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  • Genographic Project - False Advertising?

    Information on the Genographic Project hit the media all over the country this past week, probably all paraphrasing the news releases from the project itself. The articles implied that the test kit from the National Geographic, at $99.95, would be of value to the individual as well as to the scientific community. Backed by the powerful names of National Geographic, IBM, and University of Arizona, the unquestioning might rush right in.

    Let's look a little deeper. The articles state that "This is not a genealogy test, and you won't learn about your great-grandparents." They further state that the results will be kept in an anonymous database, which the testee can access and compare with others 'anonymously', whatever that is worth. And since it is only given a random number, it is unlikely that it can be upgraded to higher levels.

    Now, for about the same cost, or a little more, one can have the same test done at any number of qualified laboratories. Then it is a test for genealogy, it can be upgraded for more information, it can be compared against a non-anonymous database, AND, according to Family Tree DNA, the results can be sent to the Genographic Project for inclusion. (Apparently this applies only to ftDNA members at present, but limiting to one company would surely bias the date, and why indeed would the project not accept such voluntary submission from those who have been tested by any certified lab - such submissions would greatly increase the database with no expense to them!)

    Based on this, why would anyone elect to go this route?

  • #2
    smgi project

    1999 or so i joined smgi
    that project was to establish markers for genetics they said i would never get results .and i needed four generation genealogy charts on all sides of my family
    that study is free and still going on as far as i know and they are far from achieving the markers for locations
    their goal was to tell an american african whch tribe and location he came from in africa and the same for the rest of the world

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by [email protected]
      Based on this, why would anyone elect to go this route?
      According to the NG website, upgrades are allowed through familytree dna. It's true that if one then adds the cost of upgrade - say to 37 markers, the price ends up being pretty close, but there are still reasons to do it, depending on ones personal situation:

      It means getting started for only 99 dollars instead of 149 for the identical test. It appears one will get the same resulsts in terms of the number at each of the 12 markers. Seems like one can then compare it to the public Y search database on familytreedna, even if the national geographic database turns out not to be useful. It's true there's only 10,000 samples on that, compared to 30,000 samples that familytreedna has for its own customers, but presuambly that can always be accessed if one decides at a later date that its worth upgrading to more markers- which may depend on the outcome of the test and number of matches-it may not be necessary at all.

      For women, the mtdna test again will cost 99 instead of 149. There it seems like a bargain if one doesn't need control region 2 (often not useful), since the mitodatabase publically available is just as good as the private one. (unlike Y dna which is family tree dnas speciality). In that instance, I would ask it the other way, why under these circumstances would one want to pay the near 50 extra to do it directly thru familytreedna?

      Consider my case for instance; i'm tempted to now get one for my brother and one for my male cousin. For one thing, it will be easy for me to look at the password before i give it to them, so that i'll be able track the results also without a fuss (that's harder with family tree dna since its not clear they send the announcements to all the email addresses provided; plus i'd have to include my email address on their form). Secondly, for only 200, it gets me potentially a great deal of info-seems to cross some more sensible financial threshold for me. Plus, it makes a nice gift - like for my cousin's son- you get a dvd, a questionaiire, part of a big effort. it's easier to explain to relatives - hey- national geographic is doing a big project and i'm getting you one as a present. sure beats explaining it otherwise, when i'm finding its tricky to get relatives as excited about it all as i am. the national geographic aspect takes the creepiness out of it for some.

      but i'm also waiting for a few more facts. Always comes back to the same issue: provide the public with all possible info, so that each person can decide what makes the most sense for them in their situation.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by penguin
        According to the NG website, upgrades are allowed through familytree dna. It's true that if one then adds the cost of upgrade - say to 37 markers, the price ends up being pretty close, but there are still reasons to do it, depending on ones personal situation:

        but i'm also waiting for a few more facts. Always comes back to the same issue: provide the public with all possible info, so that each person can decide what makes the most sense for them in their situation.
        As you say, there might be a reason for familytree dna members to elect the GenePro (Genographic Project) test, but not those tested at any other lab - seems narrow?

        Your statement "provide the public with all possible info" is apropos - I would like to know if the study protocol is in the public domain?

        Comment


        • #5
          Fully disclosed information

          All the aspects from the Genographic Project have been fully disclosed, and the fact is that you are mentioning what you read about the genealogical aspect of it.
          Spencer Wells also added the following answers to questions that were posted:
          * The public testing will be for the standard 12 FTDNA STRs (in the
          case of men) and HVR-1 sequences (in the case of women), with predicted haplogroups based on these results. New algorithms have been developed by the IBM team to allow us to predict haplogroups with great precision, but in those cases where we are uncertain, additional SNP typing will be conducted to confirm.
          * The raw data (STR repeat numbers, differences from CRS, SNPs) will be reported.
          * There will be an option to enter ethnographic data when you choose to upload your results to the database. No names (we need to keep it
          anonymous), but parents'/grandparents' place of birth, ultimate country of origin, specific region/village of origin, language(s) spoken, etc.
          * All genealogical work will be conducted through FTDNA's existing
          procedures, and will require Genographic participants to opt into this
          aspect. If/when you opt in, you will be shifted over to FTDNA while still
          maintaining your Genographic record
          Hope this helps,
          Spencer Wells
          ************************************
          In addition to that, we also have an FAQ section where we will add more information as questions come in:
          http://www.familytreedna.com/ftdna_genographic.html
          Now remember that people will be able to simply upload their 12-marker results to FTDNA and make use of it at FTDNA as any normal order of 12-markers from FTDNA, including uploading to Ysearch.org for comparison purposes with other results.
          Max Blankfeld
          Vice-President and COO @ Family Tree DNA
          A Gene by Gene Company

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by admin
            Now remember that people will be able to simply upload their 12-marker results to FTDNA and make use of it at FTDNA as any normal order of 12-markers from FTDNA, including uploading to Ysearch.org for comparison purposes with other results.
            By 'people', do you mean those tested anywhere, or just those tested at ftdna?

            Comment


            • #7
              Sorry, I didn't explain myself well enough. I mean those previously tested elsewhere?

              Comment


              • #8
                Marketing Genius!

                The prospect of doing a DNA test as part of a "scientific" project involving National Geographic has already helped to convince several of my relatives to be tested!

                The more of these project we have access to through FTDNA the better as far as I'm concerned. People who aren't interested in genealogy may be interested in aiding science in the ongoing quest to understand human origins.

                I really appreciate FTDNA flexibility in integrating the results of these tests into the general database. The more people who sign up through the Geneographic Project, the greater the likelihood of finding matches. On my mtDNA test results I currently have 0 matches and hope that will change in the near future.

                John

                Comment


                • #9
                  one more question...

                  I thought I had all the answers I need and was ready to order. But then when I followed the link in familtytreedna's faq on genographic project for current tests offered directly thru familytreedna, I noticed that the regular mtdna (control region 1) was now gone.

                  The question is:
                  Has familytreedna now dropped the basic mtdna for 149 as a result of the genographic project?


                  [I was planning to have my brothers Y done through genographic project (for 99), and then switch the sample over to familytreedna at a later time to have the basic mtdna done for $149, to doublecheck my own unusual pattern (as well as to make sure I wasn't switched at birth...), but now it looks like that isn't an option, and i'm back to where I was before... (I don't need mtdnaplus, and males can't do mtdna on the genographic project it appears)]
                  I think I need a new hobby.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    We dropped the mtDNA because it's cheaper for you to order the Genographic mtDNA test and once your results are in, upload to FTDNA. Or, order the mtDNAPlus at FTDNA, which has the price reduced from $239 to $199
                    Max Blankfeld
                    Vice-President and COO @ Family Tree DNA
                    A Gene by Gene Company

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      thanks for the reply, but I thought mtdna was not available to males on the genographic project. I'll go back and read the info again.

                      Thanks.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks Max
                        This is exactly what I wanted to hear

                        "All genealogical work will be conducted through FTDNA's existing
                        procedures, and will require Genographic participants to opt into this
                        aspect. If/when you opt in, you will be shifted over to FTDNA while still
                        maintaining your Genographic record"

                        Yesterday I was contacted by Lock who just participated in the NGS project, not knowing about the existing Lock / Locke project. Now he wishes to join the Lock(e) project and now I know he can. Thanks for the info!

                        Don

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          being a pest...

                          Sorry I am being a pest, but still can't seem to get closure on what I thought was a simple issue.

                          I would like my brother to have both a basic Y (12 markers) and a basic mitochondrial DNA (Control Region I) analysis. I would like to use the Genographic project to do this in part because it is easier to motivate my brother that way. But with the changes made it looks as if I should not:

                          Through genographic:
                          Initial $99 for the Y test,
                          subsequent $189 through familytree dna for his mitodna using same sample

                          Through familytree dna:
                          Single charge of $229 for combined basic y and basic mito.

                          Is this analysis correct? (prices may be off slightly since i'm working from memory)

                          thanks

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You send two samples to the Genographic Project, on one listing your brother as 'Ms. so & so', for the mtDNA test. Do you see any reason that wouldn't work?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by [email protected]
                              You send two samples to the Genographic Project, on one listing your brother as 'Ms. so & so', for the mtDNA test. Do you see any reason that wouldn't work?
                              Amusing suggestion. They could certainly tell if they wanted to that the sample was male! But of course they might just analyze the mito and not worry about anything else. So that could work. TEmpting. He would even get to fill out the maternal questionaiire, which would interst him.

                              But too hard to explain to my brother it seems - "now on this one, just say your Ms..." "Trust me, this will work"
                              Hard enough also to just get 1 sample from him- 2 is harder. We're not in the same city, so i can't just bring him the swabs and say,"here, open wide, I'll take care of the rest..." Those cheek scraping little saws are kinda brutal too to do 4 of them...

                              Let's see if Admin has the time clarifiy the situation I asked about. I would think others will eventually be in that same position. don't really want to purchase anything until I find out.

                              Comment

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