Monday, August 7, 2017

The Cooking Gene by Michael Twitty Releases


August 1, 2017, renowned, award-winning culinary historian & chef Michael Twitty's memoir, THE COOKING GENE (HarperCollins), released to the world. His work explores historic African and African-American culinary traditions, intertwining with it his own personal genetic ancestry story. 

I'm proud to report that Michael Twitty allowed me to interpret his family's DNA results and am thus featured in his amazing testimony (see sample below from Chapter 8, pg. 131-132):


THE COOKING GENE  has garnered Michael Twitty even more national attention, with great reviews by New York Times, Economist, Washington Post, etc. He has an exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, and has been featured frequently on TV shows (Bazaar Foods), news programs, as well as old plantations (including Colonial Williamsburg).

Please join me in supporting the enigmatic Michael Twitty by purchasing your copy of  THE COOKING GENE  today. And you get to read the rest of our conversation!!! ... Available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKindle, etc. 


Sizzling Summer DNA Kit Sales

August 2017 — Summer is in full swing here in the U.S.A. and sizzling hot DNA kits sales are back by AncestryDNA and FamilyTreeDNA. I will update this blog as new summer sales occur so check back often.  ... But now is a good time to stack up 'em up like pancakes. 

(1) AncestryDNA announced it has largest consumer DNA database with now 5 MILLION customers. In honor of this major milestone, they're celebrating with 30% off AncestryDNA kits thru August 15! That's $69 (excluding taxes and shipping). 


TIP: If order using this AncestryDNA Link it will benefit the Kits For Kindness program sponsored by Facebook group DNA Detectives

(2) FamilyTreeDNA heats up Summer 2017 with it's Friends & Family Sale, featuring scorching hot price reductions on new tests, add-ons and upgrades. And the Big Y is now only $395, the lowest it's ever been. So now's the time to stock the genetic genealogy chests chock full of tests now. And if you're a male and been waiting to take the Big-Y now'ss the time to do it. Well actually you have from August 1 until August 31, 2017Here is the menu (and you can order here):

Saturday, June 3, 2017

AncestryDNA Fathers Day Sale




AncestryDNA is having a Fathers Day Sale ... 20% off (or $79) thru June 18, 2017 ...

More good news: I've joined AncestryDNA's affiliate sales program! So if you purchase your kits using the banner above or the link below I will get a small commission. NOTE: the banner above will go to your AncestryDNA's country of origin so for U.S. customers it is still 20% off of $99 = $79.

You can also purchase your kits using this link: AncestryDNA Father's Day Savings

Thanks so much for your support.

Monday, May 22, 2017

23andMe MtDNA Haplogroup report gets facelift

Just when I was beginning to get thirsty for something, anything, new, upgraded and/or exciting in DTC DNA testing product features, I logged onto my 23andMe account this evening and spotted a "new report" for my Maternal Haplogroup. Did 23andMe finally update its antiquated genomic build for maternal haplogroup assignments?

I liked the old-version format of 23andMe for haplogroups  the haplogroup assignments for all shares were arranged on two separate pages (one for mtDNA and one for Y-DNA); we could conveniently see the haplogroup assignments of our DNA relatives next to their names, and we could easily find 23andMe online forum topics related to our haplogroups. 

This "new" report is yet another 23andMe attempt to reorganize the way our information is displayed  like its other recent offerings (see my "Explore Your DNA Family" blog here). It's much more visually stimulating than the last 23andMe haplogroup report but offers nothing substantive. Essentially a mirage. I'm still thirsty. But take a look anyways:

The next few screenshots show the migration timeline of my maternal haplogroup:
By clicking on the "L1" tab (left) shows another screen of my maternal haplogroup's probable migration route: 


There is another section featuring a historic highlight about how my maternal haplogroup migrated along with the Bantu Expansion: 
The last section shows an illustration explaining the genetics of Maternal Haplgroups (and course you can click on the "Scientific Details" tab at the top of the page to see more information):
By clicking on the tabs to the left reveals two more screenshots: 

Of course I'd much rather 23andMe work on: 
  • updating its Ancestry Composition tool and Haplogroup predictions, including the outdated genomic build platforms (23andMe is on Build 7 while Build 17 was released February 2016), and really all DNA companies should be offering full mitochondrial sequence tests only; 
  • restoring our ability to see the Chromosome Paintings of people with whom we're sharing;
  • implementing an in-house family tree utility; 
  • adding an "Ethnicity" segment element to the chromosome browser/mapper tool where customers can see displayed the location, size AND ethnicity(s) of shared DNA segments. 
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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

23andMe new Explore Your DNA Family coming soon


On or about April 24, 2017, DTC personal genome company 23andMe began advertising yet another "ancestry tool, "Explore Your DNA Family," scheduled to be released in near future. The new announcement is on the  23andMe products/ services page (which you can view here). Currently there's no timetable on the tool's release but it's "Coming Soon" according to 23andMe. New testers will reportedly receive the feature with their results, and I assume the rest of us will be updated shortly thereafter. [See new **UPDATE APRIL 28, 2017 below.]

23andMe's "Explore Your DNA Family" apparently allows customers to see an anonymous list of their genetic relatives (who also tested at 23andMe) plotted on a map of regional origins. According to 23andMe, the tool encourages users to Opt-In to DNA Relatives (the actual list of your genetic matches) to fully explore the ancestry shared with their "genetic family." This new tool has the potential to be extremely helpful for adoptees and those looking to find and/or piece together their biological genealogy.

The only two graphics shown so far are the first (above) and last screen-shots utilized for this blog. I can't really glean anything from them in terms of functionality of the new tool; supposedly there was a blog post but 23andMe allegedly removed it.

At this time it's unclear if "Explore Your DNA Family" will entice 23andMe's customers to join DNA Relatives. It has been problematic wooing them in the past because 23andme's rather cumbersome invitation system requires customers to Opt-In to participate in DNA Relatives; a sizable portion of 23andMe's customers are primarily interested in health, and customers with a strong interest in genetic ancestry rarely take the extra effort to invite relatives to share test results or to contact them for any reason.

Even now with DNA Relative's "Open Sharing" feature — 23andMe testers can automatically see and compare their genetic ancestry reports and overlapping DNA segments with all of their DNA relatives (read more at here) — customers rarely take advantage of it. Perhaps customers participating in Open Sharing will be shown in an  "Explore Your DNA Family" display of matches. [See new **UPDATE APRIL 28, 2017 below.]


Of course I'd much rather 23andMe work on: 
  • updating its Ancestry Composition tool and Haplogroup predictions, including the outdated genomic build platforms (23andMe is on build 7 while Build 17 was released February 2016); 
  • restoring our ability to see the Chromosome Paintings of people with whom we're sharing;
  • implementing an in-house family tree utility; 
  • adding an "Ethnicity" segment element to the chromosome browser/mapper tool where customers can see displayed the location, size AND ethnicity(s) of shared DNA segments. ...  For example: bring back or incorporate the outstanding Countries of Ancestry (CoA) tool, but just limit the customer's view to the DNA Relatives with whom they are sharing; previously we could see the CoA's of all our relatives and any 23andMe customer sharing profiles with us. Here's a screen-shot of the now retired CoA tool:

**UPDATE APRIL 28, 2017
From the 23andMe's Forum Moderator: 
Hi everyone,

As some of you have noticed, we’ve released a new report, Your DNA Family, to a small number of customers. Those of you who do not yet have access to this feature will see it under the Reports tab in your account shortly - I’ll post an update once everyone can view their DNA Family report. 

Using Your DNA Family, you can see:
- Where your relatives are located around the world.

- How many of your relatives have ancestry from a particular region. For customers who had results on the old website experience, this is similar information to what was shown in Countries of Ancestry.

- See what traits your relatives are likely to exhibit compared to other 23andMe customers. 



Let's see what the future holds...
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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Your AncestryDNA Range Score


Sometimes a grain of salt can turn out to be a granule of sugar. When a lot of you receive your AncestryDNA Ethnicity Estimate results, you instantly take the percentages you see displayed at face value.

Too often this leads to disappointment especially if the percentages of certain a genetic ethnicity or biogeographical region is lower than expected, absent or inconsistent with your test results from other sources. There are even situations where one parent is the sole contributor of a certain ethnicity, but somehow the child's results show a higher amount than the contributing parent!

What if I told you that you were looking at your AncestryDNA Ethnicity Estimate all wrong?

I was actually surprised by the number of AncestryDNA testers who never realized the Ethnicity Estimate percentages they see displayed are NOT set in stone, including some regions for which they received 0% (zero percent). How is this possible?

What you're really "looking at" is an AVERAGE SCORE that was calculated from a broader RANGE SCORE, the latter of which may reveal the presence of ethnicity admixture you thought was missing. In this blog I'm going to discuss AncestryDNA's Ethnicity Estimate:

(1) Average Score;
(2) Range Score;
(3) How the Range Score is Calculatedand for you ethnicity admixture geeks,
(4) Brief Comparison Between My Two AncestryDNA Kits.

For this lesson I will present my two AncestryDNA Ethnicity Estimate results: Kit 1 (2012) and Kit 2 (2014). I will focus on West African (Nigerian), Native American and European Jewish (Ashkenazi) admixture, all of which was previously detected in my genomic data by other DNA companies, third-party utilities, and independent Biogeographical Ancestry analyses.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

23andMe FREE African Genetics Project

23andMe blog screenshot 
Dear African Brothers & Sisters,

You're in a pivotal and unique position to help your African-American relatives (including myself) learn about their Motherland roots, and to help understand more about where the descendants of your ancestors branched out in the Americas; a net-net gain. So if you're of recent African descent and currently reside in the United States, I humbly request you consider participating in the 23andMe African Genetics Project. If you qualify (see full eligibility requirements below), then you will receive a FREE 23andMe ancestry & health kit, and much more (value: $199). 

The 23andMe African Genetics Project kicked off October 16, 2016, and is the direct-to-consumer DNA company's continuing efforts to understand genetics of the Africa diaspora. Past efforts have included the African Ancestry Project and Roots Into the Future, which tested 10,000 African-Americans for free. I've actually received most of my genetic African matches(Fula-Guinea, Douala-Cameroon, Igbo-Nigeria, Merina-Madagascar) at 23andMe, but I had to pay ... it was totally worth it. (Read my 23andMe review here.) 

Once you sign up for 23andMe African Genetics Project and meet eligibility requirements  all four grandparents must be born in the same African region or from same ethnic/tribal group within certain countries  and submit your saliva sample, then you will receive ancestry (ie ethnicity composition breakdown, haplogroup assignments) and health reports, as well as a list of real genetic relatives from Africa and abroad. You may also be asked to be included in 23andMe's African reference population panel, which sorely needs more people like you who KNOW their roots. Of course the 23andMe test can help you build your own personal genealogical pedigree, too.

I highly recommend joining 23andMe African Genetics Project. Remember it's FREE of charge. JOIN NOW HERE

In order to be eligible, you:
  • must reside in the U.S., 
  • be 18 years or older,
  • have internet access,
  • speak and write English fluently,  
  • have all four of your grandparents were born in the same African country or come from the same ethnic or tribal group within one of the following countries: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Cote d'Ivore, Liberia, Republic of Congo, Senegal, Sudan and Togo.(NOTE: West African countries such as Nigeria were covered in the first phase of this project.)
23andMe blog screenshot 
Please note that you control your data and all of your information is secure. No blood tests or trips to the testing lab is required; it's a saliva (aka spit) test. Of course you should read the fine print (ie terms of service) and ask questions if you must by contacting 23andMe. I, and many of 23andMe's 1.5 million testers, can vouch that this company is notorious for protecting the privacy of its customers. 

The whole process takes about 20 minutes in total. You will be asked to send in your saliva sample and complete a 15 minute service about your family's origins: 

23andMe blog screenshot 
This is what the start of the survey looks like: 
23andMe blog screenshot 

As you can see below, 23andMe had a number of initiatives geared toward Africans and African-Americans:

23andMe blog screenshot

Don't delay, participate in the
 23andMe African Genetics Project TODAY HERE
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