Edited (June 6, 2011): FINAL version of the paper available here.
Today at 1:15PM, the American Society of Human Genetics released the “ASHG Ancestry Testing Statement and Recommendations (pdf)” during a press briefing session entitled “ASHG Ancestry Testing Statement and Recommendations: Guidelines for Understanding the Issues and Implications Involved. The briefing session, held from 1:15PM to 2:15PM, is part of the 58th annual ASHG meeting in Philadelphia. The paper was drafted by the recently-appointed ASHG Ancestry Testing Task Force Committee.
Let me start my analysis by clearly pointing out my personal positions:
- After years of experience in this field, I am a proponent of genetic genealogy testing, a scientific endeavor that has been utilized by as many as 500,000 to 800,000 customers.
- I believe that education, not more government regulation, is the most efficient and appropriate answer to the issues raised by the authors of the paper.
- I believe that autosomal genetic genealogy testing is in its infancy and should only be used with the understanding that the results are only extremely rough estimates that are subject to change as the field develops.
With those personal positions in mind, and after reviewing the paper, I have a number of general concerns with the paper’s conclusions: