Geno 2.0 Answers from Spencer Wells

Lots of folks have had questions about the Geno 2.0 kits and different aspects of the testing.  Dr. Spencer Wells, National Geographic’s Scientist in Residence for the Genographic Project has been kind enough to answer some of the questions he’s been receiving.  I know the genetic genealogy community appreciates the continued communication and involvement from Dr. Wells.  Thanks Spencer!! 

1.    How many SNPs do we have in the test?

A total of around 146,000 ancestry-informative markers (AIMs):  ~130,000 autosomal and X-chromosomal, ~13,000 Y-chromosomal, and ~3200 mtDNA

2.    What is the different between the Genographic Project and the 23andme test?  And ancestry.com?

Genographic is a non-profit National Geographic research project focused on mapping the human journey, and encompasses three core components:  scientific research, public participation and the Legacy Fund.  Our public participation component is available through the purchase of a Geno 2.0 DNA testing kit.  Our custom-designed genotyping chip looks at the markers outlined above, and is simply the best available platform for the study of genetic ancestry.  For-profit companies, including Ancestry and 23andMe, use slightly modified off-the-shelf chips which were optimized for medical research, not population history.

3.    Do we offer ancestry painting?

I assume you are referring to the chromosomal “painting” on the 23andMe website, and no – at this time we don’t offer this feature.  It is relatively straightforward to implement, however, and if there is sufficient interest among our participants, we may offer it in the future.

4.    Do we give African Americans their Asian percentage?

Everyone receives a breakdown of their regional affiliations, expressed as percentages.  This might include northeast Asian or southeast Asian in African Americans, if such components are present.

5.    Do we plan on adding a West African or East African to the affiliation?

We are continuing to refine our analysis of the chip data, and may be expanding our list of regional affiliations.

6.    How are we different from population finder?

It’s all about the markers:  again, because we have created our chip specifically for the study of ancestry, we feel that it is the most accurate tool for determining population affiliation.  Our AIMs were drawn from more than 450 world populations, and were chosen on the basis of their ancestry informativeness.  We are continuing to refine our analytical methods to provide the best ancestry testing experience available anywhere.

Dr. Wells has been busy answering questions today.  Cece Moore has some additional comments on her blog as well.  http://www.yourgeneticgenealogist.com/2012/07/a-short-update-from-spencer-wells-on.html

4 thoughts on “Geno 2.0 Answers from Spencer Wells

    • Yes, it does. If you have not yet done the full sequence, you’ll get more than you have now. If you’ve already done the full sequence, the Geno e.o mtdna portion won’t be of you use to you, but the ethnicity portion will be.

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