[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] DNA Testing Explained

Otto otto at schienke.com
Thu Sep 12 13:24:19 PDT 2013

Hearty greetings Listers,

This is a follow-up to yesterday's topic.

Dan Buss already wrote me and apologized for his bible-based jest; I informed him it had me grinning and I appreciated it, read the book many times and enjoy it. Yet this is not about belief, it is about the tremendously growing field of biological science, molecular genetics. I want to thank those who also sent letters, always willing to help. Good questions are the best ones, I learn.

DNA. . .  we talk about what we do not see.  The topic generates confusion, the more discussion the greater the confusion. . . The original topic disappears into the fog.  I admit, some do not want to see the unseeable.  I, for one, find the results very satisfying. I am 76 years of age, doing paper-trail genealogy since 16 years of age. I may yet find myself.

Years ago DNA testing came to the fore. A fascinating concept and a bioscience field, I began researching the subject. DNA testing was at a foundling stage. All that was available were short tandem repeat (STR) tests used in forensic science which used only a few markers. Tests were performed with 12 marker, 25 marker, 37 marker and so, creating "haplotypes."
"Many genetic testing companies use the term 'haplotype' to refer to an individual collection of short tandem repeat (STR) allele mutations within a genetic segment, while using the term 'haplogroup' to refer to the SNP/unique-event polymorphism (UEP) mutations which represents the clade to which a collection of potential haplotypes belong (the term clade referring to a set of people sharing a common ancestor)"

As I searched the company Gary used , the more little tests offered, the more confusing it became with little left for value and useful information. I was a dog chasing my tail.  "I already knew who my father was. . . so help me, next time a rich one, good looks are not everything."

I'd previously discussed DNA testing with Karl who stated, "Wait 20 years , by then a full genome for $1,000.00." Fine and dandy. Most of us are old. . . Old with a capital O and cannot wait 20 years. I am thankful (so was Al) I convinced Albert Muth to test with 23andme (he had done one of those 12 marker type tests and was fully discouraged and disappointed). Here today. .  gone tomorrow. So many of my friends are paving the way. I compared DNA with Linda Pauling-close but not my direct line even though many relatives were from the Lipno Parish.

*See Wikipedia topics "Haplotype" and "Haplogroup"

I wanted a broad spectrum analysis. I found two companies, DeCodeMe and later 23andMe offering 560,000 marker tests for $1,000.00 I discovered their tests were SNP (single nucleotide morphism) tests. It was called an "autosomal" broad-spectrum test. Being tight-fisted, I could not part with the $1,000.00 even though I wanted to see over the horizon into the distant past.

What now?  
I called my son at Penn State U. and laid my case on his desk. What do I do?  He spoke with his friend, head of Penn State molecular anthropology/genetics (whose own concentration is forensics) and received a quick reply, one name only, 23andMe. He, his family, relatives and surprisingly my son, had already tested with them. he uses their tests for lab research in blocks of 100.  By the time I finished dragging my feet, (remember, tight-fisted) 23andMe had dropped the price of their autosomal test of 560,000 markers to $400.00. . . I went for it. Ways to extract information and results kept increasing almost monthly.

I think I actually shed a tear (tight-fisted) when 23andMe updated to a 1,000,000 plus marker multi-array lab equipment and then slowly dropped the price to an outstanding one-time fee of $99.00 for the spit-test and membership to their (necessary) encrypted website.  The $99.00 fee was introduced to increase their membership DNA database to over 1,000,000 persons quickly. it is already at 300,000 plus persons. 

The greatest benefit to us, the paper-trailers, is being in the same database, one which screens out related persons automatically.  Having DNA code is good, having someone to compare it to is better.  Many List and SGGEE members are already part of the 23andMe database.     
         Paving the "paper-trail" is up to us.  Al Muth would have liked that. . .

. . .   Otto
         " The Zen moment..." wk. of January 01, 2013-
                  "Answers out there . . .  Seeking us."

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