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  • "Close" enough male relative?

    My mother was unwed when I was born in a small farming community in the midwest. One family in that community has always been suspected as being my relatives on my father's side. The man who I think was my father is deceased. A second male cousin of that line is still alive (we are in our 70's). If his DNA is tested, could that give me the answer to whether or not his cousin was my father? I have my mitochondrial DNA results but would very much like to try to solve this puzzle before we're ALL gone.

    Thank you for any light anyone can shed on this subject.

  • #2
    By second male cousin you mean that it is in the same paternal (ie purely male) line? That, is, say, the son of the brother of the person you think was your father?

    Then a Y chromosome test would tell you whether both of you belong to the same paternal lineage, so it would give information. However, it would not be able to distinguish whether your father was the person you think or another member of the same family (that is, say, a brother or a cousin). Given that you come from a small farming community, this may or may not be a problem, depending on the size of the family in question.

    cacio

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    • #3
      Yes, the cousin is from the same paternal line, but the son of the brother of "my" grandfather. In other words, he was the 1st cousin of "my" father and therefore (if I have this right) my cousin, twice removed. What do you think?

      Thank you for your response...

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      • #4
        As long as it is as you state, the Y DNA should match.

        1. You must be in the same haplogroup upon the end of the first test.

        2. You "should" be at least a 10/12 match, but a 12/12 is more likely.

        3. You should test a bare minimum of 37 markers. You should hopefully be at least a 35/37 match, but could be a 37/37 match. A 34/37 would still not rule out the relationship. 67 markers would be very nice to have indeed.

        4. Don't waste your money at any other lab. Use Family Tree DNA for BOTH tests. They store your DNA, you can upgrade from the stored samples and you can do SNP testing later if you wish... these are things not offered by the other testing companies.

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        • #5
          In the last 6 months, I used The National Geographic Genome Project to determine my mitochondrial DNA. Don't you think that they do accurate testing? And if that's the case, why not? They also store your DNA so could I use what I have from them to determine the markers? Of course, the cousin would submit his DNA to the Family Tree...

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          • #6
            Medill,

            FTDNA does the testing for Genographic Project customers. You can transfer your results to FTDNA for free -- just go to the very bottom of your Genographic results page and follow the instructions in the "What else can I do with my results?" section to create your FTDNA account.

            Now, are you male or female? The posts above are all assuming that you are male, but given that you had an mtDNA test rather than a Y-DNA test through NG, I'm wondering if you're female? mtDNA is inherited from your mother and has nothing to do with your father.

            If you are male, then you can purchase a Y-DNA test through FTDNA once your account is set up there and they'll use the same DNA sample that you originally submitted to NG. However, if you are female, then you cannot take a Y-DNA test (women do not have a Y chromosome) and cannot do the type of comparison discussed above.

            Elise
            Last edited by efgen; 6 October 2009, 02:29 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by medill View Post
              My mother was unwed when I was born in a small farming community in the midwest.
              You have failed to tell us if you are male or female. That will make all of the difference. If you are a female, testing the male "cousins" Y-DNA or his mtDNA won't tell you anything about your "possible" father.

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              • #8
                Yes, I am a female. I do know that mtDNA has only to do with my mother's genetic code and that's the reason for my inquiry about using a male relative (of "my" father) to determine my missing link.

                Thanks, M

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by medill View Post
                  My mother was unwed when I was born in a small farming community in the midwest. One family in that community has always been suspected as being my relatives on my father's side. The man who I think was my father is deceased. A second male cousin of that line is still alive (we are in our 70's). If his DNA is tested, could that give me the answer to whether or not his cousin was my father? I have my mitochondrial DNA results but would very much like to try to solve this puzzle before we're ALL gone.

                  Thank you for any light anyone can shed on this subject.
                  As you are female, a Y DNA test of a suspected relative would not constitute proof of relationship, you have no comparable DNA.

                  You could try an autosomal DNA test if there is a clear ethnic difference between your mother and the family of the suspected father (23andMe, DeCodeMe). Both those labs also sample the X chromosome, and one of your X chromosomes came from your father and it is preserved in you exactly as he got it from his mother. So, you would need to test siblings or maternal relatives to reconstitute as much as possible of your mother's two X chromosomes and then test members of the suspected family to reconstitute as much as possible of the two X chromosomes of the suspected father's mother.

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                  • #10
                    RE: Tomcat's reply...That's what I was afraid of...a very complicated DNA brick wall, probably too much to try to climb over! For one thing, there would be NO clear ethnic differences, every one in that small community came from pretty much the same Northern European backgrounds. Before I give up entirely, I will check decode me lab, though.

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                    • #11
                      Medill,

                      Check out 23andMe.... much less expensive than Decodeme, and they are currently beta testing a new feature that is supposed to be fairly good at detecting cousins. There are still probabilities involved, and it won't be able to say "yes, A and B are definitely 1st cousins", but if you have a reasonable amount of matching DNA, that will at least point to a possible relationship, as opposed to having practically no matching DNA, which should point to a lack of relationship. Having a similar ethnic background shouldn't drastically skew the data... I'm comparing with many other people of Ashkenazi ancestry (my background), and although some do have some matching DNA, it's not so significant that everyone looks like close cousins. Distant cousins, yes.. but not close ones

                      Elise

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                      • #12
                        Our MTDNA matches my Mothers brother.
                        I only use FTDNA.

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                        • #13
                          Elise,

                          You give me a bit of hope...I'll check out 23andMe before I give up!

                          Thanks, Medill

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                          • #14
                            You might also want to check out http://www.dnafindings.com/ . Be sure to explain to them what you are trying to learn and who you have to work with. Also investigate who they are. They don't give you much information on their website.

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                            • #15
                              Jim,

                              I'll check out the web site you gave me, too. Thanks! m

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