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. 

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.


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  • updating its Ancestry Composition tool and Haplogroup predictions, including the outdated genomic build platforms (23andMe is on build 7 while Build 17 was released February 2016); 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:



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 Analyses.