[APG Public List] Exciting New Dimension for DNA Research

JYoung6180 at aol.com JYoung6180 at aol.com
Thu Oct 29 16:16:14 MDT 2009

Last November I had my DNA tested with 23andme.com. I had never felt (as a  
female) that there was much value for me in being tested for mtDNA only 
because  I know so little about my straight maternal line other than that they 
came over  from Northern Ireland in 1852. Yes, I have a few surnames but not 
far enough  back to really be able to compare with anyone and learn 
anything meaningful. In  any case, it never really interested me to learn ONLY 
about this one tiny sliver  of my ancestry. I wanted to learn about the whole 
enchilada! Plus I knew I would  at least learn some medical information by 
being tested with 23andme. 
I was pleased at the time with all the information I got from the test.  
Learning I was a fast metabolizer of caffeine and could probably safely drink  
all the coffee I wanted without harm (and possibly with benefit) was worth 
it in  and of itself. <g>
But alas, I digress...what I wanted to post about is a new beta tool  
introduced this week by 23andme that is nothing short of astounding for  
genealogists!  Until now, we mostly could only learn about mtDNA for  everyone and 
Y-DNA for males (or if you had a male relative who fit the  bill and would be 
tested). Since 23andme tests the entire human genome (not all  genes 
obviously, but the most important ones in their judgment) there is a lot  of X and 
autosomal DNA information in our files. Since autosomal DNA doesn't  tell 
you which parent it came from it wasn't considered all that helpful (by  
current standards) for genealogical purposes other than to help pinpoint  
ethnicity to some extent. 
However, the new beta Relative Finder using a new improved algorithm could  
possibly be about to blow the lid off autosomal and X genealogical 
matching. A  couple days ago I set my account privacy settings to allow others using 
the beta  tool to contact me and so did some others who have been tested 
with 23andme. 
I scrolled through my list of people who were identified by the tool as  
being anywhere from a 3rd cousin to a "distant cousin."  I think they draw  
the line at about the 10th cousinship as being "distant." It looks like 
anything  up to 5th cousins they consider close. they give you a probable 
relationship and  a range, and tell you how many segments you share with another 
person. At  the top of my matching list was a male in the US who matched a 
total of 1.03% of  my total DNA. We shared two matching segments and were 
identified as probable  3rd cousins with the range being 3rd to 5th cousins. 
We contacted each other and compared family histories and guess what? The  
relative finder was dead on! We are 3rd cousins. Our great-grandmothers are  
sisters. Now, keep in mind that this is a match that would NEVER have been 
made  by Y or mtDNA testing...his mother's father's mother and my father's 
mother's  mother are the sisters. There would be no shared mtDNA nor Y DNA. 
Now that we've compared our data what we share is a mind-boggling match on  
the X chromosome--through his mother (his only X) and my X  inherited from 
my father. our match on this chromosome is greater than  90%!  To top it 
off, his mother is still living and she's now going to be  tested and we will 
compare. She is my 2nd cousin once removed.  We also  share a substantial 
segment on chromosome 2 and have inherited similar traits  that are carried on 
chromosome 2--endurance to name one. 
I have another person I match with .78% of my total DNA and with whom I  
share FIVE matching segments and who is identified by the Relative Finder as  
being a probable 3rd cousin and no further back than 4th. So far, this 
person  hasn't opted to join the beta test group but he (also a male in the  US) 
is ALSO listed as a close cousin for the cousin I have made contact  
with--and so is possibly from the same branch of the family.
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