New Y DNA Haplogroup Naming Convention

In late 2012, the way haplogroups were being named and referenced began changing.  Before the introduction of the Geno 2.0 test in July 2012, there were approximately 850 SNPs identified on the haplotree, meaning 850 haplogroup names that all began with the letter of the haplogroup, but then had alternating numbers and letters that were added as new haplogroup branches were discovered.

The most common one in Europe is R1b1a2.  This means that after haplogroup R itself was discovered, then another haplogroup, R1 was discovered, then R1b, and so forth.  But now, for the fly in the ointment.  Let’s say that a new haplogroup has been discovered and it needs to be inserted between haplogroup R1 and haplogroup R1b.  What happens?  This naming methodology is not conducive to insertions.  It’s only been a couple of years that the tree was entirely rewritten, redrawn.  Haplogroups that were previously called E3a became E1b1a.  To say it was a large and very disconcerting shift is an understatement.  Add to this that all of the academic papers on which we depend are written in the lingo of the time.  So something that references haplogroup J1a in 2002 may not be talking about the same J1a, as defined by a SNP, in 2013 or some time in the future.

Now for the jolt.  The Genographic project utilized over 10,000 new SNPs not before known or utilized for a total of over 12,000 Y DNA SNPs in their Geno 2.0 test introduced in July of 2012 .  Therefore, the tree was going to have to be entirely drawn with the haplogroup branches renamed, once again.  This was going to be a much bigger shift than before, simply due to the sheer magnitude, and more SNPs are being discovered almost daily.  Therefore, a new methodology was needed.

Every haplogroup, such as R1b1a2, is defined by a specific SNP, in this case, M269.  This SNP and haplogroup name have a specific location on the haplotree.  The SNP locations can change without a problem, but the names of the haplogroups that need to change are the problem.  This has already led to different trees maintained by different organizatiosn being out of sync with each other.

Today, at Family Tree DNA, this is what the top part of the haplogroup R tree looks like.

new hap name

As new SNPs are discovered and inserted into the tree, there will no longer be a name assigned, shown in the right hand column.  As the names are obsoleted because of shuffling of branches on the tree, they will not be renamed.  Already, at Family Tree DNA, they are using just the SNP name as the haplogroup indicator, as you can see in the top bar where is says “Your confirmed haplogroup R-L21.  This means haplogroup R, SNP L21, which occurs further down on the tree.

Today,  R-L21 is still shown on the tree with its name, R1b1a2a1a1b4, but as the tree branches shuffle and this name no longer applies to R-L21, the name will be obsoleted and the haplogroup will only referenced as R-L21.

new hap name 1

Max Blankfeld and Bennett Greenspan of Family Tree DNA recently wrote this explanation which is found on the haplogroup pages at Family Tree DNA.

Long time customers of Family Tree DNA have seen the YCC-tree of Homo Sapiens evolve over the past several years as new SNPs have been discovered. Sometimes these new SNPs cause a substantial change in the “longhand” explanation of your terminal Haplogroup. Because of this confusion, we introduced a shorthand version a few years ago that lists the branch of the tree and your terminal SNP, i.e. J-L147, in lieu of J1c3d. Therefore, in the very near term, Family Tree DNA will discontinue showing the current “longhand” on the tree and we will focus all of our discussions around your terminal defining SNP.

This changes no science – it just provides an easier and less confusing way for us all to communicate.

Obviously, more than a decade’s worth of information exists that references the haplogroups in both formats.  Other companies in this space are not doing this level of testing and do not yet need to address this type of issue, so their data bases and references will likely stay the same, at least for the time being.  For some time to come, we will be dealing in a dual world where both methodologies are utilized and yes, some amount of confusion will certainly result.  In preparation, I wanted you to understand what has happened in the past, the recent changes, what the future holds, and why.

Family Tree DNA Research Center Facilitates Discovery of Ancient Root to Y Tree

The genetic genealogy community has been abuzz for months now with the discovery of the new Root of the Y tree.  First announced last fall at the conference for DNA administrators hosted by Family Tree DNA, this discovery has literally changed the landscape of early genetic genealogy and our understanding of the timeframe of the origins of mankind.  While it doesn’t make much difference in genetic genealogy in the past few generations, since the adoption of surnames, it certainly makes a difference to all of us in terms of our ancestors and where we came from – our origins.  After all, the only difference between current genetic genealogy and the journey of mankind is a matter of generations – and all of our ancestors were there, and survived to reproduce, or we wouldn’t be here.

One of the important aspects of this discovery is the collaboration of citizen scientists with academic institutions and corporations.  In this case, the citizen scientist was Bonnie Schrack, a volunteer haplogroup project administrator, Dr. Michael Hammer of the University of Arizona, National Geographic’s Genographic Project, and Drs. Thomas Krahn and Astrid Krahn, both with the Gene by Gene Genomics Research Center.  Without any one of these players, and Family Tree DNA’s support of projects, this discovery would not have been made.  This discovery of the “new root” legitimizes citizen science in the field of genetic genealogy and ushers in a new day in scientific research in which crowd sourced samples, in this case, through Family Tree DNA projects, provide clues and resources for important scientific discoveries.

Today Gene by Gene released a press release about the discovery of the new root.  In conjunction, Family Tree DNA has lowered their Y DNA test price to $39 for the introductory 12 marker panel for the month of March, hoping to attract new participants and to eliminate price as a factor.  On April 1, the price will increase to $49, still a 50% discount from the previous $99.  Who knows where that next discovery lies.  Could it be in your DNA?

Family Tree DNA’s Genomics Research Center Facilitates Discovery of Extremely Ancient Root to the Human Y Chromosome Phylogenetic Tree

HOUSTON, March 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/   — Gene By Gene, Ltd., the Houston-based   genomics and genetics testing company, announced that a unique DNA sample submitted via National Geographic’s Genographic Project to its genetic genealogy subsidiary, Family Tree DNA, led to the discovery that the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree is potentially as old as 338,000 years.  This new information indicates that the last common ancestor of all modern Y chromosomes is 70 percent older than previously thought.

The surprising findings were published in the report “An African American Paternal Lineage Adds an Extremely Ancient Root to the Human Y Chromosome Phylogenetic Tree” in The   American Journal of Human Genetics earlier this month.  The study was conducted by a team of top research scientists, including lead scientist Dr. Michael F. Hammer of   the University of Arizona, who currently serves on Gene By Gene’s advisory board, and two of the company’s staff scientists, Drs.Thomas and Astrid-Maria Krahn.

The DNA sample had originally been submitted to National Geographic’s Genographic Project, the world’s largest “citizen science” genetic research effort with more than 500,000 public participants to date, and was later transferred to Family Tree DNA’s database for genealogical research.  Once in Family Tree DNA’s database, long-time project administrator Bonnie Schrack noticed that the sample was very unique and advocated for further testing to be done.

“This whole discovery began, really, with a citizen scientist – someone very similar to our many customers who are interested in learning more about their family roots using one of our genealogy products,” said Gene By Gene President Bennett Greenspan.  “While reviewing samples in our database, she recognized that this specific sample was unique and  brought it to the attention of our scientists to do further testing.  The results were astounding and show the value of individuals undergoing DNA testing so that we can continue to grow our databases and discover additional critical information about human origins and evolution.”

The discovery took place at Family Tree DNA’s Genomic Research Center, a CLIA registered lab in Houston which has processed more than 5 million discrete DNA tests from more than 700,000 individuals and organizations, including participants in the Genographic Project.  Drs. Thomas and Astrid-Maria Krahn of Family Tree DNA conducted the company’s Walk-Through-Y test on the sample and during the scoring process, quickly realized the unique nature of the sample, given the vast number of mutations.  Following their initial findings, Dr. Hammer and others joined to conduct a formal study, sequencing ~240 kb of the chromosome sample to identify private, derived mutations on this lineage, which has been named A00.

“Our findings indicate that the last common Y chromosome ancestor may have lived long before the first anatomically modern humans appeared in Africa about 195,000 years ago,” said Dr. Michael Hammer.  “Furthermore, the sample, which came from an African American man living in South Carolina, matched Y chromosome DNA of males from a very small area in western Cameroon, indicating that the lineage is extremely rare in Africa today, and its presence in the US is likely due to the Atlantic slave trade.  This is a huge discovery for our field and shows the critical role direct-to-consumer DNA testing companies can play in science; this might not have been known otherwise.”

Family Tree DNA recently dramatically reduced the price of its basic Y-DNA test by approximately 50%.  By offering the lowest-cost DNA test available on the market today, Gene By Gene and Family Tree DNA are working to eliminate cost as a barrier to individuals introducing themselves to personal genetic and genomic research.  They hope that expanding the pool of DNA samples in their database will lead to future important scientific discoveries.

About Gene By Gene, Ltd. 
Founded in 2000, Gene By Gene, Ltd. provides reliable DNA testing to a wide range of consumer and institutional customers through its four divisions focusing on ancestry, health, research and paternity.  Gene By Gene provides DNA tests through its Family Tree DNA division, which pioneered the concept of direct-to-consumer testing in the field of genetic genealogy more than a decade ago.  Gene by Gene is CLIA registered and through its clinical-health division DNA Traits offers regulated diagnostic  tests.  DNA DTC is the Research Use Only (RUO) division serving both direct-to-consumer and institutional clients   worldwide.  Gene By Gene offers AABB certified relationship tests through its paternity testing division, DNA Findings. The privately held company is headquartered in Houston, which is also home to its state-of-the-art Genomics Research Center.

SOURCE Gene By Gene, Ltd.

Ancestry Needs Another Push – Chromosome Browser

ancestry push

It seems that the genetic genealogy community is constantly doing battle with Ancestry in regards to Ancestry’s mediocre and at times, outright faulty autosomal DNA product, AncestryDNA.  AncestryDNA, similar to Family Finder at Family Tree DNA and the 23andMe test, matches you against others who have taken the test for “relatedness” across all of your ancestral lines.  I wrote a primer about autosomal testing in an earlier article, another comparing the various company offerings and a third comparing the actual results.

While we were excited this week that Ancestry has finally lived up to their promise to provide our raw data files for download, albeit many months later,  they have made a decision apparently to NOT provide a chromosome browser, their logic being, according to genetic genealogists who spoke to Kenny Freestone, Ancestry’s product development manager this week at Rootstech, that their primary focus is to keep things simple for the newer users.  Just so you know, if you’re an Ancestry user, not only have they just called you “stupid” but they also insinuated that you are unable to learn and to be anything other than stupid.  Are you insulted?  I surely am.

Ok, let’s forget, for the moment, about the fact that Ancestry just insulted us and let’s look at why having a chromosome browser is important.

This is very simple.

Just because you have a paper genealogy match with someone, especially a distant DNA match, does NOT mean that is how you’re related to them. 

Ancestry does a good job of linking up people who match by connecting people in their trees.  But that doesn’t mean that connection is how they are genetically related.  Plus, we all know about the, ahem, “quality” of Ancestry trees.

ancestry push 1

Here’s an example.  This is a match to someone through my ancestor, James Claxton and his wife Sarah Cook.  However, what if I’m also related to this person through the Estes family too?  Or an unknown line?  Just because the paper connection is to James Claxton doesn’t mean the genetic connection is to him as well.  This person has over 11,000 people in his tree.  If we are from the same geography, it’s likely that we match on multiple lines.  What if we match on paper on two or three lines?  How do we know how we are genetically related – through which line or lines?

At Ancestry, you don’t – you can’t – because they want to “keep things simple.”   Let me translate – they would rather leave you with a vague “feel good” notion about who you are related to, even if it’s not true, than give you the tools to discover the truth.

We need a chromosome browser to let us see how and if the DNA we share with these people is really from the Clarkson/Claxton family or the Cook family, or if maybe it’s from another line that isn’t shown on the pedigree chart being displayed by Ancestry.

Let’s move to Family Tree DNA to see what a chromosome browser does for you.  At Family Tree DNA, three of my Vannoy cousins have tested.  By using the chromosome browser to look at their DNA compared to mine, we can identify some segments as “Vannoy” segments – meaning they unquestionably come from that line.  We do that by using triangulation. It’s easy.  Using 3 or more relatives from a particular line, if three or more match on a particular segment, you know that segment is from that family line.

ancestry push 2

I’ve selected three cousins to compare to my results, above, and their results will be displayed using these colors.  Below, you can see that on chromosome 15, all 4 of us match on a significant sized matching segment.  That means that this segment is definitely “Vannoy.”  How does this benefit us?

ancestry push 3

Well, it benefits us in two ways.  Let’s say an adoptee, or someone who has hit a brick wall also matches us on this segment.  It tells us that they are also “Vannoy” or perhaps ancestors of Vannoys.  Ancestors of Vannoys?

ancestry push 4

Yes, Vannoy is of course made up of their ancestral names and lineages too, so in time, let’s say that a Hickerson matches this segment too.  Then we’ll know that this segment comes from Daniel Vannoy’s wife, Sarah Hickerson’s line.  Do you have any wives surnames in your lines that need to be identified?  This is one way to do it, but you can’t without a chromosome browser.  And you could be the one who is brickwalled with the answer just waiting…..if there was a chromosome browser.  Do you see why this is so important, especially given the number of people who have tested at Ancestry?

Pretty simple stuff, right?  Well, Ancestry doesn’t think so.  They think you’re not capable of understanding this.  Funny, both Family Tree DNA and 23andMe provide this capability and people use it and depend upon it daily.  If you don’t want to use it, you certainly don’t have to, but to deprive all of us of an absolutely critical component of genetic genealogy is unconscionable. It’s simply not acceptable.

What can we do about this?  CeCe Moore, Tim Janzen and Dave Dowell were at Rootstech this week where they spoke with Kenny Freestone, among others.  He’s says he does personally read the information submitted through the “Feedback” button.  That is apparently how Ancestry gauges what needs to be done and prioritizes items.  Of course, if most of their novice clients don’t know what they are missing, they won’t be able to ask for what they don’t know about.  They are living under the illusion that they ARE genetically connected to everyone whose tree shows, and through the common paper line, and that’s it.  They don’t know that Ancestry is intentionally leaving them in their “feel good” cocoon and intentionally withholding “the rest of the story” and with it, their ability to discover even more.

But we know better and we were all “new users” at one time.  Use the feedback button.

ancestry push 5

It’s at the top right of your DNA pages at Ancestry.  Send Kenny the message…..”Kenny, we need a chromosome browser.”

Pssst….pass it on.  Everyone needs to provide this feedback.  This is how we got the raw data released and it’s the only way we’ll ever convince Ancestry to implement a chromosome browser.  Facebook this posting, Tweet it, post it on groups and forums.  Get the word out.  Send Feedback!!!

ancestry push

Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist blogged about this today as well.

Downloading Ancestry’s Autosomal DNA Raw Data File

Well, the big day has finally arrived.  Ancestry has at last allowed us to download our raw data files.  To download yours, sign on to your Ancestry account and fly over the DNA tab.  You’ll see the selection, “Your DNA Home Page,”  Click on that.

ancestry download

Then click on “Manage Test Settings” to the right of the orange “View Results” box.  You’ll see the following screen.

ancestry download 1Click on “Get Started” in the right hand box under “Download your raw DNA data.”  You will then be prompted to enter your password to receive an e-mail to allow the download.

ancestry download 2

The e-mail will arrive, and you will need to click the link in the e-mail, shown below, to activate the download.

ancestry download 3

Clicking on the e-mail link “Confirm Data Download” takes you to the next step on Ancestry’s website, below.

ancestry download 4

Clicking on the green “Download DNA Raw Data” link shows the following:

ancestry download 5

Shortly, your browser will do whatever it does to ask you if you want to save or display the file.

ancestry download 6

I use Internet Explorer and download files are automatically saved in the “download” folder.  I renamed it and moved it to someplace where I can find it, hopefully.  The good news is that if I “lose” it on my computer, it’s easy to repeat this process.

Now, what can you do with this file today?  Not a lot.  You can compare raw data segments with others who might download their files too, but life will be a lot easier when tools like GedMatch can accept these files and do something with them.  There were also rumors last fall that Family Tree DNA would support uploads as well when Ancestry released these files, the same as they do with 23andMe raw data files.  Let’s hope so.

However, today will be the first day these organizations see the raw data too, so expect a bit of lag time before anyone can process or incorporate this information.  Of course, it goes without saying that we have to address issues pertaining to file layout and compatibility.

I’m hopeful that since Ancestry has the raw data files for everyone who has tested there, that they will do what the other two major players have done and create a chromosome browser where you can see who matches you on which segments and download that comparative information as well.  It’s not just the raw data we need, it’s the integrated tools to use it.  Hopefully we’re at the crawl before you walk stage and we’ll be walking soon!

The Autosomal Me – Start, Stop, Go – Identifying Native Chromosome Segments

This is Part 7 of a multi-part series.

Part 1 was “The Autosomal Me – Unraveling Minority Admixture” and Part 2 was “The Autosomal Me – The Ancestors Speak.”  Part 1 discussed the technique we are going to use to unravel minority ancestry, and why it works.  Part two gave an example of the power of fragmented chromosomal mapping and the beauty of the results.

Part 3, “The Autosomal Me – Who Am I?,” reviewed using our pedigree charts to gauge expected results and how autosomal results are put into population buckets.  Part 4, “The Autosomal Me – Testing Company Results,” shows what to expect from all of the major testing companies, past and present, along with Dr. Doug McDonald’s analysis.  In Part 5, “The Autosomal Me – Rooting Around in the Weeds Using Third Party Tools,” we looked at 5 different third party tools and what they can tell us about our minority admixture that is not reported by the major testing companies because the segments are too small and fragmented.

In Part 6, “The Autosomal Me – DNA Analysis – Splitting Up” we began the analysis part of the data we’ve been gathering.   We looked at how to determine whether minority admixture on specific chromosomes came from which parent.

Part 7 – “The Autosomal Me – Start, Stop, Go – Identifying Native Chromosomal Segments”, takes a deeper dive and focusing on the two chromosomes with proven Native heritage, begins by comparing those chromosome segments using the 4 GedMatch admixture tools.  In addition, we’ll be extracting Native segment chromosomal start and stop addresses that we’ll be using in a future segment.

Using Doug McDonald’s tool and the 23andMe results, we can begin with the following two Native segments, one each on chromosome 1 and 2.  These will be our reference points, because according to both sources, these are the largest and most pronounced Native segments, the strongest indicators, so they will be our best yardsticks.

  Chromosome 1 Chromosome 2
23andMe

165,658,091 to 175,711,116

86,316,174 to 103,145,426

McDonald

165,000,000 to 180,000,000

90,000,000 to 105,000,000

On all of these admixture graphs, my results are shown first, then mother’s, then the comparison between the two where the colored regions show common ancestry and the black shows nonmatching segments – in other words those contributed by my father.

Please note that Native contribution in this analysis is being evaluated by a combination of geographies.  In some cases, one individual will show as “Native” meaning in the case of MDLP “North Amerindian” and the parent (or child) will show as something similar, like “Actic,” “South American” or “MesoAmerican.”  In order to normalize this, I have combined all of the geographies that are Native indicators.

MDLP

On the MDLP graph below, the legend indicates that these 4 regions are relevant to Native ancestry.

  • Army green – Mesoamerican
  • Lime Green – Arctic
  • Emerald – South American Indian
  • Grey – North Amerindian

Chromosome 1 – Native Segment

On the graph below, you can see that mother has more grey than I do from about 162-165, but then I have some grey that she does not at about 170.

step 7

A detailed analysis of the segment of chromosome 1 between 158-173 shows the following admixture:

On my results, the putty green, MesoAmerican, is scattered between about 158 and 173, in three segments.  The putty green in my mother’s segments are from 159-160.5 and then 167-170.5.  Therefore, my father, by inference has a segment from about 162-165 and from about 170.5 to 173.

My teal, North Siberian, ranges from 162-163 and from 168-171.  My mother carries no teal in these segments, so this is inferred to be contributed from my father.

My dark grey, North Amerind, ranged from 162-165.5 and then from 168-169.5.  My mother’s range is from 161-165.5.  Therefore my grey segment at 168-169.5 is either recognized as MesoAmerican or Arctic Amerind in my mother.

Chromosome 2 – Native Segment

step 7 - 1

Chromosome 2 is quite interesting.  You can see that on my chromosome, the North Siberian begins at about 80.  Mom has none at that location.  My North Amerind begins at about 95 and extends to 105, where Mom’s begins in the same location but then transitions to a large segment of MesoAmerican which I do not carry.  I do have MesoAmerican, but mine begins about where hers ends and extends to about 105.  Mom’s North Amerind ends about 101, while mine continues to about 105.  She looks to have trace amounts beginning about 105 and extending through 115.

Eurogenes

The next graph shows the same chromosomes using Eurogenes.  Regions relevant to Native ancestry include:

  • Red – South Asian
  • Brown – Southwest Asian
  • Yellow – North Amerindian and Arctic
  • Putty – Siberian
  • Emerald – East Asian

Chromosome 1 – Native Segment

step 7 - 2

The difference between my chromosome 1 and my mother’s in this region is quite pronounced.  My mother’s is drenched in beautiful red South Asian, while I have absolutely none.  Some of the area where I have North Amerindian shows as South Asian on hers, but in other areas, there is no correlation.  It is expected of course, that there are areas where she has some ancestry and I have none, due to the fact that I only inherit half of her DNA, but she has a significant segment of East Asian between 163 and 164, and I look to have received only a very small portion.  The same is true of her Siberian segments at 163-164, but then I have Siberian that she does not at 169-170 and she has some that I don’t at 160-161.5.  Some of this difference can likely be explained, especially between the yellow North Amerindian and the red South Asian by slight differences in the DNA read and how it is categorized, but in other cases, the difference is real.  Looking at mother’s red segments from about 166.5 to about 168 and then looking at my corresponding region, you can see that I have nothing that hints at Native.  In that region, I clearly inherited from my father as well as my mother’s North European.

Chromosome 2 – Native Segment

step 7 - 3

As different as our chromosomes 1 were, one wouldn’t expect chromosome 2 to be so similar.  In the graph, I included my large South Asian segment surrounding 80, where Mom has a trace, although that is beyond the area indicated as Native by 23andMe and Doug McDonald.  In the range of interest, beginning at about 80, we find nothing until about 94 where mother and I both have North Amerindian segments that stretch through about 105.  Mom’s goes slightly further than mine, to about 105.5.  It’s interesting to note that in part of this region, on either side of 101, her Siberian and my North Amerindian are the same shape at the same location, so obviously the same DNA is being read and categorized as two different regions, probably due to my father’s admixture.

Dodecad

On the Dodecad graph of the Native segment, you can see the Native colors are in shades of green.

  • Putty – West Asian
  • Yellow-green – South Asian
  • Emerald – Northeast Asian
  • Light Green – Southeast Asian

To use Dodecad in an equivalent manner as the rest of the tools, it looks like Northeast Asian is the closest we would get to Native American since that is where Native Americans lived just prior to crossing Beringia, so the greens should probably be evaluated as a group.  As can be seen on chromosome 1, they do clump together.  Even though West Asian is also found with this group, it seems to be outside the range, so I am not including it in the evaluation.

Chromosome 1 – Native Segment

You can see another example here of one segment being called South Asian in Mom’s and Northeast Asian in mine at about 170mb.

step 7-4

The Native, or in this case, Northeast Asian/Southeast Asian begins at about 162.5 where Mom’s and mine are very similar.  However, we diverge at about 164.5 where Mom begins with large segments of South Asian.  I have a little bit, but not much.  Beginning about 168, I have a large Northeast Asian segment, but she shows with South Asian there, although the segments are not exact.

Chromosome 2 – Native Segment

step 7 - 5

Chromsome 2 is quite simple using Dodecad.  Only two of the three groups appear.  Southeast Asian is absent, South Asian is present only in trace amounts except for one small area between 79.5 and 80 on my chromosome.  As expected, Northeast Asia is more prominent.  Mother has a few areas that I don’t, which is to be expected.

HarrappaWorld

Last, we have HarrappaWorld.  American and Beringian are the Native American categories here.  Regions relevant to Native American heritage would be:

  • Teal – American
  • Periwinkle – Beringian
  • Lime Green – Siberia
  • Emerald – Northeast Asia

Chromosome 1 – Native Segment

You can see both Beringian and American embedded again at about location 169.  In mine, this entire block reads as American.

step 7 - 6

There is one large chunk of Northeast Asian showing for both results, but part of that region of my chromosome, between 163-164 shows as American instead of Northeast Asian.  The Beringian is scattered through the American, which I would expect.  The American runs either strongly or weakly through this entire segment from 163 to 175 in mine or to 179 in mother’s.  Surprisingly there is no Siberian at all.  I would have expected to see Siberian before Northeast Asian.

Chromosome 2 – Native Segment

step 7 - 7

Where on chromosome 1, we saw no Siberian, on chromosome 2, we find Siberian instead of Northeast Asian.  I have no Beringian, but mother has 4 segments.  Three of her 4 segments are embedded with American segments.  Two may simply be categorized differently in my results, but two, I did not inherit.

Analysis Discussion

What have we learned?

When we are dealing with small amounts of minority admixture, they may or may not be able to be picked up directly by the testing companies.  Of course, part of this has to do with their thresholds for what is “real” and reportable, and what isn’t.  Aside from that, lack of identification of minority admixture probably has to do with which segments were inherited and their size, if they have been isolated and identified as Native by population geneticists, and the robustness of the data base sources the data is being compared against.

We can also see how difficult it is to sort through threshold matches, meaning what is Native, Asian, central Asian, etc.  Many of these differences are probably not actually differences between groups, but similarities with slight categorization differences.  Of course, it’s those differences we seek to identify our ancestral heritage.  Combining similar geographies may help reveal relationships masked my reporting and categorization differences.

Given that multiple sources have indicated Native ancestry, and on the same two chromosomes, I have no doubt that it exists.  Had any doubt remained, the exercises creating the MDLP Chromosome Map Table and reviewing the segments on chromosome 1 between 160 and 180mb would have removed any residual concerns.

The following table shows the results for the Native segments of chromosomes 1 and 2 beginning with the 23andMe and McDonald results, and adding the start and stop segments from each of the 4 admixture tools we used.

  Chromosome 1 Chromosome 2
23andMe

165,658,091 to 175,711,116

86,316,174 to 103,145,426

McDonald

165,000,000 to 180,000,000

90,000,000 to 105,000,000

MDLP

162,000,000 to 173,000,000

80,000,000 to 105,000,000

Eurogenes

162,500,000 to 171,500,000

79,000,000 to 105,000,000

Dodecad?

162,500,000 to 171,000,000

79,500,000 to 105,000,000

Harrappaworld

163,000,000 to 180,000,000

79,000,000 to 104,000,000

In Common

165,658,091 to 171,000,000

90,000,000 to 103,145,426

Although the start and end (or stop) segments vary a bit, all resources above confirm that the region on chromosome 1 between 165,658,091 and 171,000,000 is Native and on chromosome 2, between 90,000,000 and 103,145,426.  Those are the areas “in common” between all resources, which is shown in the last table entry.

The concept of “in common” is important, because while any one resource may report something differently, or not at all, when all or most of the resources report something the same way, it is less likely to be a fluke or reporting issue, and is much more likely to be real.  We’ll be using this methodology throughout the rest of the articles in “The Autosomal Me” series.

In the next segment, Part 8, we’ll be extracting the actual start and stop addresses of the Native only segments, referred to as the “Strong Native” method, and the combined Native indicator segments, referred to as the “Blended Asian” method and looking at how we can use those results.

Is the Family Tree DNA 12 Marker Test Worthwhile?

There has been quite a bit of discussion about the 12 marker test at Family Tree DNA.  Some people would like to see this discontinued, mostly administrators who would very much like people to test at higher marker levels out the door.  However, sometimes that just doesn’t happen, and the 12 marker test is still quite valuable for a number of reasons:

  • Removes cost as a constraint to DNA testing at $39
  • Allows relatives to pay for tests – I’ve purchased 4 in the past couple of weeks
  • Can often exclude some family lines (no more barking up the wrong tree) – but may need more testing if common haplogroup like R1b1a2 to determine exact family line
  • Provides tester with haplogroup which can be very enlightening (European, African, Asian or Native American)
  • Provides tester with matches
  • DNA is stored for 25 years, so tests can be performed at a later date
  • Let’s people stick their toe in the pool for $39 – they can upgrade later

The question was then asked whether the $39 12 marker test at Family Tree DNA really saves money by ordering the 12 marker test and upgrading later to a higher marker count.  The hardest part of answering this question was finding someone in my projects who had only tested to 12 markers so I could look at the upgrade pricing.

The answer is yes.  Here’s the breakdown.

Upgrade cost from 12 markers to other levels:

12 to 25 – $49

12 to 37 – $99

12 to 67 – $189

111 markers was not listed as an upgrade from 12 markers, so I did not use the 111 marker tests in this comparison.

Total with $39 plus Upgrade, above:

25 markers – $88

37 markers – $138

67 markers – $228

Ordering Higher Marker Level Within Project (no $39 entry level test – just order the higher marker level out the gate):

12 – $39 (same price)

25 – $124 ($36 savings to upgrade separately)

37 – $149 ($11 savings to upgrade separately)

67 – $238 ($10 savings to upgrade separately)

Ordering Higher Marker Level Outside of Project (no $39 entry level test, order higher marker level out the gate):

12 – $39 (same price)

25 – not offered outside of projects

37 – $169 ($31 savings to upgrade separately)

67 – $268 ($1 savings to upgrade separately)

So your best value would be to purchase the $39 kit and upgrade to higher marker levels separately.

The Autosomal Me – DNA Analysis – Splitting Up

DNA Analysis purchased 1-24-2013This is Part 6 of a multi-part series.

Part 1 was “The Autosomal Me – Unraveling Minority Admixture” and Part 2 was “The Autosomal Me – The Ancestors Speak.”  Part 1 discussed the technique we are going to use to unravel minority ancestry, and why it works.  Part two gave an example of the power of fragmented chromosomal mapping and the beauty of the results.

Part 3, “The Autosomal Me – Who Am I?,” reviewed using our pedigree charts to gauge expected results and how autosomal results are put into population buckets.  Part 4, “The Autosomal Me – Testing Company Results,” shows what to expect from all of the major testing companies, past and present, along with Dr. Doug McDonald’s analysis.  In Part 5, “The Autosomal Me – Rooting Around in the Weeds Using Third Party Tools,” we looked at 5 different third party tools and what they can tell us about our minority admixture that is not reported by the major testing companies because the segments are too small and fragmented.

In this segment, Part 6, “DNA Analysis – Splitting Up” we’re going to focus on specific aspects of those tools and begin our analysis of our minority ancestry.

Analysis.  Sounds like I’m climbing on the shrink’s couch.  But I’m not, I’m saving all my dollars for DNA kits!  Besides, I don’t want to stop!  This analysis, we’ll do by putting several pieces of data together and sorting the wheat from the chaff.  And yes, we’ll be splitting up…well…splitting our DNA up into pieces contributed by our father and mother.

Let’s start with looking at the DNA segments that mother and I share that are Native.

According to Doug McDonald, we have significant Native matches on chromosomes 1 and 2, with third party tools confirm that finding.  Unfortunately, the only company where Mom’s DNA resides is Family Tree DNA whose test did not reveal the Native ancestry.  23andMe did confirm Native segments in my DNA in those locations.

I’ve used several third party tools at GedMatch to see where Mom and I both have Native heritage, where she has it and I don’t, and equally as important, where I have it and she doesn’t?  What is that so important?  Simple, it means my father had Native heritage too, and tells me on which chromosomes his Native DNA is located  This could, when matching people in the future, on particular segments, help to isolate who our common Native ancestor was, or at least which line.  That is the ultimate goal we are working towards with this entire process.

In this case, to identify my father’s Native lines, if Mom and I neither or both have Native markers at a particular chromosome location, the values are irrelevant, because the Native lineage came from mother.  I did notice in a few cases that I had more than mother, and of course, in that situation, it means that my father contributed some too, or my mother had a misread in that region or a categorization issue exists.  For that reason, I am looking for patterns, not single instances.  We’ll discuss using patterns in a future segment.

Using the MDLP chromosome mapping tool, as MDLP appears to be the most comprehensive, I created a spreadsheet using my results as a base.  I then added mother’s values in the spaces where I had no values, and then I highlighted my results in the locations where mother had no value.  The essence of this is that the red, bold, underscore values mean Mom had a Native result here, but I didn’t receive it.  A yellow highlighted cell means I got the entire amount from my father, because my mother has no percentage showing.  In other cases, of course, it’s possible that both mother and father contributed Native ancestry on some adjacent chromosome segments.  The MDLP mapping tool with my additions is shown below for chromosomes one through eight.  Chromosomes 9-22 are similar, but the chart is too big to display as a whole.  This provides an example of how to do this analysis with your own results.

MDLP Chromosome Map Table

The results were very interesting.

My two primary regions, North-East-Europe and Atlantic-Mediterranean-Neolithic, were represented on every chromosome for both my mother and myself.  No surprises there.  The other regions would be considered minority admixture.

In 2 categories, North-European-Mesolithic and East Siberian, only my father contributed genetic material on some chromosomes and there were no chromosomes where my mother alone contributed.

In 1 category, Melanesia, only my mother contributed genetic material on some chromosomes and there were no chromosomes where my father alone contributed.

In all other categories, both parents contributed on some chromosomes where the other didn’t.  This is important, because it will allow me to associate a match with a particular segment of a chromosome on a particular parent’s side with Native ancestry.

In the minority categories for Native American, Mesoamerican, Arctic-Amerind, South America Amerind and North Amerind, grouped together, both parents contributed on some chromosomes where the other didn’t, and in two categories, on 3 chromosomes, I carry more than my mother, indicating an additional contribution from my father.

This is a repeated occurrence, with Native ancestry for my parents and I combined showing on a total of 42 chromosome locations across 4 geographic/ethnic categories, and in at least three cases, both parents contributed.

In the African categories, South African, Sub-Saharan and Pygmy, I had contributions from both parents on a combined total of 18 chromosome segments.  The African admixture, in total, was less than the Native, and they are assuredly below 5% combined.  If they were present at higher levels, I wouldn’t need to go through these genetic gyrations to prove or disprove the heritage and which parent contributed, because it would be evident in the testing results of all companies.

In our next segment, Step 7, we will be further scrutinizing Chromosomes 1 and 2 for additional information about Native heritage and assigning specific Native segments that I carry on various chromosomes  to either my mother or father’s lineage.

The Genomics Revolution 13 Years Later – Bennett Greenspan

Bennett GreenspanOn April 29, 2013, from 11 AM-12 noon, Bennett Greenspan will be the featured speaker in the CSE Distinguished Lecture Series in the Georgia Tech Auditorium located in the Technology Square Research Building, 85 Fifth Street, Atlanta, Georgia, 30332.

Bennett will be speaking about bridging the gap between traditional genealogy and genetics, and will be discussing the various kinds of testing and when each is important.  He will also be talking about new technology, exome and full genome sequencing and how that will be important to individuals.

Always a man with his eye on the horizon, thankfully for genetic genealogists, Bennett says the genomic revolution has just begun.

You can read more here:  http://www.cse.gatech.edu/events/cse-distinguished-lecture-series-bennett-greenspan

Bennett is also speaking at the Bremen Museum on Sunday, April 28th at 2PM about using DNA to settle family disputes, connect to long-lost relatives and to garner an appreciation for where your ancestors came from and where they journeyed since our departure from Africa.

You can read more about this here:  http://www.thebreman.org/events-n-programs/calendar.html

For those who have never heard Bennett speak, he is an exceptional speaker and makes genetic genealogy not only understandable, but very attractive to the novice.  Being a genealogist before genetic genealogy, a field established by Family Tree DNA, he brings a very powerful personal story to the table.  He has a way of speaking and simplifying the complex that resonates with people.

This is also a rare opportunity to hear someone personally who has directly caused a technology revolution.  Bennett founded Family Tree DNA in 2000, actually, almost by accident, as a result of the process he went through trying to answer one of his own long-standing genealogy questions.

I hope you’ll have the opportunity to attend one or both of these presentations.  Even though I’ve heard Bennett many times, if I were anyplace to close to Atlanta, you can bet I’d be in the audience.  Hearing Bennett speak makes me fall in love with genetic genealogy all over again!

Personal Genetics – Coming out of the Closet – Ostriches, Eagles and Fear

Ostrich

While most of the people subscribing to this blog are here because of genetic genealogy, genetic genealogy is only one piece of the picture of the future of personal genetics.  Ironically, it’s genetic genealogy that gave low cost genetics a push into the mainstream, some 7 or 8 years before 23andMe, the first personal health genetics company, launched in 2006.

This week, the magazine, ieee Spectrum, of all places, has an absolutely wonderful article, The Gene Machine and Me, about the future of personal genetics.  Many of these types of articles are sensationalized and full of what I call “fear-mongering,” but this one is not only excellently written, it’s accurate and interesting – a triple hitter home run as far as I’m concerned.

I’d like to talk for just a minute or two about the high points in this article, about this emerging technology, what it means to us and about fear.  I’ll be sharing my personal journey down this path.

For those who would like to know how next-generation technology works – by the way – that’s the chip technology employed by Family Tree DNA for the Family Finder product, 23andMe for all of their testing and the National Geographic Geno 2.0 project – this article has a very educational description that is understandable by regular air-breathing humans.  The next-next generation sequencing, discussed here and offered shortly by Ion Torrent, will certainly revolutionize personal genetics much as the Illlumina genotyping chip technology has today.

The benefit of full genomic and exome sequencing, the new technology on the horizon for consumers, is in the information it will tell us about ourselves.  And I’m not referring to genealogy here, although that assuredly will be a big beneficiary of this new world of personal genetics.  For genealogists, there is mention of soon-to-be capabilities of sequencing from one single molecule of DNA.  For those of us with hair brushes and toothbrushes that we’ve been jealously guarding for years now, waiting for the technology to improve to the point where we can obtain the DNA of our dearly departed loved ones, this is going to be our ticket.  As excited as I am about that, that’s not the potential I’m talking about.  I’m talking about information about our own bodies and the potential future foretold in those genes.  Notice the word potential.

The information in our genes is seldom a death sentence.  In rare cases, it is, such as Huntington’s Disease.  If this disease runs in your family, you already know it and testing should be done in conjunction with genetic and/or medical counseling.  For these people, DNA testing will either confirm that they carry that gene, or relieve their mind that they do not.

For the vast majority of us, the information held in our genes it much less dire.  In fact, it’s a good news message, as it will provide us ample warning, an opportunity, to do something differently with our lives to prevent what might otherwise occur.  So it’s not a death sentence, more of a life sentence.  For me, it was an epiphany.  Yes, I took positive action and made dramatic life changes as a result of my DNA test results.  In essence, this is my “coming out” story.

I was one of the first people to order the new 23andMe test when it was first offered, mostly for the genealogy aspect, but as you know, it includes health traits and information.  When I received the results of that test a few years ago, in black and white, where I could not possibly ignore them, the reports indicated that I was at elevated risk for certain conditions.  Those conditions were certainly beginning to manifest themselves in my life.  I was on medication for two of them.  My weight, at the time, was certainly a contributing factor to the development of those conditions.  My sister had died near the age I am now as a result of those conditions.  She looked like me, was built like me, was heavy like me, and very probably carried those exact same genetic risk factors.  Our grandfather died of the same thing about the same age.  Our father had it too, but he died in a car accident – caused by a coronary episode, at age 61.  Seeing this, in black and white, and knowing my family history, I decided to do something to prevent that future, or at least to delay or mitigate it as much as possible.

I lost over 100 pounds and yes, for almost 5 years now, I’ve maintained that weight loss, well except for a pesky 10 or 15 pounds that I fight with regularly.  But still, the 100 pound loss is far more important than the 10-15 pounds I battle with.  I am off of all medication related to those and related conditions.  I’ve changed what and how I eat, and a benefit I really didn’t anticipate is how much better I feel.  You have no idea how much I hate these old pictures of me when I was heavy.  This was taken at National Geographic Headquarters in Washington DC, in 2005, at our DNA Conference.

Me Nat Geo 2005

This next photo is me at one of our Lost Colony archaeology digs about five years later wearing one of my favorite t-shirts that says “Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History.”  All of the genealogists should be laughing about now.  No one wants well-behaved women because you can’t find them in the records.  If my clothes look a bit large, that’s because they are, but that t-shirt was too small before the weight loss.  I could never have done the physical work on those digs, or survived the heat, before losing the weight and going from a size 22 to a 12 in the photo below.  These kinds of activities were all unforeseen benefits of the weight loss.  My sister’s untimely death was not wasted on me, but served as a warning bell, well, more of an unrelenting siren actually, when I saw those DNA results.

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I also took my 23andMe results, at least some of them, the ones related to the conditions I was dealing with, to my physician.  I really had to think long and hard about this.  So now, let’s talk about the fear part of the equation.

Fear of genetic results falls pretty much into two categories.  We’ll call these the Ostriches and the Eagles.

My brother was an Ostrich.  Yep, he was, head right in the sand.  He had cancer, his wife had cancer, twice, his daughter, in her 30s, had cancer, yet their decision when offered free DNA testing was to decline – because they didn’t want to know.  Fear of the information itself, fear of knowing, perhaps spurred because of a sense of fate – nothing we can do about it so why know about it.  He also refused to discuss it, so I really can’t tell you why, and he died, of cancer, last year, so that opportunity is past.  Personally, I think knowing about a genetic proclivity would equate to more vigilant monitoring.  And knowing the proclivity didn’t exist would set one’s mind at ease.  I would think you would be a winner either way, but my thinking and his were obviously quite different.

The other group are the Eagles.  They are vigilant and acutely aware of the fact that health based discrimination does exist.  It has been worse in the past than it is now.  This is the reason I had to think long and hard about taking any of my results to my physician.  Once in your medical record, it’s permanent.

Today, GINA, the Genetics Information Nondiscrimination Act, goes a long way to protecting people, especially in an employment situation, but it does not cover everything.

Anyone who has ever tried to obtain health care insurance individually or through a small business knows all too painfully about pre-existing condition exclusions.  Well, the good news is that ObamaCare, love it or hate it, levels that playing field for the “rest of us,” those who either were denied or had to make life and employment decisions based on whether or not they had insurance coverage through a group where discrimination related to pre-existing conditions didn’t exist.

The other good news is that you don’t have to take any of your DNA test results to your doctor.  It’s entirely up to you.  You can test anonymously, using an alias, if you’re really paranoid.  Your results through personal genetic testing are yours and for no one else to see unless you disclose them.

Lastly, let’s talk realistically about the types of insurance that still discriminate – which would be life insurance, extended care insurance, etc.  They are in the business of odds-making.  They are betting you will live and you are betting you will die sooner than later.  As you age, the odds shift, cause let’s face it, eventually, you will die – and they will have to pay out.  Now the only way they can make money is if you pay more premiums during your life than they have to pay out in the end, or they make the premiums so expensive you stop paying, letting the policy lapse, before you die, so they never have to pay.  Of course, if they think the odds are stacked too far in your favor, they simply won’t insure you.  So, if you or your family members have Huntington’s Disease, you’re not likely to be able to get life insurance outside of a group policy, with or without a genetic test.  In fact, there is a questionnaire about your family history when you apply for individual life insurance.

I bought individual life insurance about 10 years ago.  They sent a nurse to the house to draw my blood.  They wanted chain of custody, to know the blood sample was mine, which is not the case with personal DNA testing.  I had to provide ID.  If the insurance company wanted to run a DNA test, prohibitively expensive then, but not in the next few years, they certainly could do so.  Let’s just say it plain and simple – everyone has pre-existing genetic proclivities to something – no one is immune.  These results are not generally black or white either, but expressed as a range.  For example, 4.2 European women out of 100 will develop Restless Leg Syndrome in thier lifetime.  My risk is 5.2, so slightly elevated above the average.  I’m only “above average” in 5 areas, and below average in most.  And the insurance companies are still going to be in the odds-making business – they can’t deny everyone or they won’t have any business – and they will use this new tool as soon as it becomes economically viable.  There is no escaping it.

So yes, the Eagles are right to watch vigilantly – but for now – how much you share and with whom is entirely in your control, so you don’t need to be an Ostrich either.  There is a great deal of good that can come from personal genetic testing, in addition to genetic genealogy.  Knowledge is power.

So now, if you haven’t already, read this great article, The Gene Machine and Me!!!

The Autosomal Me – Rooting Around in the Weeds Using Third Party Tools

This is Part 5 of a series.

Part 1 was “The Autosomal Me – Unraveling Minority Admixture” and Part 2 was “The Autosomal Me – The Ancestors Speak.”  Part 1 discussed the technique we are going to use to unravel minority ancestry, and why it works.  Part two gave an example of the power of fragmented chromosomal mapping and the beauty of the results.  Part 3, “The Autosomal Me – Who Am I?,” reviewed using our pedigree charts to gauge expected results and how autosomal results are put into population buckets.  Part 4, “The Autosomal Me – Testing Company Results,” shows what to expect from all of the major testing companies, past and present, along with Dr. Doug McDonald’s analysis.

In this segment, Part 5, we’re going to look at various third party tools and what they can do for our search for minority admixture.  We will use the download files from either 23andMe and Family Tree DNA and utilize third party tools to analyze the raw data.  We’ll see how third party developers put those puzzle pieces together, if the results are consistent and what they tell us.

The Weeds

When dealing with testing companies, particularly any individual source (as opposed to multiple testing company results, as I have done), minority admixture, especially less than 1% may not be successfully recognized.  One percent equates to between 6 and 7 generations or about to the 1800 threshold in time.  However the history of both African and Native admixture in colonial America goes back another 200 years to the Jamestown era.

The social history in the US means that there are many people looking for this admixed heritage as long ago as 1609 when Jamestown was established and the first European/Native marriages took place (although there were “blonde Indians” reported by Jamestown settlers).  In round numbers, that’s about 400 years or between 13 and 16 generations.  Of course, a minority ancestor drops below the 1% threshold between 7 and 8 generations (with the first generation being the person tested) and by the time you get to the 12th generation, you’re at .048%.  At this level, Bennett Greenspan says we’re “rooting around in the weeds,” and he’s right.

However, rooting around in the weeds for those dreaded IBS (Identical by State) segments in genealogy is exactly what we need when looking for small amounts of minority admixture.  What’s an IBS segment you ask?  It’s a segment that is typically too small to be counted as an IBD, or identical by descent, segment.  IBS means that you’re from a common population if you match someone with a very small segment, not necessarily that you share a common ancestor within the past several generations.  But how to you tell if a small segment is IBS or IBD?

There is no absolute line in the sand, but often segments smaller than 7cM (centimorgans) or 700 SNPS (some say 5cM and 500 SNPs) fall into the IBS category.  This has caused some researchers to discard all segments of this size because they can’t tell the difference.  That’s unfortunate, because clearly some of these segments are IBD and the IBS segments can be useful too.

When looking for minority admixture in two people, both of them having these small segments in the same location can provide meaningful information, and can confirm minority heritage.  Said another way, if two people have less than 1% Native heritage, both share a common ancestor, and both carry part of their “less than 1%” on the same segment….one might say it’s not likely to be coincidence.  Identifying the common segments of your common ancestor can lead to identifying the specific family line those segments came from, especially if you match others as well.  This is in essence what Minority Admixture Mapping, or MAP, does.  It uses these techniques to look for patterns in these small fragmented pieces that, when taken together, indicate minority heritage.  Having said that, some IBS segments will indeed, be simply that, because you share the same base population, but some will be IBD, or more current in time.  With the MAP technique, we’re sorting through ways to utilize these small segments, whether they are IBS or IBD.

Using the tools, MDLP, Eurogenes, Dodecad and HarrappaWorld at GedMatch allows us to “root around in the weeds,” to quote Bennett, and find those all-important small IBS/IBD segments that connect us to a particular ethnicity and ultimately, to other relatives who carry these same segments in the same locations.

In general, using these this type of DNA is called BGA, or Biogeographical Ancestry where we use SNPs of autosomal DNA called AIMs, Ancestry Informative Markers.  A SNP is a Single Nucleotide Polymorphism, or a mutation that happened in one specific location on a gene.  AIMs are generally SNPs, not clusters of markers, found at different frequencies in different populations.  We combine all we know about them scientifically with information about population frequencies and then draw inferences about where our ancestors came from based on that information.  So a SNP that is useful in determining ancestry is called an AIM.

These SNPs, or AIMs, are the foundation for these BGA tools that we will be using to sort through small segments of minority admixture.  So this is a building block process.  Scientists identify SNPs found in different populations at different frequencies and identify them as such, then scientists and genetic genealogists create BGA tools that use and combine SNPs/AIMs to suggest populations and ethnicities for those who carry them.  Using these tools, majority ancestry is easy to discern.  We’re going to use those tools to look at groups of SNPs/AIMs clustered in small, fragmented IBS or IBD segments to do Minority Admixture Mapping (MAP) to confirm our minority admixture and to identify our minority admixed lines, families and perhaps even (in time) our original minority ancestor.

I bet you thought I couldn’t fit all of those acronyms in one paragraph, but I did:)  It is a bit like alphabet soup, but when you understand that this is a building process, it’s much easier to grasp as a whole.

Having at least one parents DNA makes this process much easier, because you can immediately tell if your other parent, by inferrence or process of elimination, has contributed any of the minority ancestry, or if it’s all on one side of the tree.  Of course, that’s assuming your parents aren’t related to each other.  There’s a test for that too at GedMatch.  If you don’t have one parent available, you can “make do” with aunts, uncles and cousins, but it’s a much more tedious process.

Third Party Tools

To use any of these BGA tools, you’ll need to download your results from either 23andMe, Family Tree DNA or National Geographic.  Currently at GedMatch, the only supported formats are 23andMe or Family Tree DNA, because the National Geographic test is so new.  I used my Family Finder (Illumina Build 36) raw data file.

To download your results from 23andMe, sign on to your account, then click on this link and it will take you to the area to download your results.

https://www.23andme.com/you/explorer/

Save the file and do not open it as the act of opening it sometimes causes corruption and you will have a hard time uploading the file.  If the upload fails, download a new copy and start over.  If you have an older copy on your computer, it’s always a good idea to use a fresh copy to incorporate any changes made by the vendor since your last file download.

To download your results from Family Tree DNA, sign on to your personal page, click on the Family Finder tab and then on “Download Raw Data.”  As I write this, Family Tree DNA is in the midst of a conversion from Build 36 to Build 37 for their autosomal files (in order to facilitate the integration of 23andMe results), so you may need to be a bit patient while this process completes.  Files may not be available for download at some points.  You certainly don’t want to mix comparisons, meaning using one build 36 and one build 37 file for comparison.

If you’re following this process yourself with your own data, please read all the way through this posting before starting your own processing.

Now, let’s look at the third party tools.

Stanford University

This tool is available at Stanford University.  Scientists have collaborated to provide this service and I think it’s quite interesting.  This tool is not compatible with any browser except Chrome and it requires a download of your autosomal data in a .txt file.  If it can’t load your file, the loading task simply never completes.  For me, that meant it wasn’t a .txt file I was trying to load.

http://esquilax.stanford.edu/

Load your file and choose Ancestry, then Paintings, then Hap Map 3 (experimental), then Paint my Chromosomes.

weeds 1

Their legend, above, translates to the regions, below.

ASW – African ancestry in Southwest USA

CHD – Chinese in Metropolitan Denver, Colorado

GIH – Gujarati Indians in Houston, Texas

LWK – Luhya in Webuye, Kenya

MEX – Mexican Ancestry in Los Angeles

TSI – Toscani in Italia

weeds2

Unfortunately, this isn’t terribly useful.  Hap Map 3 utilizes additional regions, including Utah, but this tool doesn’t seem to be mapping them, so my closest match region is Italy, which is midleading since none of my family was from Italy.  Hap Map 2 is also an option which does include the Utah population, but it’s not as up to date otherwise as Hap Map 3.

David Pike has figured out how to tweak these settings some.  You can read about it at this link:  https://www.23andme.com/you/community/thread/8062/.  David’s posting on June 20th shows what he did.  However, compared to the other tools available, I find this a poor choice and did not spend a lot of time trying to work with it.

However, a second feature that they provide is fun.

Stanford provides a Neanderthal tool that’s a little different than the Nat Geo or 23andMe ones.  Click on Explore, Neanderthal, Look Up Exercise.  Then enter your primary ethnicity and click on Look Up Exercise again.

Of a possible 84 Neanderthal alleles, I have 9, partially displayed below.

weeds3

GedMatch

www.Gedmatch.com is a complimentary (voluntary contribution) site created by two genetic genealogists that includes several autosomal analysis tools.  One of the areas of this site is “Admix Tools.”  On that page one finds several private or proprietary tools, some written by genetic genealogists, some by researchers, and all free.  Let’s take a look at each one and their results.  If you want to see any of the results more closely than the photos here allow, you can run each of the comparisons using kit F6656 (mine) as the first kit and kit F9141 (my mother) as the second kit.

Each of these tools offers the same functionality, as follows.

weeds 4

We will be utilizing 4 of these functions for each tool.

  • Admixture Proportions
  • Admixture Proportions by Chromosome
  • Chromosome Painting
  • Paint Differences between 2 kits, 1 chromosome

We select from the tools as follows:

weeds 5

Let’s take a look at what the tools provide.

MDLP World 22

The MDLP software is sponsored by two genetic genealogists.  You can read more about the project at http://magnusducatus.blogspot.com/ and http://magnusducatus.blogspot.com/2012/09/behind-curtains-mdlp-world-22-showcase.html.

weeds 6

MDLP shows several populations.  I was interested to see if my mother also shared the African percentage.  Interestingly, mother does have a South African segment, but it’s .12, so less than mine.  Therefore, I would have obtained part of my African heritage from my father.  She also has three different categories of Native American heritage, compared to my one.  She carried a total of 1.92% and I carry .58%.  Otherwise, our results are very similar.

weeds 7

The next feature is ethnicity mapping by chromosome.  While the display is too large to see well it’s interesting to note that indeed, both Native American and African were detected on several chromosomes, not just on chromosomes 1 and 2 as reported by 23andMe and Dr. McDonald.  Note that DeCode Genetics showed “East Asian” admixture on several chromosomes.

weeds 8

Here’s a portion of the above chart that you can actually see.  The highlighted blue regions are your major ethnic regions.

weeds 9

Another feature is chromosome painting, shown below.  This shows the first part of my chromosomes 1 and 2 painted by ethnic/regional breakdown.  The legend for each tool is different and above their graph.

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These tools also provide the ability to compare one chromosome between two people.  On the graph below, my chromosome 1 is on the top, and my mother’s is second, with the third band being our common painting.  The black represents non-shared regions, meaning those contributed to me by my father.  Unfortunately, North American Native American is dark grey, sometimes difficult to distinguish from black.

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The graph below shows that while I do share a large piece of Chromosome 1’s Native region (about 160-180mb) with my mother, there are also segments, 169-170 for example, where I have Native genes that she does not, indicating Native heritage in this location from my father’s side.

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Eurogenes K9

Eurogenes was created by another genetic genealogist.  You can read more about it at http://bga101.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/eurogenes-admixture-utilities-at.html.

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Eurogenes calls me primarily North European with .67 Native American and no African in the percentages above, but below, on the individual chromosomes, some African does show, although not on as many chromosomes as MDLP.

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In the charts above and below, you can see that Eurogenes detected small amounts of African along with Native American.

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Notice that at about 10mb on chromosome 1, on the graph below in the top band, that the North American Indian (yellow) and the South Asian (red) are imbedded with each other.  These appear again together at the beginning of chromosome 2, shown as the second band.  This hints at how and why it’s sometimes so difficult to determine and filter Native American from Asian.  There is no line in the sand, there is a continuum between populations, the only differentiator being 10,000 to 15,000 years spent apart in which time, they, hopefully, developed enough differentiating mutations that we can tell them apart.

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On the chart below, the top band shows the chromosome painting of my chromosome, and the second band shows the chromosome 1 Native American segment (about 160-180 mb) of my mother with the third band showing both matching and non-matching regions, painted black.  Looking at the segment of chromosome 1, in the graph below, characerized as Native, we can see in mine, top row, that this is categorized as Native American (yellow), but some of the same regions below, in Moms are categorized as South Asian (red), causing a technical non-match, when in reality, It’s likely a categorization issue, not a genetic mismatch.  In future analysis, we’ll be using two methods of comparison, one called “Strong Native” that only matches Native to Native and another, the “Blended Asian” method that allows for grouping of similar ancestral types that together likely indicate a Native heritage.

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Dodecad V3

Dodecad was created by an anthropologist.  You can read more about it at http://dodecad.blogspot.com/ and http://dodecad.blogspot.com/2011/06/design-of-dodecad-v3.html.

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Dodecad, unfortunately, does not subdivide into Native American, so the Native will show here as some form of Asian.  Northwest Africa shows in the percentages above, but more detailed African heritage shows in the chromosome detail below in regions not shown above.

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Above, my chromosome painting for the first part of chromosomes 1 and 2.

Below, the comparison showing the Native segments from about 160-180mb.   My Native segment (top) compared to mother’s (middle) with the comparison of the two on the bottom for chromosome 1.

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HarappaWorld

HarappaWorld divides results into fewer population groups and is focused on Asia.  You can read more about it at http://www.harappadna.org/2012/05/diy-harappaworld/.

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In HarrappaWorld, Beringian and American appear to be equivalent to Native American.  Like Dodecad and Eurogenes, African does not show in the total percentages, but does on the individual chromosome analysis, although in smaller percentages with this application.

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Chromosome painting of my chromosomes 1 and 2 are shown below.

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The graphs below show the Native region comparison of chromosome 1 between me, top row, mother, middle row, and the third graph showing the common areas, with black representing areas where there is no match.

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For each of these tools and their results, we’ll do further analysis in a future segment of this series.

Tools Summary

Now that we’ve looked at these individual tools,  and building on the Test Results Chart created in Parts 3 and 4, let’s compare and see what information these tools add.

Test Results Chart Including Third Party Tools

Test/Company European Asian Native African Unknown
Pedigree Analysis

75%

0

~1%

0

24%

Testing Companies
Family Tree   DNA – Original

100%[1]

0

0

0

deCodeme

92%

5%

Inferred[2]

3%

deCodeme –   X

91%

6%

Inferred

3%

Dr.   McDonald

97-99%

1-3%

0.5%

0

23andMe –   Original

99%

1%

Inferred[3]

0

0

23andMe –   2012 – Standard

99.2%[4]

0

.5%

0

.3%

23andMe –   2012 – Conservative

98.7%[5]

0

.3%

0

1%

23andMe –   2012 – Speculative

99.3%[6]

0

.5%

0

.2%

Family Tree   DNA – 2012

100%[7]

Geno 2.0

79%[8]

18%

0

0

0

Ancestry

92%[9]

0

0

0

8%

Third Party Tools
MDLP

86.68%

12.55%

.58%

.17%

0

Eurogenes

94.83%

4.5%

.67%

0

0

Dodecad

85.47%

13.43%

Inferred

1.09%

0

HarrappaWorld

86.56%

12.80%

.65%

0

0

Of the various chromosomes, the breakdown is as follows. Dodecad does not break the categories in a comparable fashion to these other 3 tools, so their results are omitted in the following chart.  Please note that how geographies are categorized can make a significant difference.

Minority by Chromosome Chart

Tool/Chr MDLP Native Eurogenes Native Harrappa Native MDLP African Eurogenes African Harrappa African
1 Y Y Y N N N
2 Y Y Y Y Y N
3 N N N Y Y N
4 Y N Y N N N
5 N N N N N N
6 Y Y Y Y N N
7 N N Y N N N
8 Y Y Y Y N Y
9 Y N N Y N N
10 Y N N Y N N
11 Y N Y Y N N
12 Y N Y N N N
13 Y N Y N N N
14 Y Y Y Y N N
15 Y N N N N Y
16 Y Y Y Y N N
17 Y Y Y N N N
18 N N N N N N
19 Y Y Y Y N N
20 Y Y Y Y N N
21 Y N Y N N N
22 N N N Y Y N

From these various tools, it’s obvious that I do have some Native admixture, probably about 1%, and it’s from both parents.  I also have some African, but it looks to be an even smaller proportion that Native American.

Join me for Part 6 of this series, where we look at how to analyze and use this information.


[1] 71.5% western European, 28.4% Northeastern European

[2] Inferred that Asian is actually Native in an American with no history of Asian ancestry.

[3] No category, inferred.

[4] 78.6% Northern European, 1.8% Southern European, 18.7% Nonspecific European

[5] 54.6% Northern European, .3% Southern European, 43% Nonspecific European

[6] 91.7% Northern European, 3% Southern European, 3.3% Nonspecific European

[7] 75.18% West Europe (French and Orcadian), 24.82 Europe (Romanian, Russian, Tuscan and Finnish).  Note that my mother’s results are almost identical except the Finnish is missing from hers.

[8] 43% North Europe and 36% Mediterranean

[9] 80% British, 12% Scandinavian