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Going Nuclear: DNA Discoveries to Trace All Lines of Descent

This lecture covers the advances made in DNA testing for genealogical research and shows how to use these new test results to advance your personal research.

Sample genealogical research problems are used to explain how DNA can be used by genealogists.

  • Test as much as you can afford as soon as you can. We learn more about DNA as more tests are done. We are seeing:
    • some blocks shared between many people even when there is no common ancestor within a genealogical timeframe
    • sometimes there are more mutations than expected in one generation (differences between father and son on Y-DNA)
    • some markers change more often than others
  • What you can do with autosomal DNA (atDNA) Testing
    • Now very powerful in finding DNA matches out to third cousin level
    • Best results if you test the oldest living generation
    • Can reveal admixture, but predictions depend on which SNPs are tested, reference population and algorithm used for analysis
  • Family Tree DNA Family Finder Test
    • Tests over 700,000 locations (SNPs) on chromosomes (autosomal DNA)
    • Once you pay for the test you have continuous access without additional payments
    • Can find matches back approximately 5 generations, possibly more - limited on how far can reach back due to dilution of DNA percentage passed down to each new generation -access to see matches and contact them
    • Number and size of matching blocks of DNA (haploblocks) determine how closely two people are likely related - over 5cM (centiMorgans) in size to consider a match


      Chromosome Browse display:

      chromosome browse


      Genealogical Matches display:

      chromosome browse
  • Family Tree DNA Population Finder Test - Population Finder database is from FTDNA research - not from customers database


    Population Finder display:

    chromosome browse
  • 23andMe Relative Finder Test (with Some Medical Data)
  • Cautions with DNA in Genealogy
  • Regulation - Keep the Government Out of my DNA!




See Debbie's GATA GACC! DNA and Genetic Genealogy presentation for basic DNA information.

See Debbie's Maternal Lines: Using Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) presentation for mtDNA information.

See Debbie's Paternal Lines: Using Y-DNA presentation for Y-DNA information.

See Debbie's List of DNA Reference Works for a selected bibliography of genetic genealogy references online and in print.




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CG, Certified Genealogist, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.



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