Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2003-11 > 1069593991

Subject: Re: [DNA] Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2003 08:26:31 EST

In a message dated 11/22/03 4:35:46 PM Pacific Standard Time,

> Is anyone familiar with this research project and what they hope to
> achieve?
> Their mission statement says purpose is to create the most comprehensive
> genealogical database to be used for family history research but it also
> states that the test results are not shared with the volunteer participants.
> Guess I'm a little confused.

Ugo Perego from the SMGF posted some messages earlier this year, explaining
the move from BYU to the foundation and the goals of the study (see URLs
below). Since it is a research project, they must abide by human studies regulations
about confidentiality, and any "results" are way downstream. There's no
guarantee that they will even succeed.

The thrust of their efforts is on discovery of autosomal markers (the paired
non-sex chromosomes) which might be used to trace ancestry. This is tricky
business, since you may not inherit a specific marker from your father or mother,
much less your grandparents and earlier generations. (That's why "paternity"
testing gets somewhat fuzzy beyond the parent/child relationship.) They are
looking for markers which show up consistently together on one chromosome (the
original meaning of the word haplotype). They will attempt to correlate
haplotypes on multiple chromosomes with genealogical data about location and time
frame. They obviously need large amounts of data before they can begin validating
their theory.

I haven't donated a sample yet, as I don't meet their requirements for six
complete generations of ancestry. However, I would not hesitate to do so. Some
people seem turned off by the idea that someone sometime might make money off
the data they contributed. However, my philosophy is that I don't share in the
risk of the venture, and my data has little value all by itself, so I'm glad
to contribute to scientific research. I HOPE that they learn enough and add so
much value to my snippet of data that I'd be willing to pay for a commercial
service, and I'd be pleased to think that my ancestry was represented.

URL for information about contributing to the database:

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