26 July 2012

Geno 2.0 – Q&A with Bennett Greenspan

Roberta J. Estes has graciously allowed me to re-post her interview with Bennett Greenspan, President of Family Tree DNA, regarding his company's partnership with the Genographic Project and their new Geno 2.0 chip.

Roberta has been a professional scientist and business owner for over twenty-five year, and is highly respected in genetic genealogy world. In 2005, with an interest and expertise in genetics for genealogy, she formed DNAeXplain,which provides individual analysis of DNA results and genealogical assistance. In 2009 she teamed with Family Tree DNA to jointly offer Personalized DNA Reports for customers.  She manages over twenty DNA projects including the Cumberland Gap Yline DNA and mitochondrial DNA projects and is the founder of the Lost Colony DNA research projects.  She also co-administers several Native American and African DNA projects and is an adviser for the Melungeon project.

The following is her interview posted on July 26, 2012 at DNAeXplained - Genetic Genealogy.

Bennett Greenspan was gracious enough to call me with the answers to several questions and responses to comments and speculation on blogs and lists today. He wants to thank everyone for their interest and personal support for the ongoing research and the new product.  I am putting these in a question and answer format.

Q:  Can I purchase the Geno 2.0 kit elsewhere?

A:  The Geno 2.0 product can only be purchased through the National Geographic Society.  This product cannot be ordered from Family Tree DNA..  

Q:  Will there be a way to move my Geno 2.0 results to the Family Tree DNA database?

A: As with the original National Geographic product, we plan to have a link on the Geno 2.0 personal page to allow people to upload their results.  With the Geno 2.0 deep SNP results, they will be able to enter their Family Tree DNA account number, if they have an existing account at Family Tree DNA, and their deep SNP results will be included with their other tests results on their personal page.

Q:  Does Family Tree DNA plan to offer a test that will be more extensive then the new Genographic test for the Y chromosome?

A:  No. The most extensive test for obtaining YDNA SNP data is available on the Geno 2.0 chip and Family Tree DNA has no plans to compete with its partner.  STR results will not be supplied by Geno 2.0 and all regular genealogical marker tests should be ordered through Family Tree DNA.  These two tests go hand in hand.

By way of example, in haplogroup R-M222 – the new Geno chip includes discoveries of at least three unique SNP’s downstream of R-M222.

These 10,000 new SNPs will provide, for almost everyone, one or two additional clades (subhaplogroups) down the tree from where they are located today.  For some people, these will reach into a genealogical timeframe, connecting their SNPs and their STR data.  The STR tests will then be used to further augment the Geno 2.0 SNP tests for genealogical comparisons within families.

Q:  When will the new Y tree be available?

A:  FTDNA is vetting the Y tree in conjunction with the Genographic Project and prior to the release of these data.  This won’t occur until they will have had enough samples to fully vet the 12,000 tree SNPs, confirming the positions on the tree and that all SNP’s are working correctly.

Q:  What is the difference between the full mitochondrial sequence (FMS) test and the Geno 2.0 test for mitochondria?

A:  Chips can only tell you what is programmed on them.  The Geno 2.0 test is not as complete as the FMS.  Geno 2.0 includes all mtdna SNPs approved for research purposes at Family Tree DNA plus all known mutations found in Genbank.  The Geno 2.0 chip includes a total of about 3,100 locations, more than any other product using this same technology.

This test is very complete for European-centric haplogroups, such as H.  However the test is anthropological in nature, not genealogical.  This means that while you will receive your haplogroup assignment to the same level as a full sequence test, you will not receive other genealogical information that could be critically important to your research.  (Private SNP’s that are unknown will not be ‘discovered’ via chip testing).

If you want your anthropological information, meaning haplogroup information only, then the Geno 2.0 kit is the way to go. 

Geno 2.0 has 50% more mtDNA SNP’s than the next best chip technology for mtDNA.  The only thing better is the full sequence test.  The full sequence test is the only test that can be universally used for scientific research as well.

Q:  There seems to be some confusion surrounding what products to order for what purposes.

Geno 2.0
Product                                                                                                      Purchase?

Y DNA – 12,000 SNPS – Deep Ancestry – Haplogroup identification         Yes

Mitochondrial DNA – Anthropology – Deep Ancestry – Haplogroup
 Identification                                                                                               Yes

Ethnicity – Worldwide Populations – Ancestral Informative Markers –
Deep Ancestry – 137,000 total SNP locations – covers many
SNPS not in Family Finder                                                                           Yes

FTDNA Products
Product                                                                                                        Purchase?

Y- DNA Regular STR tests, 12, 25, 37, 67 and 111 markers                         Yes

Mitochondrial DNA tests for genealogical comparisons                                 Yes

Family Finder –for genealogical matching – cousin matching
provided from Family Tree DNA data base                                                    Yes

Y DNA deep clade test                                                                 Order Geno 2.0 unless
                                                                                                     time is of the essence

Y DNA WTY – after running Geno 2.0 on kit, discuss with Family Tree DNA
                                                                                                                    Case by case

Thank you Roberta for being so kind to allow me to post your interview.

To order the new Genographic test click on Geno 2.0

Emily, 26 Jul 2012

25 July 2012

National Geographic Announces New DNA Test

Geno 2.0:  A Step Forward to the Past

Now that the Genetic Genealogy World has grown accustomed to the recent autosomal DNA testing from such companies as Family Tree DNA and 23andMe, along comes another exciting test from The National Geographic Society.

Ever exploring our past, The National Geographic Society established the Genographic Project  in April 2005 which tested indigenous populations around the world to gain more knowledge about human migration.  This study allowed the general public to become a part of that scientific research, and it created the Legacy Fund to give back to the indigenous populations for their assistance.  These three core components will continue as National Genographic takes us into the next arena of DNA testing.

Building on its world-wide testing, the Genographic Project introduces the Geno 2.0 Test which will revolutionize what we know currently regarding our ancient ancestors.

Geno 2.0 Chip
Since “off-the-shelf” chips were not adequate for Geno 2.0, Genographic designed their own chip. The autosomal and X-Chromosome SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism*) were selected by Eran Elhaik, PhD at John Hopkins, who picked Ancestry Informative Markers (AIMs) from approximately 450 worldwide population groups. Medical and trait SNPs were omitted. This means you cannot determine such characterizes as hair color or diseases from this test, thus not allowing medical or political studies of the results.  

Over 130,000 X-DNA and Autosomal DNA SNPs were collected to study gene flow between hominids and modern humans.  SNPs from hominids used to design the GenoChip included Paleo-Eskimo Saqqaq, Aboriginal Australian, Neanderthal, Denisovan, and Chimpanzee.

As AIMs show differences in allele frequencies across population groups, and as these markers are honed over time, the ability to distinguish between populations will be increasingly more detailed.

Autosomal and X-DNA
Geno 2.0 uses 130,000 autosomal and X-chromosomal SNPs including 30,000 SNPs from regions of interbreeding between extinct hominids and modern humans.  This Geno 2.0 test compares your result with several of these populations including the Neanderthals and the Denisovan.

Recently, DNA evidence has shown that modern humans inbred with the Neanderthal who populated Western Eurasia. Neanderthal DNA is 99.7 percent identical to humans, and scientists believe that many humans may have inherited 1-4% of their DNA from Neanderthals.  Scientists also believe some modern humans inbred with the Denisovans who populated Eastern Eurasia.  It is thought that islanders in Papua New Guinea may be distant cousins of the Denisovan.  With the discovery in 2008 of a 40,000-year-old finger bone found in Siberian Russia’s Denisova cave of a young girl, referred to as X-Woman, and a tooth of a Denisovan adult, the entire Denisovan genome has been extracted. 

Besides the X-DNA and autosomal DNA, the Geno 2.0 test uses an extensive number of SNP markers from Mitochondria DNA and Y-DNA which also will improve the scientific geographic origins of our ancient ancestry by delineating between populations and narrowing the geographic areas where our ancient ancestors were located. This means breaking down a European haplogroup into smaller locations, a wonderful advantage for studying your ancient ancestry and its migration.

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)
Geno 2.0 will use the new Phylogentic Tree** from Dr. Doron Behar’s paper A Uniquely Anthropological Approach to Human Origins and Dispersals. Dr. Behar and his colleagues have revolutionized the mtDNA Phylogentic tree so that instead of comparing your mtDNA to the rCRS (Revised Cambridge Reference Sequince), the new RSRS (Reconstructed Sapiens Reference Sequence) will be implemented. The RSRS is a proposed system comparing mitochondrial markers which includes the known Neanderthal sequences. This system gives a more accurate view in that haplogroups closer to our origins will have fewer mutations than those haplogroups which are more recent, thus displaying the haplogroups in a better time-oriented sequence.  In the past the rCRS showed fewer mutations for Haplogroup H (the CRS contributor’s haplogroup) with many for haplogroups that are more ancient and closer to Mitochondria Eve, the oldest-known female haplogroup, thus displaying mutations in a better time-oriented sequence.

About 15,000 SNPs with both new SNPs and SNPs from the established Y-DNA Phylogentic Tree will be included in this test.  With these new SNPs, we can expect the Phylogentic Tree for Y-DNA to explode! There will be more Haplogroup subclades than ever before, thus helping testers determine in detail who is more closely related as well as providing younger and more geographically relevant Y-DNA branches.  It not only refines the twigs (subclades) on the Y-DNA tree, but will define the relationships between those twigs (subclades).  This level of SNP testing will provide a much more accurate age for Y-SNP-based lineage to better clarify Bronze Age migrations from late Neolithic migrations which is important in understanding early history and pre-history.

Your Personal Webpages
Results Page
Your Story Page
Besides your results page, the new Genographic webpages for testers provide a section entitled “Your Story” where you learn more about your branch of the human tree.  It gives you a map of the journey your ancestors took thousands of years ago from Africa.  You will be able to view the migration map step by step with anecdotal information at each step.  As your reach a more recent time, you will be able to add your story to the migration map and 
connect with others who have done the same.  Thus, if you know your ancestor came from Krefeld, Germany in 1683, you can add that fact and see if others who have tested came from the same area.  Another section entitled “Who Am I” provides your ancestral make-up, including your percentage of various populations, including Neanderthal and Denisovan.

In summary:
        The Geno 2.0 test is $199.95 with free shipping in the US
        Results are expected to take 4-6 weeks after the initial beta testing is completed
        The Family Tree DNA lab in Houston will do the testing
        All data can be downloaded for your genotype
        Reference populations being used will be downloadable
        For men, the test uses Y-DNA, mtDNA, X-DNA, and Autosomal DNA SNPs
        For women, the test uses mtDNA, X-DNA, and Autosomal DNA SNPs
        The test yields both paternal and maternal haplogroup results for males and maternal haplogroup results for females. Details of the haplogroups are provided
        This test esentually replaces the DeepClade test and takes the haplogroup designation to greater detail, allowing a more specific geographic association with the terminal SNP
        A Migration map and a frequency distribution map for your genotype gives you specifics about your haplogroup and helps you understand the results
        The new website will allow you to enter information about your lineage and see the same from your matches
        You can e-mail those near matches who are related to you through the site, but know that these matches are on an anthropological time frame and not a genealogical one
        You can share your information on various social media such as Facebook and Twitter
        You can transfer your test results from National Genographic to Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) at no charge
        Genographic will e-mail everyone who has transferred their original test to FTDNA to notify them of Geno 2.0
        Existing consents with FTDNA to manage testers’ results will not be useful for this test as a new DNA sample must be taken

Some features will not be available at launch, and many others will be introduced in the coming months.  Besides, the emphasis on DNA, Genographic will announce a new structure for funding their Legacy Project and place a greater emphasis on educational initiatives, called GenoThreads.  
Geno 2.0 kit

Be among the first to order you Geno 2.0 kit!

Website:  www.genographic.com

* SNP.  Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms are special markers geneticists use to determine a person’s twig on the world family tree.

**  Phylogenetic Tree. The Phylogenetic Tree is the world’s family tree and is expressed in an alternating series of letters and numbers, such as U5a1a1.  The letter U is the branch and each consecutive number or letter is a twig branching from the previous twig.  Both Y-DNA and mtDNA have Phylogenetic Trees.

Emily, 25 Jul 2012

10 July 2012

Family Tree DNA Webinar Schedule

Family Tree DNA announces some great Webinars.  I personal know Elise who has written and who conducts them.

Family Tree DNA partners with Relative Roots to offer quality, convenient and affordable Genetic Genealogy education to Family Tree DNA customers!  Webinars (web-based seminars) are an option for our customers to learn more about our tests and your own results.

How it Works
Attend our live or on-demand webinars (web-based seminars) from the comfort of your own home! You’ll view the presentation using your own computer and listen to the presenter using your computer speakers or telephone. Attendees of our live webinars are able to ask questions just as if you were attending a presentation in-person. Registrants of our on-demand webinars can access a recording of our live webinars at a time that is convenient for you. Each webinar session lasts 60-90 minutes.

We're launching our webinars with four topics:

  • Introduction to Genetic Genealogy at Family Tree DNA

  • Genetic Genealogy Demystified: Reading and Understanding Your Family Tree DNA Results, Part 1: Y-DNA
  • Genetic Genealogy Demystified: Reading and Understanding Your Family Tree DNA Results, Part 2: mtDNA
  • Genetic Genealogy Demystified: Reading and Understanding Your Family Tree DNA Results, Part 3: Family Finder

Stay tuned for more topics to be added to the schedule in the coming months!

Introduction to Genetic Genealogy - FREE!
Demystified series is - $10 each, or 3 for $25
Starting and Managing an FTDNA DNA Project is $10

Family Tree DNA Discount
Webinar attendees will receive a limited-time discount on select new tests and upgrades to help offset the cost of attending the webinar. A coupon code will be provided at the end of each live webinar and will also be available to those who view the on-demand recordings.

Webinar Schedule
Our core webinars are currently repeated every month.  Following is the webinar schedule for July & August:

  • Jul 26 - Genetic Genealogy Demystified: Reading and Understanding Your Family Tree DNA Results, Part 2: mtDNA
  • Jul 31 - Genetic Genealogy Demystified: Reading and Understanding Your Family Tree DNA Results, Part 3: Family Finder
  • Aug 5 - Introduction to Genetic Genealogy at Family Tree DNA
  • Aug 9 - Genetic Genealogy Demystified: Reading and Understanding Your Family Tree DNA Results, Part 1: Y-DNA
  • Aug 14 - Genetic Genealogy Demystified: Reading and Understanding Your Family Tree DNA Results, Part 2: mtDNA
  • Aug 21 - Genetic Genealogy Demystified: Reading and Understanding Your Family Tree DNA Results, Part 3: Family Finder
  • Aug 23 – Starting and Managing a Family Tree DNA Project

Register Today!
For registration, more details about each of the webinars and schedule updates, please visit:

About Relative Roots

Relative Roots is a Florida-based genealogy consulting and education company, owned and operated by Elise Friedman.  Elise became a Family Tree DNA customer in 2005 while working on her own genealogy brick walls.  She quickly became a proponent of genetic genealogy as a tool for genealogists, and today she's a volunteer administrator for several surname, geographical and haplogroup projects at Family Tree DNA.  Over the years, she has given presentations on genetic genealogy at a variety of genealogy society meetings and genealogy conferences.  Then earlier this year, Elise took her presentations online and began offering genetic genealogy webinars through her company, Relative Roots.  Family Tree DNA is very pleased to now have Elise as our education partner so we can offer this new educational opportunity to our customers.


09 July 2012

Family Tree DNA Sale - Ends July 15th

Family Tree DNA has just announced a short, but WONDERFUL, sale!

This is a grand opportunity to upgrade your test, buy a new one, get tests for a family reunion, or to hold for the future when you find a relative to test or someone you suspect could be related.

Special Summer Prices


Y-DNA 12..............................$59..........was $99
Y-DNA 37............................$129..........was $149
Y-DNA 67............................$199..........was $239
Family Finder.......................$199..........was $289
mtFullSequence (FMS)........$219..........was $299
FF+Y-DNA 37.....................$328..........was $438
Comprehensive (FF-FMS+Y-DNA 67)......$617..........was $797
Super DNA..................................................$428..........was $518


12 to 37 Y-DNA......................$70..........was $109
25 to 37 Y-DNA......................$35..........was $59
25 to 67 Y-DNA.....................$114.........was $159
37 to 67 Y-DNA.......................$79.........was $109
37 to 111 Y-DNA....................$188........was $220
67 to 111 Y-DNA....................$109........was $129
mtHVR1 to Mega....................$209........was $269
mtHVR2 to Mega....................$199........was $139

Order msut be in and paid by 11:59 PM on Sudnay July 15th to reeive this offer. 
Credit cards are considered paid.

To Order A Upgrade

To Order a New Kit