Sunday, May 15, 2011

Adventures with Family Finder DNA: Part I

Thanks to the kind financial assistance of a very awesome donor conceived adult who wishes to remain anonymous, I am now able to submit my DNA to Family Tree DNA's Family Finder Test!!!

Yesterday I received my test kit in the mail.  The kit contains three sterile scrapers, three vials with special solution that the scrapers are ejected into after swabbing, the release form, and a plastic bag and pre-addressed envelope.  By signing the release form you allow Family Tree DNA to provide your genetic relatives with your name and email address.
FTDNA collection kit
And here we go....
Scraping cheeks for DNA
Ejecting scraper into vial
Once you have completed your three separate swabs (done several hours apart), you place the three vials in the small plastic bag and then the plastic bag and the release form in the pre-addressed envelope provided by FTDNA and mail it back.  

Once FTDNA receives your DNA samples, they must extract the DNA from the swabs and store it.  FTDNA stores your DNA indefinitely, so in the future you can add additional tests and they do not need to recollect your samples.

The Family Finder DNA test uses a product called Illumina OmniExpress, which is a microarray test that looks at over 700,000 SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) across the genome.  It often takes several weeks, or upwards of a month, to get your results as this test is very costly so they "batch" DNA samples together to make sure that they have the entire microarray plate full of samples (I believe 12 samples per plate for this test).

So over the next few weeks and months I am going to be chronicling my adventure with the Family Finder DNA Test, including a more in-depth explanation of what this test look at, how it can help with genealogy, and finally how it can potentially be used for donor-conceived adults who are looking for answers.  I will also update everyone on my results.

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