Have you had your DNA checked?

(Phil) #1

Chris mentioned that he had his DNA run by 23andme. That is something I have thought about doing just for fun. I would be interested if anyone else here has done so, which service they used, and whether they were happy with the result. From what I see, Ancestry may have a bigger database, but 23andme gives more info. The medical info is now limited to raw data, but I understand you can get it interpreted at other sites. Any experience with that?
It was interesting how Chris’s results, while not expected were explained by historical migration patterns. It is interesting to see how this type of mainstream application confirms and supplements scientific research.


I have had myself genotyped by 23andme. I would say I am overall happy with their service. It indicated I am 99.6% European (not surprising), 0.2% East Asian and Native American, and 0.1% Middle Eastern and North African. The 0.2% EANA didn’t surprise me but how the 0.1% MENA got there I have no idea. Also, there is a chromosome browser which allows you to see specifically where your different portions of ancestry are actually at in your genome. That’s pretty cool. They have a Neanderthal feature as well. This tells you how many Neanderthal variants you have. They test for 1436 Neanderthal markers scattered across the genome. There are more than this but this is as much as this test will cover since this is genotyping not full sequencing. I have 256 variants myself. 23 of them came from both of my parents and 210 came from just one or the other. This feature also has a chromosome view so I can see exactly where these variants are located. I have them in all of my autosomes but not on my x or y chromosomes. Which reminds me they will also give you your mitochondrial and y chromosome haplogroups. They have a pretty big database of DNA relatives as well and I have about 1500 cousins listed there, all the way from second to distant. The cool thing about that too is that you can share with other users and see exactly what bits of DNA (where its located) you have in common with others. You can also download your raw data and upload it to other sites like family tree dna, my heritage, gedmatch etc. for further testing and to get access to other databases if your looking to connect with distant relatives. I have done this and I found gedmatch and family tree dna to have some very interesting features there as well. They will give you some traits, wellness, and carrier status reports which aren’t really why I did it but are nonetheless interesting too.

(Benjamin Kirk) #3

I’ve had it done. I’ve found the results to be ethnically fascinating and medically reassuring.


Does the company explain at all that these designations are largely bogus in terms of ethnic identification, especially with non-European populations where the sample size is not nearly large enough to “define” categories like “Middle Eastern” and “North African”?

I’m glad to see that Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. has used his influence to denounce a lot of the exploitation that has arisen in marketing such “ethnic identifications” to the African-American community especially.

Dr. Gates must be having a stroke when he sees some of the latest TV commercials from one of the best known DNA analysis companies, where happy people exclaim nonsense like, “I thought I was Irish but I’m actually German!” ---- as if Irish genomes have traits distinctly different from German genomes. So the subject of the advertisement had abandoned shamrocks in favor of beer gardens. Ridiculous. Does the fact that L21+ is more common among Scots than Germans make a given person of Scottish descent “less German” than a Scot who is not L21+?

I’m not a big fan of hyper-regulation by the Federal government, but what can be done to stop the baloney-peddling of “DNA ancestry testing” companies?

(Phil) #5

Good comments, I thought the ad where one lady said she thought she was Latino, but turned out to have a large Native American percentage was particularly strange. You just wanted to say, “Duh.”


While I agree with you and doubt the resolution it has in determining between Irish and German genomes, it is robust to give you your broad ethnic classifications. Within their database Middle Eastern and North African is a single designation. Their reference data set for that population is about 6800 coming from both public databases and their own. If you want to read more about how their ancestry composition feature works you can do that here. I was genotyped on their v3 SNP chip which has about 1 million markers. This shows a little bit about how this works and some common misconceptions.


Thanks, Joelz389.

(GJDS) #8

I feel somewhat conflicted - my parents trace our heritage back a few hundred years and I felt fine with this, but after reading papers that got me mixed up with Germanic princes, French and even English gentry, I became confused and began to wonder why my ancestral information did not include these chaps. But what would my heritage know of genetic markers? :innocent:

(Preston Garrison) #9

I’ve done some testing, although not the usual autosomal testing with 23&me or others that is directed at finding relatives. I did the old Geno 2 test with Nat’l Geographic, which gave me pretty good mitochondrial typing, although not complete sequencing, Y genotyping (U106>Z331) which is common in northwest Germany, the Netherlands and England, and genotyping of about 130,000 autosomal SNPs. From this they gave estimates of ancestry percentages, but they had no facility for finding matches (relatives.) What you get on ancestry estimations is very dependent on the reference populations they use and how many samples they do. Nat’l Geo gave me a mix of N and S European and some kind of west Eurasian, along with the usual 2% Neanderthal.

I have also done Genes for Good, which is an academic project to be found on Facebook. They type your DNA for free after you fill out some health history, habit and intelligence questionnaires. They found me 100% European which matches what I know of my recent ancestry. They will publish eventually on their genome wide association studies based on the questionnaires.

I have also done additional Y chromosome testing at Family Tree DNA, including the 67-STR (short tandem repeat) panel and partial Y chromosome sequencing (BigY). This just verified that I am part of the expected Garrison clan and identified several guys who have a common patrilineal ancestor with me about 2000-3000 years ago. The common ancestor would be more recent, but I happen to be in a pretty rare haplogroup. As more people test, people with more recent common ancestors with me should show up. So far, no surprises - all my distant relatives come from the places around Europe that Anglo-Saxons scattered to after the Roman Empire fell. I did see one fairly close “relative” who lived on the east coast of India - his Y chromosome no doubt came from some European sailor a few centuries ago. Reminds one that there has been a lot of human migration over the centuries, so our genealogical stories are often more complicated than we would guess at first.

Preston Garrison

(Phil) #10

Yep, Mama’s baby, daddy’s maybe.

(Preston Garrison) #11

Read the good genetic genealogy bloggers like Debbie Kennett and Roberta Estes. They debunk a lot of these bogus claims. Subscribe to the FB page of the International Society for Genetic Genealogy. Many neophytes turn up with questions, but the knowledgable people are there too, and will give good answers. And you will get pointers to the latest scientific papers from me and a few other people.

(Phil) #12

Just got my 23 and me results back. Have not had a chance to review in detail, but one surprise is no Native American heritage, despite family lore of Native American blood on both sides.