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Family Tree DNA vs 23 and Me?

Family Tree DNA vs 23 and Me?

Posted: 23 May 2010 1:51PM GMT
Classification: Query
I finally saved up enough to have DNA testing (both Y and Mitochondrial) on my former husband and my brother. I believe (but I'm not positive) that should cover as much of my children's ancestry as possible.

And, I think I have narrowed it down to two testing companies, FTDNA and 23 and Me. But I'm not sure which will give me the most for my money. If we do the Y-DNA67+mtDNAPlus from FTDNA, the cost is comparable to the package offered by 23 and Me.

Another question I have is how much more information would we get by choosing the 67 from FTDNA as opposed to the 37, which is cheaper by about $100.

My knowledge of genetic DNA testing is very elementary. I've read "Deep Ancestry" by Spencer Wells, and "Seven Daughters of Eve" by Bryan Sykes, but I know I'll have to re-read them several times in order to understand it more fully. Some of it makes perfect sense to me, and other parts--not so much. ;)

Hoping somebody here can provide some helpful input.

Re: Family Tree DNA vs 23 and Me?

Posted: 1 Nov 2010 4:11AM GMT
Classification: Query
PDnger44,

I noticed that no one ever responded to your request for information on DNA testing. While this may too late to be of use to you, I will tell you what I know and hope it is of some help.

There is a significant difference between the way that FTDNA and 23 and ME identify male haploids that affects what further use of their data you can get out of it. Understanding the difference requires that one go into the history of genetic genealogy testing and understand the scientific basis of this difference.

Originally, geneticists figured out how to determine major divisions or changes in male human DNA which occurred over thousands of years as the Y-DNA genome developed various mutations over those time spans. They began to classify these divisions, called haploid groups, by analyzing for specific changes in the Y-DNA called Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP)mutations. What they were looking for with the SNP was when a single nucleotide (Adenine, Thymine, Guanine, or Cytosine) change in the Y-DNA genome sequence at a specific spot in the genome. They identified these mutations by an alpha-numeric scheme giving them such names as M91, M42 M235, P13 and V12 mutations, etc. Once such a mutation occurs, which are relatively rare events requiring tens of thousands of years to occur, it becomes a permanent change to the Y-DNA of that person and all his descendant population. The point in time that these SNP mutations occurs defines a timeline of human genetic evolution and increasing diversity of genetic composition. Any given person has many SNPs that together create a unique DNA pattern for that individual, defining them as to a specific haploid division.

The testing service, 23 and ME, defines your Y-DNA haploid group and sub-clads by analyzing directly for these rare SNP mutations, and they have to analyze a bunch of them in order to narrow down those you are positive for and those you are negative for which they need to know to define your haploid all the way to its deepest clad subdivision. As a result, it generally costs $299 to get the answer from 23 and ME about what your haploid is.

FTDNA has a different approach that can define your haploid for only $99. They test for a different type of mutation which is much more common and frequent. This type of mutation is called a Single Tandem Repeat (STR) mutation. What happens in this type of mutation is a segment of your Y-DNA, called an allele (or Marker) gets damaged and a new copy of that allele is created and sandwiched in next to the old one. The new one is the only one that is active. All the other copies are non-functional. The number of repeat copies of a specific allele becomes the analytical test value reported by FTDNA for that Marker. So if there are 11 repeat copies of a particular allele, the reported value for that Marker would be 11.

Over many years of testing FTDNA has empirically selected a specific set of 12 alleles (or markers) of the Y-DNA genome which they have been able to use to predict your haploid with a high degree of accuracy, without actually testing the SNP markers that 23 and ME use to define your haploid. FTDNA is able to do this prediction because they have the largest genetic genealogy database in the world and have verified enough of their STR predictions with actual SNP analyses of the same sample that they have developed a STR pattern correlation algorithm that is 99% accurate in predicting your basic haploid group and often they can predict down to several subclads of that haploid based on your STR pattern, especially if you have the 37 marker STR test done.

Of course, Family Tree DNA can also test for the specific SNP that define the haploid they predicted from your STR values, but it will you cost additional money to have that verification testing done. However, FTDNA will not need to test very many SNP mutation points because they already will have predicted what basid SNP mutaions you have and will only test for the deepest subclad markers to verify your full haploid profile. That means that you actually spend the same amount of money with FTDNA obtaining a 12 marker STR result plus a verified analysis of your haploid down to its deepest defined sub-clad as you would with 23 and ME to get just the full subclad verified haploid results and no STR values.

My analysis of the usefulness of the end results between these two companies is that FTDNA gives you more useful data for the same money. For instance, in our haploid group within our surname we can tell the difference using the 12 marker STR values between descendants of two branches of our English family whose immigrant fathers came to New England separately in the early 1600s. We have also done the deep clad haploid testing of SNPs and found that we cannot tell them apart based solely on SNP results. We are, in fact all identical with respect to SNP results. Only the STR values show any differences we can use to group ourselves into the different lineages of our family group.

So, in a general sense, the SNP values obtained from 23 and ME provide only anthropologically useful information, whereas that information plus the STR values provide by FTDNA are useful genetic genealogy family group information that allow you to make comparision to the STR values of other men of the same surname and start to define different lineages within a descendant family.

I hope this has been helpful. If I am late in getting it to you and you have already made your decisions and commitments, then I am sorry I did not see your post earlier in the year when you first sent it out.

Best regards,
Mike Wright

Re: Family Tree DNA vs 23 and Me?

Posted: 1 Nov 2010 12:07PM GMT
Classification: Query
Mike,

How I wish you'd seen my post earlier! Thank you for the superb explanation of the differences in testing methods of the 2 companies. I did as much research as my limited knowledge of genetics would allow, hoping it would help me make an intelligent decision, and I went with 23 and me, thinking they would give me more information. Perhaps they did, but apparently it wasn't necessarily what I needed.

I have yet to be able to figure out what to do with the data I received in order to apply it to my genealogy research. Guess maybe I'll save up to do FTDNA, too. Sounds like it will give me a lot more of what I need.

A question: I had thought there was a way to enter data from our testing into Ancestry's DNA database, but I haven't figured out what to put where, or even if I actually have the data I need. Do you know if the 23 and me data can be used on Ancestry?

Again thank you for the great explanation and for taking the time to answer my question.

Ruth Ann (pdinger44)

Re: Family Tree DNA vs 23 and Me?

Posted: 17 Nov 2010 9:02PM GMT
Classification: Query
Ruth Ann,

I'm hoping someone has the answer to your question! I had the 23andme test done back in in April. It was what inspired me to join Ancestry.com. I would love to be able to use that data over here to track down and/or confirm relations.

Anybody know if this can be done?

Tim

Re: Family Tree DNA vs 23 and Me?

Posted: 19 Dec 2010 5:46PM GMT
Classification: Query
This post was deleted by the author on 1 Jul 2012 2:01AM GMT

Re: Family Tree DNA vs 23 and Me?

Posted: 21 Dec 2010 12:44AM GMT
Classification: Query
See this page in the ISOGG Wiki:

http://www.isogg.org/wiki/Family_Finder_versus_Relative_Find...

The Wiki has not yet been updated with information on the new 23andMe chip which now has around one million SNPs. The basic principles are still the same.

The Y-DNA and mtDNA component of the 23andMe test is only for deep ancestry and you can't use your results in any of the genealogical databases.

Re: Family Tree DNA vs 23 and Me?

Posted: 21 Dec 2010 12:59AM GMT
Classification: Query
This post was deleted by the author on 1 Jul 2012 2:00AM GMT

Re: Family Tree DNA vs 23 and Me?

Posted: 21 Dec 2010 1:27AM GMT
Classification: Query
This post was deleted by the author on 1 Jul 2012 2:00AM GMT

Re: Family Tree DNA vs 23 and Me?

Posted: 22 Dec 2010 5:45AM GMT
Classification: Query
This post was deleted by the author on 1 Jul 2012 1:59AM GMT

Re: Family Tree DNA vs 23 and Me?

Posted: 22 Dec 2010 12:15PM GMT
Classification: Query
John

How bizarre. I wonder why someone should have deleted my post. I only explained about the X chromosome and mtDNA, and can't see that I said anything that could have caused anyone any concern. It's rather worrying that posts should be inexplicably removed in such a way.
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