Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Best DNA Tests for African-descended Peoples

Source: www.biodiscover.com
If you’re of African descent and trying to learn about your personal origins, digging for family roots, breaking down a brick wall, connecting the dots of ancestors obliterated from the history records, or even searching for that elusive Native American ancestor, then Direct-to-Consumer genealogical DNA testing may provide a new vehicle of discovery for your journey. Genetic genealogy is a natural complement to traditional genealogy, and wonderful TV programs like "Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates" is helping us understand how so inextricably the two are intertwined. If this is your inaugural foray into genetic genealogy, then the best places to take a DNA test depends on your interests and goals. Serious genealogists, adoptees, family seekers, ethnic admixture aficionados etc. should test at all of my recommended services to maximize your experience, and I encourage you to independently research each option on your own.

My top FOUR RECOMMENDATIONS, which I review in Section II, are: 
(1) AncestryDNA(2) 23andme.com; (3) FamilyTreeDNA.com; and (4) AfricaDNA.com.  Once you decide where to test, simply visit the company’s Web site and order the DNA kit. 

However before you read my recommendations, there are TWO ESSENTIAL THINGS YOU MUST KNOW about genealogical DNA testing [Advanced users can skip to Section II]

Section I. INTRO TO DNA TESTING

(a) EXPECTATIONS. Genealogical DNA tests may reveal things about your ancestry that are different from your perceptions about race, family, geopolitical boundaries, history, genetic connections, culture, and human migration so it’s imperative to keep an open mind. Your “looks” may not mirror your ethnic admixture results nor the ancestries of your genetic matches. Your showing of African admixture may not mean you “belong to” a specific African tribe represented on the test. However you may be able to connect with real genetic matches with roots presently from Africa (or any region), thereby leading you to potentially identify a specific tribe or sub-region from which your ancestors originated. Your genetic matches may also be essential to helping you understand your early family history and migratory paths. Of course, be prepared to deal with prejudice, racist attitudes, superiority complexes, and general disinterest. If you have an ubiquitous rumor of a Native American ancestor, your DNA results may instead reveal a REAL European (overwhelmingly so), South Asian or Southeast Asian ancestor. For Africans in the Americas, Asian DNA usually represents some sort of Malagasy, Filipino, Southern Chinese, Southeast Asia or Indian (South Asia) ancestry. If you’re a multi-ethnic African descended person (i.e. African-American, Afro-Latino), then DNA admixture tests can have difficulty interpreting your data. This is because African-descended genomes can be severally complex with diverse ancestral contributions and overlapping populations, and thus most algorithms can’t adequately identify, aggregate, and assign ethnic labels to the ancestry informative markers detected in your genome. Also, consider Africa has the most genetic diversity in the world, yet only a minute fraction of African populations have been sampled for use on most DNA test's reference panels. For the longest time, if you had African admixture it showed up as Yoruba or Mandenka. Now there appears to be some attention to obtaining more African samples — and more specifically from the ancestral sources of African-descended peoples in the Americas. Further, ethnicity admixture tests only provide ESTIMATES of your AFFINITY (similarity) to reference populations chosen and labelled by each DNA company, so you’re at the mercy of each company’s interpretation of ethnicity. Also if your ACTUAL population of descent is NOT used as reference sample on the DNA test, then the computing algorithm will "fit" your ethnicity to the closest SIMILAR reference population(s) being used as a sample. More technically, at the 2014 International Genetic Genealogy Conference in Houston, chemist Doug McDonald stated in his presentation that the Affymetrix genotyping chip is only reliable microarray for adequately identify African ancestry, and to my knowledge most companies use some version of the Illumina microarray. Most reputable DNA companies analyze 400,000 to 700,000 ancestry informative markers (aka SNPs) out of a potential 15 million (the whole genome has 3 billion base pairs) so your results may not be as specific as you expect. Sometimes during an analysis of your DNA, there are no-calls, miscalls, deletions, insertions and imputed SNP values (chosen by an algorithm’s proprietary formula) — all of which may substantially affect your ethnic admixture scores. Based on all of the foregoing, I R-E-S-P-E-C-T-fully disagree with Harvard professor Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s popular hypothesis that most African-Americans don’t have Native American ancestry especially if you factor in forced isolation events like Trail of Tears where African introgressions into Native Americas populations was disrupted (save for Freedmen). Further, most DNA companies have a much smaller presence of customers who identify as African descended and as such the full spectrum of diversity is not yet known. The good news is your DNA results will change as the science improves, more people test and additional reference populations are added; until then keep a proverbial grain of salt handy.
(b) TYPES OF DNA TESTS.
(Screen-grab from: http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/chromosomes/types4/. All boxed text added by TL Dixon)
In general there are THREE types of genealogical DNA tests available:
  •  First, AUTOSOMAL-DNA* (atDNA) Test analyzes hundreds of thousands of locations along 23 chromosome pairs (excluding the Y-chromosome in males) to estimate your ethnic contributions inherited from BOTH parents, and ALL 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents, 16 gg-grandparents, 32 ggg-grandparents, etc., going back 500 to 1000 years. This includes an estimate of your ethnic admixture broken down into percentages, as well as matches to real genetic relatives. 
  • Second, MITOCHONDRIAL-DNA* (mtDNA) Test analyzes your cell’s mitochondrial genetic code to determine your ancient maternal ancestry; you inherited your mtDNA exclusively from your mother and her direct fore-mothers in a unbroken matrilineal link going back tens of thousands of years to a common ancestral mother. (NOTE: The mtDNA test does NOT analyze your 23 chromosome pairs!) Therefore the mtDNA test is used to determine your MATERNAL HAPLOGROUP ASSIGNMENT (an identifier for mutation(s) unique to your mtDNA), and some of them may be specific to certain populations. 
  • Third, Y-CHROMOSOME DNA* (Y-DNA) Test, only available to males, analyzes his Y-chromosome to determine his ancient paternal lineage via his father and direct forefathers in an unbroken patrilineal link going back tens of thousands of years to a common ancestral father. (This test only analyzes the Y chromosome of a male 23rd chromosome!) Therefore the Y-DNA test is used to determine a male’s PATERNAL HAPLOGROUP ASSIGNMENT (identifiers for mutations unique to a male’s Y-chromosome). Not surprisingly, you may have a non-African mtDNA or Y-DNA haplogroup assignment. Therefore if, for example, you have a confirmed mtDNA or Y-DNA haplogroup assignment originating in Native Americans, it means you affirmatively have a Native American ancestor existing somewhere in your past — even if you show zero percent (0.00%) on your atDNA ethnicity admixture results.


Section II. MY TOP FOUR RECOMMENDATIONS


(1) Ancestry.com* offers solely the atDNA test for $99 in US + applicable subscription fees or a $49 yearly access to genetic relatives (also available for purchase online for residents of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada @ £99 + international shipping fees), and is perfectly suited for beginners, traditional genealogists and hobbyists. With frequent sales as low as $69, it is clearly the most economical choice on the market. AncestryDNA’s product includes admixture tool, aka Ethnicity Estimate, and a genetic relatives’ list, which is integrated with ancestry.com’s user-friendly Family Tree and new pedigree system. Combine this with billions of genealogical records, then AncestryDNA offers the best chance to connect with genetic relatives in the USA and to help break down brick walls from Colonial America and U.S. slavery periods. I’ve discovered new family branches, long lost relatives (a sister), maiden names of great-grandmothers, as well as free and enslaved ancestors — all confirmed through AncestryDNA’s test and genealogical records. When AncestryDNA newly updated admixture tool Ethnicity Estimate has received favorable review notably because it breaks down your African ancestry in categories defined by modern countries more so than other reputable DNA test on the market. However you may be less likely to meet present-day African  genetic relatives since the DNA test is primarily sold in the US. Categories (w/sample size) include: Cameroon/ Congo  (115); Benin/ Togo (60); Senegal (28); Africa Southeastern Bantu (18); Ivory Coast/ Ghana (115); Nigeria (67); Africa South-Central Hunter-Gatherers (35); Mali (16); and Africa North (26).
My AncestryDNA Ethnicity Estimate
AncestryDNA’s Ethnicity Estimate has a fairly comparable European breakdown that distinguishes between Great Britain and Ireland. Sometimes Native American can be [but not always] expressed entirely as any combo of Asia East, Asia Central, Asia South, Melanesian, and Polynesian on this analysis. I’ve tested twice, and one account shows Native American, Asia East and Polynesian, but the other only Asia South and Polynesian. Of the recommendations, AncestryDNA seems more likely to have genomic profiles where either no European or Native American is detected. One nifty tool is you can also invite other AncestryDNA customers to view your ethnic admixture and genetic matches. Further, ancestry.com’s vast Family Tree system includes shaky green-leaf hints to help you identify a possible common shared ancestral heritage, be but careful about trusting information in these trees because it may be erroneously placed there. Many customers also have incomplete, private or no family trees at all making genealogy research even more tedious. The new chip has 700,000 SNPs and will reportedly refine AncestryDNA's "ability to provide insight into your ethnic and geographic origins and your family’s genetic history." [See Ancestry blog hereOn April 2, 2015, AncestryDNA launched New Ancestor Discoveries (NADs), “a technical innovation that combines the latest in genetic science, new patent-pending algorithms, and access to AncestryDNA’s extensive database to push the boundaries of human genetics...," which are revealed "through a unique combination of AncestryDNA results and the millions of family trees shared by Ancestry members. First, living cousins of each AncestryDNA member are found and organized into family networks, called DNA Circles, which brings together a group of individuals who all have the same ancestor in their family trees and where each member shares DNA with at least one other individual in the circle." As of July 1, 2015 AncestryDNA introduced new BETA overhaul “New Ancestry Site," which includes a new look, fonts and faster processing. According to AncestryDNA, your genealogy information from your family trees have been re-organized to tell a story about your family based on the information you stored for each family member in a new feature LifeStory, which will replace Story View feature soon. [Read about new ancestry site hereAncestryHealth is another new BETA feature which gathers your health information to tie to your family tree and DNA information. (Note: Your “informed consent” and new log-in will be required to share this information with others). However AncestryHealth does not use your DNA (raw data) for this information and requires you to input your own family’s information using a family tree and summary format. (see blog here). Time will if these new offerings will be of value to customers and there is plenty debate about it now. NOTE: An additional $49 a year fee is required for new DNA customers in order to access their DNA relatives list; not required for those with subscriptions), which has been met with criticism because this new fee was not advertised. However the sharpest criticism from the genetic genealogy community is AncestryDNA’s lack of genealogy tools (ie segment browser, chromosome painting, triangulation). AncestryDNA’s genetic kinship prediction system still needs overhauling (2nd cousins can be predicted as 4th cousins). Customer service is fair, but responses can be canned; reps can be contacted by phone and Web site.
ADVANCED: You can also use Jeff Snavely's AncestryDNA helper, a Chrome extension tool that downloads lists of matching users and ancestor information, and Kitty Kooper's chromosome mapper tool for finding shared DNA segments. In October 2014 AncestryDNA announced it would be sharply pruning our genetic relatives’ lists to remove false positive matches. AncestryDNA’s algorithm (using ADMIXTURE), scans your genome 40 times, and then creates an average and range score per each ethnic component. As a result, your average Nigerian score might show 10% but you could have have up to 28% in the range score. If you have any admixture which is insignificant chances are the algorithm may miss it during one of the 40 scans. AncestryDNA tests about 700,000 SNPS including medically relevant ones. There are reportedly more than 500,000 accounts in the database but response rates with other AncestryDNA users can be mediocre. The company no longer offers mtDNA and Y-DNA testing and in summer 2014 destroyed the samples. Also, if want to fully access Ancestry’s billions of genealogy records you will have to pay an additional subscription price (from $19.99/mo or $159/yr).  Ancestry.com Inc., formerly The Generations Network, is a privately held Internet company based in Provo, Utah, United States. The largest for-profit genealogy company in the world, Tim Sullivan is currently CEO. [source:Wikipedia]
When your AncestryDNA results become available: download your raw data ZIP file and upload it to GEDMATCH.com, a free site offering genealogy tools; Promethease.com for a health analysis; and your mtDNA raw data ZIP file for James Lick's mtDNA haplogroup analysis tooltransfer your AncestryDNA raw data to FamilyTreeDNA's new Autosomal Program here (small fees may apply)and/or DNA Tribes SNP analysis ($39), which includes admixture a detailed "deep" ancestry report. You can also transfer your AncestryDNA raw data file to FamilyTreeDNA.com for a fee ($39) or FREE if you recruit four other people to do the same.

(2) 23andme.com @ $99 (ancestry only) or $199 (health & ancestry) + 10% discount per addn’l kit in same order in US (also available in Canada ($199); European Union (169) with shipping address to Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands; and UK (125) available with shipping address to England, Scotland, Wales), offers the best bang for your buck because it includes atDNA analysis, mtDNA & Y-DNA haplogroup estimates, and a test for Neanderthal DNA, all for one price. 23andMe's atDNA product includes Ancestry Composition (your ethnic breakdown) and DNA Relatives (your genetic matches). 23andme's “African Ancestry” project currently offers a free DNA kit to people whose four grandparents were born in one specific West African country. It's even possible to meet genetic relatives recently from Africa since the test is sold internationally. Ancestry Composition’s African ethnic admixture breakdown still needs a lot of work, oftentimes revealing convoluted or nonspecific results, but this should improve due to the “African Ancestry” project. Ancestry Composition utilizes  four AFRICAN categories [w/populations, (sample size)]: 
WEST AFRICAN [Sierra Leone (173), Luhya (97), Yoruba (88), Mandenka (24), Yoruba (24), Bantu (20), Ghana(11), Nigeria (11), Ivory Coast (2), Cameroon (1), Liberia (1)]; 
CENTRAL & SOUTH AFRICAN [Biaka Pygmies (32), Mbuti Pygmies (15), San (6)]
EAST AFRICAN [Maasai (87); Ethiopia (14), Somalia (12), Eritrea (3)]; 
NORTH AFRICAN [Palestinian (51), Bedouin (48), Mozabite (30), Egypt (28), Palestine (28), Morocco (19), Algeria (14), Saudi Arabia (8), Tunisia (7), Jordan(5), Yemen (5), Kuwait (3) United Arab Emirates (2), Bahrain (1)]. Clearly with North African, there would be some debate about countries that would otherwise be classified as Middle Eastern (a co-category). If you have ancestry from a Southeast Africa Bantu tribe, Ancestry Composition will report this as West African or Broadly Sub Saharan African; it’s worthy to note Bantu tribes in Southeast Africa originated 3000+ years ago in West Africa near Cameroon and Nigeria, so Ancestry Comp adhere to this historical fact.
My 23andme.com Ancestry Composition (w/chromosome painting)
A
dding to the ethnic admixture confusion, some present-day Africans who tested at 23andme show tiny percentages of Native American ancestry and this might be some sort of algorithm error a.k.a. statistical noise. Based on 23andme’s classification of source populations assigned to the four major African categories, you MUST be extremely careful about how you interpret your results. Of my recommendations, 23andme’s test is the most sensitive for detecting Native American and Asian ancestry, so if you have any it will show up on this test. In many profiles, Native American can also be expressed as East Asian, South Asian and Southeast Asian, the latter of which is common in African-American profiles for unknown reasons. Of course sometimes there is REAL Asian admixture, but it may be challenging to make a clear distinction. European admixture suffers from the same convolution. Ancestry Composition will lump your European ethnic components into a “Broadly” European category making it difficult to identify a source of origin using DNA alone. 23andme’s Ancestry Composition is supposed to be the best analysis for identifying Ashkenazi/ European Jewish heritage. With 23andme’s DNA Relatives feature, your genetic matches may help you identify a more specific population you descend from especially if you share a particular ethnic component/DNA segment with someone who can CONFIRM their ancestral origins. 23andme also offers other such great genealogy tools as a Chromosome Browser (DNA segments you share with genetic relatives); Chromosome Painting (displays where your ethnic components are distributed on your chromosomes); Haplogroup Mutation Mapper, etc. If you test a child AND parent, then a special feature, Splitview, will be enabled in the child’s profile to show the specific ethnic components each parent contributed (this is called “phasing”). As of May 1, 2015 23andme’s Family Tree utility has been integrated with myHeritage.com but has since been removed. You can opt not use myHeritage services. Customer service rates fair because of difficulty in contacting them by phone but they do attempt to address your issues; you must open a request via the Web site but they have an excellent online community forum, which is highly active and helpful. *NOTE: In October 2015, 23andMe announced it got FDA's approval to offer some health interpretations [see NY Times article here]. This included a controversial new interface, community platform and site-wide overhaul (including abolishing some beloved tools), as well as an unexpected price increase from $99 to $199, all of which has been met with strong opposition by many customers with genetic genealogy interests. As of March 2016, many customers on the V3 chip or earlier versions are still on the old platform while new customers are on the new one. On May 26, 2016, 23andMe.com announced a new DNA Relatives In Common With (triangulation) feature for users on its new platform. As of September 21, 2016, 23andMe dropped split its product offering -- $99 for ancestry only (autosomal DNA, mt-DNA, Y-DNA and Neanderthal testing) or $199 (health & ancestry).
ADVANCED: 23andme is primarily a health data site, it has strict and controversial privacy policies, along with a cumbersome genetic relatives’ invite system and a 1000-cap on DNA Relatives. Some customers are reportedly only interested in health results so communicating with them, including genetic relative matches, can be notoriously difficult resulting in strong protest by some genealogy customers. 23andme’s proprietary algorithm for Ancestry Composition (using BEAGLE and Finch) ignores ethnic components in favor of more confident ones and imputes SNP values (using IMPUTE) based on statistical probability formula. 23andme’s Ancestry Composition allows you to view your admixture in modes of confidence for accuracy: conservative (90%), standard (75%) and speculative (50%), the latter offering the most specific estimates of your ancestry though there is half-chance the results are wrong. 23andme formerly offered interpretations of health data but the U.S. FDA issued an injunction against the company so health reports were estopped. As a consequence of FDA cease order 23andme also reduced the number of SNPs tested from 700,000 to 400,000 by changing the genotyping chip from V3 to V4 custom Illumina chip. Customers taking the 23andme test as of November 2013 are on the V4 chip so your data may not be compatible with some genealogy services, including FTDNA's new atDNA transfer program. However, your 23andme raw data still contains medically relevant SNP data. In June 2014, 23andme opened a satellite service in Canada selling DNA kits for $199, which includes health and ancestry reports. According to Wiki 23andMe is a privately held personal genomics and biotechnology company based in Mountain View, California. The company was founded by Linda Avey, Paul Cusenza and Anne Wojcicki (CEO). [source: Wiki].
When your 23andme results become available: download your raw data ZIP file and upload it to GEDMATCH.com, a free site offering genealogy tools; Promethease.com for a health analysis; upload your mtDNA raw data ZIP file for James Lick's mtDNA haplogroup analysis tool; transfer your 23andMe raw data to FamilyTreeDNA's new Autosomal Program here (small fees may apply), and/or DNA Tribes SNP analysis ($39), which includes admixture a detailed "deep" ancestry report.

3) FamilyTreeDNA.com* offers a range of DNA tests (priced separately): atDNA (aka Family Finder, $79);mtDNA (from $199); and Y-DNA (from $169). FTDNA currently has a new atDNA Transfer Program for AncestryDNA and 23andMe V3 customers; raw data transfers are $39 or FREE if you recruit four others to transfer.  FTDNA is great for serious genetic genealogists, citizen scientists, and those interested in deep ancestry. FTDNA is the only genetic testing service offering professional surname and geographical projects you can FREELY join or create (includes a discount on DNA test prices). Of my top three recommendations, FamilyFinder’s myOrigins appears to be the weakest of the ethnicity admixture tools. Categories include WEST AFRICAN [samples: Madenka, Yoruba], CENTRAL AFRICAN [Biaka Pygmy, Mbuti Pygmy], SOUTHERN AFRICAN [San, Bantu South African], EAST AFRICAN [Bantu Kenya], and NORTH AFRICAN [Mozabite], the latter classified under Middle Eastern. It’s the most conservative for detecting Native American ancestry, and if your percentage is below 1% myOrigins will not report it at all. Noticeably European predictions appear to be the most iffy so be very careful about how you interpret your results. FTDNA Family Finder's genetic relatives application has strict DNA segment matching requirements — only people sharing cumulative 20cM+ will show as a match; compare this to 7cM industry-wide standard — so your genetic relative matches may be much lower than expected. FTDNA’s Family Finder product offers genealogy tools for triangulating and segment browsing, but not a desirable chromosome painting (displaying the ethnicity of your DNA segments). FTDNA probably has the smallest number of African-descended customers and in particularly, they report very low number of genetic relative matches but this might change due to FTDNA’s new atDNA transfer system. On May 25, 2016 FTDNA announced it was adjusting parameters to it's FamilyFinder matching thresholds, which restricted the number of genetic matches many African-Americans had. The upgrade has in some cases exponentially increased the number of matches for African-Americans as well as created more mitochondrial-DNA matches for all customers. Unlike the other recommendations, FTDNA’s customers do appear to respond more and be serious about genealogy. As of February 16, 2017, FamilyTreeDNA released a new Autosomal Transfer Program for 23andMe and AncestryDNA customers with the capability to support myHeritage and National Genographic soon. 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. 23andMe© V4 (after November 2013) and AncestryDNA™ V2 (after May 2016) 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. 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. Transfer your other test results to FamilyTreeDNA's new Autosomal Program hereCustomer service is good, more personalized, and reps can be contacted by phone, email and social media. 
My FTDNA myOrigins results (African showing)
ADVANCED: FTDNA has one  of the widest array of mtDNA and Y-DNA products available in the market, including high-resolution analysis, comprehensive marker values and genetic matches. It is clearly FTDNA’s strongest point and essentially the only game in town when it comes to uniparental marker testing.  FTDNA is one of few companies offering a Full Mitochondrial Sequence test ($199) and for Y-DNA (males only), you can choose a Y-DNA STR test (12 to 111 markers; from $169) or the BIG Y test ($595; high resolution analysis of the Y-chromosome testing thousands of markers). FTDNA's Family Finder algorithm utilizes ADMIXTURE, which scans your genome 10 times to help estimate your ethnic admixture percentages. FTDNA analyzes 700,000 atDNA SNPs locations but removes 3000 of the medically relevant ones. FTDNA’s combined atDNA, mtDNA and Y-DNA accounts are estimated at 701,953. Earlier 2014 FTDNA, in conjunction with the National Genographic Project, implemented an interpretation of the Y-DNA Phylogenetic tree but this has stirred some controversy due to user friendliness, nomenclature and compatibility with ISOGG’s Phylogenetic tree. FTDNA recently overhauled its Family Tree system, but it has been met with mixed reviews. FTDNA also updated its Family Finder matching thresholds. According to FTDNA, "... the amount of shared DNA required for two people to show as a match was a minimum of 20 total centiMorgans of shared DNA with a minimum longest block of at least 7.69 cM for 99% of testers, 5.5 cM for the other one percent. ... With the adjustment, if two people share a segment of 9 cM or more, they will show as a match regardless of the number of total shared cM. However, if there’s not a block that’s 9 cM or greater, the minimum of 20 shared cM with a longest block of 7.69 cM applies." You can transfer your Nat Geno 2.0 results to FTDNA for free. Family Tree DNA is a division of Gene by Gene, a commercial genetic testing company based in Houston, Texas. Family Tree DNA was founded based on an idea conceived by Bennett Greenspan, and co-founded with Max Blankfeld and Jim Warren. [Source: Wiki]
When your FTDNA results become available, you can: download your FASTA file and then upload it to GEDMATCH.com, a free site offering genealogy tools; Promethease.com for a health analysis, or DNA Tribes SNP analysis ($39), which includes admixture a detailed "deep" ancestry report. You can also upload your mtDNA FASTA file to James Lick's mtDNA haplogroup analysis tool.


(4) AfricanDNA.com offers a range of DNA tests (priced separately): atDNA (aka Family Finder, $129); mtDNA (from $159); and Y-DNA (from $95) and is sponsored by FamilyTreeDNA (see entry 3) in conjunction with Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr and a team of African-American genetic professionals. Dr. Gates says, " AfricanDNA is the only genetics testing company specializing in tracing African American ancestry that can reveal to you your percentages of African, European and Native American ancestral origins." NOTE: AfricanDNA is identical to FamilyTreeDNA ,but you will save money by testing through AfricanDNA. For example the Full Mitochondrial Sequence test is $159 at AfricanDNA but $199 at FamilyTreeDNA. [Please read Recommendation #3 for more about the tests AfricanDNA offers.]


*For more details on the first four recommended companies, see ISOGG's Wiki's Autosomal DNA comparison chart: ISOGG Autosomal DNA testing comparison chart.





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18 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks so much Sinologist100. It means a lot coming from you. What have you been up to lately?

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  2. hat is the best Gedmatch admixture tool for African Americans? I keep hearing World9 is the most accurate, but that was only from reading comments. As far as FTDNA I seem to get an inflated amount of SSA at 66%(5% Central East Africa, 3% South East Africa) while consistently 62% or lower at all others. Is there something in the East Central that varies far from the West African SSA? The populations they give for C.E. Africa are confusing because the Ethiopians and Somalians are lumped with Ugandan, Kenyan, Rwandan, etc............ according to FTDNA......... Thanks in advance

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  3. Thanks Sinologist. I'm happy you found me.

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  4. Long Lance ... Dr. Doug McDonald has said Dodecad World9 is very similar to admixture calculators at 23andme.com. Further he says companies should use Affymetrix chip instead of Illumina for the best African breakdown. What I do is look for consistence and form a range score, which is more realistic than one test's average score. ... And yes, East African Bantu all derive from West Africa near Cameroon and Nigeria border. They spread across the rest of Africa (to the East and South) some 3000 or more years ago. 23andme.com therefore classifies Southeast African Bantu as West African, while other companies make a separation. Also many Pygmy tribes of East Central Africa were enslaved by the Bantu and some were sold in Mozambique and on the west coast.

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  5. This is an EXCELLENT article, TL. I follow a lot of your writings in the genetic genealogy world. You well inform the general public on such relevant matters. Thanks, again!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks I really appreciate it. And feel free to share.

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  6. This is an EXCELLENT article, TL. I follow your writings in the genetic genealogy world. You well inform the general public on relevant matters in this regard. I can also appreciate your candor with reference to African Ancestry. Thanks, again!

    Karim

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  7. This is an EXCELLENT article, TL. I follow a lot of your writings in the genetic genealogy world. You well inform the general public on such relevant matters. Thanks, again!

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  8. TL, Are there any dna tests available that can determine descendants of the 12 tribes of Israel?

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    Replies
    1. Kim Jones,
      DNA tests can't determine a tribe of any population. The DNA tests measure your genomic similarity to a company-chosen global reference populations, which are organized and labelled by the DNA company. The DNA segments used for similarity comparison are too small and widespread to determine a close genetic relationship. So a DNA test can't determine if you are a descendant of the tribes of Israel.

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  9. TL I just found out that 23andme has a new African project
    https://blog.23andme.com/23andme-research/the-african-genetics-project/
    https://www.23andme.com/africa-project/

    I hope this one will be more successful than the first African Ancestry Project was.
    By chance do you know of anyone who is African and could participate in this? Thanks.

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  10. Amazing...I'm also a Gildersleeve descendent.

    ReplyDelete