Which DNA Test to Choose?

Which DNA Test to Choose?

Postby morrisondna » Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:22 pm

With so many DNA tests from various companies to choose from, and so much money being spent on testing, I thought it might be worthwhile to list a few quick suggestions/opinions from my experience in being admin for several DNA projects over the past 10 years.

1) Y-DNA STR (Short Tandem Repeat) Tests --- This is by far the best test to use for tracing a surname line. The DNA donor must be a male of the surname you are tracing, so recruit a male cousin of that surname if you need to. We have a high success rate for matching (>80%), and results are easy to interpret. The 37-marker test is usually sufficient to start with; FTDNA is the best company due to the options for further testing.

2) Autosomal Tests (Family Finder, AncestryDNA) --- This test is only easy to interpret for very recent cousins. Matches for more distant cousins are often found, but it is difficult to know which line is the reason for the match. Beyond confirming recent cousin lines, I would recommend this test only to very dedicated researchers. FTDNA offers very good tools for analyzing matches; Ancestry does not. I'll post more on my experiences in a separate note later.

3) mtDNA (Mitochondrial DNA) Tests --- This test traces the strictly maternal line. It is interesting as a curiosity for deep maternal ancestry, but has very limited use for tracing surnames.

4) Y-DNA SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) Tests --- This is rapidly developing as a powerful adjunct to Y-STR testing. Detailed level SNP testing is becoming available that should be able to identify branches of families within a genealogical time frame. Targeted SNP testing is becoming a good follow-up to Y-DNA STR testing. We'll know much more in a couple of months.

These are my thoughts. Comments are welcome. Do you agree or disagree? What has been your experience?

Edwin
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Re: Which DNA Test to Choose?

Postby Glenham » Sun Feb 09, 2014 12:57 am

Thanks Edwin, that is very helpful. Glenn
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Re: Which DNA Test to Choose?

Postby D-Morrison » Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:10 pm

At FTDNA, the 37 STR marker test is a real workhorse, big value for the money and a LOT can be accomplished. The 12 marker test only proves that you are a human, and the 25 marker test does have its uses, although limited, but the 37 marker test is where the action really begins.

However, unless you can make a direct hit at 37 markers, be prepared to get involved with the many citizen-scientists who populate many of the FTDNA projects. That is what happened to me, as I have now tested to 111 markers, have completed the former Deep Clade test and am now awaiting Big Y test results. Those of us from the dark side of the moon need additional testing!

Best,

Doug
FTDNA 196477
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Re: Which DNA Test to Choose? --- SNP Testing

Postby morrisondna » Mon May 12, 2014 8:47 am

DNA testing for genealogy is a rapidly changing field. With the first round of results from FTDNA's new Big Y test now mostly in, we have seen the area of SNP testing take a quantum leap. Thousands of new SNP variants have been identified, to the extent that we have the prospect of identifying a chain of SNPs that can identify each genealogical surname line uniquely going back thousands of years. SNP testing does not replace the old standard of STR testing, but is a powerful new tool that can be used in parallel with it.

Although some work is being done to sort out these new SNPs in surname projects, such as the Morrison project, the really heavy lifting to sort out these new SNPs is primarily being through haplogroup projects. While we have over 50 genetic groups in our project, most haplogroup projects can focus on a few closely related genetic groups.

I would encourage all DNA researchers to consider joining a haplogroup project as well as a surname project. Usually, the best project to join will be based on the predicted haplogroup that FTDNA provides on your personal DNA pages. Another good source is to look at the haplogroup results for others in your group in our Morrison DNA Project Results table. If another person in your Morrison project group has tested to a more detailed or more recent haplogroup level, then you should consult with the administrator for that haplogroup project about joining as well.

The haplogroup project administrator will be able to advise you about recommended testing of additional SNPs. Generally, if a known relative has already done a test for a particular individual SNP, there is no need for you to do the same test. This will change in the future as more detailed tests become available.

This is an exciting new area for genealogical DNA testing. Please share any comments or questions.

Edwin
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Re: Which DNA Test to Choose?

Postby D-Morrison » Sat May 24, 2014 12:40 am

STR haplotype testing remains quite valid and useful, but more recently SNP haplogroup testing has become a focal center-point, especially with the advent of Next Generation SNP testing. Fortunately, at FTDNA there are a number of volunteer citizen-scientists on various projects who are trying to combine STR and SNP data in order to put the "big genetic picture" together. The point being that the further one goes into genetic testing, to higher and higher testing levels, the more detailed one's genetic history could be, particularly in regard as to who and what other families one could be related to.

You want to know? Open your wallet, get thoroughly tested and hand that data over to the scientists.

Yeah, there is no free lunch, no inexpensive way, but then, you get what you pay for.
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Re: Which DNA Test to Choose?

Postby morrisondna » Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:38 am

FTDNA has announced a sale on Big Y testing for this week. In addition, those who have already tested have received a coupon code that is good for a further $100 discount on a single Big Y test for any one other person. If you are interested in Big Y testing, this is the best pricing we have seen since last fall. If you do not have a coupon code, please let me know and we will ask around to see if someone has one to share.

Edwin
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Re: Which DNA Test to Choose?

Postby Morrison-Q » Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:29 am

Edwin - I have someone in Q that is probably going to do the test. If there is a coupon available that would be great.
Coit R. Morrison
Group Q - M32
FTDNA Kit #32434
Morrison-Q-DF41 Project Administrator
http://FamilyTreeDNA.com/public/Morrison-Q-DF41
http://Morrison-Q.com
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Re: Which DNA Test to Choose? --- SNP Testing

Postby morrisondna » Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:58 am

Results from Big Y SNP testing have been coming in for the past several months and are proving very interesting. In my own surname line, I have had about 30 private variants (SNPs that have been found in no line other than my own) that were discovered and reported through Big Y testing. As tests are completed for some of my paternal cousins, I expect to find that they share almost all of these variants, leaving a few that have occurred in my line since it branched off from that of my cousins.

I have posted some of the early SNP testing results for Group F Morrisons at http://www.geneticousins.com/L1403/L1403SNPTree.htm . These results can serve as an example for other groups in our DNA project. The blocks on the tree contain the names of SNPs that have been found in all of the people whose names and kit numbers are listed below the blocks. In the case of the Group F Morrisons, there are people of other surnames who share many of the more recent SNPs. This can be helpful in learning the history of all of these families as we study the areas where these various family names originated.

With the results we have so far, we see the results for Morrisons beginning to form a cluster, indicating more recent relationship. Additional results are due over the next few weeks and are expected to help us complete a clearer picture of how the Group F Morrisons are related to each other and to the other surnames on this chart.

Edwin
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Re: Which DNA Test to Choose?

Postby morrisondna » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:39 am

As mentioned above, Big Y testing has been very helpful in locating new variants (SNPs). Some of these are several thousand years old and are useful in determining which lines share ancient common descent with other lines. This can yield excellent insights into the migration history of a family over the past several thousand years. On the other end, some of the newly found variants are exclusive to a particular branch of a family and can be useful for genealogical purposes. SNP matches such as these can be much more definitive than standard STR matches.

Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) tests such as Big Y are still expensive, but prices are coming down. Full Genomes Corporation now offers a test more comprehensive than Big Y for $595. And FTDNA has dropped the cost of Big Y to match this new test. Once new SNPs have been identified by NGS tests, it is possible to test potential cousins for individual SNPs for a much lower price---as low as $25 per SNP in a recent sale at www.yseq.net .

Detailed SNP testing is a very promising new area. We expect to have success stories to report in some of our Morrison and Gilmore family groups over the coming months.
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Re: Which DNA Test to Choose?

Postby morrisondna » Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:58 pm

Anyone looking for lower cost Y-DNA testing should check out the options offered by YSEQ ( http://www.yseq.net ). YSEQ can provide results for most FTDNA STR markers for a good price and with a quick turnaround. For example, current pricing for 31 markers is $85. Owner Thomas Krahn advised that additional marker panels will be added soon. The main drawback to YSEQ testing is in not being part of the FTDNA matching database. However, that can somewhat be overcome by working through the Morrison project and Ysearch.org to find your matches.

Edwin
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Re: Which DNA Test to Choose? --- SNP Packs

Postby morrisondna » Sun Sep 06, 2015 7:21 pm

FTDNA has recently begun suggesting SNP Packs, or collections of specific single-SNP tests, that are targeted based on individual prior test results. These SNP Packs can be a good way to find your closest relatives on the human haplotree at a very reasonable cost. However, if someone else in your Group in the Morrison DNA Project already has low level SNP results, you may be able to skip this step and simply test for one of the lower level SNPs. Haplogroup project administrators are in a good position to suggest the best option for an individual case. If you do choose to test a SNP Pack, it is essential that you only order a SNP Pack that has been determined to be appropriate for you. Any other SNP Pack is certain to yield negative results and would be a waste of money. If FTDNA has recommended a SNP Pack for you, it will be listed in your Haplotree section of your personal pages. SNP Packs have not been made available for all situations, so there may not be one that suits your DNA results. SNP Packs are also offered by YSEQ.

Edwin
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Re: Which DNA Test to Choose?

Postby morrisondna » Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:36 pm

Recent results in Group F of the Morrison DNA Project highlight the importance of SNP testing to verify STR matches. We now have two Morrisons who were matches to the rest of Group F at the 37-marker level, but the matches fell apart at the 111-marker level. Most of Group F is in Haplogroup R-L1402, but these two new members are in Haplogroup R-DF63. That means the two new members are not related to the others in Group F within 4000 years. We have created a new Subgroup F4 for the R-DF63 Morrisons.

As a reminder, our DNA groups are based on low-level STR results. A number of other DNA groups have been split into subgroups as more markers have been tested. In some cases, these subgroups will be related to other subgroups in the same DNA group, and some cases they will not. The only way to tell for certain is through SNP testing. It would be ideal if at least one member of each subgroup in the project would complete a SNP discovery test, such as Big Y or one of the similar tests now offered by other companies. Prices for these tests continue to come down and are becoming a more economical alternative to testing more STRs and/or using SNP Packs to refine or verify matches.
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