Saturday, February 5, 2011

Time to spit or swab?

Yesterday  I took part in a webinar hosted by Elise from Relative Roots.  What I heard built on a previous lecture by Kerry Farmer I had attended in Sydney. Thanks to these two ladies for their wonderful explanations I think I now understand the basics of DNA and its application in genealogy.

My interest in DNA has been sparked as a number of my virtual genealogy pals, Shelley, Carole and Shaunna recently took advantage of a special from 23and Me to have some DNA testing. They have been regularly tweeting about their experiences.

In the webinar, Genetic Genealogy for Beginners: DNA is the “Gene” in Genealogy after introducing attendees to the webinar software Elise gave an outline of her presentation. The topics covered were:

* What is Genetic Genealogy?
* Brief History of Genetic Genealogy
* DNA Basics and Inheritance
* Types of Genetic Genealogy Tests
* Making the most of your Genetic Genealogy Experience.

The topics I found most valuable were DNA Basics and Inheritance and Types of Genetic Genealogy Tests. Elise used a number of illustrations to explain  inheritance; her clear explanations combined with these illustrations helped my understanding enormously. I now understand how YDNA and mtDNA are passed down.

Until recently there have been no genealogy tests that will help me identify ancestors through YDNA. Although my father had two brothers none of them had male offspring, my mother is one of five girls so I do not have an uncle I can lean on to provide a sample for testing.

As Elise explained Types of Genetic Genealogy Tests I realised that I could take an mtDNA test (mitochondrial) to find persons who are related through a direct maternal line. As there are two of my father's sisters alive I'd like to get one of them to take an mtDNA test to get information on that line. 

An Autosomal DNA would allow me to  discover connections to descendants of my sixteen great-grandparents. I think I need to take this test too. Elise used a wonderful graphic (that she said wasn't hers) to demonstrate how DNA passes from generation to generation. This graphic (which I can't reproduce because of copyright) gave me a clear understanding  of how DNA passes from generation to generation.

Before I spit or do a cheek swab for testing I  might need to rob a bank. On FamilyTreeDNA the site suggested by both Kerry and Elise the costs for me would be $US599 for Family Finder (Autosomal) + mtFullSequence (Use the power of the Full Mitochondrial Sequence (FMS) test to learn about the maternal line origin and find matches in your direct maternal line, and add to it the mighty Family Finder Test to help you find family across all your lines lines up to 6 generations back.)

To do Family Finder + mtDNAPlus on one of the aunts would cost $US438. As I have been writing this post and talking to Mr Geniaus he has showed interest in getting his DNA tested. A Comprehensive Genome test would cost $US837. When I have a  spare $US2000 I might organise these tests. In the interim I think I will go for a Family Finder (Autosomal) + mtDNA at $US299 while the Aussie dollar is strong against the US dollar.

Money matters aside I must thank Elise for an enlightening and informative free webinar. She wass friendly, knowledgeable and professional. If you want to learn more about Elise's planned webinars take a look at her Genealogy Webinars page.


Randy Seaver said...

You said that "Although my father had two brothers none of them had female offspring." I think you mean "male offspring," right?

Did your father's father have brothers with a male offspring line?

Does your mother's father have brothers with a male offspring line?

GeniAus said...

Thanks, Randy. This old girl gets confused sometimes. I will correct my error right now.
Dad's brothers had male offspring so can follow up when I get cashed up. Sadly Mum's Dad only had sisters


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