I just received the following advertisement from my time traveling fax machine (a Christmas gift from a friend):
FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY!
The Comprehensive Genetic Genealogy Testing Package®!
Syracuse, New York – December 1, 2020 – Announcing the new Comprehensive Genetic Genealogy Testing Package®, the most extensive genetic genealogy test ever available! For just $299.00 (plus S&H), you will receive insightful information about all aspects of your ancestry, including your ethnicity and numerous genetic cousins, among other incredible information. After sending in just a few swabs (cheek, gut, and face), you will receive your results in 4-6 weeks.
As part of the Comprehensive Genetic Genealogy Testing Package®, you will receive results from each of the following individual tests:
- Full Genome Sequencing – with full genome sequencing, you get the most accurate relationship predictions available!
- NEW! Epigenetic Analysis – for unparalleled accuracy, refine your relationship predictions for fourth cousins and closer using epigenetic information!
- NEW! Face Mite Analysis – supplement your ethnicity prediction with our unique face mite DNA analysis! Your face mites are intensely loyal, and can reveal a wealth of information about your recent ancestry.
- NEW! Microbiome Analysis – since genetically related individuals tend to share more of their microbiome than unrelated individuals (regardless of whether they cohabitate or not), the stop-bacteria.com in your gut contain important relationship clues!
- Full mtDNA Sequencing – extract every bit of useful information from your mitochondrial DNA! Now with epigenetic analysis to help refine your MRCA estimate!
- Y-Chromosome Super Sequencer (males only) – sequencing of up to 20 million base pairs of the Y chromosome! Thousands of SNPs and hundreds of STRs!
In addition to results from each of the individual tests, your full genome sequencing, epigenetic analysis, face mite analysis, and microbiome analysis will be collated into our proprietary Relationship Estimator® algorithm, now with a 90% accuracy rate for relationships of fourth cousins and closer!
Fact or Fiction?
Yes, this is just for fun, but it isn’t fantasy. These tests are all based on recent developments that someday, hopefully, might be an everyday part of genetic genealogy. Here are a few references for further reading:
- Close relationship predictions likely to increase with full genome sequencing – “Relationship Estimation from Whole-Genome Sequence Data”
- Epigenetics and our ancestors – “Grandma’s Experiences Leave a Mark on Your Genes” and “Your Diet Affects Your Grandchildren’s DNA, Scientists Say”
- Face mite analysis – “Your Hair Mites Are So Loyal Their DNA Reflects Your Ancestry,” “What the mites on your face say about where you came from,” and “Global divergence of the human follicle mite Demodex folliculorum: Persistent associations between host ancestry and mite lineages”
- Microbiomes and our relatives – “The dynamics of a family’s gut microbiota reveal variations on a theme,” “Tracing Your Microbiome Back to You,” and “Cohabiting family members share microbiota with one another and with their dogs.”
- mtDNA epigenetics – “Mitochondrial epigenetics: Effects beyond the nuclear genome”
DNA sequencing is just the beginning of genetic genealogy. We have ties to our ancestors and relatives that are so much more than just segments of DNA.
This must be a pre-announcement as I wouldn’t have expected this sort of thing until the first of next April.
Thank you Blaine. It will be interesting to look back at this post in five years time and see what has come true. I’m hoping that by 2020 we will be able to order a full Y-chromosome sequence of all 60 million bases including the large 40 Mb heterochromatic block which has not yet been sequenced. Hopefully by then it will have yielded its secrets.
A bit to think about the future of genetic genealogy.
I’d also like to know if it will be possible to have whatever comes out in the future tested by uploading raw data from today’s tests like 23andme and ancestry.com’s DNA, especially in cases where you have raw data results from parents and even grandparents who may no longer be alive by that point in the future to be able to give another sample.
On sample collection, I wonder whether or not there will be any looking to see if there can be an alternative to spitting saliva, since there have been many people who seemingly followed the instructions, yet their samples were rejected because the company claims that their saliva didn’t contain enough DNA in it. Blaine’s scenario had swabs, and we should just have to use cheek swabs like Family Tree DNA and Geno do.
Then there’s the waiting times. Obviously, it’s unreasonable to expect results produced in a few days, but hopefully in the future, results with more of the companies can at least be processed at least at the same speed that ancestry.com’s DNA is usually processed now, 3 -4 weeks.
6-8 weeks is just too long and even with 4-6 weeks, technology should have improved to the point where the waiting time isn’t quite as long.
And of course, with the ethnicity predictions, here’s hoping that more adequate reference population samples will become available, especially for Eastern Europeans and non-Europeans like Africans, Southeast Asians, etc. (though unfortunately, there may never be any additional detail for Indigenous Americans).
I can’t wait to see what will come in the not-too-distant future
I predict that in five years’ time I will go to WDYTYA Live and we will be doing DNA testing on the spot using small handheld machines and perhaps even delivering results instantaneously.
I found this particularly interesting: “Cohabiting family members share microbiota with one another and with their dogs.” Given our dogs’ propensities for licking whichever of our body parts are exposed to them, ingesting face mites and God knows what else, I can see that future generations of ourselves and our dogs are likely to be genetically related – tenth cousins, perhaps?
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