Jewish Ukraine West
Nov 1, 2007 Press Release from Family Tree DNA:
CONFERENCE REVEALS LATEST INNOVATIONS IN DNA TESTING
Gathering in Houston Hears Panel of Renowned Experts on Genetic
HOUSTON—Family Tree DNA, the world leader in genetic genealogy, is
once again breaking new ground in family history research. At its 4th
International Conference on Genetic Genealogy, Family Tree DNA
announced the launch of the first comparative database for Full
Mitochondria Sequences, the introduction of MyMaps, the world's first
personalized interactive genetic mapping system, and the novel "A Walk
Through the Y Chromosome" test that allows participants to map genetic
relationships through the male-inherited Y Chromosome. These
represent bellwether innovations that pair the science of genetic
testing and the world of genetic genealogy with the computer
technology that makes worldwide networking a family affair.
The Conference, held Oct. 20-21 in Family Tree DNA's hometown of
Houston, featured leading experts in the field who addressed a variety
of topics related to the scientific research, its applications and
challenges, and the concerns associated with the expanding use of DNA
testing for family history and deep ancestral research. Among the
speakers at the conference were Dr. John M. Butler of the National
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Dr. Michael Hammer,
renowned Geneticist and Director of the Genomic Analysis and
Technology Core facility at the University of Arizona, Dr. Theodore G.
Schurr, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the
University of Pennsylvania, Dr. David Soria of National Geographic and
Family Tree DNA Founder-President Bennett Greenspan.
The Conference's overflow crowd, comprised of Family Tree DNA Project
Administrators from throughout the US and Europe, was given a first
look at the workings of the comparative database for Full Mitochondria
Sequences, transforming what had previously been an anthropological
test into the world's first high-resolution genealogy test. These Full
Genomic Sequence (FGS) studies of the complete mitochondrial molecule
mean that genealogists will, for the first time, be able to make
significant comparisons between individuals who share a recent history.
Family Tree DNA's Greenspan unveiled the MyMaps tool, the innovative
genetic mapping system that enables individuals who don't know where
their European ancestors came from, to identify their possible
specific geographical origins. MyMaps is applicable to all of the
company's Y-DNA and mtDNA tests. "This is a big advance for
genealogists," enthuses Greenspan, "because MyMaps will allow an
individual who doesn't know, for example, what part of Ireland, or
what part of Germany, or what part of France his immigrant ancestor
came from to zero in on his closest genetic matches."
Dr. John Butler, Project Leader of NIST's Human Identity DNA
Measurements Group, addressed the challenging topic of the need for
standardization in reporting genetic genealogical DNA results. Butler
discussed guidelines that will rectify and bring clarity to the
sometimes fractured reporting system currently used by various smaller
genetic genealogy companies in the U.S.
Dr. Michael Hammer, Geneticist and Director of the Genomic Analysis
and Technology Core facility at the University of Arizona and Family
Tree DNA's Chief Scientist, previewed highlights from his
soon-to-be-published paper on the new phylogenetic tree named the YCC
(Y Chromosome Consortium), a theoretical construct positing how
evolution took place on the Y chromosome.
Dr. Schurr spoke about recent research into Native American
populations, and Dr. Soria presented an update on the National
Geographic Genographic Project's collection of genetic samples,
results' analysis and the publication of papers on the genetic roots
of modern humans and the migratory history of the human species.
Family Tree DNA is the designated DNA-testing company for the
five-year Genographic Project, led by National Geographic's
Explorer-in- Residence Spencer Wells. Since its launch in 2005 by the
National Geographic Society and IBM, Family Tree DNA has processed
over 200,000 Genographic Project DNA tests.
"A Walk thru the Y Chromosome" is the significant third in the trio
of Family Tree DNA innovations introduced at the two-day conference.
Thomas Krahn, Director of Family Tree DNA's Genomics Research Center,
made the presentation, detailing a test to sequence vast sections of
the Y chromosome. Those interested in finding family connections can
order a fragment of their own DNA and check for an apparent match with
others who have had the test.