Thursday, October 17, 2013

What to do with Autosomal DNA test results - Recommended Methodology (Links)

Clip art from Microsoft Office Clip art. 
Back in July (in my post FamilyTreeDNA Family Finder Autosomal DNA test - Update July 2013) I made a request on this blog asking if any of my known cousins would be interested in taking a autosomal DNA test for the purposes of genetic genealogy. I am very happy and grateful to report that so far two of my Dad's third cousins have taken the Family Finder test with FamilyTreeDNA. One third cousin's results were posted very recently and she matches both my Dad and I.
To assist my cousins and anyone else who has recently taken the Family Finder test, I have decided to put together a list of links to articles I have found useful.

FTDNA's New Look for Family Finder results
+Rebekah Canada at Haplogroup blog
FTDNA Family Finder Gets A New Look Part 1Part 2 and Part 3.

+Maurice Gleeson at DNA and Family Tree Research blog -
A Systematic Approach to Analysing your Autosomal DNA Matches - Introduction

DNAAdoption.comA Methodology for Researching Autosomal DNA Results from Family Finder
and Succeeding with Autosomal DNA (by Jim Bartlett)

Kitty Cooper's blog - Making a spreadsheet of autosomal DNA matches and Chromosome Mapper
Organizing your Autosomal DNA Information with a Spreadsheet (by Jim Bartlett)

Advanced Methodology
International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) Wiki - Phasing
ISOGG Wiki - Chromosome Mapping
ISOGG Wiki - Autosomal DNA Tools
ISOGG Wiki - Admixture Analyses
Roberta Estes at DNA eXplained blog - The Autosomal Me - Summary and PDF file

+Judy G. Russell at The Legal Genealogist blog - Gedmatch: A DNA geek's dream site

+CeCe Moore at Your Genetic Genealogist blog - Brought to you by DNA Adoption Community ...DNAGedcom
+Rebekah Canada at Haplogroup blog - Use DNAGedcom to Download FTDNA FamilyFinder Data and Open and Edit a FTDNA Chromosome Browser File

More options for learning
ISOGG Wiki - Genetic Genealogy mailing lists
ISOGG Wiki - Genetic Genealogy blogs

For more genetic genealogy links see my Genetic Genealogy board on Pinterest.

Update August 2014
Another tool I am finding useful is Genome Mate software, described on the software's web site as:
'a desktop tool used to organize in one place the data collected while researching DNA comparisons. Besides data storage it has many features to aid in identifying common ancestors'.
For more information see Genome Mate Overview on Rebecca Walker's blog Solving Genealogy Puzzles With DNA.

Another useful tool is the Autosomal DNA Segment Analyzer (ADSA) Version 2 at

Creative Commons License © 2013 and 2014. Australian Genealogy Journeys by Aillin O'Brien is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License.Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Stop!...Ethics and Genetic Testing - My Opinion

Image from Microsoft Clipart.

If you've read my blog for a long time or followed me on Twitter or Pinterest you will know that  my Catholic faith is very important to me and permeates every aspect of my life. With this in mind, please read on.

If you have not already, I recommend that you read the most recent post on Roberta Estes' DNAeXplained blog - 23andMe Patents Technology for Designer Babies.

Thankfully (and I'm grateful to God for helping me with this) I am not a 23andMe customer. Little hints in previous blog posts from 23andMe made me suspect something like this was around the corner.

I wrote the following a few months ago and was intending to place it on my genealogy blog. I wanted to let readers know that while I like genetic genealogy and I think science is wonderful when used for good, I absolutely object to any unethical, selfish and discriminatory use of genetic technology (and technology in general).
Dear Reader,The following is my personal opinion and I thank you for taking the time to read it. I am very interested in genetic genealogy. However, there are aspects of genetic technologies to which I ethically and morally object e.g. 1. screening of unborn infants which results in discrimination (and often death) for children based on their genetics (their gender, race, disability etc.), 2. cloning, 3. 'designer babies', 4. genetic modification of organisms, 5. the patenting of genes. I want to make sure that readers of my blog know that I have these ethical objectionsI chose to test with FTDNA because I understand they are specifically focused on genetic genealogy. If you are interested in genetic genealogy and you have the same ethical and moral objections that I have, make sure you read about the company you are potentially testing with. Don't just go with the company with the best price. I have read a blog post from the other major company involved in genetic genealogy testing which appeared to imply support for future genetic technology that would allow 'prospective parents' ('if current trends continue') to not only predict medical conditions their unborn child may have, but to 'obtain a rough prediction of traits such as future eye color' of their child. Perhaps I am wrong, but this sounds like 'designer babies'. I would not want to be involved in any health research with that company. If you have any reason to believe that by taking a genetic genealogy test with FTDNA that I am in any way associating myself with such 'research', please let me know. 
No, unfortunately I wasn't wrong. The post I am referring to appeared on the 23andMe blog back  in November 2012: Noninvasive Sequencing of a Human Fetus.
I quote for that post (my emphasis added):
'As with traditional prenatal screening such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS), fetal sequencing can predict a serious medical condition. Fetal sequencing goes further, however, and may enable parents to obtain a rough prediction of traits such as the future eye color of the fetus. If current trends continue, some prospective parents will want such information, while others will prefer to wait until after the baby is born to learn about medical and non-medical conditions. The utility of this test and the decision to use it will depend a great deal on the test’s accuracy, which currently isn’t very high. But it’s clear that testing options for prospective parents will continue to grow in number and complexity'. 
Thank you for taking the time to read my opinions. If you are already a 23andMe customer, make sure you check Roberta Estes' blog (23andMe Patents Technology for Designer Babies) for ideas on what you should do now if you object to your genetic test contributing to this research.

God bless.
Creative Commons License © 2013. Australian Genealogy Journeys by Aillin O'Brien is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License.Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at
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