Sunday, January 11, 2015

DNA News of the Week: 23andMe Digs Out Of Hole & No Chromosome Browser at AncestryDNA

My first Exam for a Udemy Genetics course

News out of the "Association of Professional Genealogists’ Professional Management " conference in Salt Lake City, from a blog post by the "The Legal Genealogist", AncestryDNA will not have a chromosome browser and that's final ( unless there is a management change at some point). I would never pay $99 for the test without the chromosome browser. I believe it's worth $49. Ancestry's DNA business is the only thing driving new subscriptions at this point. I feel like this will help to keep Ancestry afloat for a while. Long term I think sales will slow down. Ancestry's database subscriptions are too expensive to maintain for years on end. You only save money if you subscribe to them for a limited time. If Ancestry had images of Deeds I would definitely maintain a subscription longer. I will have to cancel my monthly subscription soon. I just have too many other financial obligations to continue. I'm going a spending diet for a while.

23andMe announced a deal with big pharma to examine the role of genetics in the Parkinson's disease process. It's a $10 million deal. I have no problem with 23andMe's use of customer information for research purposes. I believe everyone testing with them is aware that their primary goal is to collect DNA and use it to help customers understand health risk factors they may have, and compile customers' health survey information to find common genetic characteristics of people with certain diseases.

Listening to a Youtube video presentation by 23andMe founder Anne Wojcicki did bring up some good points. She was asked shouldn't the testers be paid for their contribution instead of the other way around? I don't know about offering free tests. I think that would be highly unlikely. I think $30 would be a fair price for the kind of information 23andMe offers, plus the fact they are profiting form the results. I'm considering testing with them but feel $99 is too much considering the results are still subject to debate. I was shocked when I read, in the "Time" article, that the number of testers dropped by half after the FDA suspended the health portion of the test. I think a drop in price would help to rebuild their database. Testing with 23andMe for genealogy purposes has been helpful for some people. My particular family doesn't seem to be well represented in their database judging by my cousin's results.

ISOGG updated their identical by descent information. I think the phasing that AncestryDNA does is helpful in weeding out IBS segments, as stated by ISOGG, even though it's not perfect. However I'm skeptical of their approach when it comes to filtering pile up matches. Reading "How Phasing Works and Determining IBD Versus IBS Matches" blog post at the "DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy" blog it sounds like what defines a "pile up" is variable. As few as 25 people sharing DNA in the same place may be considered a "pile up". So someone sharing 24 matches in the same place on a segment wouldn't be a "pile up"? I'm wondering exactly what the arbitrary cut offs really are? It seems ridiculous.

I'm taking a Udemy Intro to Genetic Genealogy course. It's very interesting so far. Got 100% on my first examine. I love the ancient theory of preformationism. The idea that there are little preformed bodies in sperm is so funny.

We got a new match at Family Tree DNA this week. This is a predicted 2nd to 4th cousin for my Mom. I found a dozen people triangulating on segments shared with this match, which I believe may be related to our Browning line. If I verify this it would cut my list of unidentified matches at Family Tree DNA by around 12. I know that at least one match shares the same Browning line with my Mom and I. Several members of the same family tested with Family Tree DNA, and they share the same Browning match with us. I was thinking they shared this same family line hundreds of years ago. Now I'm thinking it may have been more recently as the 2nd to 4th cousin prediction would suggest. I noticed their Combs line lived in Lawrence County, IN  and Monroe County, IN where some of our Browning relatives settled.

My cousin's AncestryDNA kit is being processed now. Hopefully we'll see results in a couple weeks?

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