Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Family History: Ancestry's DNA Test

Recently, Ancestry.com launched a new DNA test. It covers the entire genome, and it is equally useful for women as well as men.  One of the very cool features of this test is its ability to accurately tell ethnic background.  Not only does this provide great family history clues, but it can be tremendously helpful for individuals who don't know much about their biological roots.  Regardless of how much information an individual chooses to share with others, it can be unsettling to not know the answer to a question that pops up everywhere:

from the 2010 US Federal Census Questionnaire

Someone I know, who has requested anonymity, but who agreed to share her experience, completed the test.  Once ordered, the test arrived via mail fairly quickly, and just required a small saliva sample.  After mailing it back, the wait began.  The Ancestry website says the results take six to eight weeks, but her results came in just one month. 

Results were fairly accurate and specific.  Not only did she learn which continents her ancestors came from, she now knows percentages and specific regions of the continents.  She previously knew precisely one part of her background, and the test agreed spot-on with that percentage, so she assumes the other results are equally as accurate.  Although a portion of her background came back as "uncertain," that could change as scientists discover more genetic markers. 

Another feature of the results is the AncestryDNA Member Match, which let her know of possible relatives who have also taken the test.  Her results show, with a 95% confidence level, a few individuals who are most likely her 4th cousins.  By comparing family trees, she might be able to discover the connection and learn new information about her ancestors.

Hearing her satisfaction with the test makes me consider ordering one myself.  What about you?  Would you consider taking a DNA test?


 Thanks for amazing technological advances that provide family history break-throughs.


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1 comment:

  1. Hi Kristi,
    You're right that this test does have huge potential. However, your friend should not assume that the current percentages of ancestral origins are 100% accurate for now. This tool is still in beta and will continue to change and improve over time. I wrote about this aspect of the test in my latest blog post: http://www.yourgeneticgenealogist.com/2012/06/my-review-of-ancestrydnas-admixture.html
    CeCe

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