Thursday, May 17, 2018

Fine Scaling Genetic Admixture: 23andMe vs AncestryDNA

Some genetic genealogists and genealogists pan genetic ancestry or ethnicity admixture estimates. They see them as not useful and wouldn't mind if ethnicity predicting was discontinued. On the other hand, I see genetic ancestry estimates as part of the genealogy cycle of life.

I understand that matching to genetic relatives is a natural progression from traditional genealogy methodology and practices, but genetic ancestry estimates are a natural extension of DNA relative matching and both can be used synergistically to achieve optimal results.

I'm sure by now you've seen or heard about 23andMe's new Recent Ancestor Locations feature added to its Ancestry Composition tool or last year's AncestryDNA Genetic Communities included with its Ethnicity Estimates—each touts unprecedented granularity with genetic ancestry estimates and addition of over 100 regions or reference populations.

Thus 23andMe ($99 US; $199 w/Health) and AncestryDNA ($99 US) have figured out a way to make their ethnicity admixture tools more relevant by "marrying" genetic ancestry to our genetic relatives! Both DNA testing market leaders have been able to achieve this matrimony by "fine-scaling" their respective ethnicity admixture offerings, which I will review for this blog. 

  • PINK ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: On May 11, 2018, 23andMe hit AncestryDNA with a patent infringement and false advertising lawsuit [see here]. Based upon the bones of the case my analysis may seem to implicate a party. However it's unintentional as I've been working on this blog prior to the lawsuit. I hope the legal issue is amicably resolved between the parties.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Mama's Got A Brand New Clade

My 1st Cousin 2x removed Clara Harvey 
This blog is in honor of my cousin Clara Harvey, who turned 95 on April 26, 2018, just one day after National DNA Day. She is truly one of the last Mohicans — one of two surviving first cousins from my maternal grandfather's generation. 

With Mother's Day fast approaching, this is the perfect time to share phenomenal news about matriarch Clara's MATERNAL (mitochondrial-DNA or mtDNA) HAPLOGROUP, and we took it to the "Bank" (more on this later).

I'm also making an urgent appeal to add Cousin Clara's maternal haplogroup to the mtDNA phylogenetic tree so we can present it to her at an upcoming family event. 
I also have a new hypothesis about the source of our Native American ancestry. 

In my recent blog Guide to Building Your Family's Haplotree I revealed that cousin Clara's Maternal Haplogroup was B2, which is exclusively found in Native Americans. Since cousin Clara's mother and my grandfather's mother were full sisters this proved that the direct matrilineal line of my maternal grandfather — and by extension myself — biologically descend from a foremother of Native American descent.

I pray this blog inspires more relatives from my maternal grandfather's branch (Gillette, Hall, Jackson, Shipley, Van Horn, Van Ness, Winkey, Wyckoff) to participate in DNA testing; see my Family History & Genetic Genealogy Book Project. Our cousin Cousin Clara (and her brothers) tested without hesitation and in return unlocked a rich legacy that keeps exceeding all expectations. 

Special thanks to cousin Richard Oakley and genetic experts Claudio BraviJames Lick, and Ian Logan for their invaluable assistance. Read on: