and Haplogroup predictions, including the build platform; restoring our ability to see the chromosome paintings of the people we're sharing with; implementing an in-house family tree utility, as well as expanding its fantastic In Common With/triangulation tool to include all of our DNA relatives. I would also like to see an ethnicity element added to 23andMe's chromosome browser/mapper tool where customers can see the location, size and ethnicity(s) of the shared segments displayed.  

    #END#

    Tuesday, December 20, 2016

    Interpreting Your Ethnicity Admixture Results (Amerindian)


    Yes, we know that our ethnicity admixture estimates should be used casually, not causally, and is conversation-starter fodder best reserved for social events. We're reminded the best use of our DNA results (autosomal DNA) is synergistically utilizing them with our genealogies to build our family pedigrees, to connect with our genetic relatives and to trace our roots. But the truth is some of us are seriously hung over on our ethnicity admixture estimates and have found them useful.

    If
     you're one of those people who loves to imbibe ethnicity admixture cocktails, like any other intoxicator you should at least enjoy them responsibly. In this blog I'm going to explain how you should be interpreting your ethnicity admixture results when trying to determine what they could mean. Essentially my goal is to get beginner and intermediate genetic genealogists to think more like population geneticists ("5% of my DNA is similar to British Isles populations...") rather than genealogy astrologers ("I have 5% Irish in me..."). Therefore I've adapted these 10 lessons from my inaugural Admixture Centrifuge blog and your questions over the years for quick reference.(NOTE: Although these lessons focus on Native American admixture you can substitute any ethnicity here as the principles of interpretation remain the same.) Enjoy and SHARE:

    Monday, October 3, 2016

    Admixture Centrifuge: Cherokee DNA

    (Read about Admixture Centrifuge blog series and Submission Requirements here.)
    Bijon Levels Hughes (left) and highway marker showing his 6th-great-grandfather Chief Drowning Bear Yonaguska (1759–1839), first chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee during Indian Removals aka Trail of Tears. Highway marker is located on US 19 northeast of Bryson City, North Carolina.
    INTRODUCTION: 
    Osiyo ("hello"). If I had an Indian Head cent or buffalo nickel for every person claiming a connection to the Cherokee tribe, I'd be filthy rich. It's more sought after than even the ubiquitous lust for any Native American heritage at all. Of course I see nothing wrong with it if you honestly believe you have Cherokee heritage. And with over 300,000 members the federally recognized Cherokee Nation certainly seems plausible for many seekers. However, the majority of people just can't find that connection to the Cherokee or any other tribe (and you can read my blog Native American Is Not That Into You to explore reasons why). There's also no shortage of dissenters ready to lynch you for daring to make such claims  I call dissenters belonging to Amerindian tribes members of the collective Ku Klux clan and non-Amerindian ones the Radical Anti-Indian Terrorists. Luckily there are instances when someone is unequivocally Cherokee by "blood." 

    I came across such a bona fide Cherokee descendant in my Facebook group Native American Ancestry Explorer. This person was not interested in joining the Cherokee tribe (he was already a member) nor trying to prove if he was Native American (he already knew). So for my inaugural Admixture Centrifuge series, this allowed me the perfect opportunity to examine how the Cherokee's Native American component breaks down on ethnicity admixture calculators.  I also wanted to know if my client's admixture results could tell us anything about the Cherokee's ancient origins vis a vis did they migrate from Great Lakes region of US/Canada or had they been in the American Southeast for millenniums?

    Meet Bijon Levels Hughes (aka "client"). First I'd like to bid an immense Wado ("thank you") to  my client for agreeing to participate. Bijon gave me expressed permission to publish all of the information provided in this blog. My client  is Cherokee and African-American. To note Bijon does not descend from  Cherokee Freedman but is a progeny of Cherokee chiefdom. However since claiming Cherokee roots is so controversial I decided to preface my client's analysis with brief genealogical records of his claim but this blog focuses more on genetic admixture. 

    CLIENT INQUIRY:
    "My 6th-great-grandfather is Chief Yonaguska aka Drowning Bear (1759–1839). He was the first chief of the Eastern Band Cherokee during the trail of tears when the Cherokees where sent into Oklahoma. He led a band of Cherokees to stay in there homeland in present-day North Carolina. He refused to leave. I am 1/4 Eastern Band Cherokee. I received 20 plus percent of Native American DNA on my AncestryDNA results which wasn't a surprise being that my grandmother was 15/16 and 1/16 European. I have family records through the Baker Rolls where it kept blood quantum of Native Americans. My mother is African-American but we have a mix of European and a lot of mulatto ancestors." 
    Client submissions: AncestryDNA results; Gedmatch results (DodeCad World9 with chromosome painting, MDLP World22, MDLP K23, Eurogenes K13, Eurogene K36, HarappaWorld); DNA.Land results, and selected genealogical records.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2016

    Genealogical DNA Testing AFFORDABLE Again


    Source: http://www.busandcoach.travel/en/affordable/affordable_resources.htm

    The "Big-3" DTC DNA companies (23andMe, AncestryDNA and FamilyTreeDNA) now offer autosomal DNA testing (ethnicity admixture and genetic relative matching) at affordable prices again. Finally. I believe competition is great because it allows those of us serious about genetic genealogy and adoptees to fish in all the big ponds. That's right, you should be testing at all three of these companies for a full-circle experience. Don't listen to the biased agenda-mongers because these tests are totally worth it. Your budget may allow you to do only one test at a time, but still plan to test at all three even it takes a year or two. (For an in-depth analysis on what each of these DTC DNA tests have to offer, you can read my "Best DNA Tests For..." blogs here and here.) I have all three listed here (in alphabetical order):

    23andMe is now offering an ancestry-only test (includes autosomal-DNA testing; mitochondrial-DNA and Y-DNA haplogroup predictions; Neanderthal testing, and raw data) at its former low price of $99 ... Order here.


    AncestryDNA is normally $99 but can be ordered anytime for $79 by using one of these methods below:

    via DNA Testing Advisor: 
    1. Click this link first: http://bit.ly/1ayAtBx. This gives [DNA Testing Advisor] credit for the referral. Don't worry that the price will still show as $99.
    2. Click this link second: http://bit.ly/1l3wtEC. This opens an order form where you enter your contact information or sign in if you already have an Ancestry account. On the next page you will see the $79 price. Enter the number of kits you wish to order and continue.

    via Facebook group DNA Detectives:
    Please join Facebook group DNA Detectives here and then visit the PINNED POST at the top of the page where you will see instructions to order at the $79 price. 

    FamilyTreeDNA lowered its FamilyFinder test from $99 to $79 ... Order here.



    HAPPY TESTING!!!!