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Thread: Best DNA Ancestry Company?

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    Best DNA Ancestry Company?



    What is the best company for DNA Ancestry testing?

    Thank you.

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    Family Tree DNA is by far the best in my opinion.

    The prices and range of services are excellent. The fact that each customer gets his or her own "myFTDNA" web pages, where matches and all sorts of other pertinent and important information is displayed, is just unbeatable.

    FTDNA is the gold standard in dna testing. I know that's been said before, but it's true anyway.
    Last edited by rms2; 05-02-10 at 17:04.

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    The problem with FTDNA is that you need further test to get to know your subclades. I think the best 23andMe but is also the most expensive. They do also Autosomal DNA

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    It depends what is your purpose. Overall I recommend 23andMe because it is the best value, most complete, fastest to get your results (usually 3 weeks) and allows so much more than simple Y-DNA and mtDNA tests. You will know immediately your deep subclade for both Y-DNA and mtDNA too.

    The only thing that 23andMe doesn't do is testing for Y-DNA STR markers. It is only useful if :

    1) you are trying to estimate (very roughly) the number of generations between your Y-chromosome (not you) and another man's Y-chromosome. It's quite technical and that's only useful if you are going to study the origins and migration patterns of a specific haplogroup or subclade, or if you are trying to verify if two families sharing the same surname descend from a common ancestors within historical times (but the other family also need to take the sale Y-DNA test otherwise it's meaningless).

    2) you are looking for patrilineal or matrilineal relatives

    I do not recommend FTDNA, Genebase or other companies selling STR and single SNP tests, because the costs and testing time have no end. The cheapest option to test both Y-DNA and mtDNA at FTDNA costs 200 USD. This test cannot tell you more than your top level haplogroup. You will soon realise that a simple 12, 24 or 37 STR test (or a HVR1 + HVR2 for mtDNA) is not satisfactory at all to determine your subclade. You will then need a SNP test to confirm your haplogroup or subclade, then another one to see if you could not belong to this or that subclade, but a dozen others to verify all the subclades... At the end your bill reaches 1000 USD and all you got is your Y-DNA subclade. Add another 400 USD for your mtDNA haplogroup. The 400 USD of 23andMe start to look amazingly cheap in comparison, because it gives you all this + autosomal DNA worth hundreds of time more.

    Some people use DNA tests to find relatives. Few ever find relatives. All the companies present their product as if you could really find someone. Try Ysearch or mitosearch and either you will have no match or thousands of them; depending on your haplogroup and the resolution chosen (everybody gets thousands of matches with 12 STR markers).

    23andMe now has a autosomal relative finder. The principle is good, but with just a few (tens of) thousands customers how can you expect to be so lucky as to stumble on a relative within 5 generations that you don't already know about.

    Then why would you want to know a 5th cousin anyway ? I personally find it useless unless you were adopted or your father is not your genetic father and your mother won't tell you (or doesn't know/remember whatever) who it is. Even so, you will only find the person you are looking for if they have registered with the same service (highly unlikely). Adopted people typically have dead parents or parents who are too poor or uneducated to take a DNA test for fun. So what's the point ? I don't understand how the whole industry is directed at such people when the only thing that concerns everybody in the world is deep ancestry and ethnic history.

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    I disagree. STR testing is necessary in order to get some idea of geographic origin and possible membership in a cluster, and one cannot get that with 23andMe.

    I spent around three to four hundred dollars with FTDNA, got 67 markers and complete SNP results, and found a second cousin I didn't know existed. I also have a 65/67 match with a man born in England, close haplotype neighbors who seem to cluster in the West Midlands of England (where my English match was born), and that has helped me rethink and cast aside an erroneous line I had been pursuing for a number of years in my paper trail genealogical research.

    FTDNA's system allows newbies to get into dna testing relatively cheaply, get their feet wet, learn a bit, and then move on to more advanced testing as they desire it. FTDNA also sponsors dna projects that have contributed a great deal to advancing genetic genealogy.

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    Family Tree is recommended by Nat Geo for STR testing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cambria Red View Post
    Family Tree is recommended by Nat Geo for STR testing.
    They are not "recommended", they are business associates. Family Tree DNA does all the testing for National Geographic's Genographic Project, which by the way is a joke. They only test for 12 STR markers for Y-DNA and HVR1 for mtDNA. That's completely useless for any serious research. What's more National Geographic still hasn't corrected on their site that R1b is not of Paleolithic Western European origin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rms2 View Post
    I disagree. STR testing is necessary in order to get some idea of geographic origin and possible membership in a cluster, and one cannot get that with 23andMe.
    That may be useful for haplogroups that have few identified subclades at the moment, like I1, I2b and R1a. But things will change once deeper subclades will be identified. I am personally reluctant to link STR clusters to geographic origins because they don't always match the SNP phylogeny. Just look at the famous Cohanim STR marker, which is the same for people who are J1 and J2. How is that even possible ?


    I spent around three to four hundred dollars with FTDNA, got 67 markers and complete SNP results, and found a second cousin I didn't know existed.
    And how did that make you feel ? Did you meet that cousin ? Do you have anything in common except genealogy ? I personally do not have much in common even with close family members, much less with first cousins, so I don't see the value of knowing I am the fifth cousin of someone who is a perfect stranger to me. Fifth cousins rarely share more DNA than non-related individuals anyway.

    FTDNA's system allows newbies to get into dna testing relatively cheaply, get their feet wet, learn a bit, and then move on to more advanced testing as they desire it. FTDNA also sponsors dna projects that have contributed a great deal to advancing genetic genealogy.
    FTDNA was a pioneer in genetic genealogy, that's true. But since 23andMe's entry in the market I have to be honest and say that they just cannot compete any more unless they offer a similar or better product at equal price. I also started with the STR tests a few years ago, so I am talking from experience. It took me months of excruciatingly waiting to get my full Y-DNA results. For the speed of delivery alone I would go a hundred times with 23andMe.

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    Gentlemen, thank you for taking the time to reply.

    I only wish I'd thought to ask this question BEFORE using EthnoAncestry and Genebase.

    Doh!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    They are not "recommended", they are business associates. Family Tree DNA does all the testing for National Geographic's Genographic Project, which by the way is a joke. They only test for 12 STR markers for Y-DNA and HVR1 for mtDNA. That's completely useless for any serious research. What's more National Geographic still hasn't corrected on their site that R1b is not of Paleolithic Western European origin.
    Yes, your right, they are associates.

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    Found relatives

    By FamilyreeDNA I found 3 step mutations cousin at 37 markers from USA.
    His ancestor moved from Finland to USA.
    I'm grateful to the company that I found relatives.
    What's surprisingly is that I have not nearer sibling that US cousin in FamilytreeDNA's database, even in Finland.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mika68 View Post
    By FamilyreeDNA I found 3 step mutations cousin at 37 markers from USA.
    His ancestor moved from Finland to USA.
    I'm grateful to the company that I found relatives.
    What's surprisingly is that I have not nearer sibling that US cousin in FamilytreeDNA's database, even in Finland.
    With mitosearch you can input your mitochondrial mutations and search the database. It doesn't matter with which company you tested. Data is data. Even 23andMe now gives the mutations in the same format as other companies, in addition to the SNP reference number (rs.....).

    Then how comes you have close relatives that you didn't know about ? I do not know anybody (outside Internet forums) in that kind of situation. If they are close relatives and you do not have anybody left in your family to ask who they are, I think the easiest and most efficient solution is to ask the government to check the population registry for genealogical purposes. They shouldn't refuse such a request. They can tell you who your parents, grand-parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc. are. Once you've got the names, search the telephone directory. Only a fraction of the population has done mtDNA or Y-DNA tests, so you won't be able to find everyone. Then, always double-check with an autosomal DNA test how closely you are related, because mtDNA and Y-DNA can remain unchanged for over 50 generations (well, less for Y-DNA but no company offers a full scan, and STR markers are only a small part of the picture as nobody tests all 700+ STR).

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    I still think Family Tree DNA is the best bet overall for dna testing. I would also like to do the 23andMe testing, and I may do so sometime in the near future.

    But most people are not going to plop down $400-$500 for 23andMe testing unless they already know something about dna testing and genetics. A basic 12-marker y-dna test from FTDNA is still just $99. It gets a person in the door, asking questions and learning. It also whets his curiosity and desire for more.

    I was pretty enthused when I found my second cousin because of what started as an exact 12-marker match through Family Tree DNA. I'm still very happy about it.

    Are the people at FTDNA perfect? No, but they're damned good.

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    The strong point of FTDNA is their haplogroup and national/regional projects. Apart from that the difference with its main rival, Genebase, is not spectacular. They offer pretty much the same service.

    I have had the chance to compare several testing companies for myself, relatives or friends, so I think I can be objective about my recommendations. I know people who had to wait almost 1 year to get their Y-STR results with FTDNA !! I got the first part in about 2 months, but that is still a long wait. 23andMe takes between 2 and 4 weeks.

    It's true that prices have decreased over the last two years. For example the mtDNA full sequence at FTDNA used to cost 499$, but is now at 279$. This is only because of competition though. FTDNA dropped its price when Genebase started offering the mtDNA full sequence at 339$.

    EthnoAncestry has always been more expensive for STR testing. It used to have a nice haploview test that determined once Y-haplogroup and subclade (except for some R1b subclades) directly through SNP testing. Unfortunately they replaced it with a poor-value 27-STR test (ridiculously priced at 269$, the same price as a 67-STR test at FTDNA).

    I would only recommend a 67-STR Y-DNA or full sequence mtDNA test with any company if the price was under 100$ each. In other words it is still at least 2.5 times too expensive now.

    A 67-STR Y-DNA still requires additional SNP testing for deep subclades (now priced at 89$ at either FTDNA or Genebase), so the total cost to know both one's Y-DNA and mtDNA haplogroup and deep subclade is still at the very minimum 490$ (119$ for a 12-STR + 89$ for deep clade + 279$ for mtDNA full sequence). This is actually more expensive than 23andMe (399$) to get the same information + autosomal DNA.

    We were promised full human genome testing for 1000$ this year. I do not see it coming. If it does, all testing companies (23andMe included) will have to slash their prices or offer the same test, otherwise they will go bankrupt. I think that is why the long-awaited affordable complete genome won't be available to the general public for many more years. Too many interests at stake.

    Just to give an idea of what companies are testing.

    - Deep subclade Y-DNA test (89$ at FTDNA or Genebase) : approx. 10 to 50 SNP's depending on the haplogroup
    - Full mtDNA test (279$ at FTDNA) : 16,500 SNP's
    - Complete 23andMe test (499$) : 577,000 SNP's
    - Complete deCODEme test (985$) : 1,200,000 SNP's
    - Full human genome (expected to cost 1000$ by end of 2010) : over 1.5 million SNP's out of 3,000 million base pairs (actual number of SNP's varies between individuals).


    Unless one cares only about patrilinear and matrilinear genealogy (something I cannot imagine) there is no reason not to test autosomal DNA. Y-DNA and mtDNA are more popular because aDNA used to be prohibitively expensive. But if one can know his or her full genone for 1000$ and just a tiny part of one's genome for 490$, what do you think rational people will do ?

    The big gap was passing from just Y-DNA and mtDNA, or single aDNA SNP's, to millions of SNP's. This step was taken by 23andMe and deCODEme. The full genome will only improve that a bit by revealing rare mutations in all of us, but due to their rarity we almost certainly won't know what they mean, if they have any effect at all on phenotype or health.

    It is misleading to tell people that they should start with a cheap Y-STR or mtDNA test. This won't provide much useful information, and the cost of upgrading will be higher than if one orders a complete test from the start. So the bottom line is that FTDNA, Genebase or other similar companies do not at present offer a way to test for both Y-chromosomal and mitochondrial haplogroups and deep subclades for less than 490$ (more if not ordered in a package at the cheapest company). If that is your aim, just go for a 23andMe test; it will save you time and money. If it's too expensive for you, then wait that prices go down. Taking a partial test won't save you money over the long run.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 09-02-10 at 13:51.

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    The bottom line is that more people can come up with $99 to try 12-marker y-dna testing or HVR1 testing than can come up with $400 or $500 for what might amount to a better deal in the long run, a bargain they are not equipped to understand before they get very far into dna testing anyway.

    The cheaper test gets them into the field, into the databases, into dna projects, asking questions, learning, and potentially open to ordering testing upgrades. Family Tree DNA gives them a nice set of interactive web pages, the "myFTDNA" pages, where they can see their matches and contact them, upload their haplotypes to Ysearch or Mitosearch easily and automatically, order upgrades and a la carte tests, and join dna projects.

    Would I like to see FTDNA improve its services in some ways (especially the turn-around time for test results)? Sure!

    But I am still convinced that FTDNA is the best overall testing company, especially for introducing new people to the hobby.

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    If that is your aim, just go for a 23andMe test; it will save you time and money. If it's too expensive for you, then wait that prices go down.
    What about the real saving? When you know your DNA and predisposition to certain disease you can go preventive to delay the onset or even avoid it completely. Just this can save you tens of thousands of dollars, and improve standard of your life, especially in older age.

    Actually these testing can save our medical system. It'll be more costly at the beginning to start testing everyone. But fewer sick people later which equal tons of mula in ours and governments pockets. Not mentioning a better quality of life for most people, increased productivity, bigger GDP, etc.

    Having these tools already available, I'm extremely surprised that there is silence on it in mass media, expert panels, politicians, etc
    Well except for few visionaries and geniuses, like Mr George Church.

    http://www.personalgenomes.org/

    He wants to enroll 100,000 participants and test their genome for free. The catch is all your info is public and will serve in giant database.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    Well except for few visionaries and geniuses, like Mr George Church.
    http://www.personalgenomes.org/
    He wants to enroll 100,000 participants and test their genome for free. The catch is all your info is public and will serve in giant database.
    I thought about it before, but unfortunately it is only for US residents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I thought about it before, but unfortunately it is only for US residents.
    It also sounds too much like work to me!

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    So the consensus seems to be that it's between FTDNA and 23AndMe. I take it you guys don't rate Genebase or EthnoAncestry?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidCoutts View Post
    So the consensus seems to be that it's between FTDNA and 23AndMe. I take it you guys don't rate Genebase or EthnoAncestry?
    EthnoAncestry is too expensive and doesn't have enough tests.

    Genebase and FTDNA are similar, but FTDNA has the projects.

    23andMe is the best but only has one all-inclusive test, so it's requires more money from the start.

    There is another option that hasn't been mentioned yet, SMGF, which offers free Y-DNA and mtDNA tests, but results can get over a year to get and they have special conditions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidCoutts View Post
    So the consensus seems to be that it's between FTDNA and 23AndMe. I take it you guys don't rate Genebase or EthnoAncestry?
    My vote goes to Family Tree DNA as the overall best dna testing company. I've been pleased with its services.

    23andMe is excellent but a little too pricey for the average person who is just starting to get into genetic genealogy, and it doesn't give one haplotype information.

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    My vote goes to DecodeMe.

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    Maciamo, what is your opinion regarding dna tests which estimate your percentage of world population groups, e.g. European, Sub-Saharan African, East Asian or Native Amerindians and Caucasian sub-groups : North & S.E. European, Middle Eastern and S. Asian?

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    I paid for 23andme, and got deCODEme for free. I like both. I uploaded my info to Mitosearch but wasn't impressed. First my mtdna wasn't an option, J1c3 (J1c is), and the limited number of mutations most people use (FTDNA) doesn't differentiate other than basic haplogroups. So far, that hasn't yielded anything interesting. 23andme has a lively forum, new info all the time, and something for everyone. deCODEme has neat tools and functions, and tests more snp's most people want. For example, most people interested in health want their APOE results: deCODEme tests the relevant snp's; 23andme is missing one. I'm happy with what I have...so far 3 people tested, and will receive another test in the next week or so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nasturtium View Post
    I paid for 23andme, and got deCODEme for free. I like both. I uploaded my info to Mitosearch but wasn't impressed.
    Mitosearch belongs to FTDNA. It's free and anybody can upload their data, but I agree that it is too basic and the search function would benefit from more advanced options (like selecting multiple subclades or geographic regions for searches) and more haplogroups in the list. This applies to Ysearch as well.

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