Friday, July 26, 2013

Family Tree DNA Will Keep $99 Price for Family Finder

I just received the GREAT news from Max Blankfeld that Family Tree DNA will be able to keep the low and competitive price of $99 for Family Finder:

Family Tree DNA Will Keep Reduced Prices

One month ago Family Tree DNA reduced its Family Finder price to $99 with the promise that if we achieved a minimum volume of orders during our Sizzling Summer Promotion, Illumina would help us keep this price moving forward. We are happy to announce that the genetic genealogy community responded in a big way, and thanks to you we are maintaining the price of the Family Finder test at $99.

We hope that with this price reduction you can reach out to family and friends, so that more and more people can join our growing database and find new matches.

Thank you for your continued support!

Max Blankfeld, Vice-President and COO

This development has leveled the playing field for all three companies offering autosomal DNA tests to the genealogy community and allows those who prefer not to receive health results and/or wish to have their DNA sample stored for 25 years to affordably do so. I hope that this will encourage more genealogists to get themselves and their families into the Family Tree DNA Family Finder database. It benefits all of us to have genealogists with well-documented family trees participating in our groundbreaking autosomal DNA research. These price drops are really helping us to get to the critical mass that we need to get the most out of these databases. Recently, I have seen great strides in this regard in my research. Thank you to everyone who ordered tests during this trial run and to FTDNA and Illumina for making this possible.

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Second Cousin Adds to My Chromosome Map and Answers A Nagging Genealogical Question

I was so happy to receive results for a 23andMe kit that I had sent to my second cousin a few weeks ago. I haven't had much opportunity to work on my own research or add to my known cousin studies lately, so it was nice to get a result that not only put to rest a nagging doubt about my genealogy, but gave me a substantial amount of DNA to add to my chromosome map.

Willard and Blanche (Purdy) Moore

These new results were from a male second cousin of mine. Our common ancestors are our great grandparents Willard Moore and Blanche Purdy. Having him test killed two birds with one stone, so to speak. He is related to me on my father's direct paternal line, so he carries the Moore surname. Since my dad has so few Y-DNA matches and only one borderline 33/37 Moore surname match, I have been wanting to "walk up" my Moore ancestral line, testing as I go to make sure that my all of my dad's relatives match as they should.

Through DNA testing, I have already confirmed that my dad and his brother were full siblings, as expected. The nagging doubt sprung from the fact that when I compared the 23andMe results for my female Moore second cousin, we shared much less DNA than expected for that relationship (1.17% versus 3.125%). That held true for comparisons against all of my relatives except for my paternal aunt, so I was looking forward to these new results to confirm that our Moore grandfathers were really full siblings.

Jack and Fred Moore

When I chose who to test with this kit, I looked for someone who was not only related on this line, but carried the Moore surname, so I could confirm that he shared the same usual I2b1 Y-DNA haplogroup subclade as my father. My Moore Cousin #2 fit the bill perfectly.

Fred and Jack with their father Willard

Today I received his results and not only does he carry a Y-chromosome with the I2b1 haplogroup, but he shares 3.84% of my autosomal DNA over 9 segments. Much of this was shared on different segments than my female second cousin on this line (they are first cousins), so it will really enhance my chromosome map. In the chart below, you can see the first Moore 2nd cousin that I compared myself to in the dark blue and the latest one in the light green.

I was surprised how different the DNA is that we share since they are (confirmed) first cousins. Notable is the huge 90 cM segment on Chromosome 2. I have a much smaller segment in common with Cousin #1 on that chromosome, so this new comparison will help to extend that segment to cover a significant amount of my paternal chromosome 2 in addition to adding a smaller segment toward the end of the chromosome.

This was a good reminder of how much autosomal DNA sharing can vary within the acceptable range for a relationship. This concept can also be demonstrated by comparing my sisters and myself against this male Moore second cousin. The amount of DNA that I share with him (in light blue) is approaching double what one of my sisters (in dark blue) shares with him.

Another interesting aspect of this comparison is that I now have a 2nd cousin, a 3rd cousin and a 3rd cousin once removed to compare from this Moore line.

Notice how quickly the amount of DNA shared drops from one level of relationship to another, especially the dramatic drop between 2nd and 3rd cousin. Of course, this is just an example and not necessarily indicative of the expected amount of sharing for these relationships.

Probably the best thing about testing this cousin is that I get to update my chromosome map!

My Chromosomes Mapped to My Ancestors (click to enlarge)

This result really inspires me to send those other kits that I have sitting on my desk out to additional cousins! So, who's next?