Wednesday, April 23, 2014 to Present Jermline on DNA Day at the Global Big Data Conference

Posted by Jeremy Pollack on April 9, 2014 in Big Data, Data Science, Development, DNA, Science

Interested in genealogy? Curious about DNA? Fascinated by the world of big data? If so, come check out my talk at the Global Big Data Conference on DNA day this Friday, April 25 at 4pm PT in the Santa Clara Convention Center! I’ll cover Jermline, our massively-scalable DNA matching application. I’ll talk about our business, give a run-through of the matching algorithm, and even throw in a few Game of Thrones jokes. It’ll be fun! Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

VH1's DNA Show "Swab Stories" Call for participants

Doron Ofir Casting, Robert Mazza Casting and Powderhouse Productions are searching nationwide for people with the most compelling stories who want to have their double-helix hunches answered for an all-new television series on a major cable network.
Do you need help unlocking the biggest mystery in your life? Put your most life-changing question to the ultimate test – DNA test!

• Do you have suspicions about your blood relation to a family member?
• Have you ever thought that maybe you were switched at birth?
• Did you ever think you look more like your father's best friend than your own father?
• Are you suspicious that you might not be related to any of your relatives?
• Would you ever get a DNA test to prove your theory?

If you want to know who your parents are, who your siblings are or who you are, then this is the perfect opportunity for you.

If you’re ready to make your last strand, and are at least 18 years old, then we want to hear your story! If selected, your search for answers may finally come to an end with a trip to New York or a visit by our genetic team where you will participate in a DNA test and be compensated for your time in doing so.

We’ll finally unlock the answers and put your suspicions to rest.
Send your information to:

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Genetic mixture in the USA

An interesting post at the 23andMe blog:

March 4, 2014
Published by ScottH under 23andMe Research, Ancestry

Scientists have long used DNA to inform our understanding of big epochs of human change and migration. But what about the smaller changes, can DNA tell us something about recent human history? diversity photo

23andMe researcher Katarzyna “Kasia” Bryc, who is also a postdoctoral research fellow in David Reich’s lab at Harvard Medical School, gathered anonymous aggregated data from our customers to look at the mix of African, European and Native American ancestry in the United States. What she discovered was an illuminating genetic portrait of the U.S. that both confirms some of what we know about America’s social history but also other things that are surprising and new.

“Perhaps one of the greatest discoveries stemming from recent advancements in genetic genealogy is that previously held assumptions about race and identity are being brought into question,” Harvard Professor Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr. wrote recently. “It was always known throughout American history that there was at least some intermixing of races, but only now, through DNA testing, can we see the extent to which this actually occurred.”

Continued here.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Looking at Countries of Ancestry (formerly Ancestry Finder) at 23andMe

23andMe has a survey, Where Are You From? that asks people who test where their four grandparents were born. If you take it and agree to let people who match you know the information, the results are placed in the Ancestry Finder database.  The pictures below show the results of looking at my Ancestry Finder matches without and with colonial (USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) matches included.

Chromosomes 1 through 22 and the X chromosome are shown. In the application you can select the number of grandparents who must be from the same country and the size of the match in centiMorgans (cM). You can also mouse over a match and see where their grandparents are from, the length of the match, and, if a public match, the name of the person.  Other data can be downloaded in a spreadsheet format for further examination.

The default view is of all 4 grandparents from the same country and a match of at least 7 cM in size and no Colonials.

The first picture below shows the results of looking at my matches with the grandparents matching or non-matching and the size set to the smallest length of 5cM or larger with no colonial matches. You can see that some chromosomes have greater coverage than others. Chromosomes 14, 21, and 22 have no matches. The large gold match on chromosome 1 is with someone with all four grandparents born in Norway.

The second picture has the same parameters but it includes Anglo-American Colonial countries.

Steven C Perkins' Ancestry Finder matches, 1gp, 5cM+, no Colonials
Steven C Perkins' Ancestry Finder matches, 1gp, 5cM+, with Colonials

Debbie Cruwys Kennett on The Big Y results

Posted today by Debbie Cruwys Kennett is an analysis of early results from the Big Y test at Family Tree DNA (FTDNA):

Big Y results starting to come out at FTDNA

At the FTDNA Administrators Conference FTDNA announced the Big Y test. This test sequences the Y Chromosome and returns millions of results. As others have written, it will greatly increase the definition of the Y Tree. Results were expected in December 2013, then a series of delays occured and 28 Feb was announced as the release date. As it happened, only 100 results were released on 28 Feb. Other results will be released over the next month. This has caused a number of people to complain that FTDNA has been cavalier in it's treatment of customers with unrealistic release dates. Today FTDNA sent out the following email:

Dear Valued Customer,

Yesterday, February 27th, we began releasing results for the Big Y orders. We have received some incredibly positive feedback and this is much appreciated.

We are also hearing the frustrations from those who have not yet received their results, and we would like to address the matter publicly in the form of a sincere apology. The entire FTDNA team has been working very hard over the last few months with high determination and many late nights. Launching a new product is always a challenge with many moving parts, some more predictable than others. Unfortunately we ran into some surprises beyond our control when one of our suppliers ran out of certain reagents we needed for running the Big Y product. However we recognize that it is our responsibility and duty to meet our deadlines and keep our customers informed when problems arise.

With the Big Y launch, we failed to properly manage the expectations of our customers. This was an honest oversight, in which we internally had a target to release first results in February, but we didn’t pay close attention to the dates being communicated on the status pages for those orders. Big Y was a new product and the status entries were updated automatically. We should have manually adjusted these dates earlier on as needed. So while we were thrilled to release the first results in February, we failed to realize that everyone expected results this week. I personally take responsibility for this miscommunication and mishap with the website delivery dates and hope you accept my sincere apologies.

I am well aware that as a company we have a bit of a history in missing deadlines. A big contributor to that is that we have typically been very ambitious in taking on difficult projects while still wanting to deliver information quickly to customers. The Big Y product is a great example. It was a cutting-edge project that pushed us deep into next-generation sequencing and advanced data analysis. Our ambitious, risk-taking attitude has won many of you over and delivered incredible thought leadership and leading products over the years. Unfortunately, our poor estimates and turnaround time expectations have frustrated many of you along the way as well. We are committed to continuing to be the company that is willing to push the envelope and take risks to bring you the best in genetic genealogy, but moving forward we will strive to be more careful in setting accurate time expectations.

Again, we are sincerely sorry for any frustration we caused with the delays and miscommunication of turnaround time. We are very proud of our achievements with the Big Y and feel confident about the high quality product we are delivering! We hope you will let the wonderful product we produced make up for delays that were needed to refine it! We have updated expected results dates on customer pages and will work around the clock to beat them.


Nir Leibovich
Chief Business Officer
Gene by Gene Ltd.

Thanks to Tim Jansen, M.D. for the notice.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Good article on using DNA testing to find birth parents

This is an article on Kasandra Rose, an adoptee and a biologist, who has been using autosomal DNA testing to determine her ancestry and to hopefully find her parents:

The side panel contains some useful information for other adoptees. Kasandra has a blog at The Rose Bush

Friday, February 21, 2014

International Genetic Genealogy Conference: 15-17 August 2014

The Institute for Genetic Genealogy will hold the International Genetic Genealogy Conference in August. Details on the Conference with a list of speakers, can be found on the Conference website. This should be a very informative meeting. This blogger will be attending.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Multiple cousins shown at AncestryDNA (UPDATE)

The problem reported below has been corrected.If you have multiple connections to a cousin, the separate connections are now correctly marked for the degree of relationship.

Like numerous others I received two additional pages of Hints today at AncestryDNA. In examining the matches I have found that AncestryDNA is now showing all multiple matches at the furthest degree of relationship. As an example I have one person who is a 3rd cousin once removed and a 6th cousin on another line. When I open the match each is shown as a 6th cousin even though there are two different lines of relationship.

There were two 3rd cousins in my predicted 4th to 6th cousin Hinted match list.

I have started using the Note section to tag the match with the person's name, the degree of relationship and the name of the person or couple the relationship is from.

I now have 5 pages of Hints out of 182 pages of matches. Needless to say, I'll never get through looking at all of those pages of matches.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

FTDNA DNA sale ends 31 Dec 2013.

Use this link to Order:

Dear Project Administrator,

Thank you for another outstanding year of discovery at Family Tree DNA.
As you may know, our end-of-the-year prices for new kit orders and
upgrades is ending December 31, 2013.

Order and pay today before the sale ends!

Paternal Lineage Orders:

New Kits

Product  Regular Price  Sale Price   
Y-DNA37  $169 US $119 US Order
Y-DNA67  $268 US $189 US Order
Y-DNA111 $359 US $289 US Order


Product  Regular Price  Sale Price
refine 12-37  $109 US $69 US
refine 12-67  $199 US $148 US
refine 25-37  $59 US         $35 US
refine 25-67  $159 US $114 US
refine 37-67  $109 US $79 US
refine 37-111  $220 US $188 US
refine 67-111  $129 US $109 US
Login and Upgrade

Universal Lineage Orders

Family Finder

Get a $100 gift card with every Family Finder order 
in the United States!

Product  Regular Price  Sale Price   
Family Finder  $99 US $99* US Order
Discover New Matches with Family Finder Transfer

Transfer your 23andMe© or AncestryDNA™ today for the best Family Finder 
analysis and the most useful tools. Learn more...

Product              Regular Price  Sale Price   
Autosomal transfer  $69 US          $49 US Order

Maternal Lineage Orders

New Kits

Product  Regular Price  Sale Price   
mtFullSequence  $199 US $169 US Order

Product        Regular Price  Sale Price
mtHVR1toMega  $169 US $149 US
mtHVR2toMega  $159 US $139 US
Add On          $199 US $169 US
Login and Upgrade

Combination Tests

Achieve multiple testing goals with combined testing packages.

For men only:

Product               Regular Price Sale Price   
Family Finder + Y-DNA37  $268 US $218* US Order
Family Finder + Y-DNA67  $367 US $288* US Order
Y-DNA37 + mtFullSequence $368 US $288 US         Order
Y-DNA67 + mtFullSequence $467 US $358 US         Order
Comprehensive          $566 US        $457* US Order
 * Get a $100 gift card with every Family Finder order 
in the United States!

For men and women:

Product                     Regular Price  Sale Price   
Family Finder + mtFullSequence  $298 US $268* US Order
 * Get a $100 gift card with every Family Finder order 
in the United States!

Orders must be placed and paid for by December 31, 2013 to receive this offer.

IMPORTANT: We encourage you to spread the word starting now as the natural
tendency is for people to order at the last minute. This promotion will run
through the end of December and we will not be extending it beyond
December 31, 2013.