Here is an interesting article from Catherine Wang, Assoc Professor of Health Sciences at Boston University, cautioning the use of DNA testing for finding out about genetic health risks.
Amid the media frenzy about the “Golden State Killer” (Joseph DeAngelo) and issues about DNA privacy, which just seems to be muddying the waters and fueling dystopian paranoia, here is a clear and useful commentary about DNA, Gedmatch and security:
Genealogy and the Golden State Killer by Leah Larkin from her blog The DNA Geek.
Economically, it seems the best strategy to test with AncestryDNA first and then transfer your data over to Family Tree DNA and My Heritage for free.
It is most unfortunate to read a review of Family Tree DNA by a popular young American genealogy blogger, Heather Collins, that is full of misunderstandings about how to use DNA and how to use Family Tree DNA itself. The review criticises the absence of features that are actually available; for example, it is possible to download a spreadsheet of all segments from the chromosome browser. The reviewer criticises the functionality of the chromosome browser as a tool, but does not understand how to use it. It would seem that Heather also has very little understanding of the value of Y-DNA and mtDNA testing as important specialised tests, which she incorrectly suggests are ‘niche’, ‘nostalgic’ and ‘from back in the day when these tests were all the rage’. The comments on the admixture also show a considerable lack of understanding about the limitations of ethnicity results at any of the testing companies. Finally, the comment about using AncestryDNA simply because of the larger database ignores the motivations of the people who have tested with each of those two companies: quantity does not equate with quality.
Whilst I think that DNA has been a wonderful catalyst for encouraging younger people to become actively engaged in genealogy and family history, this kind of misinformation spread by a popular young blogger is very disappointing.
There is also a sale on at My Heritage, with their autosomal test available for US$69. However, please note that the My Heritage DNA database is still very small and I would not recommend it for first time test takers. I would suggest you test first with Family Tree DNA or AncestryDNA and then transfer your results over to My Heritage.
There was an interesting interview on ABC Nightlife about the ethical and scientific position of Australians who are donor conceived. You can listen to the interview with medical scientist Damian Adams and Associate Professor in Health Law, Dr Sonja Allen.
You can also read an article featuring Damian Adams and the issues surrounding donor conception here:
Q&A Damian Adams
At last 😀
Family Tree DNA are once again taking transfers of raw DNA data from AncestryDNA, so now it is once again possible to fish in another pond to find your genetic cousins. And the best part is that it is FREE! If you want to access all of FTDNA’s wonderful tools, such as the Matrix tool and the Chromosome Browser, you can pay US$19 to unlock access to all the tools.
This is great news 😀
To learn more about the changes, read Roberta Estes blog entry:
All Matches Now FREE at Family Tree DNA for Transfer Kits