Saturday, October 27, 2012

DNA Testing 2012 - Surprise!

Back in 2005, the National Geographic Society launched a project to get  DNA samples from around the globe to track back to human's earliest ancestor groups. These are called "haplogroups". Nick and I did this and it was entertaining but not terribly surprising... I was from a group in the far north that was the last modern human group to live in proximity to Neanderthals. My testing was based on mitochondrial DNA that is based from mother to daughter. Nick's haplogroup was asian, in the far reaches of china, which comes from his Y dna passed from father to son.

Interesting but not terribly exciting...

Nowadays, DNA has progressed a lot so the company I did this with sent me a marketing email about a new test called "Family Finder" that looks at your ethnic percentages for up to 5 generations back. It will also look at their database of other people who have taken the test and let you know if you match to someone and who they are. Nick and I did it and so has my Dad... although Dad's test is going to take a while because they had to get his DNA mapped first. They had the lab samples still from Nick and I, so they just tested those again.

Here is the surprise - my test said that I am basically 95.81% "Orcadian". That is the area of Scandinavia, England, Russia, Scotland... you know... really white people.But there was a small percent, 3.79% that is Middle East (Jewish, Iranian, Palestinian, Bedouin). Now the mystery is to find who in my family tree was partially Semitic?

My mom has been doing the family research for years, and is pretty sure it is on my dad's side of the family because his mother's maiden name was Offenstein and she said she was German. The mystery will not be solved until my dad's results come back in mid-December.

One other thing this test showed is that not many minority populations are doing this and more need to so that they can get more detailed results. Nick's results were at such a high level without details because not many asian people are doing these kinds of tests. 

If you are interested in this, here is the company we used:http://www.familytreedna.com/

Get the 2 tests - the Y or mTdna and the family finder together for the best results. Only 1 sibling needs to do it, not everyone so you can save money that way. (Assuming all siblings have the same parents, their results will be identical.)

 Julie