11 September 2011

DNA Comparisons - Why I'm Testing My Uncles

     I recently had a few family members take DNA tests, one at ftDNA and two at 23andMe.  I personally prefer to use ftDNA for their ease of use and great features, however 23andMe has lower prices and different types of test results.      My Uncle Lloyd took the Family Finder test with ftDNA and his results came in almost a month earlier than predicted.  Since siblings only share about 50% of their DNA, testing my uncle can provide me with results that my mom's test could not. (For more information on sibling DNA, check out this great post at Genetically Curious

     This chart shows my DNA compared to my uncle's. The orangeish-yellow is where we share DNA and the navy blue is where we don't. By testing my uncle I can find more cousins through the 50% of DNA that my mom does not share with her brother (again, read the blog post linked above).

     Specifically, my uncle has 105 matches. I share only 27 matches with my uncle. That means that by testing my uncle I found an additional 78 matches! Of those, 16 are in the "distant cousin" range of 4th cousin or closer, to my uncle. These are the matches with whom I would be most likely to find our most recent common ancestor.

     Another part of the Family Finder test is the Population Finder test. This test is still in beta, but does attempt to predict which populations make up your DNA. My Uncle shows up as 96.87% European, specifically French, Orcadian, and Spanish. Since I'm still trying to find the origins of the Albea family, I'm very interested in these types of tests. You can see the regions on this map:


      Just in time for my uncle's results to come in, another DNA site, Gedmatch.com, unveiled their new report, called Admixture Chromosome Painting. Here is only a small portion of Uncle Lloyd's results on top, followed by my mom's:


    Each color in the charts represent a regional population. For example, purple is West European, the pink is East European and the blue is Mediterranean. You can see that there are a lot of similarities between the two, especially on the left side. Further to the right however, you can see differences in the colors. Uncle Lloyd has more blue and teal where my mom is purple. Again, these changes are where I'm likely to find DNA matches through my uncle's test that I would not find by just testing my mom.

      Although DNA testing is expensive, it's worth it to test as many relatives as possible. Each relative will provide you with a mix of common results and new results. I can't wait to seeing what I uncover when I get back my other uncle and great-aunt's tests. 


Susan Clark said...

Great, clear explanation. We'll see if reading this helps convince my nearest and dearest!

Ruby Craft said...

I look forward to sharing this with your Uncle Lloyd. It is so clear the way you explain it but something gets lost in the translation when I try to explain it. I have a tendency to get it a little jumbled.


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