DNA testing - the talk of the Scottish Gathering of the Clans
One of the 47,000 participants at The Gathering 2009, the largest assembly of Scottish Clans ever, Tom MacDonald travelled from Australia to Scotland, and one of the highlights of his trip was to have a DNA test to try and prove his connection to the MacDonald of Sleat.
Houston based Family Tree DNA, the pioneer and largest DNA testing company, was a sponsor and official DNA testing organization at The Gathering 2009, which saw 130 Clans participating in Highland Games during the weekend of the 25th and 26th of July at the Holyrood Park in Edinburgh.
Like Tom, thousands had the opportunity to learn about genetic genealogy, either by listening to the presentations or by learning directly from Bennett Greenspan and Max Blankfeld, the heads of Family Tree DNA, about how a DNA test could help them connect to others and verify relationships.
Asked why he was taking the DNA test, another visitor, a McNeil from Canada, said "I was thinking of doing this test for a while, and having the company with the largest database here at The Gathering gave me no excuse not to have the test done. Now I can try and find other McNeils to whom I may be related and hopefully further my own genealogy research."
During an exclusive reception offered by Alexander Salmond, the First Minister of Scotland, Greenspan and Blankfeld were thanked by the organizers for participating in that important event, and promised to return on the occasion of the next Gathering. Said Bennett Greenspan, the founder and CEO of Family Tree DNA: "Being part of this large reunion was something of unique significance, not only because of its magnitude, but also because of the growing interest in DNA testing that we saw among the participants, many of which took the opportunity to test their DNA - which now has definitely consolidated its place as one of the important tools for genealogists."
Founded in April 2000, Family Tree DNA was the first company to develop the commercial application of DNA testing for genealogical purposes that had previously been available only for academic and scientific research. Almost a decade later, the Houston-based company has processed over 500,000 tests for its own customers as well as for the public participants of National Geographic and IBM's Genographic Project, and, with the largest DNA databases for genealogy purposes, it continues to establish standards and create new milestones in the increasingly popular and rapidly growing field of genetic genealogy.
Since its inception, Family Tree DNA has been associated with the Genomics Analysis and Technology Core at the University of Arizona as well as some of the world’s leading authorities in the fields of Genetics and Anthropology. In 2006 Family Tree DNA established the state-of-the-art Genomics Research Center at its headquarters in Houston, Texas, where it currently performs R&D and processes over 200 types of advanced DNA tests for its customers, which include not only genealogists, but also academic and research organizations from around the world.