Anyone use DNA testing?

I’m primary interested in the numbers — what percentage European or African I am. Has anyone used a test kit from any of the following? Your thoughts?

Family Tree DNA
National Geographic Geno 2.0

Yes, I got my aunt to buy the 23andMe kit a couple of years ago. It was just a simple cheek swab and the results were mailed and available online within 30 days. The big surprise isn’t what was there but what wasn’t there. We both already knew that side of the family was mostly English but we expected small amounts of lines that were not there and one that was completely unexpected (but in tiny amounts). We had no problems with the kit, processing, results presentation or customer service.

My mother bought every in the family an DNA testing kit for Christmas this year and my results are still pending (it takes up to 6 weeks). The kit is nicely designed and you just have to spit a few times in a tube, seal it up in a protective bag and send it back in a prepaid mailer. The big advantage for for me at least is that I have already done thousands of hours of work on my extended family tree and you can tie the DNA test to it to help prove or disprove certain lines. It is also smart about finding relatives that you may not even know about (that can obviously be good or bad). I won’t have a full opinion of it until I get my results back but I have seen other people’s and they are a little more sophisticated than those from 23andMe a couple of years ago (that may have changed because the science and testing companies are rapidly evolving) and it ties back automatically with any family data you already have on

The National Genographic Project is the least commercial of the bunch and I have read the books and articles that summarize the results so far but I have never seen an individual result from it so I can’t give an opinion from a consumer standpoint. I do know that they use the results in some very large-scale scientific studies so you will be contributing to that if you decide to use theirs.

I should answer your basic question. I believe any of them will meet your stated needs. They send you you a report (mailed, online or both) with a breakdown by population, area of origin and your percentages from each. Those can be very specific to fairly general depending on your ancestral breakdown. Any of them can break out Africa, Asia, Southern Europe, Northern Europe and even subdivide those into smaller populations like Scandinavia or even Ireland for example but they can’t tell you anything really specific unless they use a strategy like that also matches you up with other people already in their database.

If you are someone like me, a big part of your pie chart will just be labeled ‘Non-specific Northern European’ which isn’t really that exciting because I already knew that. They can’t break many factors down any further than that because the area that represents them is so broad. It makes you wish for just one Eskimo or Australian Aborigine in there somewhere to spice things up.

My mom had hers done by and it didn’t seem very specific. It was just “eastern european” (which was not a surprise) and “eastern european jewish”…which was a surprise! We had no idea there was any Jewish in our bloodline. Our ancestors musta been lazy and forgot to carry on the TRADITION! (tradition!)

I did 3 of them. A surprise 2nd cousin fell out of the family tree, given up for adoption 50 years ago, and that caused a minor scandal. Other than that it helped verify the family tree that I already had, sometimes 5 or 7 generations back. Also it helped eliminate that Indian princess that everybody’s grandfather swears is in his bloodline.

Reviews as follows:
[li]23andme: Best non-ancestry DNA information (health, physical traits). This turned out to be less interesting than I thought (why yes, I have curly hair and wet earwax, but I already knew that).[/li][li] best genealogy research site, best DNA tie-in to genealogy data[/li][li]FTDNA: most DNA intensive genealogy, offering deep Y-dna matches, mtdna matches, and autosomal matches as well as participation in various DNA research projects.[/li][/ul]

In retrospect I think I’d skip 23andme and just do and ftdna.

Just an aside to be aware of (privacy issue):

Police request DNA data from Ancestry and 23andMe databases

I used 23andme and I liked the experience. One family legend was put to rest, with some unexpected new information providing a likely explanation.

I used 23andMe, then downloaded my genome and put it through Promethease to get health information. Since then 23andMe has been cleared by the FDA to provide health information, but they don’t provide much compared to Promethease. I strongly suggest using both companies.

Big parts of my family have used Ancestry. It worked pretty well for us and filled in some blanks we didn’t even know existed and proved some things that we had no written records to back up; just oral traditions.

I’ve used National Geographic Geno 1 and 2.0

I chose it because you can be 100% anonymous if you want. Which I did choose.

I haven’t. My BIL has rapidly progressing Huntington’s. I wonder whether any of their 3 young adult children have been tested.

I did 23andme. It was based on not doing Ancestry.

My primary goal was to verify if I had native American blood. My family tree, based on what I could put together, said no, but family history said yes.

All of the services will answer that question, mostly, and I’m my case the answer was no, I am from across the pond. The ‘mostly’ is because some of the native American tribes are very extinct, and not available for testing. Maybe I am, but it’s from a long way back, and it can’t be detected.

The other consideration is Neanderthal. I believe we are all part Neanderthal (well, not those all completly from the great rift valley) , but Ancestry, being owned by those not believing that humans and Neanderthals fucked and had babies, does not include Neanderthal in the mix.

I have 279 Neanderthal variants. That makes me about average for NAmericans and Europeans as far as I know.

23andme cost more these days, about 2x or so. It’s because they include a lot of health info the others don’t. There is info on a lot of genetic carrier info they include that the others do not. Maybe that will interest you but they don’t include BRCA.

One of my nephews used 23andme. He showed us the results, which were surprisingly/amazingly interesting, considering I had no interest in the idea previously.

Doesn’t Native American show up as Asian on most tests? The more subtle tests might indicate tribe–but all the tribes are subsets of “Asian.” (Of course, modern tribe members may not be that pure–who is?)

I keep hearing that the Cherokee princess is an old legend for many White & Black American families. Usually, it isn’t true.

Personally, I find the idea somewhat interesting. My own background is Irish/Irish/Irish/Scotch Irish & maybe French. Mostly fairly recent immigrants, but a few lines go back far enough that some interesting genes might show up.

I’ve done FTDNA, 23andMe and Ancestry.

If you are looking for your countries of origin, Ancestry is the most wishy washy. 23andMe updates your results as their technology and database is refined.

DNA Day (April 25) is coming up. Most of the companies will run specials around then.

I did NatGeo, which came up with:

43% Northern European
38% Mediterranean
18% Southwest Asian

…which to the novice blandly-Caucasian user sounds a little interesting (hey, where’d all that Mediterranean and Southwest Asian stuff come from?) but is actually fairly standard for us bland Caucasians. They compare you to “reference populations” and in my case the reference populations of British and Germans are very similar.

As an adoptee, it was nice to do the test, although hardly earth-shattering. I too had to relinquish the “Indian princess” in my heritage. To be fair, I only theorized that when I looked up on-line my characteristic of extra nerves in my teeth, which is a trait associated with Native Americans. I knew some of my bio ancestors were Amish and that the Amish had taken in some Indian children in order to raise them as good Christians, so I figured I had that somewhere in my background. But no - I was just yet another embarrassing example of wishful thinking about the mystique of Native American heritage.

The only mildly interesting thing it came up with was that my mitochondrial DNA is T1a1, which seems a little unusual, though scarcely unheard of, for your basic Northern European mutt. But I wish there was more info available on that.

Later I popped the raw data from NatGeo into promethease (which I learned about from the SDMB) but I try not to think too much about that, as in isolation the results are a little unsettling. Perhaps everyone’s results show little blips for bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, autism, and other problems, but I can’t say I was pleased to see them lurking in my genes.

The one thing I console myself with on the promethease data is that the very first thing that comes up (in terms of significance) is a “reduced chance of severe myopia.” That’s pretty funny actually because I have pathological myopia to an extent that all my ophthalmologists over the years have identified me as their most extreme case ever. So that protective gene sure didn’t work. (Digging deeper, there are two-three genetic markers for myopia which the program did not rank as significant; obviously, however, those managed to express themselves.)

Anyway, the worst part of doing these tests is not being able to compare yourself easily to others. I’d feel a lot better about all those bad genetic markers if I knew that they are typical. Promethease does in some cases say “10% of Caucasians carry this gene” and things like that, but there is no way for me to know how common it is for one person to carry a LOT of those scary sounding things.

Anyway, I’m still functioning, so I pretty much ignore promethease and get on with my life. It does help me to understand why the FDA clamped down on 23-and-me for providing health info, however. Obviously we are not yet at a stage where a lot of that data is reliable on an individual basis.