GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2003-11 > 1069566673
Subject: RE: [DNA] Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2003 00:51:21 -0500
I wasn't aware that Sorenson owned Relative Genetics. Is he full owner
or a minority percentage owner.
All of a sudden it's becoming a little clearer I think. Relative
Genetics at some point in the not too distant future will suddenly have
a huge data base, larger likely than any of their competitors, gleaned
in part from the 100,000 people who thought they were participating in a
research project and never understood it would be used in a commercial
venture (i.e. Relative Genetics). Of course, this may not be the case,
but it surely looks like the situation has a lot of potential to evolve
My problem is a lack of disclosure to the participants that this link
was there and might or would be connected. I don't see this on their
web page. I don't think it's fair to the other companies either that a
religious organization be used to obtain a data base of information for
a commercial firm. And yes, I do realize that in the case of genealogy,
there exists a fine line between some of these things given the Mormon
churches interest in genealogy for religious purposes. It's not the
religious interest I have a problem with, it's the back door connection
between the church, the methodology of collecting the samples/data, and
the commercial venture, Relative Genetics. But then of course, I may be
wrong, and by the time they get their 100,000, the other private firms
will already have a significant data base of their own that does include
names for communicating with other participants.
From: OrinWells [mailto:]
Sent: Saturday, November 22, 2003 11:44 PM
Subject: Re: [DNA] Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation
To add to what Gailia Merrington wrote:
The Molecular Genealogy Project was originally started at Brigham Young
University funded primarily with a grant from James Sorenson who owns
Sorenson. I am not at all clear what caused the move from BYU to bring
project into the Sorenson labs, but it was done about a year ago and has
been running from there since with many of the original people still
involved in one way or another.
The LDS church, as I understand it, has little to do with the actual
operation of the project. The goal was (and probably still is) to
100,000 samples from around the world and do appropriate testing on the
samples including Y-chromosome on men and mTdna on probably everyone. I
not know for certain, but they may be doing testing beyond that used for
current genealogical testing.
While the project is not commercial in itself, all the testing is
being conducted by Relative Genetics, which is also owned by Sorenson.
am certain that the database will eventually be available for matching
samples run through Relative Genetics. Does that mean only people in
lab will do the matching or will those who have run samples be able to
query the database? I don't know that answer and as far as I know they
have not revealed this.
Originally everyone who submitted a sample was advised they would not be
receiving the results of the testing because this is a research
project. Such projects seldom provide data to the participants. Anyone
who participated was also able to sit in on an orientation where this
made clear to them and it was also on the consent form they signed when
providing their sample.
When the database is made available in whatever form it will be, queries
will not reveal the identity of the participants on matches. But no
other useful information may be available because each participant was
asked to provide a 5 generation family tree including themselves. This
information included dates and locations. The objective of this was to
to lay out a map of where certain dna patterns could be found at
I suspect this database will be available for matching only to those who
are tested through Relative Genetics much the same way the FamilyTreeDNA
database is only available to their customers. The rest of the
(FTDNA and RG) will only have access to the information in the event
clients cross post their results on ybase.org as many of us are doing
I know that Mr. Sorenson is not doing this to make a profit off of the
research. He has an intense interest in the utilization of DNA testing
furthering genealogical research. The same objective we all have.
It is very likely that based on the results of this initial project,
will be follow-on research conducted using DNA from chromosomes other
the y-chromosome also solely for genealogical purposes.