Friday, November 29, 2019

7 best Black Friday deals on DNA test kits

(Please note that GSHA-SC does not recommend one over another. We are just presenting the information to our readers. Most of the Genealogy Companies such as MyHeritage, Ancestry.com, FamilytreeDNA and Health Company 23andMe are having sales prior to the Holidays. Please check their sites or check out Amazon thru our SmileAmazon for the best prices.)

All of us are at least a little bit curious about our own genetics – especially since DNA kits have seen tremendous growth in recent years. But spending a fortune to learn about yourself can seem a bit superfluous. We’ve got good news for you, though. Right now, these test kits are on sale for Black Friday a week early, so you can discover all your eccentricities without feeling capricious. Just remember to enter the code BFSAVE15 at checkout to slash an additional 15% off the sale price.

Read in New York Post, hit here

What Can a Simple DNA Test Reveal About You in 2019? Everything.

Mailing your spit to a company so they can tell you vaguely where you came from has been around for a while. (I tried it in college and was dismayed to learn that, as my ruddy peasant complexion has always suggested, I am 95 percent Northwestern European.) But ancestral knowledge is not what’s projected to turn direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing into a $310 million industry by 2022. That boom will come from a major shift in focus from our long-dead relatives to ourselves. For a vial of saliva and a hundred bucks, you can now get detailed reports on how your unique genetic variations may be affecting your sleep, mood, life expectancy, and ability to carry a tune.

I recently took many of these tests. And for someone who balks at saying her Social Security number out loud, I was surprised at how easily I handed over my most personal possession — a detailed map to every cell in my body — to companies I basically knew nothing about. The prospect of being rigorously analyzed as a specimen at the most fundamental level was just too intriguing to pass up. Sure, my lifestyle and health decisions have been rigorously analyzed before — not long ago, I spent a year living with my parents­ — but this wasn’t my mom suggesting I might like to “go for a nice walk.” This was science.

Over 99 percent of my genome is the same as yours; in particular places, though, variations occur. And a subset of those variations has been associated with certain diseases or traits. DTC genetic testing companies make their predictions and recommendations based on a very tiny proportion of that very specific subset. Most of them don’t test your DNA themselves; they send the saliva samples to third-party labs to be translated into the unique sequence of compounds that make up your genetic code.

This information is then sent back to the company, where scientists analyze the data and compare your genetic variations to those that research has connected to different diseases or characteristics. “The information powering all of these companies is in the public domain,” says José Ordovás, the director of the Nutrition and Genomics Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. “The distinction comes in how much of this information they decide to use and the type of research that they consider valid.”

Although the recommendations I got weren’t far off from health tips I’ve heard before, I found that I actually followed them.

So far, there is not much oversight of this burgeoning industry. Most of the independent genetics experts I spoke with stressed the distinction between at-home genetics and the technology that doctors and research labs are using. It’s not that these tests are inaccurate — it’s just that they’re usually looking at a narrow group of genes and making predictions based on a single variation. So I chose to take my results like my horoscope: fun to think about, but not exactly gospel.

But there may be one way that DTC genetic tests are genuinely useful. Although the recommendations I got weren’t far off from health tips I’ve heard before, I found that I actually followed them. I upped my exercise and finally traded prescription sleep aids for melatonin. And I’m not alone. Research has shown that people are significantly more likely to make health changes based on genetic test results than on general medical advice from a doctor.

To read more of this article hit here

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

DNA test reunites half brothers; both were cops in Florida

Two Florida police officers working in different parts of the state recently discovered they are half brothers, thanks to a DNA test.

To watch the video hit here

Monday, November 25, 2019

Come prepared for the General Meeting on Dec 7, 2019

In the past, we have enjoyed tamales, enchiladas, delicious casseroles, pozole and more. We need mostly entrees and a few healthy salads, too. Desserts are also welcome. We will provide the drinks and paper goods. This is your opportunity to share with GSHA-SC your favorite cooking recipes. We do not have a stove at the SCGS Library where we meet in Burbank, so please bring a crockpot to keep your foods warm.

Please be the recipe of the food item you want to share in the great spirit of Christmas and the
holidays. Also, please remember to bring your checkbook. Consider buying  one of our self published books as a gift for the holidays. We are also happy to collect your dues for 2020. Dues help us continue to provide great speakers and events throughout the year. More importantly, sign up to be a volunteer!

We will be having a silent auction to help our organization out. We have several prizes that our geared for the  genealogist. You do not have to be present for them. If you are interested in participating please download the Holiday Door Prizes raffle prize and submit them to the organization by Dec 3rd, to our mailing address: PO Box 2472, Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670.

We’re Losing Generations of Family History Because We Don’t Share Our Stories But here's how to get your kids, siblings, and parents talking.

Here is a quote from an article by Rachael Rifkin in the Good Housekeeping web site:

“Most people don’t know much about their family history. This is because people usually don’t become interested in genealogy until they’re in their 50s and 60s, when they have more time to reflect on their family identity. The problem is that by that time, their grandparents and parents have often already passed away or are unable to recount their stories.

“Because of this, we’re losing generations of stories, and all of the benefits that come with them. ‘Because our families are among the most important social groups we belong to and identify with, stories about our family tell us who we are in the world, and who we should be,’ says Robyn Fivush, Ph.D., one of the researchers behind the study The Power of Family History in Adolescent Identity and Well-Being. ‘Stories about our parents and grandparents provide models of both good and bad times, as well as models of overcoming challenges and sticking together.’

“The solution to this problem is to get people interested in their family histories when they’re still adolescents or young adults, when they can still hear directly from relatives. But how do we cultivate an interest in each other to begin with?”

You can find a number of answers in Rachael Rifkin’s article, hit here

Sunday, November 24, 2019

23andMe comments on protection

The following is from an article by Kathy Hibbs, 23andMe’s Chief Legal and Regulatory Officer, as published in the company’s blog:

Our stance on protecting customers’ data
“A Florida judge recently issued a warrant granting law enforcement access to search the database of GEDmatch, a small publicly accessible DNA and genealogy research site. Allowing law enforcement access to GEDmatch’s nearly one million users should trouble anyone who values people’s right to privacy.

“It certainly troubles us here at 23andMe.

“Perhaps just as disturbing is GEDmatch’s apparent lack of scrutiny and challenge of the validity of the warrant issued.

“According to reporting by the New York Times, the company opened up its database to law enforcement within 24 hours of the judge’s decision. Given this timing, it does not appear that GEDmatch exhausted all legal avenues to challenge the warrant. In contrast, if we had received a warrant, we would use every legal remedy possible. And to be clear, because our database is and always has been private, we don’t believe that this decision impacts 23andMe.”

To read more information in the complete blog post, hit here

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Ancestry post a notice on Ancestry DNA

Your privacy is important to us. That’s why we want to share our position on a recent event where a Florida judge issued a search warrant to allow law enforcement to search all of GEDmatch, an open data personal genomics database. Following the issuance of the search warrant, GEDmatch opened its database of nearly one million users — beyond those who had consented to such access — within 24 hours. Ancestry believes that GEDmatch could have done more to protect the privacy of its users, by pushing back on the warrant or even challenging it in court. Their failure to do so is highly irresponsible, and deeply concerning to all of us here at Ancestry. GEDmatch’s actions stand in stark contrast to our values and commitment to our customers.

We want to be clear – protecting our customers’ privacy and being good stewards of their data is our highest priority. Not only will we not share customer information with law enforcement unless compelled to by valid legal process, such as a court order or search warrant, we will also always advocate for our customers’ privacy and seek to narrow the scope of any compelled disclosure, or even eliminate it entirely. You can find more information on our privacy philosophy here.

Additionally, each year we release a transparency report that outlines law enforcement requests for member data. To date, we have received no valid requests for information related to genetic information of any Ancestry member, nor have we disclosed any such information to law enforcement.

With regard to this situation, we, together with our partners at The Coalition for Genetic Data Protection, which was formed to advance business practices that ensure the privacy and security of an individual’s genetic data, have issued the following statement:

The Coalition for Genetic Data Privacy is deeply concerned by the recent decision by GEDMatch — a publicly accessible genetic database that is neither a member of our Coalition nor a signatory to the Best Practices — to not challenge the search warrant in the interests of their users’ privacy.

The Coalition believes that individuals deserve the full protection of the law when it comes to their personal and genetic data. This includes an obligation by companies who process genetic data to commit resources to closely scrutinize and challenge the validity of any warrant, including where the warrant may infringe on individuals’ Fourth Amendment rights.

When our users choose to upload their personal genetic data to other services that do not adhere to our Best Practices, they should carefully consider the commitments made by such services as they relate to law enforcement access.

It is incumbent on any company entrusted with sensitive personal information, including genetic data, to approach the issue of law enforcement access with a high degree of scrutiny, transparency, and prioritization of customer privacy.

We deeply value our Ancestry community and remain fiercely committed to providing a protected environment for journeys of personal discovery.
Eric Heath
Chief Privacy Officer, Ancestry

Thursday, November 21, 2019

DNA Results Reunite Siblings Separated Most of Their Lives

A brother from Texas and sister from Kentucky who were separated for most of their lives have been catching up on the past 53 years after matching DNA results online.

WYMT-TV reports Jim Lawless flew from Houston to Jackson County, Kentucky, to meet Tracy Walton. She had just told her husband that she didn't have any family anymore, before Lawless found her.

He says there was no question when he saw her photo that they are related. He says Walton looks like he did in high school and that his daughter looks like Walton.

Walton took a DNA test years ago. Lawless took his on Father's Day this year.

Walton says she and her husband plan to travel to Houston to visit her brother in the future.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Woman uses DNA test, finds sperm donor — and pays a "devastating" price

To watch the video hit here

Danielle Teuscher's 5-year-old daughter Zoe is one of thousands of children conceived with sperm from an anonymous donor. When Teuscher wanted to know more about her daughter's ancestry and possible health issues, she and other family members decided to get DNA tests from 23andMe and added one for Zoe. What turned up appeared to be one of the anonymous donor's immediate relatives. She was shocked.

The donated sperm had come from Northwest Cryobank, which offers donors anonymity, but Teuscher said the apparent relative she found on 23andMe listed themselves as open to messaging.

"I said 'I don't want to cross any boundaries. I just want to let you know that we are out here and we are open to contact if you are,'" Teuscher said.

The relative responded "I don't understand," so Teuscher said she let it go. But then she got a "cease and desist" letter from Northwest Cryobank, telling her not to contact the donor or "learn more information about his identity, background or whereabouts." The sperm bank warned it could "seek $20,000 in liquidated damages." Worst of all she said, it took back "four [4] additional vials of donor's sperm that" she "purchased" — sperm she'd planned to use to have Zoe's genetic siblings.

"Devastating. I mean ... I was shocked, I was crying for days, I could barely eat," Teuscher said. "I felt embarrassed almost. Here I thought I was doing this thing I thought was in the best interest of my daughter ... And then it just came back on me in just such a harsh way that made me feel like I did something terrible, like I was a criminal."

Northwest Cryobank told CBS News it does not prohibit DNA testing, but said "concern arises when one uses DNA test results to contact a donor and/or his family." The bank said clients like Teuscher have "contractually agreed to not independently seek the identity or attempt to contact these individuals." According to Teuscher, the contract was online.

"I mean, you just click the boxes," Teuscher said. Plus, she said, it's not all about her.

"My daughter is an actual living, breathing, feeling human being who did not sign that contract," Teuscher said.

Contracts or not, many donor-conceived children and their families are finding each other. Wendy Kramer runs the Donor Sibling Registry, a group that connects donor-conceived children and their families. Her own donor-conceived son has found 18 half-siblings, most of them through DNA test matches.

"All of us, thousands of us, have made these connections," Kramer said. "It's a right for everybody to know the truth about their own DNA, their own background, their relatives and their medical histories."

Northwest Cryobank said not all donors will want that opportunity. It said "there is a human being on the other side of the gift who may have a partner, parents, job and children of his own" and uninvited contact "could jeopardize these relationships and families."

But experts say in 2019, that contact may simply be unavoidable. He said despite our best efforts, it's impossible to promise anonymity anymore.

"The problem we have now is that the science has kind of overstepped where we are, in terms of legality," said Dr. Peter McGovern, an infertility specialist.

But Teuscher said with the loss of her vials, the promise of more children could be ended for her.

"They literally took my babies. My future babies," she said.

After we contacted Northwest Cryobank for this story, a representative sent Teuscher an email saying the bank would refund the money she paid for those additional vials of her donor's sperm, but did not offer to give her vials back.

The representative we spoke to at Northwest Cryobank told us that this is the only letter threatening legal action that they've ever sent to a client, to his knowledge.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Don't forget to renew your affinity designation to Ralph's Community Contribution Program

I know we listed "It is time to renew your Ralphs Community Contribution Program!", but because Ralphs had to change its computers  to handled the new credit cards, some or all of those who renewed in September will have to do it once again to help out our organization. PLEASE CHECK TO SEE IF YOUR AFFINITY CARD IS STILL HOOK TO GSHA-SC!

Thanks to all of the GSHA-SC members and friends who joined the Ralphs Community Contribution Program in support of the Southern California Genealogical Society. GSHA-SC receives over $200+ each year through participation in this program. Ralphs policy requires that participants re-join the program every year. All of our members who are currently enrolled in the Ralphs Community Contribution Program must update their information to continue to participate in the program.

Sign up or re-enroll here (see below).

Thanks for supporting GSHA-SC!Ralphs policy requires that participants re-join the program every year. Take advantage of their annual Fall Drive and update your information in September of each year.

All of our members who are currently enrolled in the Ralphs Community Contribution Program must update their information, ONCE A YEAR, to continue to participate in the program.
1. Log in to www.ralphs.com and Click Sign In and log into your account (or register for an account, then follow these steps)

2. SCROLL DOWN and find the COMMUNITY REWARDS section - Click the ENROLL button if you are new. If you are re-enrolling then go to Account box and double click it. It will display information on your account.
You may be prompted to fill in your name & address and save/submit...once you reach the Find your Organization


4. Toggle the button in front of GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY of HISPANIC AMERICA
Click the ENROLL again - and you are done!

If you need help please bring your Ralphs card number at the next meeting and we will assist you in signing or re-enrolling you up!

Support our organization by shopping thru Amazon smile

Support our organization by shopping thru Amazon smile
The holidays are approaching and you can make a difference for our organization!  AmazonSmile donates to Genealogical Society of Hispanic America-So CA Branch when you do your holiday shopping at smile.amazon.com/ch/33-0589453

Saturday, November 16, 2019

She grew up thinking she was white. Then she took a DNA test.

Christine Jacobsen’s discovery, through a home DNA test, that she had a black father led her to grapple with complicated questions about racial identity. “In my heart, I feel a connection.”

Ms. Jacobsen took her first consumer DNA test in 2016. When the test revealed 22% African ancestry, it appeared to confirm a story she was told, once, when she was 16 years old.

She grew up in Queens, N.Y., the only child of parents born in Denmark who immigrated to the U.S. in 1949. Her mother, Jytte Jacobsen, was a beautician whose alcoholism eventually prevented her from working. Jack Jacobsen, her father, was a sound engineer, who worked on the Oscar-winning movie “Apocalypse Now,” among others. Her parents had other relationships, she said.

The couple went out frequently to jazz clubs and nightclubs, making a point to meet the performers after the show. The party often continued back at the Jacobsen home.

One afternoon in May 1968, when she was 16, Ms. Jacobsen returned home from school and got into an argument with a man she knew was her mother’s lover. In the heat of the moment, she recalled, the man blurted out a secret her mother had confided in him: Ms. Jacobsen’s biological father wasn’t the man raising her. Her actual father was black.

Ms. Jacobsen’s mother, upset, started pacing around the room, but said it was possible. She pulled out a picture tucked inside a book. It was a publicity photo of a man, a dancer. The man was from the Bahamas, her mother said. His name was Paul. Ms. Jacobsen remembers thinking he had a beautiful smile, and a face that felt familiar in a way she found difficult to express.

“I think this might be your father,” her mother said.

The incident shocked Ms. Jacobsen. Later that evening, after her father got back from work, she recounted what happened. Her father dismissed the idea out of hand, telling Ms. Jacobsen it couldn’t possibly be true, and that she looked just like his own mother.

The next morning, Ms. Jacobsen went hunting for the photo but it was gone. She never discussed the subject with either of her parents again.

“I loved my father. He was the most important person in my life,” said Ms. Jacobsen. “I recognized that the only semi-stable person in the whole dynamic was my father, Jack, and I didn’t want to lose that.”

After the 2016 DNA test, Ms. Jacobsen came to believe her mother had been telling the truth. But she didn’t know how to verify the identity of her biological father. Her parents were both dead.

The DNA report noted she had relatives who shared common DNA segments, but none close enough to offer clues to her paternity. When she contacted three new distant cousins through the testing-company site, trying to figure out how they might be related, no one responded, she said.

She told her family and close friends about the test results. When she “found out her father wasn’t her father, her whole life changed,” said Angelo Marfisi, Ms. Jacobsen’s husband of 34 years.

Ancestry and race
Based on huge advances in genetic research, many scientists today believe there is hardly any connection between genes and race.

In 2003, scientists from the Human Genome Project announced they had essentially completed mapping of the human genome. The resulting genetic blueprint indicated that humans are 99.9% identical. The remainder, scientists said, likely contains clues explaining differences such as skin color or increased risk of certain diseases.

Some of those are connected to ancestry—where your predecessors came from thousands of years ago. Race, on the other hand, researchers say today, is a complex combination of factors from physical appearance to family stories and how people are treated as they move through the world. In other words, for many people, it is in large part subjective, not measurable.

After consumer DNA tests took off, customers have found themselves armed with increasingly specific details about their historical relatives. People don’t just have European ancestry; it can be broken down into a British or German component. Or they may be told their ancestry traces to Congo, not only Africa.

The information is based on migration patterns that happened thousands of years ago, through regions and among populations whose names, members, and borders have changed, says Wendy D. Roth, associate professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, who studies the effect of DNA tests on racial and ethnic identity. “But the tests present it as if it determines who you are today,” she said.

As Ms. Jacobsen found out, these kinds of results, when they reveal an ancestry that seems at odds with racial identity, can unsettle a life that had been stable for decades.

In May 2018, she decided to take another DNA test. She wanted to learn whether her African ancestry raised her risk of potential health issues.

To her surprise, she matched with someone in the company’s database who shared enough DNA segments in common with her to likely be a first cousin. Ms. Jacobsen was thrilled. A first cousin would share her grandparents and might know her father.

Ms. Jacobsen matches with a cousin who suggests her uncle Paul may be Ms. Jacobsen’s biological father.

She sent a note through the testing-company’s website asking to try to figure out how they were related. She says a woman wrote back, asking “What are the names of your parents?”

“I am not sure of my bio dad’s name,” Ms. Jacobsen wrote, “but I think he was from the Bahamas.”

The woman responded that her family was from the Bahamas.

“I’m from New York,” Ms. Jacobsen continued. “My mother told me she had an affair with a dancer who was from the Bahamas.”

“My mom’s brother was a dancer from the Bahamas,” the woman responded, “so I’m 99% sure your dad was my uncle Paul.”

Uncle Paul was Paul Meeres. This man, Ms. Jacobsen concluded, must be her biological father. She considered it convincing information, even though it wasn’t absolute confirmation.

He had died in 1986. Armed only with the name, Ms. Jacobsen started piecing together the history of her biological father’s family.

Dancing at the Cotton Club
She reached out to a Bahamian genealogist, Phil Roberts, who had created an extensive Meeres family tree. He told her that her grandfather, Preston Paul Meeres, was from the Bahamas but left for work in the U.S., where he met his wife, Thelma. The couple started dancing together, appearing on stage as Meeres and Meeres.

In the press, “they were the Negro Astaires of the 1920s,” said La Vinia Delois Jennings, a professor of 20th-century American literature and culture at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The couple danced at the Cotton Club.

Despite their fame, like black performers of that era, when Meeres and Meeres danced at a club, they had to go somewhere else to get their meals “because they didn’t have the freedom to rub elbows with the wealthy white patrons who came to the clubs,” said Prof. Jennings.

Ms. Jacobsen found a newspaper clipping stating that the couple had two children, Paul K. Meeres, who she believes is her biological father, and a daughter, Gloria.

The couple divorced in 1930 and Preston Paul Meeres went to Europe, where he danced—and was photographed—with Josephine Baker. He eventually returned to the Bahamas in 1939 and opened up a nightclub in Nassau that drew celebrities including Elizabeth Taylor.

His son, Paul, became a professional dancer too, appearing in clubs in Europe and the U.S., including the Cotton Club. He was a stuntman in “Bronco Billy,” a Clint Eastwood movie, and at the time of his death at age 61, worked as a dancer and musician in a Titusville, Fla., restaurant, according to his obituary.

Ms. Jacobsen spent hours every day researching the Meeres family and the Harlem Renaissance. She read books about African-American history, and took the train from her home in Goshen, N.Y., into New York City to pore over archival photos of her biological grandparents and father in their dancing costumes, kept in collections at libraries such as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Ms. Jacobsen contacted anyone she could find online who might have known Mr. Meeres. She tracked down one of his old friends and, after finding records online for previous marriages, located a former wife.

They filled in the personal details she craved. Her father liked to eat a spicy dish of pigeon peas and rice and spoke five languages. He played the conga drums and knew how to tune a piano. He had a temper but was also charming and a ladies’ man.

One time, she was told, Mr. Meeres got pulled over by the police for driving erratically and to prove he wasn’t drunk, did a headstand on the roof of the car. The police fined him $35 for disorderly conduct.

Most of all, Ms. Jacobsen wanted to meet members of the Meeres family. When her parents died, she said she felt like an orphan. Now she found the obituary for Mr. Meeres that listed four children, who she believed were her half-siblings.

One was deceased, and two she couldn’t locate.

Another half-sibling, Paula, lived in Queens, N.Y., around a two-hour drive from her home.

She wanted to meet Paula, but was afraid to go. She didn’t know how she might react to her showing up.

In August 2018, Ms. Jacobsen was visiting a friend in Long Island. She learned her half-brother was buried in a cemetery there and decided to visit, bringing sunflowers that she placed on his grave. “I wanted to pay my respects,” she said, “and see if I felt some kind of connection.”

From the cemetery, on a whim, she drove to Paula’s home in Queens and knocked on her door.

There was no answer. Disappointed, Ms. Jacobsen started walking back to her car. Suddenly, she heard a voice coming from a small window in the basement, asking who was outside.

“My name is Christine,” Ms. Jacobsen said she answered. “I am looking for Paula.” She waited while the woman climbed the stairs. “I know this is going to sound really weird,” Ms. Jacobsen said, when the door opened. “But I did DNA testing and…”

After a few minutes of conversation, the two figured out they were likely sisters, talked about getting lunch and exchanged phone numbers. Ms. Jacobsen took a selfie of the two of them.

In a phone call the next day, Ms. Jacobsen described her research. She says Paula told her that she knew Paul Meeres was her father, but he didn’t raise her.

Paula shared some medical information, Ms. Jacobsen recalls, and then said something that took her by surprise.

“She told me I had a good life and a husband and son, and shouldn’t look for more family because it was going to make me sad,” said Ms. Jacobsen.

In her journal, Ms. Jacobsen recognized her pursuit inevitably affected other people’s lives. “My desire to know can clash with your desire to forget,” she wrote in one entry. “My neediness conflicting with another’s fear of connection. My fear of connection conflicting with another’s neediness.”

To read more of this article hit here

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

'I Was Numb': Family Secrets Come to Light After DNA Tests

To watch the video hit here

DNA testing is exposing long-hidden family secrets. More than 20 million people have shared their DNA with home testing companies which make it clear the results can be “unexpected facts” about yourself. But for one family, the unexpected fact shook their family tree down to the roots.

Eight months ago, Ryan got a call from his father, Gerry. It was a shocking conversation from the first words. "My dad gave me a call one night, very distraught, crying," Ryan said. "He said, 'I have some news.' At the time I thought there's a death in the family."

His father's news was family-related, but it wasn't a death. What Gerry showed his son proved even more shocking. "He sent a picture," Ryan said. "It was a screen shot of Ancestry.com. And he said, 'Your brother is not mine.' I said, 'What are you talking about?'" Then he asked his father, "What about me?"

Gerry and his wife divorced years ago, but only earlier this year did Gerry and both his sons find out that they are not biologically-connected. Ryan, 29, and his older brother, now 33, spent part of their childhood in New Jersey. They always thought their mother was their mother and their father was their father.

Instead, a home DNA test kit proved that a former New Jersey state trooper fathered both brothers. Ryan's mother confirmed to NBC10 that her sons' father is the New Jersey state trooper, but insists that she had no idea until the DNA tests this year. She declined to be interviewed on camera. "It's difficult. It's sad. But in the end, it really changes nothing as far as my relationship with my entire family goes," Ryan said.

Shocking results that took the family by surprise are expected to grow in number as millions more take home DNA tests in the years ahead. The idea that your life could be turned upside down from some spit on a cotton swab isn't what most people expect when they go looking for their ancestry.

The story of Ryan and his family is both a forewarning for others and an outlook people should consider if all new family history comes out in test results. "The results change nothing for me," said Ryan, who now lives in Miami. "My dad is my dad. I don't have to have a relationship with the other guy."

He added, "I'm grown up now. (I have a) family of my own. It's easier that way."

Home DNA testing kits, like those done by Ryan and his brother on Ancestry.com, have grown in popularity the last decade. More than 20 million Americans have taken tests provided by companies like Ancestry.com, a Utah-based company, and 23andMe, of California.

The pace of submitting DNA via consumer tests is rapidly speeding up, according to West Chester University professor Anita Foeman, who has studied the industry since 2006. More than 100 million people will submit their DNA for testing in just the next few years if the trend continues, Foeman said. "It is changing the way that we think about each other, our relationships to one another, and what's sort of out there and what we can keep secret," she said.

The tests also raise ethical questions about the Big Data aspect of such personal information: What can companies do with your DNA results? Should law enforcement agencies have access to the results? And of course, there is the upheaval within families when the results from a home DNA kit yield big surprises.

"We see them all the time," Foeman said. "The tests are far better at pinpointing genetic relatives than they are at ancestry. So if someone had some unclear ancestry, I could say, 'Well, you know, the test isn't perfect. But people are finding out, again, that their parents are not their parents, et cetera."

Saturday, November 9, 2019

DNA sites propose security plans to address genetic privacy fears

Recent weeks have seen a range of theoretical attacks against genetic genealogy services that could give access to people's DNA, but there is a plan to prevent them.
The two biggest genetic genealogy sites are hoping to introduce major new security measures to protect the DNA of millions of people, following recent concerns over risks to genetic privacy.
Anyone who takes a direct-to-consumer DNA test with a company such as 23andMe can download the raw data and upload it to third parties, often to help them find relatives.

To read more of the article hit here 

Friday, November 1, 2019

This Native American Man Has The Oldest American DNA Ever Recorded

The DNA testing company found Darrell Crawford's results so unprecedented that they said it was like finding Bigfoot.

Before Alvin “Willy” Crawford’s heart gave out, the Montana man asked his brother, Darrell “Dusty” Crawford to get his DNA tested. When he did, according to USA Today, CRI Genetics told Crawford that his results were so unprecedented that it was like finding Bigfoot.

CRI Genetics is one of many modern “biogeographical ancestry” companies. They trace a customer’s genetic makeup through time and space and attempt to find its place in the evolution of humankind.

The results, which are 99 percent accurate, indicated that Crawford’s line went back 55 generations. CRI Genetics said its never been able to date anyone’s DNA as far back as this. This is now officially the oldest American DNA found on the continent.

For Crawford, the test was merely done to assuage his brother. Naturally, he wished he could share these remarkable results with him.

“He’s the one who encouraged me to do this, and he wanted to compare our results,” said Crawford. “I just wish I could have shown it to him. It would have blown him away.”

The Bering Strait migration pattern Crawford thought his ancestors took to get here. The DNA test indicated otherwise.

The late Crawford lived on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Heart Butte, Montana. Darrell Crawford has long believed that his ancestors came to North America during the Ice Age, through the Bering Land Bridge, an ancient human migration route from Asia to the Americas.

The DNA results, however, indicated that the Crawfords’ ancestors came here from the Pacific. They initially settled in South America and then traveled north. To be clear, this, too, is merely a theory. While the company touts a 99 percent accuracy rate, other considerable variables are at play.

Crawford is part the mtDNA Haplogroup B2. This genetic population subset originated in Arizona some 17,000 years ago and has a fairly low frequency in both Alaska and Canada. It’s one of the four major Native American groups that populated the continent.

These groups are called clans, and all trace back to four female ancestors: Ai, Ina, Chie, and Sachi. CRI Genetics found Crawford to hail from the Ina clan. This DNA group’s closest relatives outside the Western Hemisphere are found in Southeast Asia.

“Its path from the Americas is somewhat of a mystery as there are no frequencies of the haplogroup in either Alaska or Canada,” CRI Genetics explained. “Today this Native American line is found only in the Americas, with a strong frequency on the eastern coast of North America.”

Blackfeet Community College professor Shelly Eli pointed to the mastodon femur found in 2017 as evidence that Native Americans have “always been here.”

For Shelly Eli, who teaches Piikani culture at the Blackfeet Community College, the scientific theories that this Native American line migrated to the Americas from elsewhere are unfounded. Citing oral stories and indigenous history, she said, “We’ve always been here, since time immemorial.”

“There’s no oral stories that say we crossed a bridge or anything else.”

Eli rooted her claim in 2017 research that dated human activity in North America at least 100,000 years earlier than the previous estimates of 15,000.

Darrell Crawford is a Native American from the Blackfeet tribe, which lives in a Montana reservation 3,000 square miles wide.

As for Crawford’s ancestral makeup, his results showed 83 percent Native American ancestry. While some of this was a mixture of various Native threads — 73 percent of that came from the same heritage.

The remaining 17 percent were comprised of 9.8 percent European, 5.3 percent East Asian, 2 percent South Asian, and .2 percent African.

For the scientific community, Crawford’s results are monumental. The benchmark for the oldest American DNA ever tested has now been moved back 17,000 years. For Crawford, himself, the find is an affirmation of long his ancestors have been in the region. Ultimately, he just wished he could share the news with his brother.

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