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What do you get when you upload MtDNA?

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  • What do you get when you upload MtDNA?

    Hi- I'm still unclear on what one gets for the $15 fee for uploading MtDNA to the Genographic project.

    I've read from what others have posted that you get a map, a certificate, a 2 page description of your haplogroup, and the opportunity to answer some questions on heritage as part of the genographic project.

    Is this correct? And if so, is that it? We already have a certificate, a map, and a 1 or so page description on our haplogroup when we got our results from Family Tree DNA. And answering questions for the genographic project isn't intersting unless we get to see the on-going data tally of the project (since the "final results" of the project the whole public will see- not just paying customers/participants!). But it does not look like paying customers/participants get to see that raw data and tally from what I can tell.

    So I'm puzzled. Am I missing something? A few people have written it's worth the $15, which suggests there is something else. Is there anything else one gets if one agrees to upload? I get the sense I must be missing something! If someone can clarify either way, that would be great.

    (I could swear I remember reading that national geographic would continually upadate data that only participants had access to, but no one has said anything to suggest this has occurred).
    Last edited by penguin; 15 June 2005, 04:12 PM. Reason: typos

  • #2
    Very strange. I paid my $15 each for the Y DNA and mtDNA upload three days ago. The Y DNA now displays a little general information about J2--very general, very politically correct. It says nothing about the ethnicity of people who match your STR haplotypes, as would the FTDNA REO page. Haplogroups are so ancient that this is a bit boring.

    I submitted my mtDNA the same day, but when I log in there it gives me a page saying that my results have been processed by the lab but not uploaded. Maybe tomorrow.

    It's a pretty, graphical presentation, with lots of archaeological information that may or may not have anything to do with my actual ancestors. Still, I am glad I contributed something to this project.


    • #3
      As far as I'm concerned, you get less out of it than what you would get from Family Tree DNA. This is a great outreach program, as far as letting other genealogists & the general public know about DNA testing & what it can tell you. The PR the Genographic Project has received has been enormous. yet, particpants get a lot less tested & a lot less in the way of results than what one would get from Family Tree DNA. For those of us that have already caught on to the value of DNA tested & been tested by Family Tree DNA, the Genographic Project is of no value, insofar as what you get back.

      I am hoping, though, that by testing millions of people, new data will come to light that we will assist all of us. But my understanding is that the data that you upload to the Genographic Project won't be included in the hunt for new SNPs, etc.

      Timothy Peterman


      • #4
        I agree with you Tim.

        Furthermore I suspect that the MTDNA and Y-DNA data gathered is to help refine the statistical prediction engine for Haplogroups especially the ones for the less common or less represented haplogroups. It will provide a better context for the haplogroup or SNP data.

        My understanding is that to map the SNP data it is important to determine indigenous populations. I went looking for a site or book that would give me the indigenous populations of the world but found nothing that satisifed my interest. I think this is largely because what is defined as an indigenous populations is largely up to interpretation.

        Therefore the benefit of the Project will be to help identify these indigenous populations before they are lost in the global melting pot.

        I am still hopeful that one day we can have DNA profiles that can distinguish between a Jute and a Saxon but I am not certain this project will do it. Neither of these can be described as indigenous as they are too recent.


        • #5
          I suspect that the real solution to the R1b sub-clade issue will be when someone does the following:

          1. Create a database composed of individuals who are SNP confirmed to be R1b. Make this database as large as possible. tens of thousands (or more) entries.

          2. Scientists would then analyze the y-chromosome in greater detail among these countless thousands, searching for new SNPs.

          There is a good chance more will turn up that break the population into subclades.

          Timothy Peterman


          • #6
            I agree that new sub-Clades to the R1B Clade will be found once there is enough data.

            The trick will be to localize them on a map afterwards, and ascribe some historical context, that is where the indigenous popluations come in, except for Western Europeans I am not certain what an indigenous population would be? Celtic? Basque? Germanic? Mousterian? I suppose this will largeley depend on how recent we can get with the SNP changes.

            I wish I had taken anthropolgy or archeology in school

            Exciting times are ahead...


            • #7
              Problem with SNPs that differentiate between a "Jute and a Saxon" is how you interpret the meaning of this SNP identity. Does the fact that a modern Englishman has a Y chromosome that can also be found today in people in Denmark make him a Jute, if 90% of his other genes came from ancestors who lived in other places, including Saxony? I don't know. One could argue for assigning "Juteness" the same way one assigns last names. A Jute Y chromosome would then make on a Jute. By the same definition, 3 of a person's 4 grandparents could be Jutlanders, but if the paternal grandfather was a Saxon, the person would then be a Saxon.

              It seems to me that the best use of SNP data is to look at prevalence of different SNPs in different populations in order to infer how those populations are related to each other. I neither expect nor hope that SNPs will be used to assign ethnic identities.


              • #8
                I sort of have this romantic notion that someday the science will be able to give me some historical context. That my particular y-Chromosome has been in County or village X for centuries.

                Was my paternal ancestor one of the native Britons, or a Dane, or Pict? When I read about old cultures like these I wonder where I fit in. I am fascinated by finds like Sutton Hoo and stonehenge and sometimes wonder, were my ancestors among these people?

                As has been mentioned on this site many times before, a person's Y-DNA is really such a miniscule part of one's genetic makeup that basing ones identity, ethnic or otherwise is not really valid.

                It has been said that there is more genetic diversity in one African village than in any other part of the world. So the vulgar notions of race and ethnicity appear to be wrong.

                What we are looking at is branches on one big tree, then sub-branches and I hope someday to see the twigs. What does it mean to be one twig or another? We can label these as R1b4a, and R1b4b and maybe say one is typical of Cheshire and the other Saxony. Are these ethnic identities? If they are, what is wrong with that?


                • #9
                  Nothing wrong at all with that, but let me pose the following problem to you: After enough generations have passed, due to recombination, you will have ancestors from whom you have inherited not one single gene. After all, if you inherited a minimum of one gene from every ancestor, the number of genes in your human genome (somewhere around 30,000, if I recall the current thinking correctly) would be determined by the number of ancestors, which is of course absurd.

                  Nonetheless, those people who have left you not a single gene are just as much your ancestors as those who have. If (to make an extreme argument) no recombination at all occurred in, say, your father, so that you inherited from him only genes from his paternal side and none from his mother--your father's mother would still be your grandmother, even though you do not have any of her genes.

                  I would not wish for a world in which people are analyzed according to the content of their genome and classified accordingly.

                  When I was young I daydreamed about a book with pages in it corresponding to generations past, each with a little thumbnail picture and bio of every ancestor of mine alive at that time. Such a thing will never be, but that is the sort of thing I would wish for--not a name for my twig, but an appreciation of the whole tree.


                  • #10
                    I am aware that we do no not inherit all the genes from all of our ancestors. Except maybe for the non-recombining portion of Y and the mtDNa.

                    I certainly agree that there is more to a person than their genome. The old Nature Vs. Nurture for instance. I, like many, feel the two cannot be separated and we are a product of both. We are a product of other things as well, culture for instance.

                    I am sympathetic to the dangers associated with putting too much into labels genetic or otherwise. I hear you loud and clear on that one.

                    If I may be so bold. What draws you to participate? I assume you have been tested?


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dentate
                      I submitted my mtDNA the same day, but when I log in there it gives me a page saying that my results have been processed by the lab but not uploaded. Maybe tomorrow.

                      It's a pretty, graphical presentation, with lots of archaeological information that may or may not have anything to do with my actual ancestors. Still, I am glad I contributed something to this project.
                      Hi Dentate-
                      When your mtDNA results are uploaded, can you post what info you are given?

                      Where does the graphical presentation occur- was that in your Y data?

                      I guess I'm starting to agree with people who were skeptical that a fee was charged at all. I do lots of research with human subjects, and although we don't always pay subjects, not once ever have we charged a subject for any costs involved in the research or for any other reason! Sounds like they got a good tom sawyer paint the fence thing going on.


                      • #12
                        To answer Penguin first: the graphical stuff on the Genographic website, as well as all the text, is simply an excerpt of what is on the general public Genographic site. If you go to that site and use their timeline/atlas, you can click on the "migration routes" and get little blurbs about each haplogroup, Y or mtDNA. My Y stuff appeared after 3 days, it is now 6 days and counting and still nothing posted on the mtDNA, which is silly since they don't need to do anything in the lab, just post it. I expect that it will also be the excerpt that I have already read on the general site. You are right, this is a bit disappointing for $15 each for the Y and the mtDNA, but I suppose I can think of that as a donation to National Geographic to help with the research.

                        To answer EBurgess: I have had every test available at FTDNA--the Y37, the mtDNA, and the SNP. I am trying to get as many relatives tested as possible too. Why? Somehow the idea that the cells in my body carry objective confirmation of what I have been told about my past, and that my DNA physically links me to people and places long ago, makes that history less abstract and more real to me. It is a very personal feeling that not everyone shares. I have tried to trace family relationships but that has proved much more difficult. Instead, through some of the people I have matched, but with whom I have been unable to determine an exact relationship, I have learned much about the towns and villages in Europe where my ancestors lived that I did not know before. I think that people come here for many different reasons--some trying to test a specific theory or answer a specific question, others to find out "who they are" in a sense that is meaningful to them; others, like me, simply out of a sense of wonder and a desire for objective affirmation of a link to the past.


                        • #13
                          Advertising on Genographic site

                          I do have one strong objection to the genographic site. I paid FTDNA for my testing. Then I paid Genographic another $15 per test to do nothing except type in the existing test results (which they still have not done for my mtDNA, a week later).

                          Must I still be subjected to the obnoxious banner ads running on that site, especially that morose little IBM girl annoying me every time I check my results?

                          Run the ads on the public site. Once paid participants have logged in they should be spared this irritation.


                          • #14
                            To Jeff,Penguin and EBurgess, I am also of mixed mind on the fee issue. On the one hand the National Geographic project may prove to be the most important series of studies ever conducted in this area. The project needs all the financial help it deserves. In addition I feel greatly indebted to FTDNA for all the insights and connections that have resulted from their analyses.

                            On the other hand I have also conducted a fair amount of research with human subjects. In all cases they were compensated in some way for their participation. Part of the problem lies with the commercialization of the analyses. Capitalism is here to stay but sometimes it gets in the way of scientific communication. As I noted in an another forum, YHRD is probably the best repository of y strs. It is a university based consortium. So far I have heard nothing about combining forces with National Geographic or FTDNA.


                            • #15
                              The genographic site makes a rather paltry attempt to collect the data on ethnic origins without which one cannot draw the needed correlations between genetic data and human migration patterns. Unlike FTDNA, it does not ask for furthest known ancestor on the maternal or paternal lines. Apparently assuming that this linear descent concept will be too confusing (as it seems in fact to be for many), it asks instead where your grandparents were born and what language they spoke. This is rather silly for those among us who can trace ancestry back five, six or more generations and would be able to provide the truly relevant information instead of truthfully saying, "United States, English." Moreover, language is an absolutely useless indicator of anything. Understanding what they WANTED instead of what they were asking for, I supplied the appropriate information--but I am unsure of whether the DNA information supplied to Genographic by FTDNA contains the personal information we supply FTDNA or not. If not, I once again have to wonder if those on this site who suggested that collection of public data was nothing but a money-raising publicity stunt were not far off the mark. This kind of data collection would be laughed out of the room if presented as a research proposal at any university.

                              Jeff Schweitzer