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genetics genealogy
The Study of Genetics Genealogy DNA Testing Relates People Around the World
  The study of genetic genealogy testing is born from Sir Alec Jeffreys discovery of DNA profiling. Genetic genealogy helps genealogists form genetic DNA relationships between individuals or groups through the use of scientific statistical comparison of a person's genetic code (or DNA Ancestry) with other possible matches. Family historians use genealogy DNA testing to trace family lineages back multiple generations, even genetically link living relatives with ancestors who have long been deceased.
How Genetic Genealogy Began :
On September 10, 1984, Sir Alec Jeffreys, a professor of genetics at the University of Leicester located in central England, discovered DNA fingerprinting (later known as DNA profiling) by accident in his lab while analyzing x-rays to determine genetic variations. At that moment, Jeffreys and his genetic research team discovered that certain strands of DNA were shared by a familial group. This discover exploded in the scientific community unleashing many applications. First, attorneys used genetic finger printing as evidence in criminal cases and as a resolution for child custody disputes. Now twenty years later, the genealogy community welcomes this new technology with open arms.

As with any new scientific discovery, the genetic genealogy testing methodologies must mature to include larger and more defined databases of linkable subjects and a more precise system of measuring genetic family groups. In an effort to meet the growing demand for genealogy DNA testing, a growing number of companies are selling home based genetic genealogy kits. As more people from different regions of the world submit their own DNA samples, the realm possibilities for this genealogy tool are endless.

DNA Testing For Genealogy
Most home based DNA testing for genealogy require you to swab the inside of your mouth to gather a sample of DNA cells. Then you mail your genetic test sample to a lab operated by the genetic research company that sells the genealogy DNA test to you. In the lab, genetic testing facilitators popular tests, such as MtDNA (Mitochondria DNA test) or Y Line Tests (paternal testing).

MtDNA Tests - (Mitochondria DNA) :
Mothers pass unchanged mitochondria DNA to their offspring whether they be male or female. A link can be made from mother to daughter or mother to son using this test. Then further links are made from mother to daughter and on up the family line.

Y Line Test (Y-Chromosome) :
Fathers can pass an unchanged Y chromosome from father to son. Therefore, a generational family connection can only be established from a line of males sharing the similarities of the Y chromosome. Females can benefit from this test, only if they submit the genetic makeup of a close male relative, such as a brother who shares the same father.

SNP Test (single nucleotide polymorphism) :
This test is used to determine an individual's Haplogroup that are a group of individuals that share the same genetic mutations with a common ancestor. Scientists assign a specific letter number combination to a Haplogroups, such as A1 or K2. Haplogroups are useful when determining a geographical location of a person's distant ancestors. This test has also helped link people living in totally different locations as distant cousins.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Genetics Genealogy DNA Testing
Major Benefits
  • Resolves conflicts over suspected relationships between families. This is most common for families separated due to slavery or the intermingling of family lines due to relationships between slave masters and their concubines.

  • Determine a genetics genealogy relationship between two families sharing the same surname. For instance, a large number of people assumed the surname, Smith, to become anonymous. With genetic testing, some families by have the ability to learn truths that have been hidden by family members in the past.

  • Indicates the homeland of a line of people who have immigrated to another country. Family historians may be able to pinpoint a particular area of the world to further uncover more family members who are missing links on their family trees.

  • Major Drawbacks
  • Genetics genealogy links are limited as more generations are added to the genetic wall map : One can only determine ancestral relationships with two of their eight great grandparents, such as your mother's maternal grandmother and your father's paternal grandfather. The only known way to link yourself to the remaining 8 grandparents would be to have an aunt or an uncle test who has a more direct genetic link.
  • No industry standards have been adopted : Some tests use less markers than others, thus reducing the effectiveness of a genetic test as you trace back multiple generations.
  • False positives can be created through genetic mutations that persist over time : Therefore, the greater the number of markers used will increase the possibility legitimate genetic results.
  • Possibility for unauthorized uses : The genetic information gleaned from DNA samples may be used to uncover medical abnormalities, psychological issues, or to solve crimes. Although this technology can be used for genealogical purposes, one must be aware of the possibility for this DNA figure print to fall into the hands of government or other individuals with alterior motives.

  • Interesting Facts About Genetics Genealogy
    1. As of November 2007, approximately 600,000 genetic genealogy tests were performed. Analysts projects that 80,000 - 100,000 genealogy DNA tests are performed each year.
    2. In 1875, George Darwin, a son of Charles Darwin, published a report indicating the results of his work estimating the likelihood of marriages by first cousins. Darwin calculated that the likelihood of people with the same surname to marry was between 2.25% and 4.5% within the population of Great Britain. The marriages between royal monarchs were excluded from this study because of their unusually high frequency.
    3.In 1995, Great Britain started formulating a criminal DNA database that less than 10 year later included over 2.5 million DNA samples. Countries such as, the United States and Canada followed Great Britain's lead with their own ciminal DNA databases. However, even Alec Jefferys, the father of DNA fingerprinting, opposes some of the methods used by Britain to build their database, such as including suspects that were acquitted of crimes. Other controversial applications include comparing DNA samples taken at crime scenes with a criminal database to find possible matches with family members of convicted criminals.

    Famous Examples of Genetics Genealogy DNA Testing
    Proved the death of Osama Bin Laden on May 1, 2011
    The US Navy seals shot and killed Osama Bin Ladin in his compound located in Pakistan. Before dropping his body into the sea, the US forces extracted DNA samples to prove the body was really Bin Laden. The questioned DNA samples needed to be compared with multiple relatives of Bin Ladin. One sample came from the body of Bin Laden's sister taken after she died in Boston.

    Did Jesse James Stage His Own Death?
    As an infamous American Outlaw, conspiracy theorists believe that Jesse James faked his death and went on to father more children. In 1995, DNA researchers extracted DNA samples from 2 of the 4 teeth retrieved during the exhumation of the body of Jesse James in the Olivet Cemetery in Kearney, Nebraska. A comparison of Jesse's James' MtDNA with samples taken from his sister Susan's great grandson and great-great grandson proved to be a positive match. Thus, this examination provides evidense to put to rest the historical rumors that Jesse James staged his own death over 100 years ago.

    Did Thomas Jeffereson Father Children With Sally Hemmings?
    In 1802, Richmond Reporter journalist, James T. Callender, set the country realling over a story he printed implicating Thomas Jefferson as having fathered a son with his slave concubine, Sally Hemmings. Ever since that story broke, many of Sally Flemming's son, Easton's, decedents requested to be acknowledged as ancestors of Thomas Jefferson, which included invitations to family reunions. In 1998, DNA analysis placed Thomas Jefferson in the same Haplotype group, K2, as Easton Hemmings, a descender of Sally Flemmings son. Although this finding is not conclusive because a male relative of Thomas Jefferson could still have fathered Sally Hemming's child, but the find was more scientific than the original claims that Sally Hemming's son's descendant hold physical traits of Thomas Jefferson.

    Were All of The Russian Romanov Royals Executed In 1917?
    When Bolshevik executioners executed Czar Nicholas II and his family, conspiracy theories surfaced that the Crown Prince Alexi and his sister, Anastasia survived the massacre of their royal family. In recent years, bone shards believed to be the remains of the Romanov Royal family were discovered in a forest near Yekaterinburg. DNA tests completed with samples taken from Prince Philip of England, a decendent of the Romanov family, irrevocably identified the bone shards as those of Alexei and his sister, Grand Duchess Maria.

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