Back in 2002 (no, that is not a typo,) a new product called DNAPrint was introduced by a company then called DNAPrint Genomics. It provided you, in percentages, your percentages of 4 ethnic groups: Indo-European, East-Asian, Native American and African. Family Tree DNA remarketed this test for just over a year but ceased when they realized there were issues.
It was the first of its kind of test ever to be offered commercially, and version 2.0 utilized a whopping 71 ancestrally informative markers, according to the user’s guide delivered with the product. The next version of the test, 2.5, titled AncestrybyDNA included 175 markers, and a third version, which I don’t believe was ever released, was to include just over 300 markers.
In 2002, this was a baby step in a brand new world. We, as a community, were thrilled to be able to obtain this type of information. And of course, we believed it was accurate, or relatively so. However, the questions and ensuing debate started almost immediately and became very heated.
The company’s representatives indicated that East-Asian and Native American could be combined for those without a “Chinese grandpa” and that would have given me a whopping 25% Native American. Even then, before pedigree analysis, I thought this was a little high. My East Asian was shown as 15%, Native American at 10% and Indo-European at 75%. For reference, my real Native results are probably in the 1-3% range. Keep in mind that we were all babes in the woods, kind of stumbling around, learning, in 2002 and 2003.
Interestingly enough, I found the answer recently, quite by accident, to one of the burning questions about Native American ancestry that was asked repeatedly of Tony Frudakis during that timeframe, then a corporate officer of DNAPrint, and left unanswered. In Carolyn Abraham’s book, The Juggler’s Children, which is a wonderful read, on page 55, the answer to the forever-hanging question was answered:
“When I finally reached Frudakis, that’s how he explained the confusion over our Native ancestry result – semantics. The Florida company had pegged its markers as being Native American to appeal to the American market, he told me. But it was accurate to consider them Central Asian markers, he said, that had been carried to different regions by those who migrated from that part of the globe long ago – into the Americas, into East Asia, South Asia and even southern Europe – finding their way into today’s Greeks, Italians and Turks. ‘We may do ourselves a favour and change the name of this ancestry [component] in the test,’ he said, since apparently I wasn’t the only one baffled by it.”
So, now we know, straight from the horses mouth, via Carolyn.
Of course, since that time, many advances have occurred in this field. Today, Family Tree DNA, 23andMe, Ancestry.com and the Genographic Project utilize chip based technology and utilize over half a million markers to achieve ethnicity predictions. If DNAPrint, renamed AncestybyDNA was the first baby step, today we are teenagers – trying to refine our identity. Today’s tests, although not totally accurate, are, by far, more accurate than this first baby step. Give us another dozen years in this industry, and they’ll be spot on!
For 2003, when I ordered mine, DNAPrint was an adventure – it was exciting – it was a first step – and we learned a lot. Unfortunately, DNAPrint under the name AncestrybyDNA is still being sold today, currently owned by the DNA Diagnostics Center. If you are even thinking about ordering this product, take a look first at the Yelp reviews and the Better Business Bureau complaints.
I don’t regret spending the money in 2003. Spending money on this outdated test today would be another story entirely – a total waste. The results are entirely irrelevant today in light of the newer and more refined technology. Unfortunately, seldom a week goes by that I don’t receive an e-mail from someone who bought this test and are quite confused and unhappy. The test has been marketed and remarketed by a number of companies over the years.
So, here are some suggestions about what might be appropriate to do with your DNAPrint or AncestybyDNA results if you don’t want to just throw them away:
- Line the bottom of the birdcage.
- Use to light the BBQ grill or camp fire.
- Use under boots in the hallway in the winter.
- Shred, then use as confetti.
- Cut into strips and use as bookmarks.
- Use as scratch paper.
- Use in the garden between rows to minimize weeds.
- Make into a paper airplane.
- Roll, along with other excess paper, into logs for the fireplace.
- Frame, and display along with your other antiques.
Yes, it’s really that old and outdated!